07-09-2006, 10:46 PM
I eat bananas all the time. Unless you have an allergy, I don't see why they would be a problem. They have some of the highest nutrient content of any food in existence.
If you're worried about sugar, note that the sugars in most fruits don't cause your insulin to spike, unlike refined sugar.
They are also good for exercise, as they provide a substantial energy boost.
I have never read anything that indicated bananas having some of the highest nutreint content of any food inexistence...could you guide us towards that information? I'm curious. Most of the things I have read about bananas indicate they are actually quite low in minerals, very high in sugar, and can severely deplete the adrenals.
I think listening to your body is really important. With foods like bananas and dates though, I have a certain amount of scepticism as to what degree we are needing something in that banana, or just craving the sugar. I personally used to find bananas addictive, and found it slightly emotional to imagine eliminating them. I shifted away from them, and now from time to time I will have one, and it's ok. Too sweet for my taste buds, if I really want it I have one. Compared to refined sugar they are certianly superior, and I consider them a transition food ... everyone has to figure it out for themselves though... if it works for you, awesome!
Here's some info I have had saved on bananas and dates...
* * * *
Bananas: The Ideal Food For Humans by T. C. Fry
Bananas deserve the highest rank as food for humans. It is one of the
oldest foods of humans and has been treasured for its deliciousness.
The ancients referred to the banana plant as the "Paradise Tree" and
its fruit as the fruit of paradise. Never has there been a more
apropos description of a food. Bananas are one of our most important
foods and deserve a far greater role in our dietin fact, they
should be our foremost item of diet as they are with many tropical
peoples, who also eat other tropical fruits such as breadfruit,
jakfruit, coconut, mango, etc. We are a class of frugivores that
achieved our high development with fruits of the tree as the bulk of
our diet. Fruits of the tree in our pristine habitat were mostly
sweet fruits such as bananas, figs, grapes and dates.
In its general suitability and beneficence in the human diet few
foods approach the banana. It is, ecologically and biologically, our
most ideal food. Dates, figs, grapes, melons and oranges, quite
common foods, deserve a place in our diet but in the final analysis,
the banana wins on practically every count: economy, nutrition,
convenience, plenitude, deliciousness, etc. Apples are a wholesome
food but they are woefully deficient in protein, having only 0.2% by
dry weight and then only two or three of the essential amino acids,
whereas bananas have all the essential amino acids and have about
5.2% protein dry weight.
Bananas are available all through the year. It is best to buy them
organically grown and green for ripening at home, where ripening
conditions can be controlled--you can try putting them in a brown
paper bag overnight, and expose them to air during the day.
Commercially grown bananas are usually picked long before they are
ripe and nutritionally mature, and "gassed" with ethylene to
facilitate ripening, as well as treated with such toxic chemicals as
methyl bromide and aldicarb. Ethylene is the naturally occurring
ripening gas produced by fruits; it is commercially synthesized by
pyrolysis of hydrocarbons. Some organically grown bananas may also be
gassed with ethylene, so your best odds of getting ungassed organic
bananas may be to get them green. It also behooves you to ask your
produce supplier if the bananas have been gassed, and to request
ungassed organic bananas.
Select bananas free from surface bruises, with skin intact at both
tips. Ripen at room temperature. When the skin is bright yellow
speckled with brown, the starch has changed to fruit sugar, and the
fruit will be tender sweet, and easy to digest. Fruit that ripens
with brown speckles may not have been gassed, as I have been told
that gassed bananas ripen with dark streaks and blotches instead of
the brown speckles. I have found that speckled fruit is uniformly
delightful in taste, so I am inclined to give some credence to this
I stress bananas as a major item in the diet primarily for reasons of
overall goodness, availability and economy. It is of course
beneficial to include other fruits as food, such as fresh figs,
dates, grapes, or some other highly nutritious fruits, plus greens,
some sea soft vegetables and nuts.
Humans are frugivores to their very cores! We'll do best if we
respect our natural disposition. The banana is one of the ideal foods
in the human diet.
* * *
Some raw food gurus claim that sweet fruits are bad for the teeth. I
have been 12 years on raw vegan food--the fruitarian diet of fruits,
leafy greens, nuts, and edible seeds, tons of bananas and other sweet
fruit, and have had no teeth problems.
Dave Klein has this to say about eating bananas: "I have eaten over
50,000 bananas over the last 18 years as a raw fooder and they have
been 100% good for me. My teeth are strong, but I had many fillings
as a result of my previosly poor diet. Bananas are the best food for
humans IMO. After you clean out on 100% raw foods, sweet fruits will
be fine for teeth."
Dr. Doug Graham, chat board at
http://www.vegsource.com/talk/raw/index.html and website at
http://www.doctorgraham.cc/, is a runner, and coaches athletes. Dr.
Graham eats tons of bananas and finds it a good staple food for
Some raw food gurus caution us against hybridized fruit, but Dr. Doug
Graham says that bananas hybridize naturally. The article below
Banana (Musa x paradisiaca)
Of the 30 or so species of 'banana' only two may be regarded as
edible, and neither are in our African homeland. There is a wild
banana that grows just above the Tropic of Capricorn in sub-
equatorial Africa, in rainforests from the west coast across to the
East. This species, Ensete ventricosum (previously Musa ventricosum),
produces bunches of dry seedy fruit with a small amount of dry and
insipid flesh that is eaten only in times of famine.
Wild banana fruits of the two edible species are full of hard, small-
pea-sized black seeds embedded in the starchy, sweet/acidulous pulp.
The size of the fruit varies according to how many seeds (i.e. how
well pollinated the flower was) are present. The more seeds, the
larger the fruit. Unpollinated flowers remain as small, empty shells.
Within some parts of the wild populations of one of the parents of
the modern banana (Musa acuminata), there are genes that result in
the plant being able to form fruit (seedless) from an unpollinated
flower. Only those flowers in the bunch that are pollinated form
seedy fruit, the rest being seedless. A few individuals within the
small population of plants that were able to make edible but seedless
fruit from the unpollinated flowers in the bunch developed yet
another mutation; the female part of all the flowers in the bunch
became sterile. Thus no flower forms seeds, and all flowers formed
fat, edible, totally seedless fruit. And when our ancestors migrated
out of Africa, down thru' Myanma (Burma), Vietnam and Malaysia, this
is the kind of variation they found in the wild banana plants of the
forest. Almost all seedy, the occasional one with seedy and seedless
fruit in the same bunch, and the odd rare individual with totally
seedless fruit. The bananas found in the northern part of the wild
range also included natural hybrids between M. acuminata and the more
drought and cool tolerant Musa balbisiana. These hybrids had
natural 'hybrid vigor', growing faster, and having larger bananas,
but are usually sterile.
Our ancestors were onto a good thing with bananas. Bananas are easy
to propagate, and as our numbers increased we doubtless deliberately
increased those clumps that gave some or all seedless fruit. As we
moved camp within our territory it would have been easy to carry a
small side-shoot plant of our favorite clump with us for re-planting
in the new location. Bananas come into bearing in 15 months or so, so
it wouldn't take a lot of fore-thought.
With the coming of slash and burn agriculture, then rice based
culture, selection of best types had high pay-off.
So the predominant type became the faster growing M. acuminata x M.
balbisiana hybrids, now collectively known as 'Musa X paradisiaca'.
And these are the bananas of commerce.
The other species of edible banana arose in New Guinea and nearby
Pacific Islands. This 'Fe'i' group was probably derived from the New
Guinean Musa maclayi, but they are now rare. Introduced
acuminata/balbisiana varieties have displaced them.
Bananas were introduced to Africa, probably by Indonesian settlers of
Madagascar, before 2,500 years ago, and were carried into the Pacific
about a thousand years ago.
The banana was taken from the European colonists'
African 'territories', to their tropical South American colonies
early on. However, mainly the best varieties were taken, which were
seed free, sterile varieties. As a consequence, much of the world's
banana biodiversity was left in Asia, and the commercial crops were
established on a very, very, narrow genetic base. The precariousness
of this has come home in the last 50 years or so as diseases take a
toll on the commercial varieties, with no variation in the plants to
select disease resistance from. And of course, the wild, seeded types
have been dramatically reduced in number due to de-forestation of the
land, and in remote village areas, by replacement with better
fruiting but seedless varieties.
The huge banana trade in USA and other Western countries developed
when a Cape Cod sea captain, Capt. Lorenzo Baker, brought several
bunches to Boston, where he found they made good money sold as
individual fruit. The bunches had been given him as a gift from a
Jamaican plantation owner. What started as an almost accidental item
of cargo soon became a regular part of his normal trade with the
Caribbean. After fifteen years he founded a company to import bananas
on a large scale. He merged his company with a Costa Rican company
that had also involved itself in the same trade, and established the
United Fruit Company in the late 1890's.
Refrigeration was developed about this time, and this proved the key
to expansion - by the mid 20's bananas were distributed by
refrigerated ship and refrigerated rail cars right throughout the
United States, and then beyond.
Today, the major commercial export production plantations are
American owned plantations in South America, and to a lesser degree,
the Philippines. Half of the world's banana crop is (still) grown in
Africa, where it is eaten locally, both cooked green bananas as a
starchy food, and as a ripe fruit full of fruit sugars. Most tropical
countries of Asia and South East Asia and the Pacific produce
bananas, but, like Africa, almost all of it is consumed domestically.
Bananas are a good source of vitamin C, altho' an adult would need to
eat 6 in a day to get even the rather conservative 'Recommended Daily
Allowance' of 60mg ( not that anyone relies on a single type of food
for their daily vitamin C needs).
Bananas have the second highest potassium content of any common
Western domestic market fruit.
They also have useful levels of riboflavin (B2), with one small
banana providing about a sixteenth of an adults recommended minimum
daily intake. A medium sized banana supplies about a third of an
adults recommended daily intake of pyridoxine (B6).
Bananas are probably the most easily digestible fruit there is; while
allergies to some fruits are not unknown, it is extremely rare for
someone to be allergic to bananas.
* * *
Dates: The Fruit Of The Ages by Todd Seliga
Possibly the first tree cultivated by humans, the enormous date palm
yields a spectacular fruit. Dates require an extremely hot climate to
flourish, at least 100 days of 100 degree Fahrenheit temperature.
Temperatures during the summer and at the fall harvest exceed 120
degrees. This, along with their height, which averages 80 feet, makes
harvesting no easy task since it means maneuvering 60 foot ladders
and handling bunches of dates that weigh up to 60 pounds.
As I am a big date connoisseur and desert mystic, I visited my
friends Jaime and Anjou Jones in Niland, California, prominent
organic date farmers who have made quite a reputation for themselves
growing superb dates in the Southern California desert. Now calling
themselves "The Date People," Jaime started out farming his own dates
in 1985 under the name "Cahuilla Gardens." Jaime, a twelve year raw
foodist, is one of the few date farmers known as a "palmero" for his
ability to work the tall date palms and maneuver a 62 foot date
ladder. Being a raw foodist makes it much easier to work in these
extreme desert temperatures and to keep up with the strenuous demands
of farming dates throughout the entire year.
The Date People's present name emerged in 1990 when Anjou met Jaime
and came to work for his blossoming operation. Jaime celebrated his
twentieth year of full-time agricultural work this past August. Of
these 20 years, 19 have been on organic farms since Jaime was unable
to find work on an organic farm during his first year.
Jaime began Cahuilla Gardens in 1985 with little more than a bicycle
and a lot of motivation and energy while maintaining a day job. He
worked this leased grove into a reputable business that provided him
with a living. By 1990 he and Anjou were working several groves and
employing many migrant and alternative workers during harvesting time
(September to November). The Date People point to an enormous
community feeling amongst workers on their farm. It is not uncommon
for many who have gone on to do other things over the years to visit
now and again.
Nineteen ninety-eight marked another great accomplishment for the
Date People when Jaime and Anjou moved to Niland, California,
purchasing their own land. Niland, once dubbed the "winter" Tomato
Capital of the world, is now characterized by The Date People's newly
planted date grove of over 500 date palm shoots. Moving from their
leased grove in Borrego Springs, Jaime and Anjou still maintain some
groves in Coachella Valley.
The new grove in Niland is a magnificent sight amidst beautiful
desert scenery and clearly the product of tremendous work. Desert
flowers and shrubs abound and delight anyone wandering through them.
The dry desert rocky terrain of the Chocolate Mountains off to the
east can be seen, with its sculpted beauty. Jaime's genuine
enthusiasm for dates reveals itself in the fruits of his grove. I
have known few people so motivated and dedicated to their work.
None of their farm work comes at any cost to the environment or to
the health and well-being of the harvesters. Jaime chooses to have
his groves certified only by the most stringent organic certifier,
Oregon Tilth Certified Organic. The Date People's processed dates
(date rolls and nuggets) are unique in that they are raw, having been
spared the industry standard of cooking using steam hydration. Anjou
and Jaime process their soft dates instead of the drier Deglet Noor
date (which are commonly used and almost always requires steam
hydration). The soft dates retain their enzymes making them easier to
digest than their store bought (cooked) counterparts. This makes it
extremely important to buy dates and processed date products directly
from a grower who can assure you they are not hydrated.
As well as the traditional sugary sweet Medjhool and the nutty Deglet
Noor, there are over 140 kinds of dates in the world. Barhis,
Zahidis, black dates, Halawis, and Borrego Honeys are the names of
only a few.
Dates can be enjoyed fresh and whole, processed into nuggets or
rolls, or even blended with water or fruit juice into smoothies.
Dates are best known in their dried form. However, each year's
harvest brings to market a significant number of undried dates in
their fresh moist form. Moist dates are by far the absolute best.
They literally melt in one's mouth and can be relished in quantity
due to their extreme moistness. Being very moist their sugars are
less concentrated and they digest like high water content fruit .
Drying preserves the fruit's shelf life. This may be done by using
fans or through natural drying on the trees as practiced by The Date
People. The fan simply draws the moisture out without any heat being
The hardiest palms yield 500 or more pounds of fruit. In their
newsletter, The International Dateline, Anjou and Jaime note: "One
date palm planted at birth could conceivably supply a person with
practically their entire lifetime supply of food." Dates are almost
nutritionally complete and are a food staple in north Africa and the
Human history reveals a long acquaintance with dates. Mentioned in
the Bible, spoken of in Eastern poetry, and uncovered in
archaeological finds, the date palm enjoys a long and uninterrupted
relationship with humankind. Today's leading producers are Iraq and
Egypt, but dates also abound in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria,
Pakistan, and Sudan. Nearly all of the United States' dates come from
Arizona's Salt River and the Colorado River Valley near Yuma along
with the Salton Basin and interior valleys of California.
Female date palms produce fruit while the males produce the pollen.
One male tree can produce enough pollen for fifty females. Date
growers must do the pollination by hand, collecting and carrying the
pollen to the female flowers. The fruit develops following
pollination and remains green and bitter, resembling an olive, before
turning yellow or red, and finally ripening into shades of gold,
brown, or black. Date palms begin to fruit anywhere from four to ten
years following their planting,and flourish in sandy alkaline soil.
The main necessity for date cultivation, of course, is water for
irrigation. Date bunches are susceptible to damage when nearing
ripeness and are bagged or netted to prevent water, bird, or insect
It is crucial when purchasing this sweet oblong fruit to make sure it
is organically grown, or grown using similar practices. As The Date
People explain, organic dates, as compared to non-organic dates,
provide "more nutrition, better taste, [are part of a] healthier
lifestyle, are not exposed to "malathion-insecticide, methyl bromide-
fumigant, chlorine solutions-mold inhibitor, [nor do they cause] a
more toxic environment." Commercial dates harm both our health and
the life sustaining ability of their bioregion.
Date harvesting is a complicated and timely process. Dates need to be
picked at exactly the right time when neither too wet (if harvested
early) nor too dry (if harvested late). If the dates are too wet they
are prone to damage when being handled and may mold when kept in
storage. Dates which are too dry have less flavor and more chance of
The harvested dates are usually minimally dried and stored in
refrigeration making them readily available year round.
Dates are a nourishing addition to our diets. They can be enjoyed and
relied upon for availability throughout the year. With so many
diverse varieties to be had at such reasonable prices, dates can be
easily stored and refrigerate well for over a year from their
harvest. With the fast pace of life, they are a convenient and
nutritious food source which also brings one great pleasure.
Date Nutrition Facts*
(based on a serving of 10 dates, 85 grams edible portion)
Carbohydrate 57 g
Dietary Fiber 6.4 g
Potassium 560 mg
Protein 2 g
Fat 0 g
Sodium 9 mg
Ten dates provide the following percentages of the U.S. Recommended
Daily Allowances (USRDA) for these nutrients:
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) 2
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) 6
Vitamin B6 8
Folic Acid 4
Pantothenic Acid 4
*Source: California Date Administrative Committee Nutrition Analysis
(Hazelton Laboratories of America Inc., May, 1997.)
Editor's note: It is assumed that the analyzed dates were not
organically grown. From this and other analyses, dates appear to be
one of the most nutrient rich foods on the planet. The USRDA
statistics are provided only as a benchmark; USRDA's are derived from
conventional standard American cooked food dietetics based on an
unhealthy population and are of little real value in many regards;
USRDA theory falls apart when we study raw food nutritional science.
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