Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Plant Based Banana Cornbread

This is day 7 of my plant based way of eating.  I attended a seminar on Preparing Healthy Plant Based Meals given by Sally Lipsky, Ph.D. at the Monroeville Public Library on Tuesday, September 29, 2015. Her experience with plant based eating has been inspiring.  She has credited it together with yoga and exercise for her being on remission from stage IV ovarian cancer for seven years.  The recurrence on average is about 50 % or higher in five years for this type of cancer.

I have survived one week and still going for it.  You will read recipes adapted for the plant based approach of eating in the future.  I made this cornbread to suit the limitations imposed by the plant based approach namely:
  • no dairy
  • no oil
  • no meat
  • no fish
I adopted this plant based approach to eating the day after I attended the seminar.  It was not easy for me since I have arthritis and I have found that this condition might be triggered by certain purine base containing food like beans, peanut butter and mushrooms which are moderate purine containing category. Unfortunately, these three foods are some of the sources of protein in the plant based diet.  I still ate them but on day 5, I had redness and soreness around the joint on my left middle finger.  That day I ate peanut butter and hummus.   I found out from the past experience that it is advisable to stagger the eating of these no no foods and not have them at the same day or too close in days of their consumption.  I do need to plan my meals better to avoid this.

I have been depending on tofu for my protein source on other days during this past week.  I had it even for breakfast and for lunch and dinner with rice or on a toasty french loaf.  Being a worry wart and a cancer survivor myself, I am also wary of too much soy in my diet.  Thus I have been researching on the protein content of food that are friendly to my arthritis.  (Note every person is different in their reaction to certain foods).  I am particularly interested in complete protein sources and I found the very popular quinoa is one of them.  The other approach is to combine food that complement each other to result in giving the complete protein one needs namely giving all the amino acids that our body does not produce.

This cornbread has whole wheat flour which I found to be high in protein.  I added fruits like banana, apples and raisins to the original recipe to not only add bulk but more protein.  The first time I made this I followed the original recipe found in the Happy Herbivore website but it was a little bit dry possibly because I did not use the whole wheat pastry flour suggested.  It had good taste though since I added the optional raw sugar (I used coconut sugar).  But the picky taster, my husband Bob, gave it a thumbs down.  So I have to work on tweaking the original recipe.

I decided to still use whole wheat flour in this tweaked recipe since I do not want too many types of flour in my overcrowded cupboard.  I added banana to increase the moistness plus I added vinegar for the same purpose.  The latter can be used to substitute for eggs for baked goods.  I did not add the raw sugar or coconut sugar and decided on adding apples and raisins to increase the flavor and sweetness in addition to what the banana conveyed.  The result is a delicious moist cornbread.  It could stand more sweetness by the addition of the raw sugar or coconut sugar but I prefer my cornbread to be not too sweet but if you have a sweet tooth go ahead and go for it.  By the way the picky taster gave it a thumbs up and just mentioned he has to get used to the cornmeal taste.  Anyway he ate it last night and this morning.

The food pyramid of plant based eating has complex carbohydrates as its foundation.  Their recommendation is a diet consisting of 80 percent complex carbohydrates, 10 percent protein and 10 percent fat.  In a way I considered this approach appealing and compensates for the meat and fish I am missing,  These past two months, I have been on a  "counting your calories" diet and I have been limiting my carbohydrates even the complex ones. With this plant based diet I am having a feast of complex,( note, complex versus simple), carbs.  So far this past week I lost 2.5 lbs and feel really good in terms of having energy and sleeping well at night.

This corn bread has been adapted from the Happy Herbivore.  Lindsay has developed cookbooks and meal plans based on the plant based approach.  Check out her website for more information and other resources on this approach to healthy eating.

Plant Based Banana Cornbread

(Adapted from Happy Herbivore)          
6 servings 


  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 apple, cored, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix the cornmeal, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.   Add to these dry ingredients, the milk, applesauce, agave nectar, banana and vinegar and stir with a spatula until thoroughly combined.  Add the cubed apples  and  raisins to the mixture.  

Place the batter in a nonstick loaf pan or small shallow baking dish.  Bake for around 20 minutes.  Insert a toothpick into the center to check if it comes out clean. This would indicate it is done.   

Nutritional facts 


  1. Wow -- so good to hear about your progress on a whole, plant-based diet! Keep in mind that the optimum diet consists of approx. 80% from complex carbohydrates (whole grains, legumes, starchy veggies), 10% from protein, and 10% from fat. Protein is overused in our diets; I suggest not worrying about protein sources since grains/legumes/veggies all have protein. And, the notion of 'complete' proteins and the need to combine certain foods has generally been debunked. PCRM has some great free resources that you might want to look at:;;; and others at

    1. Thanks Sally for the information you provided.