Vegan Banana Bread & My New Least Favorite Trend

Hey there, guys–hope you all had a beautiful week. Just a reminder to hit the jump to recipe button above to head straight to the vegan banana bread. There are two recipes ready and waiting for you down there; one loaf is sweetened with maple syrup and the other with stevia. But if you decide to stick around for some chit-chat, then I’m going to tackle my thoughts on thoughts, and how they tie into one of my least favorite social media phrases of the moment…

Trending

At any given time there are always at least a couple of really popular ideas trending on Instagram–and on all social media, I imagine. All of a sudden everyone’s talking about the same thing, and every other meme centers around the subject. It’ll hiss around fiercely for a while, and then die a quiet death as something new steps in to replace it. Honestly, I ignore most all of them, realizing that their life span will be short. And if I don’t approve, there’s really no need to worry; it’ll soon be replaced by the new and shiny buzzword of the moment.

But a while back I stumbled across one that immediately earned a raised eyebrow (probably two), and my quick-fire reaction was one of nah, sorry. I’m not buying it. But I chewed on the concept (as I do), and then spent some time figuring out what my problem with it was (which I also do). And after careful consideration I still found myself at the exact same conclusion: I am firmly opposed to the toxic positivity movement.

Definition Variation

To be clear, when I first came across the phrase and took it to Google, the definition was slightly different than what I was coming across on Instagram. When it comes to suppressing, or ignoring, the negative emotions with an insensitive and placating positive response, then I have to say I agree – it can definitely be a toxic approach. But I found a slight twist on the definition in my social media feed that I don’t agree with at all. The idea that showing only the positive aspects of your life is dishonest or harmful. And that interpretation is the one I’m going to tackle today.

 At Its Core

I’ll just start with the obvious fact that I feel that positive is well, positive. And if it’s inherently “good” at its core, then how have some of us managed to transform it into something so bad? Something to be avoided. I mean, it’s not simply unfavorable, but toxic; it’s a pretty volatile word that has me conjuring up images of skulls and crossbones.

Personally, I feel that the problem lies not in the positive spin that some choose to express, but in the viewer’s determination that that’s all there is. Beginning, middle, and end of story. The positivity isn’t what’s toxic, but rather the skewed interpretation of it. That misconception that this other’s life is all perfect hair days, flawless make-up (that must take hours to apply), candlelit dinners, adventures to distant lands, and storybook lovers. And that blind belief is what I feel is the extremely toxic and wildly damaging part. Truly deadly to the precarious sense of self that too many of us carry around. It isn’t the perceived fairy-tale that’s the issue, but the viewers’ belief that such a fairyland even exists.

Logically, It Can’t Be True

Logically, we know this can’t be true. I have never met a human being, nor do I expect to (ever) meet a human being, who doesn’t have struggles of their own. And while I agree that there is probably a substantial portion of those positive vibes people who only want to create envy by showing you just how “awesome” they have it (or to mask their pain at how un-awesome things really are), there are also the others, like me. The others who understand that what you put out is what you pull in.  And if I’m going to consciously draw in anything, it’s most definitely not going to be more fear or more anger.  Especially since I know perfectly well that they’re going to find me all on their own.

For the sake of this post, let’s just neatly draw a line between negative and positive emotions. I definitely don’t think it’s quite so black and white as that, but that’s another discussion for another day. Smiling, laughing, cheerful, and glass half-full will all fall into the range of positive emotions. Sadness, anger, fear, and glass half-empty will all be lumped under negative.

Have At It

So, I’m not even saying that negativity should be eliminated from social media shares. If you want to cry, rage, or share an anxiety attack, then by all means, have at it. But if that’s really “real,” then so is the flip side. I could be over here crippled with stomach pain, but also super happy because my rose bush is in bloom. I can choose to show the rose or I can choose to show the vomit. How is one less real than the other? The negativity exists, but it doesn’t mean I have to draw attention to it. Maybe that just says something about me and my glass half-full attitude, but I’d rather show the world my pretty flower any day.

What I Won’t Do

When I stepped into the world of Instagram, I knew right away what I wasn’t going to do. I wasn’t going to complain and whine, nor was I interested in posting endless selfies (no offense intended to those who do). I wasn’t going to rage about the rage-worthy things in my life; my intention was never to focus only on the broken and the wrong. I was actually going to behave in the opposite way by choosing to be intentionally positive. I knew everyone wasn’t going to like this (long before I had ever heard of toxic positivity) because I know it rubs some people the wrong way. But it’s how I decided to play the game. Ditto on the blog. Do I lose followers? Maybe. Do I regret it? Honestly, I can’t see myself doing it any other way.

The reason why stems from purely selfish motives, although I believe the effects will inevitably spill over onto others. My why is because I feel that a positive outlook is one of the most powerful positions a person can take to get their life on track and heading in the direction that they want it to. It’s up to me what I choose to put my focus on, the vomit or the rose. The things that are hopelessly broken, or the things I can hopefully fix. And if the words on a page are predominantly negative, then so are the endless thoughts behind them. (And subsequently, so is the world around me.)

Thoughts On Thoughts

But so what, right? Because thoughts are just…air. Less than air, even. Except is that true? People like to pretend that they’re powerless; that these words stay locked in your head and harming none (except maybe yourself). And while I won’t go so far as to say that’s definitely not the truth, I will say that I believe it’s definitely not the truth.

Right now I’m looking at this garden of mine, this lush and beautiful vegetable garden, and I know for a couple years running it was “only” a thought in my mind. But I thought this particular thought over and over, and with such intention, that I infused it with so much energy that here it stands. I mean, when I stop and look around, everything I see was brought into existence by a thought. Someone first thought it, and then had the ambition to make it into a reality. And if thoughts have the power to become manifest, then they must be very powerful. And power can be used in one of two ways–to do good, or to do harm.

Invisible Ripples

I use my garden as an example, but it’s not only on the tangible level that I see my thoughts manifest. All too often their ripples are invisible to the human eye, so we dangerously write them off as insignificant. But don’t thoughts all too often mature into perspective and attitude? Mood and emotion? Remembering back to my panic days, the more (thought) energy that I gave to my fear, the bigger and more overwhelming it became. (Putting up a post of me having a panic attack would have exacerbated it a million fold.) In fact, it wasn’t until I learned how to ride out those suffocating waves of adrenaline and deprive them of my (thought) attention that I learned the secret to my healing (thank you, Dr. Claire). For a decade of my life the power of my thoughts created a living nightmare.

Past Intangibles

Or, here’s another: Each year the local homeschool group put on a “Spring Fling” (this equates to a prom). A formal attire affair, with a sit-down meal,  professional photos, and hours of dancing; it was a night the girls looked forward to all year. One late spring evening we were on our way to the bash with three dolled up girls in the back seat. Their energy was through the roof: excitement, anticipation, probably a touch of nervousness. Honestly, the car may have been vibrating, the energy was so dang strong. Invisible thoughts so powerful that they knocked out all of the gauges in the car. The speedometer and the gas gauge–everything just dropped down to lifeless.

It was weird, and I waited a minute to see if the car was going to quit on me. But at the same time I was also aware of how many things we had manifested from mere thought through the years. I kept on driving and figured that if it was the energy of the girls, once they departed the car all would be well. Which is…exactly what happened. (The same scenario played out on two other occasions.) The gauges returned to working order and no repair was ever made. You might be inclined to call it a fluke; I call it energy (thought) interference.

Present Intangibles

One more energy example (I promise), and this one happened just recently. I mentioned in my last post about a crazy-deep spiritual conversation I was recently engaged in. And when I say deep, I mean really, really deep. God, faith, humanity, inhumanity, evil, light, dark nights–we were going all out.  And one of those mornings I was sitting at the table drafting up a reply to a recent message. I was so engrossed (in my thoughts) that I only just barely noticed when Riley Mae sat down next to me and started in on some computer work. Didn’t notice until I heard her start muttering in irritation.

“What is wrong with my computer?” she grumbled, perplexed. I looked over to see her screen flashing, the page randomly scrolling up and down, not responding to anything she did to try and stop it. In an instant I saw that gas gauge in my mind’s eye and knew it was probably all me.

“Sorry,” I apologized. “I’ll be done in just a minute.” I finished up, deliberately calmed my thoughts and said, “You should be fine now.”

And just like when the girls had exited the car, once my thoughts stilled, her computer returned to normalcy and hasn’t repeated its tantrum since.

Thoughts, Word & Deed

Okay, I kind of went off on a thought tangent there (because it’s cool, and also relevant), but the point that I’m getting to is that what I put out in the world (even my invisible thoughts) has an enormous impact on everything. My thoughts influence, my words influence, and my actions influence. Each of us has this crazy potent power to shape the world, so how do we want to wield it? How do we choose to channel it and direct it?

Because who’s going to argue that there isn’t already enough negativity in the world? There are already countless people using their power in harmful ways that are manifesting dangerous things all around us. The language of hate. The fire of blind rage. The hopeless tears of frustration and depression. None of those “negative” emotions (again, generalization) create the world I want to live in. But you know what the worst part is? How it spreads and infects. At this point I’m pretty sure it’s deadly contagious.

So if what I’m putting out has an impact on everyone who reads my words, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, then I feel like I have a responsibility. I can choose one of two attitudes, one of positivity or one of negativity. Either one will make an inevitable impact, so what am I choosing to express?

Energetically Buzzing

Maybe this sounds kind of extreme, I mean, we’re talking about an Instagram page. How much of an impact can it have? All I have to say to that is “Storm Area 51.” It may sound crazy to you, but it’s also contagious. Thoughts are energy and that energy is always moving. If my mind is buzzing with thoughts of God so energetic that they want to fry my daughter’s computer, well, doesn’t that just make you wonder what they could create given definite direction?

So yes, I see the potential problem with a visitor coming to my Instagram and believing that the pictures on a page and the words in my “limited” caption sum up the entirety of my life. (In my defense, I never pretend that all is always well in my world, but it’s true; I will find the silver lining.) What I’m saying is, I vote that we don’t blame the positivity, but rather the self-destructive tendency so many of us have to compare. Because all too often we find ourselves lacking, we come up short, and judge ourselves harshly based on an illusion. And what do you really know about that illusion, anyway? For all you know, it’s 1000% fairy-tale.

Sending Love

My positivity is never intended to make anyone’s pain any less valid. And if you need to cry and share because you’re lacking someone in your life that’ll see your hurt, then do it; I’ll send you much love and wish you even more peace. And if you want to hunt down the silver lining in your pain, then I just might know someone up for the job. But I stand firm: I’m not a fan of the whole toxic positivity thing. There’s a world I want to co-create, guys, and it looks a whole lot different than the one I’m living in. And I can’t see anything toxic about the positive methods I’m using to make it happen.

banana bread
A slice of moist and sweet banana bread makes for a tasty snack!
Quick Change of Subject…

And now? I’m going to change subjects distressingly quick. We’re moving onto…banana bread–because yum. Breads always remind me of autumn weather; apparently I dive into breads once the cool weather arrives. So when my husband innocently puts several perfectly overripe bananas in the fridge, quietly hoping that they magically bake themselves into a loaf of bread…what can I do but oblige? I’ve included two recipes below (both vegan, of course); one is for a loaf of banana bread using maple syrup as a sweetener, and the other uses stevia. Both of these banana bread recipes can be found in my cookbook, Compassion Tastes Better. (Found here and here.) Sorry about this rambling paragraph, but it’s 100% for SEO purposes. But you’re probably used to that by now…

Hope you all have a fabulous week, and be extra careful with those thoughts. Who knows what beauty you could create?

Love & Light ~ Melinda

banana bread

0 from 0 votes
Banana Bread (maple syrup sweetened)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
55 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 
Course: Snack
Keyword: gluten free, maple syrup sweetened, vegan
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 168 kcal
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
  • 2 cups rolled oats (ground into flour)
  • ½ cup walnuts (chopped)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
Wet Ingredients
  • 2 medium bananas (very ripe)
  • cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup chia egg (or flax egg. see note below)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
  • ¼ cup applesauce (unsweetened)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°

  2. 1. Add the flour, walnuts, and baking powder to a mixing bowl, stirring well.

  3. 2. Add the bananas, maple syrup, chia egg, coconut oil and applesauce to the blender and blend until smooth.

  4. 3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased bread pan and bake for 55-60 (or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean). Makes 1 loaf of bread.

Chia Egg instructions
  1. Grind 1 tablespoon of chia seed (I use a small coffee grinder) and add to ½ cup of water. Whisk until thoroughly mixed. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the chia has thickened into somewhat of a gel. ¼ cup of chia egg is equal to 1 egg.

Nutrition Facts
Banana Bread (maple syrup sweetened)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 168 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Sodium 3mg0%
Potassium 266mg8%
Carbohydrates 21g7%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 13IU0%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 67mg7%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
0 from 0 votes
Banana Bread (stevia sweetened)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
55 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 
Course: Snack
Keyword: gluten free, sugarfree, vegan
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 149 kcal
Author: Melinda
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
  • 1 1/3 cups rolled oats (ground into flour)
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup walnuts (chopped)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon stevia (SweetLeaf stevia powder)
Wet Ingredients
  • 2 medium bananas (very ripe)
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup chia egg (see instructions below)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
  • ¼ cup applesauce (unsweetened)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°

  2. 1. Add the flours, walnuts, baking powder, and stevia to a mixing bowl, stirring well.

  3. 2. Add the bananas, water, chia egg, coconut oil, and applesauce to the blender and belnd until smooth.

  4. 3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased bread pan and bake for 55-60 minutes (or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean). Makes 1 loaf of bread.

Chia Egg Instructions
  1. Grind 1 tablespoon of chia seed (I use a small coffee grinder) and add to ½ cup of water. Whisk until thoroughly mixed. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the chia has thickened into somewhat of a gel. ¼ cup of chia egg is equal to 1 egg.

Nutrition Facts
Banana Bread (stevia sweetened)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 149 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Sodium 13mg1%
Potassium 229mg7%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 13IU0%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 57mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

For more vegan fare please hop on over to my Recipes page. (Also, Vegan Banana Bread can be found in my cookbook, Compassion Tastes Better.)

5 thoughts on “Vegan Banana Bread & My New Least Favorite Trend

  1. So I’ve not heard of toxic positivity. I mean, I think I understand what it is but I didn’t realize that there was a name to it. I should have known though. Everything has a name on social my favorite line from your blog post is: what I put out in the world (even my invisible thoughts) has an enormous impact on everything. I know this is true. I’m more of a glass half-empty person and I work on that every day to make sure that I’m not being too negative. I also like to show that everything’s not perfect in my life (hello, dirty kitchen post on IG). But it is so easy to get caught up in seeing everyone’s ‘perfect’ life posts on social media. I’m glad you brought attention to toxic positivity.

    1. Hey Kristin 🙂

      Yeah, this one just rubbed me the wrong way, lol, and I really wanted to address it. There’s another really popular one right now that makes me just as “nah, I don’t think so,” but that one’s too hot to touch right now. Maybe some day… 😉 But mostly I wanted to address it because there may be some that think me one of those toxic individuals. Being positive doesn’t equate to being perfect, not in my eyes anyway. It’s an attitude, versus a state of having it all figured out (and WHO has it all figured out?). But seriously, I don’t see anything negative about a dirty kitchen, that’s just life. As for the comparing and getting caught up in others “perfect lives,” I had a conversation recently that will likely turn into a blog post. It’s a dangerous thing to do, and so many of us fall into the trap! There’s always so much more going on below the surface of a pretty picture.

      And I LOVE how you’ve been working so hard at being positive – your posts definitely reflect that. And I always appreciate it! 🙂 Hope you have a beautiful weekend. xoxo

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