Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spelt Pancakes + Gluten

GLUTEN FREE. The term is everywhere these days. What does it mean? Why do we care about gluten? Well, I'm not a nutritionist (yet) but as far as I understand, the wheat we consume today has more gluten in it than it used to, mostly because of how it is processed. Gluten is the protein in wheat, and while only a small percentage of people have an inability to digest it (those with celiac disease), many are gluten sensitive


If you have a sensitivity to gluten, after consuming (a lot of) wheat products, like pizza, cereal, bread or baked goods, you will feel a combination of symptoms which may include bloating, fatigue and even headaches. Although I don't think I am gluten sensitive, I think we are consuming way too much gluten and wheat today and that it wouldn't hurt to try to incorporate all the other delicious grains out there into our diets. 


Quinoa, teff and millet are just some of the grains that don't contain gluten that you may want to experiment cooking with. I am a huge fan of quinoa and love its nutty flavor and how light it is. It doesn't have a strong flavor though so I tend to cook it in veggie broth with maybe a small addition of olive oil or even butter, salt and pepper. You might not know that quinoa actually also has protein in it, so it's perfect for vegans and vegetarians too. 
I like mine with lots of berries!


Spelt is another grain that according to WHFoods.org offers a number of benefits including:
* A wider range of nutrients compared to wheat
* Provides crucial nutrients such as Manganese, Fiber, Niacin, Magnesium and Protein. 
* It even says the combination of nutrients may be beneficial for "persons with migraine headache, atherosclerosis, or diabetes". 


I regularly use garbanzo-fava flour (lots of protein!), spelt flour and oat bran flour in my baked goods. You can't tell the difference between these flours and normal wheat flour and it's nice to mix things up. A few mornings ago we made spelt pancakes at home. My boyfriend is a big fan of pancakes but is a Type 1 diabetic, which means he needs to be careful with his sugar and carbs. Enter: spelt flour. The flour is low in sugar and does not cause blood sugar to spike like white flour. 


Spelt Pancakes
Makes about 8 4-inch pancakes
2 cups spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla


Calories per pancake: about 150. 

Directions: 
* Mix dry ingredients and in a separate bowl mix wet. Combine the two, but do not over mix.     * The real key to amazing pancakes is cooking them on low and letting them be. I have major issues with this, so I'm usually the one who makes the batter and my boyfriend is the pancake-maker. See, I get impatient and so they burn and don't cook in the center. 
* Put a little knob of butter or a small amount of oil in the pan, unless you are using a non-stick pan, in which case it's unnecessary. Allow the oil to heat thoroughly and place 1/3 cup of batter in the center of the pan. Turn the heat to extra-low and allow to bake until bubbles form on the top. Flip and repeat. 
The boyfriend's version. 

Note: I also like to turn on the oven to 200 at the beginning of my baking and place the finished pancakes in the oven, to keep them warm, but this does tend to dry them out a bit. When it comes down to it, pancakes are best served immediately!


Serve with maple syrup and berries or smeared with peanut butter as I like them. 


Book recommendation: If you are into gluten and wheat and this whole issue, I would recommend 'Wheat Belly' by William Davis, M.D. It discusses this issue further and is quite compelling. 

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Cookbooks and Cake is a blog about healthy cooking and feeling good from within. I'm very interested in disease prevention through diet and believe vegetarianism is a great way to be healthy and prevent disease. I also, however, love to bake, so you'll find delicious homemade treats on here as well. Being that I am looking to get a degree in Clinical Nutrition, I will also write about studies in nutrition that I find interesting. Enjoy!

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