Monday, June 10, 2013

Almost Paleo but Definitely Gluten-Free Banana Bread Muffins

 Guys, I've seriously made a batch of these every week. They are SO GOOD. You won't even miss the gluten, or the white sugar, or anything, I promise. I actually think I like this better than traditional banana bread (using almond flour = slight nutty flavor and I LOVE it), and that is really saying something!

--I'm about to vent just a bit about diets and such, so if that's not your thing please skip over or just check out the recipe--even if you're not on a diet this banana bread is packed with flavor and a great recipe overall!--

So lately I've been trying to eat cleaner and pay better attention to what I'm eating. I am currently at my heaviest weight ever, and I gained most of it in a very short amount of time, which has been kind of freaking me out. I seem to care less about the weight gain and more about how I have a whole drawer of pants and entire summer wardrobe from last year that my butt refuses to fit into anymore... And since my dad's untimely death was probably greatly tied to unhealthy living and obesity, it was definitely a wake up call that I have to start doing something and paying better attention to my health. If nothing else, I am now in my mid-20s and probably will have to work a bit harder since my metabolism will inevitably start slowing. I'm currently trying to figure out a diet plan that works for me while also going to the gym for an hour five mornings a week. So far it's been almost a month with no results, and while it's frustrating I know it takes a long time to see any changes.

A foodie on a diet is a very complicated thing. So many factors to consider.

Here are the undeniable truths about my personal eating habits:
-I love food and want to somehow inject food into my career goals
-I will try any food once, no matter what (see: puffin from my Iceland trip)
-I do love veggies (SO excited for my farm share this summer!)
-I go in phases of loving a certain food or type of food and then over-do it and won't touch the thing for months (cold salad is currently on my do-not-want list after three weeks of mason jar salads for lunch)
-I have a never-satiated sweet tooth
-Booze on the weekends is a must, but I could probably restrict it to ONE weekend evening now that I'm no longer in college and suceptible to my Party Girl Ways, and the occasional glass of wine after a long day of work to unwind
-Dairy is delicious but too much makes my stomach turn
-Bread and pasta and other carby things are delicious too but they have a very similar affect to dairy

Many friends have sang the praises of the Paleo Diet, and my good friend and former science teacher actually is the founder of Stupid Easy Paleo and Healthy Happy Fit Life. While I don't think I could ever totally give up sweets and carbs, those last two list items up there do give me pause: dairy and wheat do not make my tummy happy. It just so happens that they are not present in a paleo diet, so I find myself looking more and more into paleo recipes when I want to ensure a clean day of eating that won't make me feel gross afterwards.

So far, the paleo fried rice is a win, as are these banana bread muffins. If a recipe tastes good and doesn't upset my stomach, it's a-okay in my book :) My current diet plan is to push wheat and dairy into "sometimes foods" and limit my sugar intake while exercising more and eating more veggies and lean proteins. Hopefully I'll see some improvement if I keep at this for a while.

 Bonus: I put the recipe into a calorie counter, and each muffin comes out at about 75 calories each. So if you're going the calorie counting route, they are a great snack! I have been bringing these to work to munch on when I need a sweet fix and they really hit the spot.

Almost-Paleo/Gluten-Free Banana Bread Muffins
(adapted only slightly from Peanut Butter Runner)

  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (or ground almonds)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tbs melted coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup spiced pecans
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dark is more "paleo friendly" but milk chocolate is more "Ashley friendly")

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line or grease cupcake wells (alternatively, a 9 x 5 loaf pan also works, but takes a little less time so watch it closely).

In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients, leaving out the pecans and chocolate chips. In a separate small bowl, mix together wet ingredients, including bananas. Slowly add wet ingredients to the dry mix together until just combined. Carefully fold in pecans and chocolate chips.

Pour batter into liners to 3/4 full and bake 50 minutes to an hour or until set in the center (springs back upon touch) and a toothpick comes out clean.


  1. These do look yummy. Maintaining/losing weight is not easy, but the hard work has great rewards - health, clothes that fit. ;) Good luck with finding an eating lifestyle that you enjoy that the makes your body feel good.

  2. Isn't weight gain just the worst? Ugh I don't even wanna talk about it.

    I do wanna talk about how amazing these muffins are! They look soooo yummy and decadent and yet they're healthy! hurray!

  3. These sound tasty! I'm in a constant struggle with my weight -- I eat SO well at work, but it's coming home and not wanting to cook that does me in! Oh, and the pretending I'm in college and drinking every night I have off... no way that's helping me either ;-) I like your idea of phasing out the wheat, dairy, and sugars. Leaves a lot more room for healthy foods.

  4. This is a nice recipe. We have been trying to cut down on sugar for a while now and have been pretty successful. I've been doing more with gluten-free too (though almond flour is SO expensive).

    1. Do you have a Trader Joes near you? I've been buying Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour and it's great but SO EXPENSIVE, $12 for a bag, ugh! However, I found Ground Almonds at Trader Joes for about $5, and it works just as well. It's a little darker in color, and the almond flavor is just a little more pronounced, but it's great for breading chicken or subbing for flour. Check it out if you have one near you :)

  5. Wow good luck with your new diet goals. These muffins are beautiful and I love anything that combines banana and chocolate.

  6. UGHHHH weight gain. It always seems so easy to put on but impossible to get off. And it's just hard..for everyone. I love your approach though...eliminate the things that make you feel crappy while allowing yourself to splurge occasionally on the things you love. You can SO do this!

  7. Oh the joys of weigh gaining!! Ugh!! Trying to eat healthy is so hard for me, too. I like the junk :) Who doesn't??!!

  8. What a great idea! I have a friend who can only eat gluten free desserts, so this is just perfect. Ah... and not only for her. It looks so delicious, I'm sure everybody will enjoy it!

  9. Isn't it always more about the pants not fitting? If the pants aren't comfortable, life just isn't fun. I've been trying to cut back and eat cleaner, so thank you for this recipe!

  10. These look awesome! And dark chocolate is more THIS Ashley friendly ;)

  11. yuuum-I"m pretty picky about muffins and these definitely look like ones I'd like to start my day with!

  12. One of my friends is a CrossFit addict and follows (not strictly) a Paleo/clean eating diet. She says she feels great! Good luck!

  13. good luck with the clean eating! these muffins are a great way to get started :)

  14. Ahh, they look so dark and handsome. I can imagine how delicious they are, especially after looking at the ingredients list as well!

  15. Hmmm these muffins do look tasty indeed! Love the first shot! By the way, I keep forgetting to mention that I love how your new site looks! Header image especially looks awesome!

    1. Thanks! I want to save up to get a proper layout--this one is just me playing with blogger settings and making myself a header image--but they are SO expensive! I wish I made any ad revenue, it'd all just go back to making this blog bigger and better!

  16. Some great foodie goals there... not sure about the puffin though. I would like to pat one though! I am not a big fan of banana but I love the idea of these. I will pretty much eat anything in cake though so I'm not saying I wouldn't go there!

  17. These look awesome! Will defenitely give them a try. Have you had your thyroid checked? That might be why your having such trouble losing weight. Just a thought. Anyway, good luck with everything!

  18. Hey, just curious what size muffins you made, ie what measure was the scoop you used to make them? I made mine with a quarter cup batter per muffin and, unless my math is waaaayyyy off (which it could be), i got 255 cal per muffin. Just wondering where I went wrong. Thanks!!

    1. I just kind of eyeballed it, but I think it was around a quarter to a third of a cup? I'm definitely no expert and I am not sure if the counter I used is trustworthy so take with a grain of salt for sure... Sorry if I'm the one whose math is off, it's likely!

  19. These muffins look wonderful and I love that they are so close to paleo :-)