This is without a doubt one of the most common questions I’m asked!
Just recently my partner asked me this very question referring to the Banana and Walnut loaf I had just lovingly baked for him from scratch!
My instant intuitive response was “OF COURSE!”
It was after all made with loads of love, blood, sweat, tears and burn marks! (Am I the only one who burns myself EVERY time I use the oven!?)
Oh, AND from nothing but WHOLE ingredients…. NO additives, pre-mixed components or fillers…
However, I stopped and thought, “How would the DIETITIAN in me answer? He’s asking me if it’s HEALTHY… is it healthy?”
And actually, my reasoned and reflective answer was also a “Yes!”
Yes, it’s heathy and here’s why…
It contains 5 REAL, WHOLE potassium and fibre-rich bananas, 100g of gorgeous, CELL-LOVING, omega-rich walnuts, 2 beautiful, free-range, protein packed eggs, 125g energy-dense, ORGANIC butter, 125g delicious, gooey, energy-packed dark brown sugar, 200g energy-giving plain flour and of course the baking agents…
125g butter and 125g of sugar might seem like a lot…
But, how many serves do you get from this loaf?
Jamie says, 16 serves.
Thats approximately 8g sugar and 8g fat per serve.
Not so bad, hey?
Plus of course the fat from the nuts and eggs, which really, do you want to count?? They are such BRILLIANT super foods providing magical sustenance for brains, cells, joints, immune systems and everything else. Not to mention protein, good fats and fibre.
I too used to believe that calories are calories and they are all utilised and treated the same within the body. However, an older and wiser me knows better.
The whole concept of CALORIE/S is quite crude and inaccurate and we now know that different fats, ingredients and food components can and do go through different metabolic and digestive pathways.
Today it’s more appropriate and accurate to consider NUTRIENTS, not the crude and fallible “calorie counts” of the food you are eating.
But going back to, “Is this healthy?”
In addition to the consideration of the ingredients and components of the food Im being asked about, my other questions and considerations include:
-Is this the only “treat food” eaten in the day?
Or are other packaged, processed, energy-dense foods also consumed? For example, muesli bars, protein snacks, raw treats, muffins, etc
-What are your GOALS?
- weight loss?
- energy optimisation?
- immune maximisation?
- nutrition PLUS pleasure? etc
-How’s YOUR metabolism?
Do you “burn things up” almost as soon as you eat them, or does just LOOKING at something energy-dense make you feel like you instantly gain a kilo?
-Do you digest carbohydrate-rich foods well?
Or not so well?
My partner tends to digest such foods quite well and feel ENERGISED whilst, I on the other hand feel sleepy after carbohydrate-rich foods and my brain switches OFF.
We are all different. Your body will tell you.
Pay attention to how you feel especially in the TWO HOURS after you eat something.
-Do you FEEL GOOD after you eat this?
Related to the above, YOUR BODY WILL TELL YOU.
Pay attention. Trust its cues and feedback.
There are honestly so many questions and considerations when answering this question, and the truth is, ultimately it depend on YOU.
YOU are the variable in this situation, and always, when it comes to food.
Belief systems, cultural conditioning, emotions, “education”, so many factors can and do effect and alter how we digest and metabolise foods.
In the case of my partner, he is a big, burly man with a large muscle mass and a completely different digestive and metabolic dynamic to me.
He is on his feet most of the day, and the only other food he has in the day is typically his healthy and well-rounded lunch and dinner, plus maybe some fresh, whole fruit.
Nothing else from packets.
He absolutely LOVES eating this Banana and Walnut loaf and feels FANTASTIC after eating it.
A serve of this loaf a day over the next week, for HIM, right now, IS healthy 🙂
Does this make sense?
When Im looking at someone else and answering this question, I may come to a completely different conclusion given their unique symptoms, goals, metabolic and digestive dynamics, family history, daily routine, intolerances, preferences and so on.
How do YOU decide what is HEALTHY? And, what is HEALTHY to you?
What parameters and considerations do YOU measure and assess this by?
I personally and professionally do NOT have certain “nutrition criteria” by which I determine this by.
It’s a HOLISTIC consideration and analysis, taking into account the most IMPORTANT and variable factor….YOU!
So, for those of you with whom this resonates, go check out the recipe and get busy BAKING! (preferably be more careful than me and avoid the BURNING part!)
Apparently it’s a 25/10!
And happy humans in our household is ALWAYS a WIN, and HEALTHY situation, for us, right?!
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Until next time, I hope you enjoy going BANANAS!
Lots of love,
Mind, Body, Soul Wellness
Dietitian, Nutritionist, Counsellor
Eating Psychology Coach
Founder of Newleafnutrition.com.au
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