Sundried ambassador Anne Iarchy is a personal trainer and nutritionist. She shares with us her deliciously healthy sugar-free banana loaf recipe.
Truly sugar-free banana cake
A few weeks ago, I was working at the Woburn Tri for Life, and at the end of a very successful day, we had masses of bananas left. After eating a banana a day for a few days, the rest of the bananas I took home were a little too ripe to my taste (I do like them just yellow from green), so I decided to bake a banana loaf.
I have two recipes, one with sugar and butter, one with coconut oil and dates, but I really wanted one with no sugar at all. After all, ripe bananas are very sweet. I did some research on the internet, and I was really surprised to see how many recipes came up “pretending” they were sugar-free, but just swapping the sugar to honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup and other sweeteners.
Although honey is healthier than sugar (and that depends on the amount of processing of the honey), it has the same effect on blood sugar levels and insulin release than sugar.
Here is my truly sugar-free banana loaf recipe which still tastes amazing and is much healthier than any other you will find.
6-7 overripe bananas, previously frozen and defrosted
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups of gluten-free self raising flour (this is what I used but self-raising flour will work fine too)
2/3 cup of walnut pieces
Preheat oven at 190C (Gas Mark 5)
Lightly grease an 8x4" cake tin
In a bowl, mush the bananas, mix the eggs, vanilla and coconut oil, till properly mixed.
Slowly add the flour bit by bit and stir well.
Stir in the walnuts
Pour into the tin, decorate with some walnuts if you want to.
Put in the oven to bake for approx 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.
Cool before slicing.
The cake came out moist and it was definitely sweet enough.
A slice of the cake makes a lovely healthy snack.
It keeps well for 4-5 days covered in foil.
Welcome to the world of cold-pressing, a method of extraction and production which is sweeping the nation and fast becoming the most popular way of creating healthy food. Cold-pressing is not just limited to juices and oils; if you’re choosing high-end, top quality organic health foods, chances are they’re cold-pressed too.
The classic extraction method for standard juices and oils is called centrifugal, whereby blades are spun at extremely high speeds, which generates large amounts of heat and can destroy the enzymes in the foods which means you’re losing vital nutrients. This process also forces in air which starts the oxidization process and makes your product start to expire before the extraction process is even finished.
In comparison, cold-pressing stays at a much lower temperature, which retains the beneficial properties of the food. Cold-pressing means that the food product doesn’t compromise any of its taste or fibre which is always a plus. Common cold-pressed products include juices and oils, but now the health food market is swooping in and getting involved too. More and more companies are starting to use cold-pressing as a means of making their products, with many protein bars and similar products being made using this method. It is another way of making sure that a health food product is of the highest possible nutritional value and does not compromise any of its health benefits.
What is the process?
- The process begins with filtration, in which the product is passed through a series of air propulsion systems to remove any impurities.
- Next up is milling: the fruit, seeds, or nuts are ground into a paste using either granite millstones or more modern stainless steel presses, which are common in larger commercial operations.
- The next step is the cold pressing itself. The milled paste is stirred with a rotating screw, which helps the oil to separate from the solids and mold together. After this, pressure is applied to force the oil out. This is the important part of the process as this pressure can increase the temperature of the paste, and if it exceeds a certain temperature, the oil may lose some of its health benefits. Food products must stay below a certain temperature in order to be claimed as ‘cold-pressed’. For example, extra virgin olive oil must stay below 25 degrees.
- After this comes the filtering. The pressed oil goes through a series of filters that separate the peel and pulp of the fruit from the oil. The final part of this filtering process involves passing the oil through a mesh to ensure that all impurities are removed.
- Once the filtering process is finished, the oil is decanted. Any remaining sediment is separated from the oil by gravity and a 100% pure and natural oil that retains all its properties is obtained.
And that’s it! Cold-pressing does require the use of a lot of fruits, nuts, or seeds, but thankfully the unneeded parts do not go to waste, instead they are used for animal feed or fertiliser.
So next time you go to choose a healthy snack or juice, check if it is cold-pressed! Because if it is, then that means it will be better for you and provide you with better quality vitamins and minerals.