So I noticed something interesting during my informal survey of my friends’ food values the other day. Almost every person (my baseball friend was the exception) listed taste as one of their top food values.
This fit in nicely with an idea that we have come back to several times in my class. One of the great achievements of 21st century food science was to effectively eliminate nutrient deficiency diseases in the developed world. Think about it – not many people in the United States are worrying about getting scurvy while they’re doing their grocery shopping. Now that deficiency diseases are no longer a problem, we are free to make the majority of our food choices based on taste.
Manufacturers take advantage of this and compete with each other to make the most appetizing new products, and therefore the most profit. Consumers are left with a vast array of tasty options to choose from. Today, our food choices are largely hedonistic. However, with this explosion of tasty foods we are starting to see an increase in health problems related to overnutrition.
Sadly, there are many products out there that taste good but are unhealthy, as well as foods that are healthy but taste awful. Whenever I can, I like to reach a happy compromise and pick healthy foods that still satisfy my own hedonistic tastes. Food is something that I take a lot of pleasure in, and I strongly believe it is possible to enjoy it and still be healthy.
The banana bread recipe below is a de-veganized version of Katie Levans’ veganized version of Mark Bittman’s banana bread (whew!). The vegan recipe is awesome and I highly recommend making it.
This recipe is incredibly flexible. I usually keep extra canned pumpkin in my freezer and accidentally used frozen butternut squash soup instead of pumpkin once. Whoops. The bread still turned out great though, so it’s pretty hard to mess this one up.
The other day, I tested it out on a friend who claims to be good at detecting “healthy food”. He ate three muffins, and took a few more to go. I wouldn’t call this health food but it’s definitely a much healthier version of banana bread, and one that I think tastes delicious – a win/win in my book.
Whole Wheat Banana Bread
Adapted from SweetTater Blog
If you want to make muffins instead, bake for about 25 minutes.
Feel free to use different nuts, add dried fruit, or leave the nuts and chocolate out all together.
Yield: 1 loaf
Time: 1 hour (15 minutes prep, 45 minutes baking)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed
- 1 egg
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup oil (any kind, I usually use canola or coconut)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips/chopped chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, and flax).
- In a smaller bowl, beat egg. Add bananas and mash. Add in remaining wet ingredients (oil, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla) and mix.
- Add wet into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Fold in nuts and chocolate.
- Grease a loaf pan and pour batter in. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out mostly dry