Chocolate banana cake-bars made with oats and sweetened with dates, cooked in the slow cooker. One of my favourite snacks lately, I can only describe these as something between cake and oat bars. Dense but fairly soft, tasty and super filling. Ideal for the mid-morning munchies.
Ok so here’s the deal. This is going to be a longish post, because I’ve decided to share some thoughts that have been taking up quite a bit of space in my brain over the past few months. What’s it all about? The issue of food/diet related stress, eating disorders, and how food bloggers fit into the whole situation. Yeah, it’s a biggie so if you want to skip over it and just get to the recipe I won’t mind!
I’ll start at the beginning. A while ago I heard a podcast episode on Eat Capture Share called “Intuitive Eating On Instagram + Are Food Bloggers To Blame For Orthorexia, With Christy Harrison” (click to listen) It was quite a shock to me as I had never even heard of orthorexia, never mind its links to social media use. I won’t get into what it is, you can read more here and here but what I heard put my mind in turmoil. I started thinking that I really shouldn’t be talking about what is “healthy” or telling people what they should be putting on their plates and in their bodies. Even if they aren’t struggling with an eating disorder, what about the stress that all these “good for you” recipes are causing?
I decided I would never again mention the nutritious qualities of ingredients I used in my recipes. After all, I am even qualified? Who am I to decide this here cake is healthy or healthier than the next? I’ll never forget doing some research for a blog post and getting myself into a huge muddle over whether to call the recipe healthy because the cheese in it might block absorption of the iron from the lentils. It was a salad. I was driving myself a little crazy, and maybe overreacting a bit.
After giving myself some time to mull it all over I came to some conclusions. First of all the issue of orthorexia and other such disorders is very complicated (with deep rooted causes that go beyond what we’re discussing), and as far as the internet goes, I believe the blogs/accounts/sites that may play a larger role in exacerbating the problem are the ones that have hardcore views and preach against/demonise whole food groups (like sugar, flour etc) while lacking the professional qualifications to do so. I hope the people behind these channels take care in how they present their ideas and views.
(Just a quick side-note here that there are numerous websites and social media accounts with solid scientific-based information. These are the ones we should be using to learn more. It’s good to research, educate ourselves and be inspired to try new things, and to adapt this knowledge to our own lives, without obsessing.)
Personally, I try to have a balanced approach to food, with one non health-related exception that I will talk about soon. My blog is a reflection of my views, which are summed up in this phrase: Everything in moderation. If I fancy a take-out I will have one, if I fancy a big bag of crisps while watching my favourite series I will have one. But I also make sure to regularly consume veggies, fruit, legumes etc etc. We shouldn’t stress too much about what we eat; I truly believe this stress is worse than actually eating what we want (within reason of course).
So what now? I will share my recipes, all of which are things I eat myself. I’ll talk about some nutritious qualities of the ingredients if there is reason to, but mostly I will focus on whether the food tastes good and whether it’s easy for everyone to make. More or less what I’m already doing, but with less emphasis on health aspects. In the past I may have talked about that a bit too much, and I have also said a word I now hate… “guilt”. As in a “guilt-free” dessert for example. I’ve gone off this term big time, as it implies other desserts are guilt-full. No, let’s get over all this.
Well, it was good to get that off my chest. Are you curious about the recipe that brought all these thoughts gushing out? It’s a chocolate banana bread thingy that is best described as something between cake and bars (oat bars, breakfast bars, cereal bars.. you know the ones). And to be fair they didn’t bring the thoughts out, they were just next in line when I decided to finally put all this down in writing. And they are testing my resolve since I could easily slip into talking about their nutritious qualities. But no. Make them because they taste good, they are filling and they are easy to throw together. Oats, banana, dates, chocolate, cinnamon… Delish. Oh you can serve them with a lick of peanut butter too!
For these quantities you’ll need a 6.5lt slow cooker, so if you have a smaller one (say a 3.5lt) I suggest you decrease the ingredients (you should be ok with ¾ of the quantities listed). And don’t forget that your bananas should be black as can be. The darker the sweeter!
Any thoughts on all the rambling above? I’d love to “hear” them in the comments! And of course if you do make the cake-bars please share a pic and tag me – that always makes my day! (@thefoodiecorner & #thefoodiecorner)