Here’s how I navigate the intersectionality of my desire to eat Healthy-available/affordable-delicious/comforting foods: GF Pumpkin Pancakes with Cranberry-Maple-Chia Compote
I got a bag of Gluten Free pancake mix from the food pantry. that’s certainly better for me than if it was wheat based, but pre-prepared ones are full of ridiculously refined ingredients like tapioca starch, and are a blood sugar nightmare, not to mention devoid of any nutritional value. But that’s what I have on hand and I don’t have money to buy brown rice and red lentils to make my own dosa, so refined gluten free pancakes it is.
To improve the nutritional profile (and taste), I replaced the liquid in the package recipe with pumpkin puree, which adds flavor, vitamins and lots of fiber. I also added a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon which also helps blood sugar, and hemp seed to add more protein. I used coconut oil as the fat, which is a nutritional powerhouse comprised of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs)
I then cooked them in a ghee coated cast iron pan and topped with some cranberry-chia spread i had which was sweetened with stevia and added a bit of maple syrup for flavor. cranberries are another super food as is chia, which is also full of protein. Normally I would have had them with a side of turkey bacon, further up-ing the nutritional profile, but I was out.
The results were UH-mazing! like, the best out-of-season pancakes I have ever made. While they weren’t “healthy” by my standards, they certainly were healthier and the negative effects were buffered by the nutrient dense additions I made.
The final healthful factor was the good belly laugh I had when I read the package nutritional info and saw that their serving size was 2- 4″ pancakes! Ha-ha!!! Whoever heard of a 4″ pancake?!? Mine were around 7″ and I had 2.
To summarize, here are the healthful interventions I made:
pumpkin- fiber and vitamins
hemp seeds- protein, enzymes
cinnamon- blood sugar regulation
coconut oil- MCTs and other health benefits and the fat content helps slow down the metabolism of the sugars /starches (that’s a good thing)
cranberry compote-superfood, and reduced sugars by 1/2 by using stevia and reduced the amount of maple syrup needed
chia-protein and superfood
ghee- ayurvedic superfood; fat slows down sugar metabolism
laughter- best medicine
Overall, the ratios of fat-fiber-protein were greatly improved compared to the straight up gf pancake mix with maple syrup. I still felt a little woozy after eating them (hey, maybe I should have made 4″ pancakes), but I think if I had had the turkey bacon, that would have made it better.
This is how I navigate the unique nutritional needs of my body, with the world I live in and my present health/financially compromised situation.
Sorry there’s no picture…..I ate them too quick!
Here’s the recipe:
*1.5 C Bob’s Red Mill GF Pancake Mix
.5 C shelled hemp seeds
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
*1 C pumpkin puree
2 T coconut oil
.5 tsp vanilla
pinch Himalayan salt
water, as needed
ghee for pan
*Cranberry-chia-maple compote for top
Improvise your own concoction
*denotes Food Pantry ingredient
cover photo credit Liliana Fuchs