Story and Recipe collected by Alex Smith, Summer 2017

I grew up with a typical “American” diet: white bread, milk, eggs; the works. I never
really understood vegetarian diets or vegan lifestyles. However, as I began to become a chubby
kid leading up to junior high, I became determined to find a diet that would help me. I would
later find out that if I made a bigger change to my overall lifestyle, then I could better the
environment as well as my own body.

My family is known to have big meals of many hearty foods. My mother, specifically, is
known for her love of baking. She developed her own recipes, but my personal favorite is her
banana bread recipe. My mother’s original recipe included animal-based sources such as milk
chocolate, milk, and butter. Yes, I loved her baking as it was not only something she developed
herself, but also something she worked on all the time to get better at; her hobby.

As I began to work on my diet, I moved from my meat-based diet on to a vegetarian diet.
I was focused on losing weight first, but then I took a look at some food documentaries. One
specific documentary stood out: Cowspiracy. It was a film showing the how dairy farms make
the biggest impacts on the environment, and how moving to a vegan diet can help sustainability
and move away from the deforestation that dairy farms carried out. I knew switching over to a
vegan lifestyle would not only be beneficial for me, but also the environment as a whole. I took
many foods I once had eaten out of my diet, but I was determined to keep one of my favorite
foods in it, which was my mom’s banana bread. She looked for a way to remove eggs and butter
out of it, and the solution was using over-ripened bananas. These are the bananas that start to
turn black on the outside and are usually considered rotten and are thrown away. Though, the
fruit is still edible, albeit soft and extremely sweet. They could be used in place of eggs and oil.
So, instead of throwing them away, my mom found a way to use them up. Along with that, I was
able to connect back to my family’s enjoyment of baking through this newly-made vegan recipe
my mom adapted. In this way, I was able to be part of my family’s pastime as well as keep my
vegan lifestyle, and for that reason this recipe is important to me.

4 ripe bananas
2⁄3 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon of salt
Optional ingredients:
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1⁄2 bag of vegan chocolate chips (example: EnjoyLife)

-Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 8x4’’ loaf pan
-Mash bananas in a large bowl
-Add sugar, vanilla, and water to bananas and mix well
-In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder (also cinnamon if desired)
-Pour flour mixture into banana mixture and mix well (add chocolate chips now if desired)
-Pour batter into loaf pan
-Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean