Joy’s Recipe Revamp: Banana Bread

I went up north this weekend to visit my parents. As usual, and to my joyous delight, my mom had been baking. Most of the inspiration for my own baking and cooking has come from her, but over the years she’s been adopting some of the healthy changes I’ve taught her as a holistic nutritionist. Lucky for me, she’s always open to modifying her recipes because that means I get to share them with you!

When she gave me this recipe (which was torn out of magazine), she had crossed out and written in all her substitutions to create this moist, delicious, healthy loaf. Interestingly, the original recipe came from a health magazine, but — as you will see — the original recipe was not nutritionist approved.

Here are the substitutions she made:

  • Organic coconut oil instead of canola oil. I don’t recommend canola oil at all. It’s an extremely processed, modified and, if not certified organic, highly sprayed in chemicals. If you want more information, nutrition expert Sally Fallon, has written about this topic extensively.
  • Whole wheat flour instead of white flour. White flour is a nutrient dead food. It has been stripped of its fibre, vitamins, minerals, essential fats and antioxidants. Stone ground whole wheat flour is a wholesome food loaded with the entire complex of B vitamins, good fat and minerals, especially iron. It’s not surprising low iron is the most common nutritional deficiency when you consider how much processed food people eat.
  • Almond milk instead of cow dairy. Cow’s milk is one of the most common allergens, that’s worth taking a break from or eliminating from your diet altogether. Worried about the calcium? There are many other ways to source calcium (remember, it’s only one of many important nutrients for bone health). Add pasteurization and homogenization to the mix and you’re left with a very indigestible food.
  • Local maple syrup instead of agave. I’m not a big fan of agave. You may have noticed I’ve shared recipes in the past with agave, but it’s certainly not a staple in my kitchen and I use it very rarely. This article explains why agave is not a healthy substitute to sugar.
  • Cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips. Cacao nibs are extremely high in antioxidants — they’re three times higher than green tea and two times higher than red wine.
  • Lastly, instead of lining the loaf pan with aluminum foil, parchment paper was used.


This recipe is egg and dairy free, moist and delicious, making it a favourable choice for those with food allergies and sensitivities. How to enjoy: Slice a piece and slather with some almond butter and raw honey on it at breakfast or as a mid-afternoon wholesome snack.


1 cup spelt flour*
2 cups whole wheat flour*
2 tbsp baking powder (aluminum-free can be found at most health food stores)
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or pumpkin puree)
1/3 cup maple syrup (or liquid stevia, read package instructions for the correct measurement)
1/4 cup goji berries (rehydrate in water for 5-10 minutes, drain from water before putting into recipe)
3 tbsp organic coconut oil**
2 tsp orange zest (make sure you use organic)
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon

*Buy stone-ground if you can — it’s more nutritionally dense and tastier.
**If your coconut oil is solid, melt it on the stove top over medium heat.


Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine flours and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir well. In a separate bowl combine the almond milk, vanilla extract, banana, applesauce, maple syrup, goji berries and coconut oil, stirring well. Combine both the wet and dry mixture, stir well. Pour batter into a 8″ x 14″ baking dish or line a muffin tin. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, orange zest and cinnamon, sprinkle over top of the loaf or muffins.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool and enjoy.

Please note: All of these recipes are created in my joyous kitchen with the healthiest ingredients. I’m not a calorie counter or a professional chef — I’m a nutritionist who loves to cook and bake, and I’m delighted to share my creations with you.

Feedback Here:

It looks like a great recipe and I will certainly try it, however,
you mentioned PUMPKIN PUREE which is not mentioned in
the ingredients. I would assume it is also 1/2 cup as per the
I am surprised that it was not mentioned in the previous comment.
This is excellent Joy. I am working on making my great grandmother’s old southern family banana bread recipe healthier. Last attempt was a little dry. I will give this a try!