Gluten-free diets are all the rage these days. Even if you don't suffer from celiac disease (which is defined as an intolerance to wheat gluten), research is showing that cutting back on the amount of wheat you eat can do everything from easing inflammation to treating digestive ailments like acid reflux, says William Davis, MD, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health (Rodale, 2011).
It's also a money-saver. Whole grain flours have a limited shelf life and lose nutrition rapidly. If they aren't stored properly (in your freezer), they can develop off tastes as the natural oils in them go rancid.
The Dark Side of "Healthy" Wheat
So start adding some wheat-free flour alternatives to your daily rotation. The tastiest way to do that? Pancakes! Grains and seeds like quinoa, buckwheat and oats are all gluten-free and make really great pancakes once you grind them up into flour.
I like to soak my grains before turning them into flour, which you can do in any blender or food processor. Soaking grains and seeds is a simple way to make them more digestible, boost their vitamin content, and make their minerals more bioavailable. Sprouted grains have significantly lower glycemic indexes than bread made from regular flour, meaning that eating them doesn’t cause the blood sugar spikes that products made from traditional flour (even whole grain flour) do.
Fast and Easy Soaked Oatmeal Pancakes (makes 4 to 6 pancakes)
1 cup organic rolled oats (regular or quick; not instant or steel cut)
1½ cup organic buttermilk or 1 cup organic milk plus ½ cup plain organic yogurt
3 organic eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
organic butter for frying
1. Eight to 24 hours before you want to make your pancakes, mix the rolled outs and one of the milk options together in a glass jar, cover loosely, and set it on the counter to soak.
2. When you are ready to make your pancakes, pre-heat a skillet over medium heat (I like a good heavy cast iron skillet). Then, add the rest of the ingredients to your soaked oats and mix well. The oatmeal should have absorbed all the milk, so there's no need to drain it. This pancake batter will be thicker and have more texture than an average batter.
3. Melt a little butter in your pan, scoop in some batter, and cook until the little bubbles appear on the surface. Then flip the pancake and cook until that side is golden brown.
4. Serve with more butter and real maple syrup, sorghum syrup, honey, or fruit preserves. Yum!