Pound cake for a happy dentist
October 23rd, 2015
This morning I went to the dentist and it wasn’t a traumatizing experience. Since decades having a teeth cleaning was like taking part to a war movie where my teeth and gums were attacked by a swarm of bloodthirsty aircraft engaged to fire on the enemy. This morning, however, I had a totally different experience …
I am a bit ashamed to say it, but I have never been good at taking care of my teeth. Fortunately, however, I have never suffered from cavities and for this reason I have always allowed myself to plan the usual check-up every two years instead of every 6 months (yes my dear Italian dentist, I confess, it does not only depends on the fact that “I come from Holland”…). This time also, not to break the tradition, the last inspection dates back to 2013, when a cavity was already discovered but not treated.
This morning there were two people ready to attack the enemy at the same time: the doctor and the assistant. So I prepared myself thinking, “Fabiana, you have faced a modified radical mastectomy, you can do this too! We have to do what we have to do!”. I closed my eyes and began to concentrate waiting for the moment that I would feel a crazy harassment due to the dentist’s tool touching the gum and the tooth bottom to sweep away the tartar. I realized I was waiting a while already… but the experience was totally different from the usual! The gums were not inflamed, did not bleed as usual and teeth cleaning … was not so dramatic! Well, I certainly can not say that I felt nothing at all, one side of my mouth was anesthetized in preparation for the future filling (ok, ok, maybe I’m cheating a bit … :-)), but nothing that would bring me back to the past.
Yet, I have not changed the way I brush my teeth during the last two years: I always wash them twice a day, use very often toothpick and – I know, I know I should do it at least once a day – use dental floss, every once in a while. Moreover – I am also not so proud of this – there are mornings when I forget to brush my teeth because I leave the house running in order to bring the children to school in time. Since I don’t manage to eat I also do not manage to brush my teeth. In fact, the teeth should be cleaned always AFTER having had breakfast, that means – for Italians – AFTER having had a croissant and a cappuccino by the bar. Okay, I close the parenthesis.
Anyway, this experience made me think. I always thought that the condition of my gums depended on the fact that I was not diligent enough. I never thought that – perhaps – that constant inflammation was depending also on the food I was eating! Obviously I want to see it this way, because since two years I committed myself to a healthy diet. Any small sign of improvement gives me of course a great satisfaction… anyway, these are the facts: three years after chemotherapy my teeth and my gums in particular, are better than ever!
So this post is dedicated to all the people who, like me, are starting to walk along the path of awareness but also and especially to dentists. The next time you find someone with very sensitive teeth and gums perpetually inflamed, in addition to asking how they brush their teeth, ask also: “what do you eat?”. Because a diet which is based mainly on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes is good for everyone and fights inflammation. A few weeks ago I wondered if dentists are aware of this: I took the kids to a dental check-up by a practice specialized in children and on the wall there was a leaflet saying “fluoride protects your teeth”. But instead of making a treatment of fluoride to their teeth every six months, would it not be better instead to feed our children homemade treats using only natural sugars? I don’t know, am I talking about science fiction? You tell me …
I am very proud to say that refined sugars do not enter our house for a while. This, however, does not mean that we have given up the pleasure of eating something sweet (and those who follow me on Instagram are well aware of this). In fact, I eat probably more sweet things now than 5 years ago! But sweetened only with fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts. Today’s recipe contains them all.
I prepared this “empty-fridge-bananabread”, as usual, before a trip, using the things I had left. The inspiration comes from a post by Dana McIntyre, from “the crushing cancer kitchen”, a blog I follow for some time now. The recipes she proposes are very often re-interpretations of classic recipes but cleansed of certain elements harmful to our health and enriched by others: those harmful to our cancer cells instead. Besides being totally plantbased and gluten-free, they are also always appetizing. So if you speak English and you do not know her already I suggest you take a look at her blog.
This recipe in particular cannot really be defined “anti-cancer” because, as I said here and here already, banana’s have a high glycemic index and, as all tropical fruit, they contain a high amount of polyamines, on which cancer feeds itself. Moreover, even rolled oats have a relatively high glycemic index. Anyway this cake (you can really define it so!) is not meant for daily consumption. Let’s say it can replace the dear old “grandmother’s cake” of your memories, when you really feel like it. Only, this one has no refined flour, sugar or butter. Here I only used fresh and dried fruit, combining them to a gluten-free cereal (if you are celiac check that your oat is certified) and, unlike Dana, I replaced a good amount of the banana with homemade apple mousse (made simply by cooking some apples with a little water). Moreover I used dried apricots instead of dates because they have a lower glycemic index – but the same intensity of taste – and are not a tropical fruit. In short, although it remains basically a “forbidden” food for a (former) cancer patient, I think it can still be an alternative when you really have that need of “comforting food”. Well, as always, just try not to overdo…
Personally I loved it. It is by far one of the sweetest things I have been eating in the last period! However, the children did not even want to taste it! Mystery of the mysteries, because they usually eat what I cook even if much less sweet that this one. When I asked my husband – the “mouth of truth” 🙂 – if he liked it, he was a bit elusive, but finally he said “when someone is hungry everything tastes good!”. I tell you this to remind you that this is a “healthy dessert”. But I believe that the more you train in this battle against sugar, the more you can enjoy the authentic taste of the natural sugars. Next to a pain-free teeth cleaning, of course :-). Happy you, happy dentist!
250g of oat “flour” (blended rolled oats)
2 tablespoons of flaxseed “flour” (blended flaxseeds)
50g rolled oats
300g banana (about 3)
200g apple mousse
150g dried apricots (whole)
100g dried apricots (chopped in little cubes)
1 tbsp of cinnamon
a pinch of grounded star anise (optional)
lemon zest (from 1 organic untreated lemon)
50 ml of olive oil (cold pressed and with delicate taste)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
.preheat the oven at 175 degrees
.warm up the whole dried apricots in a small saucepan with a little water for about 10 minutes (this will make them softer and easier to blend)
.blend the bananas, the warmed up apricots and apple mousse in a blender and reduce them to a cream
.add the dry ingredients: oat “flour”, oat flakes, flax seeds “flour”, cinnamon, star anise (optional), cream of tartar and mix well
.add the apricots previously cut into small pieces, then the oil and mix together
.pour in a loaf pan covered with baking paper
.cut the pear into stripes and place them parallel to each other on the top of the cake as decoration
.bake in the oven for about 45 minutes
Time 15 minutes preparation time, 45 minutes cooking time
Difficulty very low
Prevention and DIANA diet If you want to know more about the diet recommended by Cascina Rosa (National Cancer Institute of Milan) for women who have had breast cancer, click here (only italian). This diet is anyway suitable for all the people who want to adopt a more healthy lifestyle that will help prevent cancer and other degenerative diseases.