Gluten-free banana bread

Well, I finally crossed over to the other side. I’m now one of the gluten-free. At least mostly. Because I’m not giving up the occasional fried chicken dinner. Or sausage. Not if I don’t have to. Which, so far, I don’t think I do.

This actually started as an experiment. I had a weekend with nothing to do. And my fingers were swollen and achy, as they had been off and on for a while. So I decided to go gluten-free for the weekend, just to see what it was like, how I felt, what new food I could cook. It was a lark. But then, at the end of the weekend, my fingers weren’t swollen anymore. Downward dog and dolphin didn’t make my forearms ache. All because of a weekend without gluten. Who knew?!

Truly, I was stunned by the difference in my hands. But that alone probably wouldn’t have been enough for me to really commit. After all, I had just bought a loaf of delicious Tuscan bread, one of my staples, something I love. Toast is a huge part of my life. But it just so happened that I had an appointment with my internist the following Monday. When I mentioned all of this to her, she said that people with thyroid issues (yup, I’m one of those, too) should not eat gluten because gluten has been linked to autoimmune disease. ( And that, combined with how much better my hands felt, was enough for me to commit.

All of this happened in the first week of May. That’s part of why it’s been so long since my last post. I’ve actually been cooking more than ever, including lots of beans. But (a) work has been really busy, and (b) I haven’t made any new bean dishes. Instead, I’ve been focused on trying to figure out how to be gluten-free. Which means I’ve been reading a lot of cookbooks. Including Clean Eats, by Alejandro Junger, M.D. (

There’s much about this cookbook to dislike. It’s preachy and cultish and embodies everything I find irritating about the new wave of clean eating. But the recipes are incredible. Really, really good. Like the one for this banana bread, which I’ve made twice. Here’s the recipe, which follows the original except I substituted either maple syrup or honey for coconut nectar. Both turned out just fine.banana bread

2 T coconut oil
4 medium-large over-ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
1 cup gluten-free flour (I used a mix of millet flour, potato starch, and sweet rice flour, but check out Glutenfreegirl’s article about how to make your own blend
1 cup almond meal/flour (from bulk section at Whole Foods)
1 t sea salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t ground cardamon
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I like the large ones)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a large loaf pan with the coconut oil. (You could also use two small loaf pans or make muffins.)

Use a fork to combine the bananas, eggs, and sweetener.  Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in another bowl, then add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Add the coconut and walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a knife comes out clean. Cool on a rack for about ten minutes, then turn the bread out, slice, and enjoy. Yum!