Utter the phrase, “We’re trying to eat healthfully,” and you’re bound to be hit by an onslaught of advice and opinions on what your new health-conscious diet must entail. Low carbs. High protein. Raw foods. No red meat. Seriously, health crazes can be harder to keep up with than fashion trends (slap bracelet, anyone?). But for all the hammer pants and belly shirts that come our way, there are plenty of timeless trends that make a lasting impact. And just like the fitted cardigan and a simple strand of pearls, some food trends are just plain classic.
Simple ingredients are classic. So is knowing where your food comes from. So is eating vegetables fresh from the ground or eggs straight from the chicken. Unfortunately, making those kinds of choices can be easier said than done. There aren’t any chickens running around our apartment complex, and our tiny flowerboxes on the back deck are a bit too cozy for a bunch of carrots to set up shop. Jared and I have read and watched so much food-related business in the past few years, and it really can be overwhelming trying to figure out what choices are the right choices. Are the organic ingredients worth the extra cost? If you can’t buy organic products from a local source, does organic trump local, or vice versa? How often is too often to eat meat (especially considering that soy-based alternative protein isn’t an option for my allergy-fied self)? Ooph. It makes my head hurt just thinking about it. But then again, if we don’t think about it, we’ll be pretty hungry folks. Ooph again.
To keep ourselves sane amidst all the confusion, Jared and I have reached an agreement that we’ll try to eat as healthfully, locally, ethically and non-pesticide-y as we can, but we’re not going to let ourselves turn into the food police. Cooking, baking and eating are supposed to be fun, and so much of that fun for us comes from the discovery of new ingredients, new recipes and new ideas. Sure, that means that sometimes we’ll make bad choices, but hopefully those are outweighed by the bunches of good ones we’re trying to make, too.
In keeping with the eating-healthy theme, Jared found this banana cake recipe on PlanEat.tv, the website for a nifty little film about the road to responsible eating in terms of health, environmental and future impact. Although we definitely don’t follow a vegan diet in our casa, it never hurts to expand your horizons, try out new things and decide what you can and can’t do without (at least on occasion). I can honestly say that I didn’t miss the butter, eggs or milk in this cake, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a great vegan recipe on hand in case we need to whip it out at a moment’s notice. It’s healthy food that tastes good, too. Wait, is that Kashi’s thing? Umm … yummy food that’s good for you. Erg. I’ll work on that.
• 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup raw sugar
• 1/3 cup canola oil
• 4 ripe bananas, mashed
• ¼ cup water
• 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside. In a large bowl, mix sugar and oil until combined, then add the bananas. Stir in the water and vanilla, and mix thoroughly. Add the flour mixture, and stir to mix.
Spread batter in a nonstick or lightly sprayed 9-inch square baking pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
What’s your stance when it comes to food buying, cooking and eating choices? Is it something you spend much time thinking about? How do you gauge what food qualities are most important to you? I’d love to hear it!