Friday, March 13, 2015

Vegan Basics : A Trip to Banana Island {Banana Detox and Cleanse}

The past four days, I've eaten nothing but bananas.
Well, not nothing but bananas... But definitely a banana based nourishment, averaging 18-21 bananas a day.
To many, this sounds incredulous and overboard and crazy. I'm here to tell you why it's not. And give you three recipes to get you started on your own banana feast.



• What is Banana Island? •

Monomeals are when you have a meal consisting of one single food - high carb plant food, of course - and you eat until you are satisfied.
Banana Island is what us fruitbats and 80/10/10 foodies like to nickname a cleanse/detox that consists of many banana monomeals. You can add some light flavorings to nicecream, some greens in a banana salad, etc. The idea is to keep it going for as long as you can, anywhere from 3-30 days.

The supposed benefits are better energy, happiness (possible Placebo, I know, but hey!), easier sleep, satiation, and not to mention - affordability!


I'm normally very against tracking what you eat, because it's a confining cage that no one wants to live in. But for the purposes of demonstration, I made a little diary for you all to see what produced the effect I had.

My Experience

First Day:

Total Consumed: 19 bananas.
Breakfast - 8 banana nicecream with almond extract and 1 tsp maca powder
Lunch - rest of breakfast and 3 1/2 more bananas
Dinner - 1 banana unblended, then green nicecream with 4 tablets of spirulina and 6 bananas
WATER - at least 3 liters.

Spirulina Nicecream Recipe

Ingredients:
6 ripe bananas, frozen
4 tablets Organic Burst spirulina
Preparation:
Blend in a food processor. Eat.

Second Day:

Total Consumed: 20-22
Breakfast - 8 banana nicecream with 2 tablespoons coconut sugar and 1 tsp cocoa powder
Lunch - 4 bananas (or 5? I forgot)
Snack - 2 bananas
Dinner - 1 banana unblended, then vanilla bean nicecream with 1/2 a vanilla bean and 6 frozen bananas
WATER - at least 3 liters.

Vanilla Vegan Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients:
6 ripe bananas, frozen
1/2 vanilla bean
Preparation:
Blend in a food processor. Eat.

Third Day:


Total Consumed: 18 bananas
Breakfast - smoothie of 6 1/2 bananas, juice of one lemon, and 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
Lunch - 1 banana... the lunchroom was out of some
Pre-Practice Snack - 3 bananas once I had access to bananas
Pre-Dinner Snack - 2 bananas
Dinner - 5 1/2 bananas and two heads of romaine hearts
WATER - about 3 liters

Banana Salad Recipe

Ingredients:
5 bananas
2 heads of romaine lettuce
Preparation:
Chop up. Toss. Enjoy.

Fourth Day:


Total Consumed: 20 bananas
Breakfast - 8 banana and 2 tablespoons of carob nicecream, 1 more banana plain
Lunch - 5 bananas
Dinner - 6 banana nicecream with 2 teaspoons matcha leaves, then 1 more plain banana, because I was still hungry, and you gotta listen to the body!
WATER - at least 3 liters
Wow, I loved and felt loved back by bananas.

Matcha Nanaicecream Recipe

Ingredients:
6 ripe bananas, frozen
2 teaspoons matcha leaves
Preparation:
Blend in a food processor. Eat.

Pros

  • So much more energy. I was able to discover a burst of ability at my swim practices that I haven't had before. Carbs are truly a body's friend.
  • Happiness. Bananas helps create serotonin in your body, which helps to regulate mood and stress. Not to mention, that energy is best used positively!
  • Deeper sleep. Because my dinner/sleep schedule is so wacky most of the time, one day I tried to go to sleep early after eating dinner late, and it took a while of laying in bed awake before I got to sleep. But I would never wake up in odd fits, and I hardly remembered my dreams.
  • It's delicious. Just find the right recipe, and seriously, what's not to enjoy about ice cream for dinner? Even my seven-year-old sister, who automatically thinks healthy is a stigma, love to keep stealing bits of my ice cream dinners.
  • Cheap. Affordable. That's one more reason to love bananas. They never get that expensive in the US.
  • Easy. It was so much more time efficient, preparing meals. I'd simply take my ripe bananas out of the freezer, process them up, and boom - dinner.
  • Never hungry. Aim for around 20 bananas a day, to make sure you don't let your body go hungry. Do listen to your body, though, and simply have a stash to eat at whenever you are hungry. This cleanse will keep you full and satiated.
  • Better digestion. After-dinner-bloating was always gone by the morning, more unlike night of cooked dinners.
  • Your body clearing up. However long your cleanse lasts for is however long you're not clogging your body up with artificial toxins and additives and unnecessary fats. My friend even said that my skin looked a lot clearer. (That is, compared to the not-so-clear that school and school schedules has made it.)

Cons

  • Availability of bananas. I did not end my island because I was sick of bananas. In fact, I proceeded to eat more bananas in my first day off the cleanse.
  • People thinking that you're crazy. This is probably the biggest con. Funny story: during class, we went around asking what we ate for breakfast. You can imagine the incredulity at my, "nine bananas." But if this makes you feel good, then I say eat what is the best for your body and forget everyone else. Listen to your body, because it knows what it wants. I simply thrived off of simply bananas for four days.
  • Possible cravings. I never craved anything else. I'm banana crazy. But for others, you may get tired of only bananas.
  • Possible detox symptoms. It's best to go predominantly raw and vegan for a few days beforehand, and, of course, I'd encourage you to go fully vegan and mostly raw afterwards! But if you are coming to banana island from a Standard American Diet, you might experience some discomfort as your body detoxes.
  • Not eating enough. If you're not used to high volume foods, reaching 20 bananas a day may not seem like a possibility. You might think you're full after 3 bananas for each meal, but that would not be nearly enough energy to sustain you for a day. If we're talking calories, that's less than a toddler needs. Don't deprive your body; this is a feast, not a fast.
  • Dislike of banana taste. If you don't like bananas, perhaps another island is calling your name.

Tips

  • For best taste, eat your bananas ripe. And this means, not a speck of green. And not just yellow, but big brown speckles on the yellow. I call them cheetah bananas. That's when the sugars have converted to a simpler sugar that's an easier-to-digest carbohydrate.
  • Drink lots of water. Drink water before breakfast, wait 10-15 minutes, then eat. With mainly bananas and water, your body is cleansing itself. Help move things along with lots of pure fluid. At least 3 liters a day is not actually that hard. Think a Dasani water bottle every hour for the 8 hours you're at work/school. Simple making your quota for 6 of those 8 hours is three liters.
  • Prep. Buy your bananas a while before your detox, giving them time to ripen. Also, bring bananas with you! You never know when they could be unavailable.
  • Stock up on flavorings! While plain bananas are divine, adding some simple flavorings might be even more delicious. Some to try: carob, cinnamon, cocoa powder (unsweetened), coconut sugar, spirulina, maca, baobab, acai, PB2, etc. Get creative!
Overall, I completely loved my experience and wish I could've stayed longer. It's fantastic, I feel great, and I don't regret a single banana. So what about you? How about a banana feast?

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