Why I Don’t Eat Bananas and an Energy Bites Recipe

This past rainy Sunday evening I wanted to make something slightly sweet but also nutrient filled to have for a snack during this week leading up to Rev3tri Knoxville, without resorting to any refined flours or sugars. Then I thought about these banana oatmeal chocolate chunk no-bake cookies that a friend had made for a gluten free or vegan cupcake/cookie contest recently (aren’t my Asheville friends awesome!)

A lot of my close friends know this, but after eating bananas for most of my life, I have had an aversion to bananas for the past few years. The reason for this has an interesting story behind it:

My Banana Aversion Story

bananas

When I was studying abroad in Ghana for five months in 2010, I actually got Typhoid.

Below are a few details of my sickness so skip it if you are easily grossed out:

Before anyone asks, yes, I was vaccinated. It was a weird strain and I didn’t even have all the typical symptoms like a rash, but my blood tested positive for it. Basically I had a fever and had upchucked most of my stomach contents on the bus ride back to Accra from a nice little eco-friendly beach hostel called Green Turtle Lodge. (The details of this bus ride are somewhat funny in hindsight, so if someone isn’t squeamish and wants to hear the whole story then shoot me an email!) After getting back to town and getting in a taxi with my very supportive friends, we headed to a private clinic our university had a contract with, where I was so dehydrated that I could barely give them a urine sample but could not keep any fluids down. After being diagnosed and getting IV fluids and meds at the clinic for a few hours, I was sent home extremely weak, with lots of meds, and was confined to my bed and dormitory building for almost a whole week. I was actually so weakened by this illness that I didn’t regain my strength physically until a few months later when I was back in the US. and my gut took a long time to recover (going vegan/plant-based healed it the most!)

Well guess what the last thing I ate was before this whole debacle occurred?

If you guessed bananas, then you would be correct!

I have slowly been able to handle the smell of bananas again, although I am still sensitive to it and can pick up the scent from the next room! And slowly been able to handle tiny amounts of banana in smoothies others have made for me (like in Vitamix demos at Whole Foods,) but I have yet to buy, cook with, or eat a raw banana since October of 2010! I did try one of my friend’s no bake cookies and didn’t feel any ill effects, but the banana did give me an uneasy feeling about an otherwise tasty and relatively healthy treat!

When I was pondering an alternative to these no-bake cookies I thought about my favorite sweet vegetable – sweet potatoes! While using mashed sweet potato meant that these oatmeal cookies wouldn’t be raw anymore, it still had the sweetness and ability to bind with the oats as a mashed banana, without the need for a banana! I turned them into bites instead of cookies just for sizing purposes (I don’t need anything more than a bite or two if I am craving something sweet!) So after that long story I give you:

Oatmeal sweet potato energy bites:

Base Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 medium to large baked/steamed sweet potato, skin removed (about 1/2 c.)
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • +/- 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk or water (depends on dryness of the sweet potato or if you add protein powder)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Optional mix-ins:

  • 1 teaspoon agave, maple syrup or sweetener of choice
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1/2 scoop SunWarrior Warrior Blend natural flavor
  • 2 teaspoons walnuts/pumpkin seeds/dark chocolate chips or shredded coconut

Directions:

Mash up all the base ingredients plus chia seeds and protein powder if using with a fork. They should all bind together easily, but depending on the dryness of the sweet potato add non-dairy milk or water a splash at a time until the ‘dough’ is sticky but not wet. Fold in any mix-ins. Use a spoon to roll into small rounds of about a tablespoon worth of ‘dough.’ Place on parchment paper on any kind of cookie sheet or tray. Stick in fridge or freezer until firm (less than half an hour in the freezer.) Enjoy with warm lemon water, hot tea, or a cold glass of almond milk!

I got around 20 bites from this recipe, so I am keeping most of them frozen in an airtight container and leaving a few in the fridge for snacking on this week. These were super easy to whip up in under 10 minutes so don’t be concerned if you run out!

I hope you enjoyed my epic banana story but that you enjoy these bites more!

Do you have any food aversions? Or an interesting story about a certain food?

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