New year, New Me! Crowds gather at a 5km local park run as part of a strategy to make 2018 a healthy year.
It’s the New Year and judging by the turnout at the local Parkruns (weekly free 5 km volunteer organized running events), there is a large cohort of people who made 2018 the year get in shape. While exercise is a great start to shed some of those excess kilos that we gained over the holidays, it alone isn’t enough. We have all heard of the saying that abs are built in the kitchen, meaning that what we eat has a far greater bearing on our physique than exercise.
Many studies suggest that if we ate well, 80% of the job would be done.
If eating well was easy we would all look swimsuit models, unfortunately, the reality is that many of us are pretty fallible when it comes to diet. We all know what we should eat but sugar, refined carbs, fat and salt are all too damn delicious. Given the choice between pancakes and quinoa after a long stressful day at work – most of us would choose the former. While quinoa is the healthier alternative, cooked quinoa (that is not drenched sauces) is blander than cardboard – it is utterly tasteless.
A few days ago I wanted to make pancakes (anyone who knows me will be aware that pancakes are one of my favourite guilty pleasures – they were the first thing I learned to cook at the tender age of nine) but a part of me was unwilling to make them in the traditional manner. I wanted to transform them into a snack that was both delicious and healthy.
The challenge was on. Looking around my pantry I noticed that I had two 1 kg boxes of whole oats and in the process, my eyes caught sight of the food processor (blender). Right then I had a flash of inspiration, I thought why not put the oats in a processor and blend it into a flour. But then I thought why not simply put all the traditional ingredients (eggs, salt, sugar, milk and cinnamon) and the oats into the food processor and blend everything into a pancake batter. And sure enough, that is exactly what I did. After making the batter I proceeded to cook it as I would with normal pancakes. To my surprise, the oat batter cooked exactly as the traditional flour batter. Besides cooking well i.e. not burning/ excessive caramelization, the oat pancakes tasted great, as good as traditional pancakes albeit crunchier.
Pancakes that I made using oats instead of white flour. The batter was made by inserting whole oats and other ingredients into a food processor and then blending the mixture.
Health Benefits of Oat Pancakes
By that simple act of altering the main ingredient of the pancake, white flour, I significantly altered the health profile of the snack. Oats are rich in carbs and fibre but are also higher in protein than most other grains. They are replete with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Moreover, oats have a low glycaemic index i.e. they are metabolised slower than refined carbs such as white flour and are thus unlikely to cause the proverbial sugar crash. All these characteristics make oats a food that can be used to accelerate weight loss, reduce blood cholesterol and sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The high fibre promotes regular bowel movement and a healthy gut microbiome (bacteria). These bacteria result in a healthy colon which is less susceptible to cancers.
Regardless of how you get oats into your diet (pancakes, cereal etc.), these super grains should become a mainstay in your diet.
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Live your best life.