Five days to go until the Dubai marathon. I ran my last training run today, 12k at marathon pace. It felt good. I know from experience that I find it harder to get into a certain pace in training runs, but don’t seem to have the problem at races (where it actually counts). My adrenaline works very reliable then, and gets my competitive side going.

I decided not run until Friday, to have rested legs. I am a firm believer in rested legs. In the past (intended or not) I often did not run at all for 4-5 days before a race. So it has become part of my religion or race superstition. It might get hard not to run by Wednesday, as my nerves will surely get jittery by then. I have planned to carb-load on Tuesday and Wednesday, and just eat normally and light on Thursday. Too many carbs can you make feel quite heavy, and I want them stored in my muscles and otherwise out of my system when I line up at the starting line on Friday morning.

The weather conditions will be good. The forecast now says it will be around 18C. That’s quite cool for Dubai, and surely good enough to run a marathon.

I have trained hard to run this marathon in 3:45:00. Please keep your fingers crossed that I will make it. I feel confident. I know I can do it.

I hope it will pay off that I not only trained hard and systematically, but also paid more attention than ever to my diet. I hardly ever eat processed foods, refined sugars and flours are eliminated to almost 100% from my daily menu. I eat as wholesome as possible, with a good variety of raw and cooked veggies, fruit, nuts, legumes, lean meats and eggs. I go gluten-free wherever I can. I am feeling energized, balanced and healthy.

Today’s recipe is a breakfast loaf that I have been baking for 4-5 times in a row. It fits the bill for all the dietary adjustments mentioned above. It’s good enough for breakfast or as mid-afternoon snack. A good snack to have after a long run too. I also baked this loaf for a friend who gave birth to a baby girl a month ago. Delicious, wholesome and nutritious for breastfeeding mothers. A no-guilt cake for absolutely everyone!

3/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup mashed bananas (2 very ripe medium bananas)
1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup carrots, coarsely grated

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

1/4 cup pistachios or hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cranberries
Yields 1 loaf

Preheat oven to 180C/375F. Grease or line loaf tin with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine almond meal, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs. Stir in vanilla, coconut oil and mashed bananas. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Fold in dates, carrots, coconut, cranberries and chopped nuts. Break up bigger lumps of dates if they stick together.

Transfer batter to prepared loaf tin. Bake for 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.




  1. wow, this is a compendium of everything good and good for you, and of all I look for in a sweet bread loaf. Pinned it and saved it for the next future!

  2. Way to go Anja. May you feel energised and run fast on race day. Good luck!

  3. Good luck on the 3:45:00 time – that would be an amazing achievement. Look forward to what victory treats to bake afterwards 🙂

  4. Anja, please help me: 3/4 cup almond meal is how many grams? Thank you 🙂

  5. Looks yummy and healthy, thanks for the recipe!

  6. Hi Anja,
    This sounds delicious. I can’t wait to try it. Just wondering, I have hazelnut meal. Do you think I could use that instead?
    Good luck with the Marathon!

  7. @ Rachel
    I found this info on the web: 1 cup finely ground = 100 grams.

    @ Nicole
    I am sure you can substitute with hazelnut meal. Let me know how it worked out if you use it.

  8. Thank you Anja for the conversion 🙂 Can’t wait to make this loaf (somewhere this afternoon!) X

  9. Good luck for the run! Any way to make this without the eggs, or substitute them?

  10. Good luck for the Marathon! Is there any way to make this without eggs or substitute them?

  11. Gee, Anja, you’ve done it again. Last week, I saw your Spelt Quick Bread and just HAD to do it, like, immediately. (It was very good btw. Post coming soon, too!) Now this. I’m so gonna have to add that one to my must try list.

    To think I’m trying to keep my carbs in check. Guess I’ll have to start training for a marathon, too, at that rate!

    Speaking of which, I’ll be thinking about you this coming Friday. 3 hours and 45 minutes is quite the challenge, but you sooo can do it. I know you can. So go get ’em! Run like the wind!

  12. Good luck with the marathon, Anja. Would love to hear your thoughts post-marathon. Remember reading one last year(that’s how I found your blog)

  13. Good luck on the marathon! Hope you complete the whole thing too! ^^ Reading about you getting ready for your marathon makes me want to go out for a jog or do get in a good workout! (Something I’ve been neglecting for awhile now)
    The loaf looks great, and yummy. I pinned this onto my To Try Recipes on Pinterest.

  14. Just wanted to let you know I made this loaf last night for me and the husband, and! It was delightful. It was so moist and full of flavor and it’s already almost gone. My husband raved about it and my mom has made me promise to make it for them when they’re here this weekend. Thanks for the great recipe!

  15. Hi:) I am from NZ and made this recipe last night! SOOOO yummy and almost all gone BUT it did come out almost TOO moist that it comes apart a little. I could not find coconut oil in our little supermarket here so had to use a different type. Do you think that makes a difference? Thanks:)

  16. Ah such a light and fruity way to start your day! Going to have to put this on the must-make list!

  17. This is amazing Anja! I chanced upon this recipe while searching for “healthy date loaf recipe” and what a winner! I have told lots of people about this one and your site! It is so tasty, moist and filling, and I can bake this and eat it without feeling guilty!! I sliced it up and wrapped it in twos and froze it for quick brekkys. Thank you so much! PS. This is my first recipe with almond meal & it is amazing!

  18. Emma, I am glad you like it. I regularly crave this cake (more than any other from this blog). For me, it’s also a perfect way to use up overripe bananas which I often seem to have in abundance.

  19. Good luck with your marathon! Your recipe looks like perfect running fuel 🙂

  20. Did you use a regular size loaf pan or a mini loaf pan?

  21. Hi Anja,

    I dont have any coconut oil- would i be able to use olive oil instead?
    I made your Spiced Flax Balls the other day and they were SOOOO good 🙂


  22. Delicious!!! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  23. Big idea!!! looks so, so nice and healthy!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  24. This looks amazingly delicious !! I have a question…regarding the eggs…. is there any eggs alternative… my daughter is allergic to eggs !!! I really want to make this !!

  25. So excited to be making this today. Thanks!

  26. Wow!!! This is fabulous ! Me and my 2 year old have a new breakfast item.
    You are a genius !

    Cannot wait to try your other items 🙂

  27. I am excited to make this tomorrow! My mom is coming for a visit in 3 days, and I am making it for her…what is the best way to store this bread? Wrapped in the fridge? Or just wrapped up on the counter?


  28. Courtney, I usually keep it wrapped and in the fridge. I hope your mom will like it.

  29. Thanks so much, Anja. I just took it out of the oven, and my apt smells amazing! Once it cools I will wrap it and keep it in the fridge til my mom gets here. Thanks again!

  30. I made this bread tonight for a side at dinner, but I used some buckwheat flour and almond flour to make up the almond portion, and since I am out of cranberries, I diced apples. Oh, and I didn’t have pistachios or hazelnuts, so I used walnuts. It turned out really well. Thank you!

  31. I made this this morning and it’s good but did seem too moist. I kind of blotted it with a paper towel to get some of the grease off. I’ve had this happen with other paleo baked goods this normal?

  32. This cake is very moist, but mine have never needed paper towels to get the grease off. Try half the amount of oil next time, or even omit an egg.

  33. Anonymous, are you in the US? Tbsp are different sizes here in Australia, 4 US tbsps are equivalent to 3 Australian Tbps. I forgot that once and the cake was a bit oily that time.

  34. Delicious! I came upon your site while looking for grain free snacks. Boy, am I glad I found this site. Thank you!

  35. I substituted pecans and apricots for the hazelnuts and dates. Delicious and perfectly moist.

  36. This bread is fantastic! I make it almost every week, and now some of my friends and family are also making it – in NY, Marseilles & Dublin! I recently tried it with homemade apple & cinnamon sauce instead of the mashed banana (simply because I’m trying to eat less bananas) and it was delicious. Then I made it with homemade pear & vanilla sauce and that was wonderful too. I cut it into thick slices and freeze a couple for a ready-to-qo delicious & nutritious breakfast. Thanks so much for this great recipe, and the inspiration. I’m looking forward to trying some more of your recipes.

  37. Any substitution for the dates??

  38. The dates provide the sweetness so you want to use other sweet dried fruit. Perhaps raisins and dried apricots?

  39. Norma I have read chia seeds soaked in water make a gel to use as an egg substitute. Try a google search for more info – sorry, I didn’t note quantities.

  40. Sooo good! thank you so much for this recipe, this will be a keeper. This is my 4th recipe from you that I am adopting, I love you!!

  41. I made this earlier today. I used unsweetened dried cherries in place of the cranberries and walnuts in place of the hazelnuts. I ate 3 pieces of it already. Really good!! Thanks for a great recipe!

  42. This looks delicious! Could you please tell me the dimensions of the loaf pan you used?

  43. Gosh!! just discovered your blog! amazing recipes, I have been trying to make recipes with no added refined sugars and you have so many of them. Must try this recipe, will have to substitute the almond meal as my son is allergic to nuts.

  44. Hello! I have discovered your blog few months ago. Thank you so much for all these beautiful recipes! I am trying to cut the wheat and the sugar in my diet and your blog is just perfect for that! I have a question for this recipe. Do you think we could use coconut flakes instead of desiccated coconut?

  45. I am sure coconut flakes will be as good as the amount is rather small.

  46. This one is our favourite so far… it’s so moist and yummy, we L-O-V-E it. Thanks a lot for all the great recipes Anja! xxx

  47. I notice that most loaf receipes require mashed bananas..I am allergic to bananas…what would be the most appropriate alternative….??
    Would love to make this carrot/coconut loaf..

  48. The bananas bind and sweeten. Alternatively you could try a combination of apple sauce and honey?

  49. Do you use sweetened cranberries or just plane cranberries? And would it be ok to completely omit the cranberries?
    Thank you!

  50. The cranberries just add a little bit of sourness to it. can be completely omitted if you don’t like it

  51. this did not turn out for me – too moist, not enough flavor, perhaps because my bananas weren’t ripe enough. Trashed it.

  52. I made this last night and was gobsmacked at how light and delicious it was! Will be regularly adding this to my menu. Thank you for being creative in your kitchen!

  53. Would like to try this as muffins. Would it still work, maybe with less cooking time thanks?

  54. Is the coconut oil melted or solid?

  55. Dear Anja,

    I LOVED this loaf! Thank you so much for this great recipe! I have two questions though:
    1. How long do you think this loaf will keep in the fridge? I always keep my paleo loafs in the fridge, because of the eggs and bananas, but I think I throw them out too soon – fearing they might be spoiled..How long does this loaf keep in the fridge, and do you pop it in right after baking, or do you let it cool first?
    2. Can you freeze this loaf? If so, do you pop it in right after baking, or do you let it cool first?
    Thank you!!

  56. I keep this in the fridge too, never froze it though. Mine don’t usually last that long. But I’d say that a week would be fine?! I let it cool completely before putting it in the fridge.

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