Grrrr! This beast will gorge itself on just about anything! [Source]
The Ugly: The Monster Returns
Here it is, 2011, and it’s already time for a confession (don’t worry, it doesn’t involve criminal activity). Once again, it appears the dreaded beast has reared its ugly little head. If you’ve been reading my blog for any time at all, you likely already know that I’ve been dealing with “the beast that is yeast” (ie, candida) since around December, 2008 (and following the anti candida diet, or ACD, since March 2009). And while candida is, indeed, beastly, it’s not the particular monster to which I’m referring. No, the beast I mention here is one with which I’ve struggled my whole life: the Binge Monster.
I’ve both been wanting to write about this issue and also avoiding it for a few weeks now. You see, over the past couple of months or so, after more than a year watching the numbers on my scale move steadily in a downward direction, they have once again begun to creep up–five pounds up, at last count. And while my weight has fluctuated by one or two pounds quite often over the last year, with a couple of days of “clean” and “green” eating, it tends to stabilize again.
But not this time.
Five pounds is real. Five pounds is substantial. Five pounds is a button on your shirt that’s now too tight. It’s one more hole on your belt (which, up until four months ago, you couldn’t wear at all). It’s a little less definition under your cheekbones, a bit more girth around the middle, a pinch around the elastic of your underwear. Five pounds is half a dress size. Like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, the scale seems to admonish you: ”I will not be ignored,” it screams, tacitly threatening the established routine.
I worried about posting this on the blog because I didn’t want to disappoint so many readers who’ve followed my progress up until now. After all the accolades, all the encouragement, I was mortified to have to admit that old habits have wormed their way back into my life (and let me be clear on this: I have not veered from the diet. Not a grain of white sugar or refined flour or mushrooms or alcohol or other forbidden foods have passed my lips; I am still eating ACD-friendly foods, and my candida symptoms, overall, miraculously still continue to improve. It’s just that the re-introduction of certain ingredients and foods—like flours, cocoa and baked goods–have generated more desserts hanging around the house, which led to eating more desserts, which led to. . . five pounds).
Would my readers see this slip up as a failure (as I did)? Would they think less of me? How could I let them down after all this time? How could I let myself down?
[It may be ACD-friendly, but too much of a good thing is still too much.]
The Bad: How Old Habits Are Revived
When I first began the anti-candida diet 22 months ago, I felt so ill and was so desperate that, honestly, I would have followed any regimen that could help alleviate the symptoms (the worst of which was an angry, painful and constantly itchy rash across my chest and most of my torso).
At first, I put no restrictions on how much I ate. The diet was easy: my old nemesis, the Binge Beast, lurked in the shadows but never dared venture into the light. The notion of bingeing simply wasn’t in the realm of possibility back then (seriously, who binges on zucchini or broccoli?). Even when I experienced a fleeting desire to “cheat” on the diet and eat something with sugar or gluten, the lingering raw, pink rash was enough to dissuade me. Like a photographic afterimage or the barely discernible outline of a house blown away in a hurricane, that pale, freshly scarred skin was a visible reminder of why I needed to persist.
But then I began to feel better. Baking, and desserts (of a sort) and chocolate returned to my life. Sure, they were ACD-friendly, but they still triggered that buried, recidivist impulse when I ate a chocolate cookie, a piece of brownie, a bowl of ice cream. And before I knew it, I was eating not one, not two, but four brownies at a time.
For most people, sugar cravings are supposedly eradicated after 5-10 days on the ACD, but that has never been the case with me. Instead, my cravings continue to cling more ferociously than the toddler at Mama’s knee on the first day of school. One day, I suppose, I’ll get used to it.
As with other addictions, the binge mechanism requires a constant ratcheting up of the stimulus–in this case, certain foods–before satiation is reached. You may be pumping food in at one end, but your stomach doesn’t register it the way a “normal” digestive system would. And so, someone who binges is able to consume perhaps twice as much–three times?–as a healthy eater before the “fullness” switch is flicked. And even then, it sometimes takes nausea for the breaker to finally trip, the “overload” signal to get through.
I already knew that the feedback mechanism, in those of us who binge, is damaged. It’s like filling a bucket with an old leaky hose: for the bucket to be filled, you’d have to turn the faucet on full blast, expending more and more water with more and more waste that never reaches the target, until the container is finally replete. In the same way, my own fullness circuits require more and more alimentary input to finally register “enough.” But how does one fix this damaged circuitry?
Geneen Roth advises us to honor the true source of the hunger–be it physical, psychological or emotional. Each time you listen to these messages, it’s like fixing one tiny leak, filling the hole that allows the nourishing foods to escape without your notice. Eventually, the sequence is completely restored to its original condition, and your body and mind both register the full impact of the food you eat. I know I was waylaid from that journey over the holidays–it’s so easy to become sidetracked by old habits. I am still waiting for that day when I am effortlessly aware of my body’s signals and, like the HH, can pass up even one last pea on the plate because “I’ve had enough.”
Bingers never have enough.
In her latest book, Women Food and God, Geneen Roth talks about emotional (or compulsive) eating with the same accessibility, insight and sagacity as always. And food, she points out, is a fallback position when we seek nurturing. She writes:
The bottom line, whether you weigh 340 pounds or 150 pounds, is that when you eat when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug, grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief or emptiness or loneliness or rejection. Food is only the middleman, the means to the end. Of altering your emotions. Of making yourself numb. Of creating a secondary problem when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable.
After 22 months (and before this latest turn of events), it appeared that both my health and my weight had more or less stabilized, yet I found myself still dissatisfied. Yes, my health has vastly improved, but I’m still not 100% better. I had grown tired of writing “no progress” or “status quo” on my Progress Tracker page.
Is it because my recovery has plateaued and I’m bored? Is it because my health is not where I’d like it to be, my symptoms (albeit drastically reduced) still lingering? Is it because, despite major strides with candida, other health issues persist, and I’m simply frustrated? Is it because The Ellen Showhasn’t called me yet?
When I think of the progress I’ve made, I can’t help but notice there’s a little voice in the back of my head,the child’s voice that begins to whine, “Twenty-two months, and still not all better?” Sure, there are many worse things than a candida rash that just won’t disappear, and I am thankful my illness is no more serious than this. But the part of me that connects to that little voice still wonders, ”why can’t you just disappear already? When will you leave me alone and let me live my life without having to think about you every. single. day? When will I be able to return to my old life?”
The answer, I now realize, is perhaps, “never.” I can’t return to my “old life.” And then, rather than accept that this diet will likely be my new, and perhaps permanent, way of life, there comes the whining toddler again, pouting and complaining, ”Well, if I can’t eat what I really want–sugar and chocolate and frosting and layer cake and fudge–well, then, when I concoct something that’s at least moderately tasty, I will eat more than I should–heck, I’ll eat it all–because I need something that’s at least a little bit sweet in my life.”
Do I capitulate and repeat old behaviors, because that’s the easiest, the most comfortable plan of action? Or is there another solution?
The Good: Renewed Commitment and Determination
When it comes to matters of karma and fate and previous lives, the HH is more of a devotee than I; yet I do believe that events, circumstances, people and personal issues come into our lives for a reason. In this case, I was delivered a mini-epiphany by none other than Nietzsche himself, in the form of a book written by author and psychiatrist Irvin Yalom.
In discussing a patient who relapsed and manifested psychological problems that had already been vanquished years before, Yalom cites the great philosopher, who theorized: ”when we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.” In other words, we regress to earlier behaviors after trauma or too much stress or overwork. Well, that made total sense to me: over the past two years, I’ve made huge strides in the battle of the binge and combating candida. Slowly, but certainly, I’m beginning to tap into what my body craves as compared to what my psyche craves. But when one’s reaction to chocolate harks back more than 45 years, a mere 22 month-timespan on an anti-candida diet isn’t enough, on its own, to vanquish that impulse.
Well, duh. Of course food isn’t the solution. Food is never the solution, unless you’re the lone survivor on a desert island with no chance of rescue, like Tom Hanks in Castaway. Rather than abandon the ACD, I’ve decided to recommit with renewed vigor; a renewal of our vows, so to speak. For a while, at least, I’ll be stepping back to an earlier stage of the diet that removes some of the foods I’ve recently re-introduced (such as chocolate or agave nectar–sniff, boo hoo). I’ll begin a candida-focused cleanse and return to some of the best principles of the NAG diet.
I recently read through a copy of Meghan Telpner’s latest ebook, 21 Days to Health, and found it a great refresher course for me: these are all steps I’ve either taken before or still maintain, but having them written out in logical succession will be a wonderful motivator as I work through this renewed challenge. Rather than extend an already too-long post even more, I’ll save the details about what, exactly, I’ll be eating (and not eating) for another time. (I plan to post an entire “ACD Diet” page in the next month or so.)
I hope you’ll continue to stick around for the journey, bumpy as it may be (I promise I’ll still serve you yummy food along the way).
As I’ve said before, I see this blog as a chronicle not just of weight loss (or gain), but also a journey toward wellness and learning to eat like a “normal” person, making peace with sweets and cravings and emotional eating. I feel a bit like the novice tightrope performer whose step has faltered and now sees clearly what the next moves must be to regain balance; I’m determined to forge ahead on that journey. With that approach in mind, I’m confident that, eventually, the ever-elusive goal, wellness, will be revealed.
Last week, we took Elsie for her annual checkup at the vet (a place she absolutely loves–go figure). At the end of the appointment, the vet pronounced her an ideal specimen of canine health. Not only that; Elsie had lost nine pounds since her previous visit. Nine pounds! That’s, like, 63 in dog pounds! She’s been hanging on to that excess weight for a couple of years, at least.
This was quite the contrast to our first vet appointment, back in 2002, when she was both underweight and unhealthy. We got Elsie from a Rescue Mission here in the city, because I was keen to save a little pup that would otherwise face certain death. But there was also a monetary consideration, as the mission charged only $200 versus the $1200 or so we’d have to dish out for a purebred pup.
I remember the event perfectly: it was a blustery, snow-swept Saturday in February (a day very much like most of last week, come to think of it–except THIS IS MID-MARCH), and we were assured that our little 12-week old fuzzball had received all the pertinent shots, was proclaimed worm-free, and had been given a clean bill of health by their vet.
As he shoved her into my eager embrace, the scuzzball “attendant” behind the counter drawled, “Waell, you just take her in to your vet on Monday morning, and if there’s any problem, you can bring her on back.” (Right. Quick inventory: cramped, smelly, fecal-encrusted and rusty cage in dingy, musty basement; approximately 50 clamoring, whining, unkempt pups crammed into it shoulder to shoulder; Elsie, sweet, reticent, timid, hovering in the back corner, eyes pleading as she silently implored me, “Please! You must help me! Get me out of here! Pleaaaassseeee. . . . “). Return her to that torment, under any circumstances? Um, I don’t think so.
Needless to say, when Monday morning rolled around and we made it to our regular vet, we were hit with this diagnosis: worms (yes, the scum-bag guy lied! Imagine that!), fleas, mange, parasites, broken tooth, and your garden-variety malnutrition. To look at her, you’d never have known; she was nonetheless alert, frisky, and exhibited a voracious appetite (which remains to this day). We embarked on a series of medications, unguents, and shots to rid her of all the vermin. Ultimately, we calculated, restoring Elsie’s health cost us about the same as if we’d purchased 2.7 purebred pups instead. Of course, by then we already loved her so much that there was no question–it was worth it.
[Elsie, pre-weight loss]
So, now that she’s svelte and healthy, how did Elsie achieve this amazing feat? The same one, I must admit, that’s been eluding me since I started this blog back in November? And, more important, what can I learn from this?
First and foremost, Elsie now has a new sibling to share her time and energy. Ever since little Chaser Doodle arrived on the scene, Elsie has spent most of her time warding off the “let’s play” advances of her baby sister. Chaser attempts any tack to entice Elsie to play: tug a little on the ear, nibble a little on the collar, poke a bit at the bum, taunt ceaselessly with the Nylabone, or nudge repeatedly with a paw. Sometimes, Elsie just gives in and plays. And play means exercise.
Human Counterpart: Seems I need a new baby or a new playmate. Hmmmn. Baby may pose a challenge, as both the HH and I have passed our best-before dates for procreation (together, we must be something like 4,732 in dog years). And a new “playmate?” Well, I’m not sure how the HH would like that one, either. But I do think a dieting buddy is a workable option; most of the women I know are watching their weight, too, so it would make sense to team up.
[The new, svelte girl]
Second, I’ve cut way back on the treats I offer The Girls, compared to the quantity Elsie received before Chaser’s arrival. Partly because current dog-training philosophy advises against treats, and partly because I no longer require treats to engage Elsie’s attention (since she’s got another dog to play with now), the number of daily biscuits has diminished by half at least. That’s like cutting out snacks during the evening, or reducing your meals by 25%. No wonder she’s lost weight!
Human Counterpart: Cut down snacks. I may need to establish nap-time between 2:00 and 3:00 (when my blood sugar crashes) for a while, but that, too, shall pass. And fewer snacks means fewer calories.
The Girls also spend a lot of time romping outdoors, running off leash for a minimum of 45 minutes per day. Before Chaser’s arrival, Elsie was walked for the same length of time each day, but never felt the urge to run (or even walk very fast). Obviously, having a playmate has made a difference.
Human Counterpart: Take a daily romp in the woods. Well, if I translate this into human terms, what I really need to do is more exercise. I’ve read that in order to lose weight, the average person must exercise ninety minutes a day. Ninety! And once women reach perimenopause (and after), they require an hour a day just to maintain weight. So if I tally up the hour or so I walk The Girls each day, plus whatever extra I add on with the treadmill or the workout club, I should realistically be able to reach that goal.
Why haven’t I incorporated any of these tricks yet? Maybe I needed Elsie as my inspiration. I know it’s worth a try. I mean, Elsie does look marvelous, and, even better, she seems to have more energy these days for frolicking and gamboling. And lord knows I could use more frolick and gambol.
“Yes, Mum, I’d highly recommend it. I do enjoy my frolicking. But now, can you do something about getting Chaser off my back?”
I simply can’t believe it–it snowed yet again yesterday. Will this accursed winter never end? The drifts on the driveway (oh, lord, another few hours of shoveling!) have already enveloped my car in a duvet of white, and little tempests are performing pirouettes in our back yard, propelled along by the wind.
The newscast today said that we’ve already received 72 cm. of snow this season (that’s about 33 inches), when the average for a Toronto winter is around 20 cm. That’s more thantriple the snow we usually have–pretty much a new record!! That’s more snow than I can remember in the last decade! That’s more snow than any human should reasonably be asked to shovel or trudge through or brush off their coats or blink against as they stumble through the assault of bitter cold flakes! That’s just TOO. . . MUCH. . . . SNOW!!!!!!!
But since that would have sounded totally juvenile and excessively emotional over, well, snow, I decided not to start my entry that way. And so, instead, I will start it like this:
One of the things I enjoy about blogging is the ongoing discovery of new blogs I like to read, and, of course, learning about the people behind the blogs. Comments are great for this (and I never cease to be delighted–and always a bit amazed–each time I receive a new comment on any post). Memes are also useful this way, as they provide more information about the authors as well.
And so it was particularly rewarding (pun intended!) when I discovered that a blogger I’ve recently “met,” and one whose blog I regularly enjoy, presented me with an “Excellent Blogger” award. Whoo-hoo! Thanks so much, Romina! I’m very honored and extremely delighted. What a great way to enter into the weekend. (“We are so proud of you, Mum! Um, so is this a reward of food, Mum?“)
Part of my responsibility as a recipient is to pass along the award to others. I’ll take a few days to mull it over before posting about it (I take my duties very seriously!). In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about some other weighty issues.
While driving to meet with my book club cohorts the other night, I heard an interesting interview on the radio, and one that got me thinking.
[Short pause forpuerile rant: the book we were discussing was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, even though I wasn't entirely enamoured of the author's own portrayal of her personality during the year she spent hedonistically chowing down, assiduously seeking spiritual nirvana, or unintentionally attaining true love. I found her writing to be evocative and entirely engaging, frequently burning with a hard, gem-like flame of well-crafted prose, yet still highly accessible and firmly rooted in the world of the mundane.
And so, you can only imagine the depths of my dismay when, while surfing the net in preparation for our discussion, I came across this piece of information. Can you imagine a better way to ruin a perfectly good book?? The irony is palpable. Ah, well, there goes another movie I'll never see. *SIGH*].
Ahem. Sorry about that. Back to the radio interview: the host was chatting with Rick Gallup, the man who popularized the concept of the Glycemic Index, in his book The GI Diet. Now, rather than being just another diet guru, Gallup is extremely well equipped to discuss such issues as blood sugar levels, lipids and hormones, as he was the past president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.
Surprisingly quick-witted (not to imply that doctors can’t be funny, or anything), Gallup offered a wealth of information about the diet itself, and how to lose weight by eating whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy protein sources. Basically, he was advocating a NAG-friendly diet. That much, I already knew. It’s how to stick with that diet that I find inordinately difficult.
Well, the interview provided one more item in my endless search for weight loss motivation, which I thought I’d share here. Gallup suggested to people in his diet clinic that they keep a bag, box, basket, or any other container in the bathroom alongside their scale. Then, as they lost weight, he said, they should place an item of equal weight into the container. In other words, if you lost a pound, put a one-pound can (or box, or bag) of something into the bag. The following week, if you lost 3/4 pound, add something of equal weight to the bag. Eventually, you’ll have a bag that weighs quite a bit–just as much as you’ve lost (just be sure the items are non-perishable, or you’ll end up with a compost bin in your bathroom).
This seemed a brilliant idea to me, and I’m determined to try it out. Imagine, if you lost 10 pounds, how heavy that bag would be! In my case, if I were to lose my desired 40 pounds, the bag would actually be too heavy for me to lift! Quite a sobering thought, as I am obviously already carrying that much weight around with me right now.
I’d love to add this tip to my (far too short) list of “What Actually Works,” but will wait until I’ve tried it out for a while. Of course, this presupposes that one actually loses weight. Another sigh.
For the three of you who’ve been following this blog since the beginning, you may have noticed that my “diet” posts (ie, posts in which I talk about how my diet’s not working, posts in which I discuss how I’d like my diet to be working better, posts in which I examine how I might be able to make my diet work better, or, simply, posts in which I use the word “diet” a lot) have gone MIA. Wherefore art thou, O Ricki’s Diet, and why has she forsaken you?
Well, I must apologize. It’s not that I’ve forgotten about my diet (ha! AS IF), but more that I haven’t felt there was anything worth reporting or mulling over lately without sounding terribly repetitive. Given that the original intent of this blog was (at least, partly) to chronicle what I hoped would be a monumental (40-lb.) weight loss over the next year, and to share with you how I was going to go about doing that, I seem to have lost sight (but never taste, apparently, or I might have actually lost an ounce or two) of the goal.
Honestly, it’s not because the ”diet” aspect of the blog is any less important. It’s not because writing about food–desserts, especially–is any more fun (even though it is). It’s mostly that I haven’t been feeling very worthy of writing about dieting lately, given my recent eating patterns (which, suspiciously, resemble my pre-blog eating patterns). How can I write with any authority about losing weight when I’m not doing so? If you’ve looked at the progress tracker at all, you’ll see that the numbers have been going up, down, up, down, up, down, even more than the Paul McCartney-Heather Mills negotiations. I’ve been so taken lately with all the appealing, interesting recipes and food in the world of blogging that I’ve neglected taking care of me and my health.
Well, that’s all about to change. Now that Valentine’s Day is almost over (in our house, it’s taking place tomorrow), I’ve made a resolution. True, most people make their resolutions on January 1st; but I’ve always been a later bloomer.
Soooo. . . I’m going to declare the rest of February a “Chocolate-Free Zone.”
You see, since I was a wee tot (who am I kidding? I was never “wee”), chocolate has been the bane of my existence. Like an ex-boyfriend that you can’t quite let go of, like a Canadian winter, like the Oscars–I both love it and hate it.
The “love it” part is easy: it’s a perfect base for dessert (which, after all, is my area of specialization); it’s creamy, smooth, sweet, delectable; it’s a booster of serotonin levels; it’s a portable bite for that 3:00 PM sugar crash; and it’s my very, very favorite, “I-can-eat-it-any-time-even-for-breakfast,” food.
The “hate it” part is less black and white (or milk and white, depending on your predilection): it’s a source of sometimes uncontrollable cravings; it’s the cause of weight gain (though not of acne, as once believed); it’s a pathetically poor substitute for a hug, a phone call with your best friend, or therapy; and it’s usually not as good as you thought it was going to be (sort of like that ex-boyfriend, again).
For me, the only way to avoid the inner turmoil around chocolate is the extreme move of cutting it out entirely. Not forever (I couldn’t live with that), but for at least a week, until the urge passes. I’m embarking on a chocolate fast. No chocolate. No eating it, no baking with it, no buying it, no hiding it in the cupboard for a little nip when I’m feeling down.
Instead, I’m going to try out a week (or, if I can make it, two) of eating in a way that’s worked for me in the past: a NAG-friendly , semi-detox diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds; minimal whole-grain flours; and only stevia as an added sweetener. And NO CHOCOLATE. (“How about cocoa, Mum?”) No, not even cocoa. (“How about carob, Mum?”) Carob is acceptable. I’m also going to aim for over 50% raw foods each day.
For me, this move is part desperation and part a yearning to regain to the experience of vibrant energy and health I enjoyed during my year studying natural nutrition. At the time, one of my teachers there followed a 100% raw-foods (or living-foods, as it’s also called) diet. She also taught cooking classes, and I attended every one. I was amazed at how fantastic the food was–colorful, delicious, a veritable feast for the senses. I’m hoping to share some of her recipes, as well as others I’ve discovered over the years.
Hopefully, this new hard-line regime will help me ride out the chocolate-DTs, followed by a more moderate approach to eating (and, of course, chocolate)–and maybe even a little weight loss.
I do have a couple of desserts and one or two other dishes that I’ve recently prepared and will post as blog entries over the next two weeks, but for the most part, I’ll be sharing my healthier, detoxifying, health-conferring goodies with you. And I’m hoping that declaring it this way on the blog will help me to actually follow through!
So I hope you’ll bear with me after the recent influx of indulgent baked goods. Like some of you, I sometimes feel that a day without baking is a day devoid of some ineffable, necessary primal “something,” something that satisfies at the chromosomal level.
No doubt, the baking will return. Part of my goal when I started this blog was to lose 40 pounds before my next birthday, and unless I somehow get the chocolate habit under control, I know it won’t be a very happy one. (And speaking of birthdays, another HUGE impetus for the chocolate ban is the upcoming birthday bash for Gemini I’s husband–a massive party in the works–on March 1st. Two weeks away; need something nice, nothing fits, don’t want to have to buy something new. Think I could lose 10 pounds by then? Me, either.)
And so, chocolate, adieu. It’s only for a short while, but I’m hoping that absence, in this case, will not make the heart grow fonder. No doubt I will miss you; I may even pine for you. Still, one day, I hope to look at you with the same indifferent eye with which I gaze at Cream of Wheat, or paisley, or Josh Groban (sorry, Josh, not a big fan). After the week is over, let’s renegotiate our relationship in a more level-headed manner. In the meantime, I’ll attempt to forge ahead on my own, without you. But we’ll always have Paris (it is, after all, home of your finest specimens).
(“Oh, Mum, you’re so histrionic. Really, get a grip. Who cares about chocolate? It’s not a big deal. But, um, you’re not thinking of changing your mind about carob now too, are you? Because, you know, we’re allowed to eat carob, and we really love that carob-date thing you make. So we can keep the carob, can’t we, Mum? Can’t we? Mum???”)
Well, since I didn’t make it to the gym today to record my weight, my HH and I decided to go out to brunch instead. (But of course!If you can’t exercise, may as well eat.)
We do this a lot, it seems.For me, the allure is the meal itself; breakfast foods have always trumped lunch or dinner in my mind. For my HH, it’s simply the act of going out to eat.(Apparently, at one point in his twenties, he lived in an apartment for 2 years and never once turned on the stove.).
Rather than bore you with the menu from today’s excursion, I thought I’d share a recipe for one of my favorite brunch foods, pancakes. So often, the ones you get in restaurants are heavy, wet, and shiny with griddle grease (how appetizing!).The recipe that follows, however, really does live up to its name.You’ll find these light, fluffy, and, as their eponymous title suggests, cake-like.
To avoid overdoing the maple syrup when I eat these, I prefer to pour syrup on the side and daintily dip my pieces of pancake one at a time into it (rather than slathering it over the top of the stack, as in the photo, below).This way, the pancakes don’t soak up too much of the syrup at one time (as they tend to do), and there’s no need to repeatedly re-pour when the pancakes start to appear dry on top.
Another way I like to eat these (perhaps while reading some Holidailies entries?) is topped with fruit-only jams–blackberry and mango are favorites–and forgo the syrup entirely.
For the omnivores out there, feel free to use regular milk instead of soy or rice milk, and replace the flax seeds with 2 eggs.
Fluffy Fruited Pancakes
These light and foolproof pancakes are great with berries, apples, pears, or bananas. Unlike most vegan versions, they provide a good amount of protein on their own, due to the protein powder added to the batter. You can use leftovers for another day’s breakfast or lunch: simply spread one pancake with your favorite nut butter and/or jam, then top with another pancake for a quick and delicious pancake “sandwich.”
1-3/4 cups soy or rice milk
2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds or 1/2 cup silken tofu
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sunflower or other mild tasting oil
1 Tbsp. agave nectar or maple syrup
1-3/4cups whole spelt flour
2 Tbsp. unflavored protein powder (rice or soy are ideal); you may substitute soy or chickpea flour, sifted
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 cup berries or chopped apple, pear or banana
Measure the soy milk into a measuring cup and add the flax, vinegar, oil and agave, stirring well (if using silken tofu, blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth). Set aside while measuring remaining ingredients, or for at least 2 minutes.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix just to blend (there should still be a few lumps here and there).Gently fold in the fruit.
Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat (spray the pan with olive oil spray if desired). Using an ice-cream scoop or large spoon, measure out about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake and spread slightly in the pan.
Cook each pancake about 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown and puffed up.Serve immediately. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers for later use (may be defrosted in the toaster).Makes 10-12 pancakes.
[This recipe appears in my cookbook, Sweet Freedom, along with more than 100 others, most of which are not featured on this blog. For more information, click here.]