Chocolate Chip Banana Bread or Muffins (gluten-free and vegan)

This banana bread recipe is amazing. I guarantee you can’t tell it’s gluten-free and vegan. It even uses coconut palm sugar, a less processed, complex sweetener.

I was a baker in a gluten-free health shoppe so I know how difficult it can be to make great-tasting and healthy baked goods. Sure, you can find some tasty gluten-free goodies, but most of them are very unhealthy with lots of sugar, low fiber, and very processed. I don’t like to use junky ingredients! That’s why I love this recipe. It’s one of my family’s favorites.

Amazing Gluten-Free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I like to make muffins with this recipe. The baking time for muffins is less than the loaves. I freeze any muffins that aren’t eaten the first day or two. I just pull them out as I need them for a quick breakfast or snack. My kids actually like to eat them frozen and cut up in a bowl!  

Muffins bake faster and kids love them!

This may look like a lot of ingredients but is actually an easy, quick recipe. It can be easily halved.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (or muffins)

Makes 2 loaves or 24 muffins.

Dry Ingredients
-2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour (you can try another gf all purpose flour but I think Bob’s has healthier ingredients)
-1 teaspoon xanthan gum (may not need to add if already in your flour blend so check label)
Note: xanthan gum can be expensive so if you don’t have any at home, try the recipe without it. I think the flax meal might bind the dough enough to work well.

-1 cup palm sugar (sometimes called coconut sugar)
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-2 teaspoons ground flax meal
-1 teaspoon EnerG Egg Replacer powder (you might be able to leave this out but I haven’t tried it)
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1 teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients
-2 large very ripe bananas–mashed to make about 1 cup
-3/4 cup grapeseed oil (or other light vegetable oil)
-1 cup unsweetened plant milk of choice (almond, coconut, soy, etc.)
-1-1/2 teaspoons vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
-1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

-3/4 cup gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chips–plus a small handful more to sprinkle on top 
(I like Enjoy Life brand or Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips. Note that not all Ghirardelli chips are dairy-free so check labels.)
-You could substitute chopped nuts for the chocolate chips.

Directions:

– Preheat oven to 350°.
– Grease 2 loaf pans OR fill muffin tins with 24 liners.
– Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir well to combine.
– In a medium bowl, mash bananas with the back of a fork. Add all wet ingredients to bananas and whisk well.
– Pour wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in 3/4 cup chocolate chips.
– Pour evenly into loaf pans OR fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
– Sprinkle top with additional chocolate chips.

Baking time for loaves: approximately 45 minutes (or when inserted toothpick comes out clean)
Baking time for muffins: approximately 20 minutes (or when inserted toothpick come out clean)


I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Jill

“Quit worrying about your health. It’ll go away.” -Robert Orben

Advertisements

5 Simple Things You Can Do TODAY to Improve Your Health

1.  Drink Lemon Water. Start the day with warm water and lemon juice (from ¼ lemon). Even though it is acidic, once digested, lemon juice has an alkalinizing effect on the body and blood. Acidic blood is vulnerable to disease; alkaline blood allows the body to heal. Lemon water can relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, bloating, gas, and cramping. Drinking lemon water regularly can aid in cleansing the bowels and stimulate the elimination of toxins and waste products in your liver, helping to purify your digestive system. Add lemon juice to room temperature or warm water rather than very cold water, which can shock your stomach when you drink it.

2.  Fast for 12 Hours a Day. At first glance, this might sound really difficult, but simply means not eating from a few hours before bedtime until breakfast. So, for example, not eating from 8:00 pm until 8:00 am. That doesn’t sound too hard. Giving your body a break for those 12 hours can help you live longer. Twelve-hour fasts can lower blood pressure and heart rate, and increase both HDL “good cholesterol” and beta-hyroxyburyrate, a brain-protective chemical. Twelve-hour fasts give the brain a chance to fight the chemical byproducts of stress and also trim down the figure by decreasing bloat and swelling.

3.  Chew Well and Eat Slowly. As Marilu Henner says, “your stomach doesn’t have teeth!” Chewing is one secret to a long, healthy life. Digestion actually starts in the mouth, especially for carbohydrates. When you chew, you incorporate alkaline saliva. Thorough chewing can help with weight loss, improve your health, and allow your body to get more nutrition from your food. The goal is to chew your foods so thoroughly that you can no longer identify what the food is, based on its texture. Eating slowly gives your brain a chance to realize you are full so you will actually eat less. You should even chew soft food like yogurt. At least one meal per day, sit down, slow down, and chew. Take the time to savor the colors, flavors, and textures of food and enjoy the health benefits of chewing.

4.  Sleep. Your body heals itself while you sleep. Your body produces extra protein molecules while you’re sleeping that helps fight infection and mend your body at a cellular level. Sleep helps reduce the levels of stress and inflammation in your body and can help keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. Sleep helps regulate the hormones that control your appetite. When your body is deprived of sleep, normal hormone balances are interrupted and your appetite increases. For adults, 7-8 hours is ideal. Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule and create a bedroom environment that promotes relaxation. TV, computers and cell phones can be too stimulating close to bedtime. Every hour of sleep before midnight is worth twice the health benefits as the hours after midnight.

 5.  Walk. The benefits to this simple exercise are endless. Walking can help you lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, raise HDL “good” cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduce risk of or manage type 2 diabetes, manage weight, improve your mood, and stay strong and fit. Regular, brisk walking can reduce the risk of heart attack by the same amount as more vigorous exercise. It helps protect the brain by increasing blood circulation and the flow of oxygen and glucose to your brain. Walking boosts cardiovascular fitness and can increase longevity.  All it takes to reap these benefits is a routine of brisk walking—aim for 30 minutes a day.  

And the best part is that these 5 simple steps that can positively affect your health are FREE (with the exception of a few lemons.) So why not try one of these steps for a week? And maybe add another each week? Before you know it, you will have some very healthy habits.

 Here’s an easy, tasty recipes for you to practice your chewing skills!

 Marinated Black-Eyed Pea Salad

-2  15-ounce cans black-eyed peas (make sure no chemical preservatives–organic is best)
-2 carrots, diced small
-1/2 – 1 cup red onion, finely diced
-1 clove garlic, peeled
-Optional: 1 cup greens, like kale or collard greens (leaves chopped/stems sliced very thin)
-1/4 cup pure maple syrup (organic grade B is my favorite)
-1/2 cup vinegar (like red wine, brown rice, umeboshi, apple cider)
-2 teaspoon natural vegetable oil
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (or to taste)

    Rinse and drain black-eyed peas. Place in a medium bowl along with carrot, red onion, and greens. Cut the garlic clove in half, stick a wooden toothpick through and add to the bowl.
    In a small bowl, add maple syrup, vinegar, oil, sea salt, and hot sauce and whisk dressing until well-combined. Add dressing to bowl of vegetables and toss lightly to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours, stirring every few hours. Remove the toothpick and garlic before serving. Enjoy!

 I hope you have a healthy day!

 Jill

 “Having good health is very different from only being not sick.” – Seneca The Younger, 50 AD

Welcome and Chocolate Treat Recipe!

I’m so excited to have my own blog to share healthy ideas. I truly believe the healthier we are, the happier we are.

I started my health journey 12 years ago. I was overweight after having my second child and couldn’t seem to lose the weight. I saw Marilu Henner on a talk show discussing her book, “Total Health Makeover.” I thought I’d check it out. Well, I read the book over the weekend and immediately started throwing food out of my house. I eliminated meat, dairy, processed sugar, and junk from my diet. The changes were immediate and amazing–weight loss, better skin, better digestion, more energy, healthier outlook on life.

I’ve never looked back. Once I learned how food affects the body, I couldn’t go back to how I was eating before. I’ve gone on to study nutrition and macrobiotics and incorporate what I’ve learned into my family’s diet and lifestyle–which can be quite a challenge. 10 years ago, I started teaching healthy cooking classes. I also coach on-line health classes on Marilu Henner’s web site and do private health consultations.  My passion is to share all I’ve learned about natural, healthy living with anyone who is interested.

I continue to be an eager student of natural health and hope to continue sharing. This blog is just the next way for me to share with others. I hope you enjoy the information here.

Here’s an easy, super-healthy treat I’ve been enjoying lately:

Chocolate Coconut Treats (raw, no added sugar, healthy!)

– 1 cup walnuts (quickly rinsed to clean)
– 1 cup pitted dates (the fresher the better)
– 1/4 cup cocoa powder
– 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (1/4 tsp. of almond extract is nice to add)
– 1/4 cup unsweetened, unsulphured coconut flakes
– Few pinches sea salt
– up to 10 drops of stevia (to make it sweeter)

Grind walnuts in a food processor (with an S blade). Add dates, cocoa, vanilla/almond extract, coconut, sea salt, and stevia. Mix until finely ground. Place 1 tablespoon in your hand and roll into a ball. Place balls on a cookie sheet and freeze to set. They taste great right out of the food processor, too! I like to eat them frozen–they taste more like a truffle.

I hope you have a healthy day!

Jill

“Having good health is very different from only being not sick.” – Seneca The Younger, 50 AD