I recently read a post on Instagram about children being teased in the playground because of their lunch and their restricted eating choices due to an illness, allergy or intolerance. The author wrote with a fiery passion about her desire to live in a world where restricted diets are not seen as weird and gross, but simply as someone’s way of life. She spoke of the need to break down barriers, to invite people to share food, and to offer up a slice of cake without describing what the cake is “free” of, or needing to talk about how it is different.
It got me thinking about the curious case of the word “free” in describing our food and eating habits. At some point in our recent history, the word free has been plucked from the dictionary and dropped into every recipe, streetside cafe menu, cookbook and canteen to describe a world of restrictions. Typically, the word free describes something or someone that is no longer confined, imprisoned, or lacking control. But when it comes to food, it signifies the complete opposite.
We now live in a world where the words “gluten free” and others like them are something to be feared. We keep our distance from them because they tell us that we are not allowed to have something, that we are deprived of the good stuff and controlled by our weaknesses. They tell us that people are different – and that is scary.
But what if we lived in a world where the words “gluten free” and others like them stood for something to be celebrated. What if they signified that we can actually be free of our weaknesses or the things that control us, that the food we eat can be delicious and healthy at the same time, and that we can achieve pleasure and satisfaction from our food without deprivation.
It is my hope that this vision is not too far away. I would love to be able to offer someone a slice of cake without having to enter a lengthy tirade about what it is free of, but I do still think it’s fair that people know what they are eating! So in the meantime, my goal is to create recipes that are tasty and filling, delicious and indulgent, and free of deprivation. I hope to show you that “free” foods are a good thing – whether you choose them or they choose you! So here is the first of my recipes for a happy and healthy life – the best Paleo Banana Granola you will ever taste!
Paleo Banana GranolaPrint This
- 2 cups cashews
- 2 cups almonds
- 2 cups walnuts
- 2 cups banana chips
- 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 3/4 sunflower seeds
- 2/3 cup flaked coconut
- 1/3 cup flax meal
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 2/3 cup sultanas
1. Preheat oven to 180 C (fan-forced). Prepare two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Set aside a large mixing bowl. Place cashews in the large bowl of a food processor. Process until nuts are halved in size or slightly smaller. Pour into prepared mixing bowl. Repeat step with almonds and then with walnuts. Be sure to do each lot of nuts separately as they have a different consistency and will take different amounts of times to process resulting in inconsistent sizes.
3. Place pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in bowl of processor and process for 10 seconds or until seeds are slightly smaller. Add to mixing bowl.
4. Add banana chips, flaked coconut, flax meal and chia seeds to the bowl and mix. Add maple syrup and coconut oil and mix until dry ingredients are well covered.
5. Spread the mix evenly over baking trays and place in oven. After approximately 6 minutes, turn the mixture on both trays using a wooden spoon to ensure mixture does not burn around the edges of the trays. Cook for another 6 minutes until mixture becomes slightly darker, then remove from oven and cool.
6. Add sultanas to the mixture once cool.
7. Store in an airtight container. Granola will fill a 3L container.
8. Serve 1/2 – 3/4 cup with your choice of milk and fruit.
This recipe can be adapted for a Ketogenic Diet. Simply replace the maple syrup with 2 tbs of extra coconut oil and leave out the sultanas. Enjoy!