Many moons ago, I wrote a post similar to this one, Sans The Dairy, all about why I've chosen to nix dairy from my diet. The more that I'm learning about my body, the more that information is confirming that I do not need it. My personal dietary preferences have always been guided by my intuition and it's proving to serve me well. Constantly learning, experimenting, modifying, adapting.
I'm in the same situation again with bananas, after recently learning that they are considered to be a catechol-heavy food (along with avocados, eek!) which therefore interferes with my liver metabolism and how my body breaks down estrogen, creating an excess in the body. We won't get all scientific, nitty gritty with that just yet (there will be more to come), but it caught me off guard to learn this. I've always loved me some bananas and peanut butter and felt it very necessary for every single smoothie to have at least one or two in it to give them their taste, texture and creaminess. My taste buds prefer it, but apparently my body does not. So again, I am learning and adapting as I go.
Recently, Lee Tilghman shared a similar story about food intolerances, with bananas being among them. She couldn't figure out why she was feeling so sluggish, tired and generally just low after eating smoothie bowls (and she's known so well for her beautiful creations of them), so she had her blood checked and later was diagnosed with a hormone imbalance and put herself on a 21-day elimination diet to exclude things like bananas, dates, soy, peanuts, gluten, dairy. After 10 days, she noticed a huge change in her energy and eventually decided to keep bananas, dates, and gluten (along with dairy) out of her diet completely.
It's a crazy world that we live in nowadays with all of these allergies, food intolerances, auto-immune diseases and an increasing rise in hormonal issues among women especially. But it is very real and should be taken seriously, especially since we have a new abundance of knowledge and information right at our fingertips. And because we all are very unique individuals with very different DNA, what might work for someone else may not necessarily work for you.
If the information that I'm learning now can save my health and suffering years and years down the road, even if that means something as simple as finding alternative ways to enjoy smoothies without bananas, then so be it. It's worth it to me. Does that mean I'll never have a banana again? Absolutely not. I do not believe in depriving and will continue to eat what feels and tastes good, but it always comes down to awareness, balance and mindfulness.
Maybe this resonates, maybe it doesn't, but either way, it's very possible to still enjoy smoothies without putting a banana into every single one. If you'd like to give your digestive system and hormones a bit of relief, there's a recent smoothie blend that I made to help hydrate my insides and nourish my skin, especially as we round out these final heat-intensive summer days and try to sneak in end-of-summer produce.
Here's what went in:
Dragon fruit (also known as pitaya), a bright pink fruit that resembles the texture of kiwi once opened. Benefits a healthy immune system (high levels of vitamin C), cardiovascular health (in reducing cholesterol) and aids in digestion (fiber content).
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain that promotes overall digestive health. Additionally, papaya has been shown to help lower inflammation in the body, something that we could all use support with.
Cucumbers are made up mostly of water, hence the benefits in hydration, and have recently been shown to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They also contain unique polyphenols called lignans that may have a connection to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. (Plus they contain silica, an important nail health-promoting mineral. Fancy fingers, lady.)
I combined all ingredients into a blender with some non-dairy milk, blended, poured and served with tons of bee pollen on top. Went down so smoothly and was a very refreshing complement to the outside heat.
I do have a thing every now and then for a scooped out bagel with loads of peanut butter, almond butter, whatever butter and sliced bananas...so that I will have a hard time with, but that's also when I'll probably cave and allow myself to have the damn banana. Just not every single day, you see?
I'm slowly finding ways to come around to this new concept and will be sure to share my creations along the way when I nail a good one.
Here's to going banana free in the favor of my (our) hormones.