Did you know you can eat pancakes for breakfast and still lose weight? Yes my friends, I have finally found a way to eat that is healthy and sustainable (ie I won’t want to chuck the eating plan after 2 days). Heck, it’s even sustainable in that it’s good for the environment!
Mark Bittman’s Food Matters takes all the theory of Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, comments further on the industrial food complex, and presents you with a workable way of eating that isn’t a pain.
As Michael Pollan said, eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Chuck the refined grains, sugars and junk foods. Focus on eating whole food (not processed food stuffs). Eat plant based foods most of the day – whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, lentils, etc etc etc. When you’re hungry, reach for the vegetables first. Then, indulge a little every once in awhile. Have a good piece of white bread, and a small serving of meat at dinner.
The key is to reduce our consumption of animal products (which in turn will help the environment), and focus on nutrient rich, plant based whole foods for the bulk of what we consume, but in the process, to not deprive ourselves of what our body craves.
My mom has been doing the perricone diet on and off for a number of years with moderate success. When she sticks to it, she loses lots of weight. But when she deviates, she gains some back. Overall, she is healthy. But, the diet is so hard to maintain. No grains, no sugars, food has to be eaten in a certain order. Yeah, couldn’t do that.
What makes Mark Bittman’s suggestions great is that they’re just that – suggestions. There’s no hard and fast you must eat x, y and z at this time, and nothing else. There isn’t anything that is expressly forbidden. If you slip up and have a chocolate chip cookie, the world isn’t going to end. Just make sure you don’t have chocolate chip cookies at every meal.
This isn’t about a diet. It’s about changing how you think about eating. A meal doesn’t have to be big slab of meat, a heaping pile of rice and a small portion of vegetables. Once you can look at plant based foods as the meal itself, and the animal based foods as the side dish, you’re on your way.
If you’ve managed to read this far, I bet you’re wondering, UmmSqueakster, where are the pancakes? You promised me pancakes and all I see is a bunch of rambling. Ah yes, the pancakes.
One of the recipes in Food Matters is for Whole Wheat Pancakes. I whipped up a batch, and then eat one for breakfast each day (with just a dollop of real maple syrup and a general helping of fruit on the side). Then for lunch I have a wrap. Last week, I made up a pot of pinto beans and some brown rice, and had whole wheat burritos (with generous portions of spinach and salsa) and a salad every day. This week, I’m having a whole wheat tortilla smeared with roasted garlic hummus, topped with olives and a handful of sprouts. Then for dinner, more recipes from Food Matters (and Whole Food, which is a perfect companion cookbook) that are mainly vegetable with a sprinkling of meat. I made cassoulet with beef and tons of veggies and a roasted root vegetables topped with catfish for dinners this week.
And the best part? I’ve lost 3 lbs this week. Eating pancakes for breakfast! Huzzah!
Whole Grain Pancakes
The secret to light whole grain pancakes is to beat the egg whites really well, so the batter can support not only all whole grain flour – no mean feat – but small amounts of add-ins as well. Some ideas to get you started: ½ cup cornmeal, rolled oats or oat or wheat bran in place of ½ cup of the flour; up to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed; add up to ½ cup of any light, cooked grains like couscous, millet, or quinoa; freshly grated orange or lemon zest; chopped nuts or chopped dried fruit.
For an exotic bread replacement, omit the sugar, increase the salt a bit, replace the cinnamon with cumin, and serve the pancakes as flatbreads with soups, stews or salads.
- Butter as needed
- 1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander or cardamom (optional) [UmmS note – cardamom makes these taste awesome even without a topping)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 2 cups milk
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt.
- Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer or a whisk until still peaks form, but do not overbeat. In a separate bowl beat the yolks, milk and melted butter until foamy, a couple of minutes. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and give a couple of good stirs, but do not overmix. Fold in the egg whites and stir until the batter is just evenly colored and relatively smooth; it’s ok if there are some lumps.
- Heat a large skilled (preferably cast iron) or griddle over medium heat until a few drops of water dance on its surface. Add the butter as needed (or use a thin film of vegetable oil) [UmmS note – I used natural cooking spray]. When the skillet is hot, spoon the batter into pan. Cook until bubbles form and pop, about 2 minutes; you may have to rotate the cakes to cook them evenly, depending on your heat source and pan. Then carefully flip pancakes. Cook until well colored on other side, another minute or two more. Serve or keep in warm oven for a few minutes. Serve with maple syrup, fruit compote, jam or caramelized apples
UmmS also adds – I make 8 to 9 very large pancakes, and eat one each day at breakfast. They last about a week in the fridge, so if it’s going to be just you eating them, I’d freeze half after making them.