Gluten-Free (Paleo) Coconut Pancakes

Gluten-free pancakes on Shrove Tuesday

We woke up this morning and Jason made us delicious gluten-free pancakes to start off the day.  We used some macadamia butter with a little maple syrup (very little) as a topping.  We also used some berries as well.  Frozen berries are easy to defrost while the pancakes are cooking.  Just use a saucepan to warm them and they can easily be poured over the pancakes when ready.

  • 1 can good-quality coconut milk (14 oz./398-400 ml)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil OR butter, melted
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¾ cup buckwheat flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

1.   In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the can of coconut milk with the shredded coconut. Set aside.

2.   In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the melted butter, and whisk again until light and fluffy.

3.   Add the egg mixture to the coconut milk mixture, stirring well to combine.

4.   In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

5.   Now add the wet coconut-egg mixture to the dry flour mixture, stirring well to combine.

6.   Heat a frying pan or flat-bottomed wok over high heat for 30 seconds (use a pan with a thick base, if you have one). Reduce heat to medium for another 30 seconds. Add 1 Tbsp. oil and swirl around, then ladle about 1/4 cup pancake batter (for large pancakes) into the middle of the pan. Jiggle the pan a little or tilt to spread the batter out (if needed).

7.   When surface around is covered with bubbles, flip and cook the other side.

Tip: Always add more oil when frying the next batch, or it may stick. Also, you may need to lower the heat as you go, or the pan might become too hot and burn your pancakes before they’re cooked. I find medium-low heat best once my pan is good and hot.

Better Nutrition

One of the first challenges during this part of our certification was to do 30 days without dairy or grains.  At first, this task seemed daunting to most of us.   Although I was already on a path to wellness having removed most dairy and gluten from my diet at the time, I found the next step of eliminating all grains to be very difficult at first.  I essentially wanted to do the 30 days and prove that I didn’t feel different so I could go about my life without needing to make additional changes.  Well, I was wrong.  I felt better.  Now what?  Integrating this knowledge into my daily life with my children and husband was the next step.  We are still on this road and are ready to share with you all that we have learned so you can integrate it much easier into your life when you’re ready.

Just like any other animal or even plant, there are certain nutritional requirements that are considered to be essential and when taken properly can create purity and sufficiency in the cells of humans.  There are also products that can create a state of deficiency and or toxicity in the body.  Let’s look at the analogy of a plant.  If I ask most 9 year olds what a plant needs in order to stay healthy, many will answer correctly: good quality soil, water, and sunlight.  If a plant appears to be wilting, addressing one or more of the missing nutrients will typically bring its cells back into a state of purity and sufficiency.  Often, when it’s not too late, a dis-eased plant can be nursed back to health.  If we did however ensure that the plant was getting enough of its required nutrients and it still appeared to be wilting there would be another question to ask.  Is it being exposed to a toxin?  If someone was dumping oil into the plant, it would create a state of toxicity in its environment.  Regardless of the fact that the plant was getting enough of its required nutrients, the toxic environment would prevent it from being a healthy plant.  In order to remove the dis-ease from the plant, the essential nutritional requirements would have to be fulfilled AND the toxicities removed. The same rules apply to the human body.

To create a state of purity and sufficiency in your body, make sure you are getting adequate amounts of the following nutrients (supplements of the following are often necessary):

  • Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) –  Most of us in the northern hemisphere tend to be deficient since our bodies produce around 10,000 IU’s during 30 minutes exposure to the sun during the summer months.  This only applies when we are allowing the rays to penetrate without sunblock.  By the end of September, it becomes difficult for our bodies to produce since the sun is further away.  According to the Vitamin D Council, for proper functioning, a healthy human body utilizes around 3,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D per day – indicating the current recommended intakes (up to 2,000 IU/day) are not high enough to raise and/or maintain the vitamin D levels necessary for proper health.  Based on the body’s indicated daily vitamin D usage, Vitamin D Council recommends the following amounts of supplemental vitamin D3 per day in the absence of proper sun exposure. Due to the variable response in different individuals, these are only estimated amounts.  The only way to accurately measure what your levels are is to have a blood test done to measure it specifically.
  1. Healthy children under the age of 1 year – 1,000 IU.
  2. Healthy children over the age of 1 year – 1,000 IU per every 25 lbs of body weight.
  3. Healthy adults and adolescents – at least 5,000 IU.
  4. Pregnant and lactating mothers – at least 6,000 IU.
  5. Additionally, children and adults with chronic health conditions such as autism, MS, cancer, heart disease, or obesity may need as much as double these amounts.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA) – “good fats” that are essential for optimal health.  Some estimates reveal up to 99% of Americans are deficient in this essential nutrient.  Our ‘hunter-gatherer’ ancestors consumed about 3 grams of omega 3’s in their diet.  We recommend 2-3 teaspoons (3-4.5 grams) of the omega 3 fish oil for individuals who want to reduce the inflammation in their body and prevent a degenerative state.  Capsules have far less and you must ensure you are consuming the equivalent to get the desired outcome of sufficiency in the cells of your body.
  • Omega-3 (EPA & DHA) function in the body:
    – Promotes cardiovascular health
    – Reduces inflammation
    – Supports mental focus & cognitive function
    – Supports positive mood & emotional well-being
    – Promotes brain, eye, & nervous system health
    – Supports healthy immune system function
    – Enhances appearance of skin and hair
    – Promotes optimal fat metabolism
  • Probiotics (aka ‘good bacteria’) – It is essential to have the right amount of bacteria lining our gut to ensure proper function throughout the body.  Healthy gut often equals healthy body.  A disruption in the amount and type of bacteria lining our gut either through consumption of antibiotics and/or an acidic diet can create widespread imbalances throughout the body. It seems remarkable, but the little critters living inside of us have been linked to everything from autism to obesity, from allergy to autoimmunity, from fibromyalgia to restless leg syndrome, from delirium to eczema to asthma. In fact the links between chronic illness and gut bacteria keep growing every day.  If at all possible, avoid the use of antibiotics, acid blockers, and anti-inflammatories—they change gut flora for the worse. Take probiotics daily– these healthy, friendly flora can improve your digestive health and reduce inflammation and allergy.  Ensure there is a proper amount of bacteria (billions/capsule are needed for adults and at least millions for kids).  It is best to take the probiotic with food to ensure more of the good bacteria reach the intestinal tract.

Keep your body free of toxicities by decreasing and/or eliminating as many of the following products as possible:

  • Gluten (found in grains like wheat, barley, kamut, rye, and spelt)
  • Hydrogenated oils (aka- trans fats)
  • Dairy
  • Wheat (includes bread, pastas, flour, etc…)
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)-
  • Hydrolyzed protein (disguised MSG)
  • Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners
  • Any and all chemical food additives and colors
  • Corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Soy

As I wrote this list, part of me felt as though some would be intimidated and avoid reading any further.  It is an exhaustive list and seems to cut out so many of the staples of the average diet today.  Please bear with me as I know how some of you may feel. We will provide you with options that will make this lifestyle much easier to integrate, it is a process.  The momentum you will gain when you begin to feel better and/or notice the changes in the behaviour of your kids or family members will provide you with the energy to continue.