by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
When my family was living in Hawaii, we had the luxury of having real bananas growing in our yard right outside the kitchen door. At the time, I didn’t think I liked bananas at all (hard to believe, I know) until my father coaxed me into trying one. I remember how we chose a small, greenish-yellow banana together and then we sat down and peeled it ribbon by ribbon and then I tasted it and it was good. Now I think bananas are really awesome.
Here are 10 excuses to eat more bananas:
- Quick energy boost: the sugar and fiber in bananas will boost your energy for your high-intensity workout.
- Help digestion: the fiber in bananas will help with digestion and constipation and over time will help manage your weight.
- Improve your mood: eating a banana will simultaneously help calm your nerves and lift your spirits.
- Relax: bananas contain tryptophan which your brain converts to serotonin which in turn will help you relax.
- Brighten Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): As we head into the gray, winter months, the tryptophan in bananas will help prevent SAD symptoms from emerging.
- Reduce PMS: The high levels of Vitamin B6 in bananas will help manage your monthly PMS symptoms.
- Reduce restless leg syndrome (RLS) and sleep better: If you have RLS and involuntary muscle twitching, it could mean that you have a definciency in Vitamin B6. If that’s the case, eat more bananas for their Vitamin B6 and see if your sleep improves.
- Increase your iron intake: Bananas are a good, vegetarian source of iron. Get more iron in your diet to prevent anemia.
- Lower your blood pressure and risk of stroke: Bananas are high in potassium and low in sodium, so they are great to add to your daily diet to manage stress and lower your blood pressure which will reduce your risk of having a stroke.
- Quit smoking cigarettes: If you’re trying to quit smoking, the Vitamins B6, B12 & C, plus the potassium and magnesium in bananas will help your body deal with nicotine withdrawal.
Today, I’ve decided to profile bananas in my blog and offer two home spa recipes. The first recipe is for a banana bread. When I made this recipe for a breakfast starter at the Beacon Inn, one gentleman said, “Your banana bread is outstanding” and another gentleman from Denmark said, “this is excellent and I should know because I bake for a living — when I come back, I hope you’ll give me the recipe.” Well, here it is. It’s from Company’s Coming, Muffins and More, by Jean Paré, published in 1983, page 40.
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup (3 medium) mashed, very ripe bananas
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
Method: In one mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add mashed bananas (if they’re frozen, defrost them in the microwave first to make things easier). Add vanilla. In a second bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and walnuts, making sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Add this dry mix to the banana mixture and stir only to moisten. Transfer the batter to a greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about an hour. Test with a toothpick or skewer and if it comes out clean, the banana bread is ready. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and place it on a cake rack to cool.
The second recipe is for Peanut butter and Banana Lip Balm. It’s one of my original recipes. Peanut butter and bananas are a classic flavour combination and this lip balm really feels good on the lips.
Peanut Butter and Banana Lip Balm
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa
- 1/2 banana, chopped in 3-4 chunks — moisturizing for all skin types.
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar — to achieve glowing skin, add sugar crystals to exfoliating scrubs.
- 1/3 cup water — extends recipe volume and provides a base to blend ingredients.
- 1 TB smooth peanut butter — provides a creamy yet solid base for cosmetics and is loaded with skin-loving Vitamin E and other antioxidants.
- 1 TB beeswax — mostly used for its scent and to thicken cosmetics.
- 1 TB almond oil — good for normal, dry and mature skin. Has cleansing, moisturizing and conditioning properties.
- 1/4 tsp honey — antiseptic, cleansing and ideal for treating chapped lips and wrinkles.
- 1 Vitamin E capsule — good for skin and acts as a preservative.
- Wash your containers in hot soapy water and dry thoroughly. If you’d like to buy some containers for lip balm, please go to the containers page on Homespunspa.com.
- To make a simple syrup with sugar, water and bananas, melt equal parts of sugar and water over low heat on a stove top. Add large pieces of banana and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Let the syrup simmer over low heat to infuse the banana flavour into the syrup.
- Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt the smooth peanut butter, beeswax, almond oil (or peanut oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil, etc. — almond oil is what I had on hand today) and honey over low heat. Stir until smooth.
- Strain out the bananas from the liquid sugar and set them aside. Add 1 TB of the banana-flavoured syrup into the peanut butter mixture. Turn the heat off but keep the pan on the heated element. Keep stirring. Add the contents of the Vitamin E capsule.
- Pour the mixture into your containers. The lip balm will harden within a few minutes.
Manner: Apply the peanut butter and banana lip balm to your lips as needed.
Storage: Your lip balm should last up to 6 months.
Warning: Do not make or wear this recipe if you or someone you know has peanut allergies. Discard your batch if it starts getting sticky or tasting rancid.
As always, let me know what you think. I would love to post your comments on my blog.
P.S. Pour the left over bananas and sugar syrup over ice cream and use the syrup in cocktails to add another layer of flavour. And I just thought of something else: use the banana flavoured syrup in a lip gloss!