Janine Gilbertson's Granite Kitchen: Bananas to the rescue for those times when you're off your feed

By JANINE GILBERTSON July 31. 2018 8:54PM

Peanut butter, banana and cocoa "ice cream" (JANINE GILBERTSON)

If you’ve ever had stomach problems, or cared for anyone with one, you will relate to this week’s topic.

There are times when food seems like an enemy; a few bites of the wrong thing and next thing you know you are sick as can be, struggling with stomach pain. For some people the upset can get so bad it requires a trip to the emergency room for intravenous fluids and medications. It’s not pleasant.

I’ve been through this recently. When things settled down, I was faced with a dilemma: What do I eat now?

I remembered my mother telling me about the BRAT diet when my kids were little and had stomach aches. BRAT stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. This diet has been around since the mid-1920s, but it has declined in popularity over the years because it can be too restrictive for long term use.

But since my stomach has been in full rebellion, a restrictive diet seemed better than no food at all, and frankly I found myself scared to death to eat much of anything. Even my beloved morning coffee was suspicious and I struggled getting down a few sips.

I would open the refrigerator and freezer and stare inside, hoping to find something appetizing that wouldn’t send me back to the emergency room.

Then I spotted the pile of frozen bananas in the freezer.

I pulled them out, and got out the food processor. I pureed the bananas into a kind of ice cream and used almond or coconut milk to blend them. I made one version with bananas and mango and another with fresh cherries. I also made a pseudo ice cream with powered peanut butter for a bit of protein and added some cocoa powder and a bit of cane sugar. They were all delicious and easy on the tummy.

I also made a coconut banana rice pudding and used both wild and Pink Himalayan rice along with a little local honey and chia seed. Even though it served as my dinner one night, my kids tried it and decided it was good enough to have as a dessert.

These dishes have been a real savior during my stomach struggles, so if you find yourself sick or caring for a loved one who is sick, maybe these will help.

(Another thing that really helped me get through was I started adding muddled mint leaves and a little simple syrup to water and also addd in a little powdered collagen protein. At least if I couldn’t manage solid food I knew I was getting a little nutrition.)

This health issue really got me thinking about how many people struggle with food allergies or digestive dysfunction every day. I hope these recipes and ideas can help.

Peanut Butter, Banana and Cocoa “Ice Cream”

3 bananas, frozen

3/4 cup almond milk

2 tbsp powdered peanut butter

1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp cane sugar

Cut the bananas into slices and place in a food processor. Add the peanut butter powder, cocoa powder and sugar and pulse several times to combine.

Add half the almond milk and process, scraping the sides of the processor once or twice and processing until smooth and creamy.

Pour into a lidded plastic container and set in the freezer to harden for about 20 minutes before serving.
Mango banana “ice cream” is dairy free, made with coconut milk and almond milk. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Mango Banana “Ice Cream”

3 bananas, frozen

1 1/2 cups frozen mango chunks

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tbsp cane sugar

1 tsp chia seeds, if desired, as garnish

Slice the frozen bananas and add them to a food processor, then add the mango chunks. Add the coconut milk, almond milk and sugar and process until smooth and creamy, pausing to scrape the sides once or twice. 

When the mixture is creamy and smooth, pour it into a lidded frozen container and set in the freezer to harden for about 20 minutes. 

Garnish with chia seeds, if desired, before serving.
Banana rice pudding, (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Banana Rice Pudding

1 1/2 cups wild rice, cooked

2 bananas, mashed

1/2 cup coconut cream

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp cane sugar

2 tsp honey, if desired, for garnish

Add the rice, mashed banana, coconut milk and almond milk to a sauce pan and simmer over medium heat for about 7 minutes, until the mixture thickens.

Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and chia seeds. 

Drizzle with honey, if desired, before serving.


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