Never ever think that just because you’re sticking to an eating protocol that you have to be a victim of restriction. I’m not a believer in hard core dietary limitation, however I do believe you can achieve detoxification, cleansing, and give your gut a rest from everyday stressors whilst still indulging in pleasure. All it takes is some creativity and an open mind.
In fact, fasting as a spiritual practice is a way to experience the pleasure of a higher conscious state, mindfully detaching from mealtimes as a way to re-focus. During my fasting protocol, which isn’t a complete abstinence of eating all together, you do have the opportunity to truly savor simple elemental flavours. By the end of a fast, you may actually find that your taste buds have re-wired to find even vegetables bursting with sweetness.
Ritual is something of a lost art in our society, and sitting down to food with a mindful, conscious approach is somewhat of a shock to the system in our fast paced world. How often do you sit down, breathe, indulge, and bask your senses in the still quiet of a meal? This approach can act as a mini health retreat, a minor meditation that will re-set your mind on the goodness and beauty of life.
While I’m fasting, I love to sit down in the afternoon to take a pause between ticking tasks off my to-do list, to have some time for myself; refueling for the afternoon. I’ll light myself a candle, prepare myself a pot of herbal tea in a nice tea-pot, and sit down to a snack. My strawberry teacakes are a true delight for afternoon tea, and my lime and blueberry muffins are a sweet treat that will never disappoint.
While I’m fasting, I still want to enjoy a treat that is generous in flavor, and I’d have to say this coconut and banana bread from my new book Fast Your Way to Wellness is an utterly gorgeous indulgence, with a tropical twist on the classic flavours of everyday banana bread, which is usually loaded with wheat and white sugar.
This beauty is free from gluten, low in fructose and uses coconut flour, which imparts the flavour of a Maldivian island, yet offers a range of health benefits. Coconut supplies energy building medium chain fatty acids, micro-flora support and defence against parasites and pathogens thanks to lauric acid and monolaurin. Studies have also shown the fatty acids in coconut help you to eat less, and this is believed to be the result of the way these fats are metabolized.
Bananas are high in potassium, vitamin B6, immune boosting vitamin C, and also contain nutrients that moderate blood sugar levels; helping you to avoid blood sugar plummets during periods of fasting. Bananas are also quite rich in fibre and resistant starch, which are loved by your gut microbes, keeping all those friendly bacteria happy, healthy and fed. Look after these guys and they will look after you! You can read more about the importance about gut health in my popular e-Book Heal Your Gut. By the way if you only have frozen bananas its ok to use them in this recipe. For tips on freezing bananas see here.
I use a few eggs in this recipe, which adds a good hit of protein to keep you fuller for longer. Honestly, I’m not sure I can find another ingredient that quite matches the nutritional generosity and convenience of the mighty egg. These guys are the perfect portion of fats, proteins and nutrients to aid in body building and all round nourishment. They’re an inexpensive, high quality source of protein, which is found mostly in the whites. Egg whites contain rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B12, B6 and minerals such as iron, zinc and copper. Egg yolks contain fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K and lecithin. If you buy high quality free range eggs that have come from hens who have pecked around happily in green pastures, they’ll also contain a nice dose of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, so be sure to know you’re eggs.
Aside from binding this bread nicely, eggs are intentionally part of the recipe to ensure you are gaining nutrient density and protein to keep you happy during a fast. But you’ll barely notice you’re fasting when ritually enjoying a slice of this luscious loaf, and with an open and conscious mind, every mouthful will bless your tastebuds.
Coconut banana bread
Makes 8 slices
119 calories per slice (498kJs)
- 3 ripe small bananas
- 3 medium eggs, lightly whisked
- 90 g (31/4oz/1/4 cup) rice malt (brown rice) syrup
- a few drops alcohol-free vanilla extract
- 30 g (1 oz/1/4cup) coconut flour
- 3/4teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1/2teaspoon salt
- fruit, to serve (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease a 21 x 9 cm (81/4x 31/2 in) loaf (bar) tin.
- Peel and mash the bananas in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, rice malt syrup and vanilla, then mix well. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt, then mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
- Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the bread comes out clean. Completely cool in the tin on a wire rack, then slice and serve with fruit (if using).