Pancakes make me happy and give me that warm feeling, no surprise here when you realise it’s actually a sugar high.
Pancakes have a very long history and have featured in cookery books as far back as 1439. So I thought as it’s Pancake Day today, I would like to learn a bit more about why we celebrating it and of course make a healthier version as sugar rush is no longer an option on my menu (only stable sugar levels and low-gi foods).
One of the facts that I found was that originally Pancake Day was a festival celebrated by the Pagans that believed they had to help the gods of spring and fertility fight against the evil gods of cold and darkness. They created the hot, round pancake in the sun’s image in the hope it would banish the evil winter gods and invoke springtime and warmer weather – bring on the Spring!! They also believed that eating pancakes gave them the power, light and warmth of the sun – they didn’t know about sugar rush and stable blood sugar levels in those times.
Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent (the 40 days leading up to Easter). Traditionally during the 40 days, Anglo-Saxon Christians didn’t eat rich foods like butter and eggs so they made pancakes from them to clear out all left overs foods on Shrove Tuesday, then they went for confession and were “shriven” and absolved.
The ingredients for pancakes can be seen to symbolise four points of significance at this time of year:
Eggs = Creation
Flour = The staff of life
Salt = Wholesomeness
Milk = Purity
It is estimated that an impressive 52 million eggs are used in Britain each year on Pancake Day – that’s 22 million more than every other day of the year.
I also learned that in France, it is traditional while flipping a pancake to hold a coin in one hand and to make a wish.
So today let’s embrace this tradition and make some pancakes, maybe healthier ones, pile them with fruits and nuts and savour in the happiness they bring.
One pancake at a time.
½ cup coconut flour or almond flour
½ cup buckwheat flour or quinoa flour
½ cup oats bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
½ cup pumpkin puree from a tin or shredded coconut
1½ cups almond milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ cup xylitol or 2 TBS Stevia to sweeten – optional
Coconut oil for frying
Berries for garnish
Shredded coconut and nuts for
Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl: flours, baking powder, soda and salt and mix well.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the dry ones and whisk until no lumps.
In a frying pan, melt a bit of coconut oil. Spoon the pancakes batter and create round shapes. Cook for 2-3 minutes then flip over for an extra 2-3 minutes until golden.
Plate the pancakes, sprinkle some shredded coconut, nuts or maple syrup and enjoy with your favourite people.
Let me know if you want my (not so healthy) Oreo pancakes.
I can’t wake up in the morning without a cup of coffee and I can’t face my afternoon without another one at 3pm. I also need one before bed time to wind down my day. My daughter gives me a hard time about having so much coffee in my diet, so recently I’ve started drinking water with a slice of lemon in the morning, and green tea or herbal tea for the rest of the day. I used to have my coffee with a pastry but that now this is also part of the past… the love for a good coffee is still there though. I sometimes use my coffee machine and frothing device for frothing my almond milk instead of a normal milk. I carry my almond milk with me, when I go out for a coffee as some cafes will make a soya milk latte and now Starbucks doing a coconut milk latte (at least in London they do) but NOT Almond milk latte…..?
So you can imagine my delight when I found out that coffee can actual help you with your diet?
It is important to know that you can relish foods and get more out of them then just the taste. When you know what to look for, you can be confident in your healthy food journey/ venture and flourish from the benefits.
As I mention in my blog weight Vs Fat, one key enemy in our weight loss challenge is excess body fat. So I was looking into healthy ways to fight back the body fat. So in my small research I found that there are few ingredients that we can actually use in our daily meal plan to help with fat burning and the first one is coffee!
Coffee: is one of the few substances that is known to help mobilize fats from the fat tissues and increase metabolism, it has fat-burning qualities that translate into big losses in calories burning over time. One cup will boost calories burning by 4% over the course of 2 ½ hours. It can increase the metabolic rate by 3-11%, interestingly, most of the increase in metabolism is caused by an increase in the burning of fat. I can’t really explain the exact science behind it in simple words (it’s also so boring) but I can give you the bottom line.
So best way to use coffee to your advantage is to drink it half an hour before your exercise or gym visit. Skip all added sugar, cream and milk as drinking black coffee before any physical activity can achieve higher calories burning during and after the workout itself, better utilization of fatty acids for aerobic energy, and ultimately contribute to the successful weight loss and toning. The problem is that after a while people become tolerant to the effects and it stops working. If you’re primarily interested in coffee for the sake of fat loss then it may be best to cycle it to prevent a build-up of tolerance. Maybe have it a week on and a week off.
During rest, the increase in fat metabolism alone, caused by the presence of caffeine, is not enough to prompt burning of fat. Drinking coffee alone isn’t going to get you anywhere so don’t sit on your butt all day drinking coffee.
Of course, there are plenty of other great reasons to drink coffee, including the fact that coffee contains a decent amount of several vitamins and minerals and is the single largest source of antioxidants in the western diet, beating both fruits and vegetables, combined.
Having a coffee after a meal (instead of dessert) will give you a sense of fullness after eating.
Green Tea: Like coffee, green tea can increase fat burning and help you lose weight. Several studies suggest that green tea can make us burn more calories, even at rest and it is particularly effective at reducing the dangerous abdominal fat – although not all studies agree, so the effects may depend on the individual! It is also loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body.
Another way that green tea could help with weight loss, just like coffee, is by reducing appetite. So drink it with your meal or just after to make you feel fuller.
Chilli pepper (e.g. cayenne): it doesn’t just burn your mouth it can also help you burn more body fat. According to The Chilli Pepper Diet you can lose 10 times as much weight if you add a sprinkle of dried chillies or fresh diced chilli to your meals, it definitely increases metabolism as the nuclear heat will send you straight to the toilets..…
The research found that, compared with eating no chilli pepper with a meal, 1g of pepper reduced salty, sweet and fatty food cravings and also increased energy expenditure, decreased appetite and slowing the growth of fat cells. The spicy pepper helps the body’s diet induced thermogenesis –which means that the body releases calories in the form of heat. Studies on cayenne pepper also indicate that it aids in the increase of lipid oxidation. Lipid oxidation is when fat is burned for energy. All of these are important factors in losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight.
Cinnamon: the smell of cinnamon takes me to places of calm, warmth and happiness, so I’m always happy to use that spice in both my baking and cooking (check out my healthy morning muffins here).
Cinnamon is key in regulating insulin and blood sugar levels which will results in less hunger and overeating. Add this spice to your coffee, tea, and sweet snacks for added flavour and a health boost.
Ginger: Ginger is a known metabolic activator and has been thought to increase metabolism by as much as 20%. Ginger can also help improve digestion and even soothe an upset stomach.
There are more foods that will help you lose weight and are highly nutritious, like: citrus fruits and berries (remember the grapefruit diet?), wild salmon and garlic but for me the above are the most surprising ones and are found in my kitchen cupboards, makes it easy to use every day.
So here is my Chicken and butternut tagine recipe that incorporate: chilli, cinnamon, ginger and garlic, together with some protein (chicken breast and chickpeas).
You can cook it in the oven using a tagging or oven proof pan or just on the hob.
Serve it with a raw cauliflower rice (or a traditional couscous) and a nice cup of green tea in Moroccan tea cups.
2 TBS Coconut oil
2 onions, sliced
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tsp Harissa paste, or 2 chopped red chillies, or 1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp grated ginger or ½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1kg boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
680ml passata or 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 medium butternut, peeled, seeded and diced
600gr tins chickpeas, drained
Salt and black pepper
¼ cup water
Raw cauliflower rice
25gr Coriander , finely chopped
50 gr Flaked almonds
Pre heat oven to 180 C (if using tagine or oven proof pan)
Heat the coconut oil in a large pan on a medium heat (oven proved one if you don’t have a tagine) and fry the onions, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden.
Stir in the garlic, harissa or chilli, ginger and cinnamon and mix well.
Add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 minutes, on high, turning often to brown them slightly all over.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the passata, chickpeas, butternut and season well with salt and black pepper.
At this point transfer to a tagine (if you have one), if you don’t have a tagine use your oven proof pan or cook in a normal pan on the hob.
Add the water, cover and cook in the oven or on the hob for further 30 minutes. Check from time to time that the tagine has not dried, if it needs add little bit more water so it won’t stick to the pan and burn.
Serve on the raw cauliflower rice and sprinkle with chopped coriander, pomegranates seeds and flaked almonds.
Remember when the body has the nutrients it needs, it’s better able to balance and heal itself including achieving a healthy weight.
Stay Healthy and eat real foods with the RESET plan.
So my South African hubby was begging for some red meat and was craving it so badly that he started messaging me with this lovely photos of roast beef and other meat photos… point taken! I’m not a big meat eater myself but I thought I’ll spoil the family and prepare a nice cut of meat for the family Sunday night dinner. So instead of the traditional Sunday lunch roast we had our “roast” for dinner, I also wanted to use the leanest piece of meat so I decided to go with a fillet steak, yummy.
As in the RESET plan we are on a low-carb, low GI diet and with the latest craze of bun free burgers, I decided to combine the two and create (inspired by my husband’s pictures), an bread free steak sandwich.
Now if you know my husband, he likes his burger the Kiwi way… with pineapple, egg and avocado. Having that all in mind I started making dinner.
Steak was slightly oiled and sprinkled with salt and freshly ground black pepper, avocado was sliced, the egg was softly fried (you can also use a hardboiled egg if you prefer) but hubby likes the soft running egg yolk . Then I sliced both a green apple for myself and pineapple for hubby (I decided not to incorporate fruit such as pineapple into my diet, since it has sugar and a GI-index of 66 which is medium high).
High-GI foods, over 70, will raise your blood sugar and insulin levels quickly. Low-GI foods, with a ranking of 55 or below, will have a far less significant effect on your blood sugar and insulin levels. Pineapple falls within the upper-half of the medium GI range of 56 to 69, that’s why I choose not to use it.
There are lots of other ways for substitute your bread in your favourite meals:
Sweet potatoes: sliced with the skin on and roast. Place your burger, steak, roast beef, chicken or tofu in between two slices to create a bun style.
Green leaves: use round lettuce, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard and cabbage to serve as a low-calorie, fibre-filled wrap alternative for an array of tasty fillings.
Stuff the leaves with quinoa and mince chicken /turkey, some herbs and spices and cook in tomato sauce, or just fill some endive leaves with cottage cheese and walnuts or egg mayo for an easy snack. Use the shredded chicken from the RESET plan with some avocado, baby tomatoes, radishes, chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime.
Seaweed / nori: One sheet of the dehydrated seaweed has just 5 to 10 calories, along with 1 gram of fibre. It’s also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and iron.
Cauliflower bread or pizza crust: recipes to follow during the week.
So many things I want to make and try! More recipes for green leaves wraps and cauliflower pizza to follow during the week.