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Healthy Living Recipes

Deb Morgan: December brings cool weather and celebrations of all kinds. There’s no better time to celebrate the wonder of friendship and family—and what better way to say “thank you” and “I love you” than with a special loaf of delicious bread? If the recipient happens to be following a gluten-free diet, then I guarantee a loaf of our gluten-free cinnamon-raisin bread will be a most cherished gift this year! Whether you choose to give these breads as gifts or just enjoy them with your family at home, I hope you all have a lovely holiday season and a very happy New Year.

Buckwheat Banana Bread

Makes one loaf.

¼ cup buckwheat flour
1¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
¾ cup unbleached white flour
Pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¹⁄8 teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cardamom
½ cup agave nectar
½ cup sunflower oil
3–4 ripe bananas

  1. In a large bowl, combine all flours with salt, baking powder and soda, and spices.
  2. In another bowl, roughly mash the bananas and combine with agave nectar and oil.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in banana mixture.
  4. Stir until smooth.
  5. Oil a loaf pan and pour in the batter.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Read John Bagnulo’s nutritional commentary: Buckwheat and Cardamom

Buckwheat, a plant native to Siberia and related to rhubarb, is an exceptional source of magnesium, the antioxidant rutin, and the phytonutrient chiro inositol. Most Americans consume only a fraction of the magnesium they need each day, and this widespread deficiency contributes to high blood pressure, higher levels of heart disease, and a reduced ability to detoxify our blood. Chiro inositol stabilizes blood sugar levels-its ability to mimic the role of insulin helps lower blood sugar and provides more gradual blood sugar changes. Another benefit of buckwheat for people with dietary restrictions is that it's gluten free.

As for cardamom, in the Feb 12, 2008, issue of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, a study revealed what has been known for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and areas of Asia: that cardamom helps with digestion and lowers blood pressure. Researchers gave laboratory animals crude cardamom extract in moderate doses and observed significant changes in the animals' ability to tolerate changes in diet with reduced stress and a lower systolic blood pressure. Cardamom has most commonly been used in Indian culture as a digestive aid.

Gluten-Free Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

Makes one loaf.

1 cup white rice flour
¾ cup tapioca flour
1 cup soy flour (defatted)
¹⁄3 cup whey powder
1 cup potato starch
1 tablespoon guar gum
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1½ teaspoons salt
1 whipped egg
2 cups water
1½ teaspoons cake yeast
2 cups dried raisins

  1. Combine rice flour, tapioca, soy flour, whey powder, salt, potato starch, guar gum, and yeast.
  2. Add eggs and begin to mix. This works great if you have an electric mixing bowl with a hook (dough) attachment; otherwise, just use your hands. Add raisins and water.
  3. If using a mixer, turn to medium speed and mix for five minutes. If doing by hand, continue to mix for five additional minutes.
  4. Using wet hands and water, shape the dough into a loaf on a board. Note that this will be a wet dough, not as dry as typical bread dough.
  5. Gently place the loaf into an oiled loaf pan and let rise for 30 minutes.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. The center of the loaf should reach 200 degrees when it is finished (use a kitchen thermometer to test).

Find more delicious and nutritious recipes in Kripalu Recipes.