RECIPE: Banana Bread The idea that most people will be affected by mental health issues at least once in their life has never seemed more prevalent. While it’s a conversation that still feels relatively new, awareness of mental ill health is growing, and in turn the condition is becoming less stigmatised. It’s a topic heavily debated on social media, which is awash with tips and advice, celebrity confessions and discussions on the subject. And while there are plenty of traditional treatment options available via your GP, including talking therapies, counselling and CBT, self-help methods such as breathing techniques, running and yoga are also widely used. But an age-old tradition can also be effective in helping manage symptoms of anxiety and depression: Baking. The smell of fresh baking brings back wonderful memories and banana bread is a firm favourite. It’s also the best way to use up bananas on the turn! This recipe is a little more dense due to the lack of wheat flour, but if you wanted to swap coconut flour for wheat flour, then please swap away! Serves 12-15 slices Prep Time = approximately 20 minutes Ingredients: 100g gluten-free flour 75g coconut flour ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp Himalayan crystal salt 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp ground ginger 25g flaxseeds – ground 30g hemp seeds 40g almonds – ground 2 tbsp maple syrup 2 tbsp olive oil – extra virgin 3 eggs, preferably free-range 5 bananas (3 VERY ripe bananas and 2 Yellow, harder for decoration) 4 tbsp coconut oil 1 tbsp nut butter 100g walnuts 5ml vanilla extract Method: 1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 1L capacity loaf tin with baking paper. 2. Cut the yellow harder banana into 12 slivers/rounds and line the bottom of the loaf tin, then cover the banana with the walnuts – ready to pour the mixture over so when you turn the bread out – it has baked slices of bananas for decoration. 3. Combine all the DRY ingredients together, the flours, baking powder, baking soda, flaxseeds, ground almonds, hemp seeds, spices and salt. Mix together. 4. In a separate bowl beat eggs, maple syrup, banana, oils and vanilla extract. 5. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients. If this mixture is too dry, then add a touch of milk (dairy or plant-based milk). 6. Pour into loaf tin and bake for approximately 30 minutes – should be spongy to touch when cooked. Allow to cool. 7. Slice and serve IDEA – you can spread a thin layer of Nut Butter when serving.