The Pancake Project: engineering a better pancake

In the Chef's Corner, I don't run from a food challenge. My healthy eating perspective, is the opposite of many health gurus, in that they seem to want to force people to stop eating what they like, or to create these strange creations that are totally foreign to your eating habits, you know, like tofu barbecued ribs, tofu smoothies, tofu shaped like a pork chop, tofu bla bla bla, you get me.

In anticipation of my upcoming "Flip the Script" article on "The All American Breakfast", I knew I would have to put together a separate article for pancakes, because this is going to be the marquis challenge for me, the self proclaimed Zen guru of Healthy but Delicious eating. In doing what I love to do, which is research everything so you don't have to, I found that I was well up to the task to create a better, healthier, and tastier pancake; and they are not made from Tofu (whatever tofu is) !!!!!!

I though step one of the quest would be quick and simple, which is basically to go over to Whole foods and analyze the ingredients in their Gourmet Pancake mixes. I wasn't totally happy with any of them. Although most were acceptable to eat occasionally, I had a issue with at least one ingredient in each of the brands. It was either Maltodextrin (corn sugar), cane syrup, soy lecithin, or something else. Don't get me wrong, I could eat a plate of these pancakes from any of these brands and wouldn't think twice about it, but my personal philosophy is that if I am going to eat something consistently, I need all the ingredients to be high quality, because your health and well being is shaped by what you put in your body foodwise, more than genetics, environmental factors, your race, your sex, or anything else, in my humble, but well  researched opinion.

Anyhoo, after several days of research, I was able to get a very good arsenal of pancake recipes together that will move into the development stage, or as we say in computers, the beta stage. My blueberry coconut flour pancakes had always been a treat, but I wanted more variety, so it's time to branch out a little. The hardest challenge was actually the syrup, because are very few types of syrup that I deemed healthy enough to eat consistently. I had been using Agave nectar, but further research deemed it unwise to continue using for me. This great blogger called The Food Renegade posted a very good article on sweeteners. A syrup would have to be in essence something you could go out and create 300 years ago, before the age of chemical additives and such. The only thing I came up with was good old real maple syrup. Below I have included my notes about both butter and syrup.

My pancake recipes I have on separate posts, but the main ones that will go the "pancake beta" stage are linked below. I get into hybrid recipes for pancakes in the future I will be mixing grains and trying different combos for the right consistency moisture, texture, and so forth. I will continue to post my creations and discoveries.

Coconut Flour Pancakes

Oat Flour Pancakes

3 Ingredient Almond Butter Pancakes

Millet Pancakes

2 ingredient Squash Pancakes (Just ran across this on another blog, too interesting not to include)

 

The Healthy Chef's comments about butter and syrup

Note About Butter

My word is not law, but my opinion is here for people who don't wanna research this stuff. For non-vegan healthy eaters, a little real butter is OK here and there. The closer you can get to grass fed butter, the better. If you're lucky, you can find it at a farmers market. Butter is freezable. Good health requires a little work. Remember, if you are going out of your way to make super healthy pancakes like this, you are probably already are a responsible eater.

Real butter is totally processable by the body, and I don't think, in moderation, it is an issue for someone who eats healthy, and stays active. I don't eat butter consistently, so a few dabs every few weeks on some pancakes is no big deal to my body. One the other hand AVOID MARGARINE, AND ALL OTHER ARTIFICIAL SPREADS AT ALL COSTS!!!!! they are not naturally processable by the body and serve no purpose except to be stored as fat by the body, and/or contribute to high triglyceride levels.

A Note about Syrup

The whole premise behind a healthy breakfast is annulled if you use conventional "Aunt Jemima" style syrups. My research unfortunately does not leave a lot of options, I don't even recommend the low glycemic touted Agave Syrup that is currently the big thing. The only one I recommend is real Maple Syrup, It must be unprocessed, and created in the natural "Old School" Type of way. Also there are a few other creative things you can do instead of syrup, as I have found out. for example you can blend pomegranate seeds with a premium organic honey such as Manuka Honey.

Manuka is the best organic raw honey, an unlike most other raw honeys, it is liquid and pourable. Mix the Manuka  with fresh Pomegranate seeds and the pomegranate juice.

 The tart of the pomegranate and sweetness of the honey makes for a good balance. If anyone comes up with any innovative variations to pancake toppings, please let me know, I will post to my blog. Also keep in mind once you get into healthy eating, you won't need to eat a stack of pancakes two feet high. Your body will adjust to eating the amount needed as your body sends signals to the brain that it is properly nourished, and the brain will tell the body it is full, and therefore stop eating. With a proper healthy breakfast from quality ingredients, you will find yourself eventually only wanting a few silver dollar pancakes, don't force it either way, your body will eventually start to speak you, at least that has been my experience.

 

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