Good MORNIN Campers! Well, it’s the middle of the afternoon but potato / potatoe. So unless you do breakfast for dinner, it’s probably too late to make these today, but do yourself a solid and put this recipe on your list for next weekend.
Every Saturday morning, I wake up *literally* dreaming about pancakes (it’s probably Pinterest’s fault). But I never (ever) eat them because I know I’ll feel like hot garbage afterward. I made the shift to being (mostly) gluten free when I moved to Cali last year, and guess what?? It really wasn’t hard, I never feel deprived and I have never felt better. I never feel sluggish during the day anymore (I used to want to take a siesta every afternoon), my joints no longer ache (I thought I might have to have hip surgery at one point), and I also shaved off an extra 10 lbs off that I had been carrying around for about 10 years without really realizing it (I’ll dive deeper into that another time). So if there’s any food I love (like flapjacks) that I can find a way to do grain/gluten free without it totally sucking, I’m all for it.
Enter our favorite goddess of wisdom, happiness and all things healthy – Megan McGrane. Meg has been inspiring Karrie and I for years with her sweet, wholesome spirit and mouth-watering (and still so good for you), easy-peasy recipes. We’re also STOKED because she has graciously agreed to guest post on Covet Living from time to time, and you’re welcome in advance because she’s AMAZING. Anyhoo – I asked if she could create a healthy pancake recipe for me, and girlfriend did me real proud. She also breaks down the anti-inflammatory diet for us, which is something everyone should take a few minutes to read (*COUGH*, Mom). This is Meg – hey girl heeeeeeeeey!
And these are her pancakes that I took for a spin this morning and they’re ON POINT.
(Just ask Gus)
I’ll let Megs take the mic!
An Anti-Inflammatory Diet (and a Recipe to Make You Love It)
Trust me, this ends with pancakes….just stick with me for a moment…..
Have you ever noticed how some foods just make you feel “off” after you eat them? Maybe after your last trip to brunch you were ready to curl up in a ball on the couch instead of tackle your day or hit the beach? I promised there would be pancakes…and just about everyone loves ‘em, but what you may not love is the feeling you get after taking down a short stack. Bloated? Fatigued? Foggy? Less than fabulous?
I get it, because I used to feel this way too, and then some. That was until I ditched grains, gluten and dairy. Instead I started focusing on filling my place with healthy fruits, vegetables, and protein. That is when I saw my health, my energy, and the way I thought about food start to change.
Regularly eating gluten, grains, dairy, even sugar can be pretty irritating to the system. While popular women’s magazines have beat the phrase about treating our “diet like a bank account” into the collective female mind since puberty, I have to say there is way more to it than that. Frankly, our body and our digestive system is less like a bank account keeping tally of calories and more like a chemistry lab measuring and reacting with every chemical that enters the system. Everything we eat goes through a serious process of breakdown, digestion, and detoxification. And when we get down to digesting things like grains and gluten, our chemistry lab starts to short circuit. Our bodies just don’t digest them well and the results aren’t pretty. The breakdown of grains and gluten tends to be pretty irritating to the gut lining, where the hard work of digestion is being done. When your gut gets irritated, you get inflammation. Inflammation is at the core of things like acne (and wrinkles!), digestive disorders, weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and some studies have even liked gut dysfunction to anxiety and depression.
So, before you banish all foods from your pantry and have a dietary melt down, hang in there and just hear me out.
Grains are high in carbohydrates and they contain lectins and phytates. All you need to know about lectins and phytates are that they prevent you from absorbing key nutrients in your food and they can make your gut angry causing bloating, gas, and other undesirable effects. When you cut down on grains, your gut (and your waistline) will thank you.
Gluten (I know…insert collective groan here…) was the nutrition buzz-word of 2011. By now, most everyone has heard about gluten and why we shouldn’t eat it en masse. Most of the time gluten appears to our gut (remember chemistry lab!) as a foreign substance, causing irritation to the gut and immune system activation, which can cause leaky junctions in the intestinal lining and contribute to illness like autoimmune disease. Even if you don’t have medical issues like Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance, chances are you will just feel better if you minimize the amount of gluten you eat. Don’t believe me? Just try going gluten-free for two weeks. That’s it. I haven’t had a friend, family member or coaching client yet that didn’t feel better energy and improved digestion after their fourteen days were over.
While we are on the topic, dairy is another beauty bane. Unfortunately, we live in a world where our dairy cows are loaded up with artificial hormones and antibiotics to keep them ‘healthy’ as they produce milk. Those hormones and drugs make their way into the milk and then into our bodies when we eat diary products. Extra hormones often cause breakouts and skin problems like redness and inflammation (there’s that word again!). I’m not saying never have cheese again…just try to make your dairy organic if possible and make sure you buy organic, pasture raised eggs.
How This Works….
Ready for your super simple, anti-inflammatory approach to eating? Take your plate, fill it up with mostly vegetables, add some healthy fat like avocado or olives, and then top it with a little lean protein like chicken, fish, bison, or grass-fed beef. It is that simple. If you do this most days of the week, the occasional gelato run or wine and cheese combo isn’t so bad. When you aim for this 80% of the time, your other 20% can be pretty worry-free.
There are many different names for this basic approach to eating. An 80/20 lifestyle, a Paleo diet, a Grain-Free diet, an anti-inflammatory diet…the list goes on. Let’s just keep it simple. Lots of vegetables + a side dish of protein + healthy fat, the occasional piece of fruit. Easy right? So you may be thinking, but what does that look like? A big salad with grilled chicken, olives and a great salad dressing. A grass fed burger (no bun!) with avocado and a side of roasted vegetables. An egg frittata with spinach and tomato. A melon + prosciutto appetizer.
It really isn’t fair to call this a diet. It is just healthy, tasty, and helps you get rid of inflammatory grains, gluten and dairy while keeping added sugars low down on the list. Some people obsess about fruit and the sugars that come with it. Don’t. I love fruit. Enjoy a serving or two each day. Getting rid of grains like rice, oats, and gluten containing breads may seem like a stretch at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will hardly notice they are gone. Plus, no one is saying you can never have pizza again! Remember…80/20…just not daily. (Steph makes this awesome pizza swap to keep it grain free most days….but haven’t you seen her Ring the King on occasion too? She has this down pat!)
Still suspicious? Here is a recipe for you that couldn’t be easier. Simple grain free pancakes that make delicious, light, crepe-like pancakes. They will make a believer out of the most suspicious foodies.
Simple Grain Free Pancakes
3 Eggs (preferably pasture raised)
2 small mashed ripe bananas
2 tablespoons of almond butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Heat your griddle or frying pain and throw in a dollop of coconut oil to melt.
- Mash the banana and mix with almond butter, cinnamon and vanilla. Add the eggs and mix well with a whisk until batter is smooth. It will be runny—fear not.
- Once the pan is hot, pour in a scoop of the batter, I found the best size is about the size of a hamburger bun.
- Allow pancake to brown on one side and then flip. I found since these are thin, it takes only 2-3 minutes. Keep your eye on it because they go quickly!
- Since they are crepe like, keeping the size smaller helps you flip them easier as well.
- Top these with fresh strawberries or a drizzle of maple syrup.
Makes enough pancakes for 2