This stracciatella overnight oats recipe is my go to breakfast at the moment. I make it most Sundays to tide me over for the week ahead and never seem to get sick of it. In fact, I could probably go on eating it for the rest of my life, except for this nagging thought:
I am pretty sure this breakfast is a healthy choice for me, but I am not sure about it being healthy for everyone.
Here is the thing, like a tonne of ‘healthy’ breakfasts floating around the blogging world, it is pretty heavy on bananas. And I feel we don’t spend enough time thinking about what it means to consume large quantities of foods like this, which are often grown on the other side of the world to where they are eaten and have a hell of a story to tell.
In fact, I think bananas are kind of the poster child of a crazy food system…
There is a massive inequality in how the money you pay at the store is distributed to all those involved in growing and distributing the fruit, making them an example of the huge imbalances in the system. This is especially true for the farmworkers who toil long hours in difficult conditions to grow the fruit, often for very low pay and difficult working conditions.
Although there are over a thousand different varieties of banana, only one variety, the Cavendish, makes up the majority of the export market. This makes bananas another example of the excessive biodiversity loss we are facing in agriculture. The monoculture production with minimal genetic diversity leaves us vulnerable to diseases that could completely wipe out the industry. Actually, this has already happened once and the threat is here again ….
Due to our demands for a perfect shape and ripeness, tonnes of perfectly good fruit are discarded weekly, making bananas an example of the excessive loss and waste of food that happens around the world.
Phew, that got depressing quickly. Now you are probably not so sure about if you should make this recipe or not, right? Well, I know how you feel, thinking about it has also made me go a little…bananas. And sadly, there is not one simple answer for how to fix this mess we got ourselves into. But, I do really believe that shouldn’t stop us from being curious and learning what we can hopefully change things for the better.
So in that spirit – while you are waiting for your overnight oats to soak, why not dive deeper into this question and check out this great mini documentary “Beyond the Seal”:
It tracks our humble bananas from the field to the store and tells the story of all the hands that feed us along the way. You will learn more about the challenges facing banana production, some of the solutions, and the trade-offs between fair trade and organic. This can also help us understand if, and how, labels are helping to solve these problems.
I hope you find it as interesting as I did, and ponder these questions further over your overnight oats! If you would like to know more about bananas just leave a comment below and I can put together a longer post on this ubiquitous fruit!
Happy eating….. and thinking!
- 2 Large Bananas (ripe to very ripe)
- ½ Cup Oats (I use quick oats)
- ⅓ Cup Ground Hazelnuts (or Ground Almonds)
- 3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
- 1-2 Tablespoons Cacao Nibs (if you cant find them you can use sugar free dark chocolate chips)
- ¾ Cup Milk of your choice (normal or plantbased, both work fine)
- ½ Teaspoon Bourbon Vanilla (or any type you can find, optional)
- Peel the bananas and place them in a medium sized bowl. Mash them with a fork.
- Add all other ingredients on top. Mix well.
- Cover bowl and leave in the fridge to soak overnight or for a couple of hours.
- Mix well to recombine before serving as the banana will brown slightly. Keep in refrigerator for up to 4 days.
PS – I’d like to give a little shout out to my friend and former work colleague Aimee for the many hours of interesting discussions on this topic based on her PhD thesis on Fair Trade bananas, and for always sending me new articles and links!