Buckwheat pancakes with blueberry compote (and why to go gluten-free)

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As mentioned in My Philosophy, one of the first things that I eliminated from my diet was gluten. You have probably heard a lot about gluten intolerance over the last few years, and now there appears to be ‘gluten-free’ options everywhere you go.  For the most part I tend to steer away from anything that is packaged as ‘gluten-free’ mainly because it’s also packed with highly processed ingredients. When I talk about ‘gluten-free’, it’s about finding alternative whole foods that haven’t been processed with gluten.

Why is gluten suddenly the bad guy?

Here are a few facts about gluten and why it should be eliminated from the diet of anyone that has inflammation in the body:

  • Gluten is the protein found in wheat (gliadins), rye (secalins) and barley (hordeins).
  • Gluten is not naturally occurring in corn, rice, or oats, but may be cross-contaminated by facilities that also process wheat, barley, or rye products (therefore I recommend that you minimise your consumption of corn, rice and oats).
  • Gluten is predominantly the number 1 inflammatory food in our diet. Dairy is a close number 2.
  • More than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten – the major one being Coeliac Disease
  • It has been estimated that 99% of the people who have either gluten intolerance or Coeliac disease are never diagnosed

Here are some common symptoms experienced by those with gluten intolerance:

  • Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhoea and even constipation
  • Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten
  • Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis
  • Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or a feeling of being off balance
  • Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility
  • Migraine headaches
  • Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips
  • Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and attention deficit disorder (ADD)

We consume much higher amounts of gluten in today’s world due to the vast amount of highly refined wheat products available. The global “addiction” to highly processed starches (i.e. biscuits, crackers, white bread and chips) has led to gluten overload. To make matters worse, gluten is often added to products with the aim of increasing protein and assisting with texture e.g. gluten can be found in salad dressings, prepared soups, broths, gravies, marinades, and more. Unfortunately over time, it has been proven that the duration of gluten exposure in a gluten sensitive individual is a key factor in the development of autoimmune disease. I say no thanks!

So where does that leave us?

We need to start getting creative and thinking outside the box. Admittedly one of the hardest things I faced in the early months of giving up gluten was that I struggled with breakfast choices! Previously, my breakfast consisted of wheat based cereals, oat based muesli or porridge, or toast in all varieties (white, brown, multigrain, rye, sourdough)! I struggled with coming up with ideas for breakfast, and was not a huge fan of the gluten-free bread options available in the supermarkets… cardboard anyone?!

SO I was very excited when I stumbled across this beauty of a recipe in Lee Holmes, Supercharged Foods cookbook. The fact that its pancakes done in such a healthy way – I was doubly excited!!

As well as being delicious, this recipe has many amazing health benefits:

    • Buckwheat flour: buckwheat is one of the most diverse alternatives to gluten and grain flours. While many people think that buckwheat is a cereal grain, it is actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat is great for the cardiovascular system and has been linked to lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Buckwheat also contains almost 86 milligrams of magnesium in 1 cup serving – magnesium relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure = the perfect combination for a healthy cardiovascular system.
    • Blueberries: these little blue beauties are a nutritional powerhouse bursting with antioxidants that fight cancer and other diseases and are one of nature’s perfect anti-inflammatory foods.
    • Coconut oil: this tropical trooper is one of the best healthy fats that you can add to your diet to boost your metabolism, support your immune system, beat sugar cravings and ease digestion.

So here is one of my favourite breakfast recipes (or brunch, for those lazy weekends with herbal tea and newspaper in tote!)

INGREDIENTS

Pancakes

½ cup buckwheat flour

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

I free-range egg

5 drops liquid stevia

1 cup rice milk or almond milk

Coconut oil

Cashew or macadamia nut butter, to serve (optional)

Blueberry compote

1 cup fresh blueberries

2 Tbs filtered water

5 drops liquid stevia

½ tsp natural vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Mix ingredients. Mix flour and baking powder in a large jug. Add the egg, stevia and milk and whisk to remove any lumps. Leave for 10 minutes to settle.

Make blueberry compote. Put all blueberry compote ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring often. Keep warm while making pancakes.

Cook pancakes. Heat oil in small frying pan on high heat. Carefully pour in batter, swirling to cover pan with a thin layer. Reduce heat slightly and when browned, or bubbles appear, flip to brown other side.  Remove from pan and keep warm while making the other pancakes.  Coat the pan with a little more oil as needed.

Serve. Pancakes with warm blueberry compote, and a side of macadamia or cashew nut butter if desired.

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Enjoy 🙂