The Healthy Bacon That Helps You Lose Weight
Can you eat the peel of a banana? The answer is yes; the banana peel is edible. However, eating a banana peel may not be something you’ve ever pictured yourself doing.
It may be a new concept to some of us, but it’s not unique in many other cultures. For example, in Eastern India and Asia, the banana peel has always been used in various dishes or simply left whole with the peel intact. And you can now find multiple recipes just by doing a simple google search that leave the banana peel on for added nutritional value in dishes like banana bread, cake, and chutney.
But leave it to the western culture to take eating the peels of bananas to a whole new level. We, westerners, have the ability to turn almost anything into a substitute for meat, including banana peels.
It’s not really all that weird if you think about it. We’ve been eating black bean burgers and cauliflower “wings” for years, and my first experience with a carrot hot dog was over ten years ago. This healthy vegan bacon made from ripe banana peels perfectly suits this westernized approach to alternative foods.
The coolest part about banana peels is that they are really good for you. They are chock full of nutrients and can have numerous health benefits, including their ability to aid in weight loss.
Bacon for weight loss? Ummm… yes, please!
Let’s look a bit closer at this and other health benefits one might expect from banana peels.
Banana Peel Benefits
Banana peels are super rich in insoluble fiber, which is helpful if you are trying to shed a few pounds. This fiber aids digestion, supports healthy bowel function, and even reduces cholesterol levels. It also helps us to feel full.
Banana peels also contain tons of nutrients like high amounts of potassium, which is necessary for helping the body regulate muscle contractions and fluid retention. So, if you happen to work out regularly, including banana peels in your diet might be a great way to ward off muscle cramps and fatigue.
Other nutrients include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Fiber, and
You may have heard that bananas can improve your vision. This is because bananas contain lutein and vitamin A, which are excellent for eye health. Vitamin A is also essential for proper immune function.
Banana peel also contains tryptophan. Tryptophan is that chemical in turkey that makes you sleepy after stuffing yourself at Thanksgiving. One of the reasons you get tired after eating tryptophan-rich foods is because tryptophan turns into serotonin in the body, making us feel content and satisfied… ready for a nap. Tryptophan is also great for mood regulation and cognitive function and can even help you gain control over food cravings and impulsive eating. And of course, tryptophan can also help regulate sleep patterns.
Vitamin B6 is extraordinary for helping regulate sleep too, which is found in high quantities in banana peels.
Bananas and their peels are incredibly high in powerful antioxidants like polyphenols and carotenoids. These feisty antioxidants hunt down and neutralize free radicles, which are the culprit in many health conditions, including chronic diseases and even cancer. Oxidation is partly responsible for aging and inflammation in the body as well, which is why you hear so much about the importance of consuming antioxidant rich foods.
Lastly, banana peels can help keep red blood cells from breaking down, helping to bolster the body’s natural immunity defense and fight off infection and disease.
Can Banana Peels Really Be a Healthy Bacon Alternative?
We’ve become somewhat spoiled for choice when it comes to food alternatives as many alternatives can taste pretty close to the real deal. The thing is… those “vegan junk foods” often contain sooo many ingredients with their own list of adverse side effects that make them taste like the foods we know and try to avoid.
Honestly, if you are going to substitute your diet, it’s best to maintain a whole food approach, which means being more open-minded and looking for something that tastes good, and is healthy and satisfying, even if it’s not exactly like the replacement food.
That said, banana bacon doesn’t taste exactly like the greasy breakfast meat many are accustomed to, but it is good and has a “bacony” flavor.
A quick caveat…
We are cooking the peels, which does reduce the number of nutrients in them even though we are baking them rather than frying them like most banana bacon recipes and we’ve replaced the soy sauce and sugar with coconut aminos and honey or maple syrup.
Now… if you want to eat completely clean, this may not be the recipe for you, as you may want to avoid oils or “ fried type foods” all together. But this recipe has eliminated many of the obstacles with other banana peel bacon recipes even down to the cooking temperature being kept below the smoke point of olive oil, so that the healthier fats stay intact, and healthier oils can be used.
All-in-all it’s pretty yummy and a much healthier substitute for bacon. This banana bacon is slightly sweet but not too much. It’s reminiscent of a rubbed BBQ flavor. It has a pleasant smoky kick and does crisps up like real bacon…and fast, so make sure you watch it!
Most people either love or hate banana peel bacon. I’ll leave it up to you to decide for yourself. Regardless, it’s a fun and new healthy bacon alternative to add to your recipe collection.
The Healthy Bacon That Helps You Lose Weight
Vegan Banana Peel Bacon Recipe
- 2-3 very ripe bananas (black and brown spots are perfect)
- 3 tablespoons of coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon of liquid aminos
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke
- ½ teaspoon of paprika
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Step 1. Cut a slit down both sides of your bananas, remove the peel from the outside, and set it aside.
Step 2. Using a metal spoon, scrape the pulp and strings away from the peels.
Step 3. Peel or cut the cleaned peels into bacon-sized stirps. You should get four pieces from each peel. Then place them in a bowl of clean tap water.
Step 4. Rinse the banana peels in the water really well. Banana skins can contain chemical residue even if they are certified organic. Never use non-organic bananas!
Step 5. Strain the banana peels from the water and place them back into the bowl.
Step 6. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients.
Step 7. Pour the mixture over the peels and let them sit for at least 15-minutes but up to an hour. The longer they get to marinate, the more flavor they will end up having.
Step 8. Remove the peels from the marinade and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Do not let them touch each other.
Step 9. Bake the peels at 375 ℉ for 10-15 minutes or until dark brown and semi crispy. They will firm up a bit as they cool, but the sugars need to burn a bit to make them crisp. Watch them very closely!
Step 10. Remove the banana bacon strips from the oven and let them cool slightly before consuming.
A couple of things…
- The riper the banana, the better it will taste.
- Watch the banana bacon very close as it can go from bendy to burnt in a matter of minutes.
- You can also pan fry your banana bacon if you want it super crispy, but understand that frying dramatically reduces the nutritional composition of food.
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