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I’m not sure why I keep thinking that suddenly, because it’s August, we’ll have a break from the heat here in DC. We’re having anything but that: just a weekend of steamy temperatures and heavy humidity. On Friday, when I got back from Blogher 12 (thanks for the comments on my recap!!) I really wanted to make some kind of bread to take to class on weekday mornings. I’m getting weary of my superfood overnight oats, delicious though they are, and wanted to switch things up. Since I had a bunch of overripe bananas, banana bread was the obvious choice, but the thought of turning on my oven was, well, less than appetizing. As it turns out, the nice thing about living in a basement apartment is that it traps cool air. The not-so-nice thing is that it also traps hot air.

So that’s when I though back to the raw banana bread I mad from Amber’s cookbook (which I reviewed here). I decided to put a simple spin on that, but to add oats. This makes the bread not technically raw for those of you who are purists (unless you use raw oat groats, you’re not working with raw oats: even if you haven’t cooked them, they’ve likely been flash cooked) but it’s still delicious. And it’s still heat-free, which is my personal priority at the moment!

The base of this bread is a mixture of oats, almonds, and flax meal. I find that this gives it a good texture: a little pliable, a little firm, thick enough to dehydrate without ending up with a thin cracker, rather than bread. It’s also sweetened only by the banana (no added sugar in my version, though a little extra date paste, agave, or stevia would be just fine), and it keeps nicely (at least a full week) in the fridge. It has already made for one good snack, and I’m certain that it’ll be a nice addition to my portable, student breakfasts!!

raw banana oat bread

Heat Free Banana Oat Bread (high raw or raw, vegan, gluten free if you use GF oats/flour, soy free)

Makes 8 slices

1/2 cup almonds
2/3 cup oat flour (or 3/4 cup oats or raw oat groats, ground finely in a food processor)
1/4 cup flax meal
Pinch salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 large, ripe bananas

1. Mix together almonds, oat flour, and flax in a food processor till finely ground. Pulse in salt and cinnamon.

2. Add bananas to the mixture and process until it’s smooth and uniform. Add as much water as you need to get it to be the texture that is a bit thick and sticky, but totally pliable and easy to spread.

3. Spread onto 1 Teflex lined dehydrator sheet, and dehydrate at 115 for 6-8 hours. Flip the dough and dehydrate for another six hours. This bread is particularly good when served with almond butter and banana slices.

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Hope you enjoy this! Please note that I don’t have a cooked version: I tried one, but it didn’t turn out, and since I didn’t have time to make another, I only want to give you the version that I know actually works. If one of you figures out a cooked spin, let me know!

It’s been quite literally a jam packed weekend, between Blogher, school work, and blog work. I did, though, have a chance to attend Anne’s wedding shower, which was so lovely! The spread, below, was brimming with love and thoughtfulness from Anne’s friends to her. I’ve loved helping her to celebrate this special, upcoming event in her life.

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Final topic: this morning, JL mentioned a study on her blog that seems, at least on first inspection, distressing. The Journal of the American Academy of of Nutrition and Dietetics recently published a study with unfortunate implications about the relationship between EDs and vegetarianism. A study of 160 women, 93 with an ED or ED history, 67 without, indicated that significantly more of the women with ED histories or current EDs were likely to be or have been vegetarian. Among them, a significant majority said that they had become vegetarian to lose weight (rather than health or ethics), as opposed to vegetarians in the control group, many of whom did not report to weight loss motives. 68% of the ED group linked vegetarianism to their disorder.

When I first heard this, I can’t say I was surprised. Of course a lot of women with EDs use vegetarianism as a means of restricting food; here in this community, we know that (and we frequently talk about it, with nuance and honesty). What I hoped was that the study perhaps would show that a large number recovered women stuck with vegetarianism (finding in it values and philosophy that actually enabled recovery). Unfortunately, the study showed that 33% of still disordered women were vegetarian, whereas only 13% had remained vegetarian (the implication being that, once women were no longer obsessed with weight, they no longer had any need to be vegetarian).

It’s certainly not heartening news, and I fear that it will strengthen the treatment community’s bias against vegetarian and vegan diets. That said, I don’t think it undermines the green recovery message. As I said, it’s no surprise that women with EDs use vegetarianism to restrict. When I was anorexic, I was willing to use quite literally ANY special diet to restrict. I claimed I had a wheat allergy (a total fabrication) so that no one would make me eat bread. I cited my family’s history of high cholesterol to justify my low fat diet (in all of my disordered phases, low fat/no fat was my MO). I used my IBS (which started when I was 11, the same year my ED did) as an excuse to skip restaurant dining and family celebrations. Interestingly, the only diet I did NOT use to suit my purposes was veganism. Why? Too many carbs.

So, a lot of women use veganism and vegetarianism as an excuse to restrict. To me, this is simply one part of a bigger revelation about disordered eating, which is that any kind of special diet can be a convenient enabler. Vegetarianism happens to be handy, because it’s already quite mainstream. What this limited study (only 160 test subjects) fails to indicate is how the 13% of subjects who had recovered fully and still identify as vegan/vegetarian feel about their lifestyles.

And that slice of women—that 13% of fully recovered and still vegan/vegetarian—is what interests me, because they may have similar stories to the women I feature in green recovery. When I started that series, it wasn’t because I think all women with ED histories will find a positive relationship with plant-based diet. I’m a realist, and I know that some won’t. I wanted to explore the idea that, for certain women with my history, plant-based diet can be a very real avenue toward freedom, joy, and peace with food. And I think the stories we’ve all shared—not to mention the overwhelming number of women I know in the plant based community who have experienced full recovery and also had their lives changed for the better by veganism—are evidence of this idea. For these women, veganism can be literally life saving.

And for this reason, the conversation needs to be broadened. The time honored treatment bias (vegetarianism is a handy excuse for ED women) needs to be reconsidered. Not all women with ED histories are going to use vegetarianism to perpetuate their issues. Some of them—some of us—will find in veganism food that makes us love to eat, a community that gives us strength, and a sense of purpose and altruism that helps us to break out of our own self-obsessed, obsessive worlds. I don’t think I would have stopped relapsing had I not ultimately found my way to veganism. I don’t think I’m the only one. Our stories are powerful, and they matter.

And while it’s not directly pertinent as a means of addressing the study, I should add that the animals matter, too. And directly related to this, it’s worth pointing out that in this study, the implication was that subjects had become vegetarian after their disorders began. It obviously does not pertain to the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who become vegetarian for animals, for health, and for the environment.

What do you guys think?

Final, crucial announcement: you have exactly 1 more day to enter my giveaway to win a FREE JUICER. Enter now!!

xo

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