Coconut Pancakes- yummmmm! (…and a little about Paleo)

Morning Pancakes!

On most Sunday mornings, I make gluten-free pancakes for my kids. If you have a basic pancake recipe, its pretty simple to change them up as far as filling, for example, my kids love apple/cinnamon pancakes or chocolate chip/banana. But first you need to find a versatile recipe. Gluten Free Baking Classics, by Annalise Roberts, is one of my favorite gluten-free cook books.

Let’s Take a Moment and Talk about Diet

Many of you have probably heard of the Paleo Diet. In recent years, it has received a lot of attention. Without subscribing to hype (!), there are many benefits to the Paleo Diet, particularly when we discuss inflammation as an underlying contributor to most diseases. The Paleo Diet is comprised of non-inflammatory foods. The idea is that by removing or greatly reducing inflammatory foods from your diet, you can reduce body inflammation and thereby, prevent or stop many diseases and illnesses. The most common feedback that I get from those eating a diet low in inflammatory foods is that they “feel better”. Believe it or not, a lot of our chronic pain is secondary to inflammation. By reducing inflammatory foods, we can “feel better” and experience less pain. Another common report is more energy and less fatigue or lethargy.

Inflammatory Foods

So the next question is what foods are inflammatory– here’s a basic list:

1. Grains (not just gluten-free)– including, wheat, rye, rice, barley, millet, and so on.

2. Legumes– especially canned beans or dry beans that have not been soaked overnight.

3. Dairy (Thank goodness for substitutes!)

4. Refined sugar– excess refined sugar is a huge culprit and major cause of obesity and diabetes

Generally Healthy Diet

So what’s left to eat?! Well, this is the time to institute our positive outlook hat! There’s actually a lot to eat! Here’s a list of healthy foods:

1. Vegetables

2. Fruit

3. Natural Protein (grass-fed beef, organic poultry, wild fish, natural eggs)– keep in mind that some individuals do better on a vegetarian diet while many of us feel much better when we eat natural meat.

4. Raw nuts and seeds

5. Healthy fats like olive oil, coconut products, and avocadoes

Healthy Meal Plan

Here’s an example of a less inflammatory healthy meal plan:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with sautéed spinach and a side of cut-up tomatoes and avocadoes drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and some paprika OR coconut pancakes (see recipe below)

Mid-morning snack: fruit or vegetable or nuts/seeds

Lunch: Leftovers from last night’s dinner or large salad with natural protein– you can add nuts/seeds to salad and dressing can be homemade or bought (olive oil/lemon juice/sea salt/pepper or homemade honey mustard made with honey/mustard/lemon juice/sea salt)

Mid-afternoon snack: fruit or vegetable or nuts/seeds

Dinner: Roasted chicken with roasted vegetables and sweet potatoes OR homemade meatballs (using grass-fed beef and chopped vegetables) over spaghetti squash and marinara sauce

Coconut Pancakes

So back to the pancakes… In an effort to reduce grain in my family’s diet, this past weekend I tried out a homemade recipe for coconut (grain-free) pancakes (its taken me a few tries to perfect it!)– Consider this the basic recipe that you can then fold in optional additional ingredients such as chopped bananas and chocolate chips OR blueberries OR sautéed chopped apples and cinnamon.

Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup coconut flour (sift into bowl through mesh strainer)

* 1/4 cup tapioca starch

* 1/4 cup potato starch

* 1/2 tsp baking soda

* 1 tsp baking powder

* 1/4 tsp sea salt

* 1 egg

* 1 cup water or milk substitute (can include 1/4-1/2 cup sparkling mineral water for fluffier pancakes)

* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Add dry ingredients together and mix lightly

2. Add liquid ingredients in separate bowl and mix well until all ingredients incorporated

3. Pour liquid mixture into dry mixture

4. Mix well until batter is smooth– if mixture is too try (coconut may cause batter to clump) then add in more water or milk substitute

5. If you are choosing to add in additional ingredients, now is the time Gently fold in 1/2-1 cup of filling into batter.

6. Heat pan to medium

7. Use oil spray to create non-stick surface (if oil burns then pan is too hot)

8. To check if pan is at correct temperature, sprinkle water drops on and hear sizzle

9. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto pan as ‘tester’ pancake to determine if correct heat and batter thickness

10. When bubbles start to form in pancake on pan, then flip pancake and cook for additional minute on other side

11. Enjoy!

Ayelet Connell-Giammatteo, PhD, PT, IMT,C

Author Bio: Ayelet Connell-Giammatteo, PhD, PT, IMT,C is the President and Owner of Integrative Wellness and Physical Therapy in Bloomfield, CT, a wellness center specializing in holistic Physical Therapy, Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT), and nutritional wellness. Dr. Connell-Giammatteo is a Physical Therapist and Certified Integrative Manual Therapist. She has been practicing in the field of IMT for over 15 years. Dr. Connell-Giammatteo received her Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Therapy from The University of Hartford in Connecticut. She received her Doctoral Degree from Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, Ohio, focusing in neuropediatrics, with a concentration in autism. Some of Dr. Connell-Giammatteo’s Doctoral research involved a unique charter elementary school, Soaring Heights, in inner city Jersey City, New Jersey. During this research, she investigated the efficacy of Integrative Manual Therapy on young children that presented with challenges in learning, socialization, and behavior. In addition to her IMT expertise, Dr. Connell-Giammatteo is a graduate of the Institute of Functional Medicine’s program “Applying Functional Medicine into Clinical Practice” focusing on nutritional wellness. She has written many articles on the subjects of IMT, healthy living, natural parenting, and nutritional wellness. Dr. Connell-Giammatteo was Dean of the Connecticut School of Integrative Manual Therapy (CSIMT) for multiple years. She has taught courses in Integrative Manual Therapy nationally and internationally for over 15 years. Dr. Connell-Giammatteo is also a local of this community and has been living in the Greater Hartford area for many years, where she integrates a healthy lifestyle at home with her wonderful family.

Photo Credit: Nostepinne; Licensed under CC BY 2.0

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