Banana Bran Muffins (sugar free!)

I have a whole bag of wheat bran to use following last weekend’s bread baking adventure and am putting it to good use.

The thing about baking is, it typically involves bunch of ingredients I don’t often have on hand and don’t particularly want to eat like butter, sugar and milk.

Health-ifying recipes for your needs is easy enough when you’re fearless in the kitchen and know the right substitutions.

bananaAlmond milk for regular milk.

Flax seed for eggs.

Oil and mashed banana/apple sauce for butter.

Stevia for sugar.

The outcome is low calorie, satisfying and delicious.

banana bran muffins

Banana Bran Muffins (sugar free!)

makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbs liquid egg whites
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp white stevia powder (Nunaturals brand – I have no idea about the taste of other brands)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix the flour, wheat bran, flax seed, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl until combined.
  • In a smaller bowl, mash the bananas.
  • Combine the milk, egg whites, vanilla, oil and bananas with the dry ingredients and stir until the batter comes together. It should be clumpy and thick.
  • Spoon the batter into your muffin tins all the way to the top – these won’t rise much.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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Happier, whole living

Let’s get real.

For the past couple of weeks I haven’t felt like myself. I spoke a little bit about how I felt I had been eating too much sugar. Certainly drinking too much alcohol. And just overall giving in to my indulgences too freely.

In the moment, I get to indulge in simple pleasures. The next day (and for many days after) my emotions are all over the place, I regret the decisions I make, etc. It finally all culminated in all-out emotional crash this weekend. My friends can attest, it wasn’t pretty.

Once again, Gretchen Rubin’s advice on happiness comes to the rescue.

One thing I love about her is that she really explores why things that seemingly should make us happy (i.e. pleasurable indulgences) don’t actually result in happiness.

One of my favorite pieces of advice she gives is in the moderator/abstainer personality quiz where I learned that I, most definitely, am an abstainer.

You’re a moderator if you…
– find that occasional indulgence heightens your pleasure – and strengthens your resolve
– get panicky at the thought of “never” getting or doing something

You’re an abstainer if you…
– have trouble stopping something once you’ve started
– aren’t tempted by things that you’ve decided are off-limits

As Gretchen  says in the post, people are very judgmental of abstainers.

This is one of the difficulties I faced when I first decided to change my life, but I live best when I’m completely dedicated. All in. Don’t take a break.

Listen, you can’t always be perfect, but for me, taking an all-or-nothing approach results in consistency. I don’t believe in  cheat days, or days off.

As I mostly kept to myself this weekend, I had a lot of time to catch up on blog reading and stumbled upon the Whole9 website, creators of the Whole30 program.

Basically, it’s an all-or-nothing 30 day approach to the paleo diet.

For 30 days, you eat vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, nuts and seeds, and fats like avocado, coconut and olive oil.

You don’t eat grains, legumes, dairy, white potatoes, alcohol, and a bunch of other junk.

Also, I won’t be counting calories.

When I first tried paleo eating, I took and 80/20 approach, which pretty much resulted in me eating a lot of eggs and meat and also a lot of froyo. The wiggle room killed me.

I also like that it’s about confronting the food addictions you have. The program is very clear that you should NOT try to make paleo versions of your favorite foods. It’s about learning to eat a different, cleaner way. Usually I’m not about doing things that aren’t sustainable, but this seems like it could really be an interesting learning experience for me and my body.

The Whole30 program is not about moderation. It’s about doing it. All out. The way I know how to do it.

I didn’t lose 80 (ehhh, ish) pounds by kind of living a different life. I changed everything about it. What I did, what I read, what I talked about, how I ate, how I went grocery shopping. I changed my definition of fun, my definition of healthy, my definition of relaxing. I changed how I hung out with my friends, how I spent my free time and most importantly, I changed how I thought about myself.

You either do it or you don’t. And it’s time to do it.

Breakfast, Whole30 style:

  • 1 egg + 1/3 cup egg whites scrambled with coconut oil
  • Green monster smoothie with 1 cup frozen spinach, 1 frozen banana, 1/2 an avocado, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 2 tsp coconut oil, enough water to blend
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

 

Pinterest for the soul

In honor of the giant cup of froyo I devoured last night (cake batter, peanut butter and chocolate covered strawberry topped with peanut butter chips, mini m&ms and chocolate chips) I give you this:

Source: taraburner.com via Jodi on Pinterest

 

And this:

 

Also, here’s to starting the day right, after a fabulous sugar-induced sleep:

Two-egg omelette stuffed with cheese and a sliced banana sprinkled with cinnamon

Happy Friday!

Banana Oat Pancakes

Morning!

I want to share with you one of my favorite recipes. It’s a quick and easy pancake recipe that makes everyday feel like the weekend. It’s HIGHLY customizable, requires few ingredients and comes together with little mess.

Banana Oat Pancakes 

Ingredients:

Makes three small pancakes for one.

1/3 cup Old Fashioned Oats (I use Quaker)

1/3 cup liquid egg whites

1 banana mashed

1 tsp chia seeds (I get mine from the bulk bin at Whole Foods)

Cinnamon to taste, maybe 1-2 tsp, but I really like cinnamon, so I usually end up just dumping a bunch in

Topping:

1 tbsp maple syrup (I use Trader Joe’s 100% pure Maple Syrup)

Sometimes I also top mine with some fat free Chobani or Fage Greek Yogurt, but wasn’t in the mood today.

Instructions:

Mash banana with a fork in a small bowl until completely broken up. Add in oats, egg whites, chia seeds and cinnamon. Mix well. At this point turn stove on to medium-low. My stove is really old, however, and it’s hard to judge exactly how high/low the heat is, so this is where you will have to use your judgement. I let my “batter” sit for a couple of minutes so the chia seeds gel and then pour onto pan in three small circles. Cook for three minutes, flip, cook for another three minutes. Do not overcook.

These pancakes will be perfectly browned on the outside, and gooey and sweet on the inside.

When topped with 1 tbsp of maple syrup, one serving is about 307 calories, 3 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber.

Have a great day!