A food I had a love/hate relationship with for many years. But after realizing they don’t have to be glorified breakfast cake or particularly even eaten at breakfast (which also isn’t my go-to), I’ve fully embraced pancakes in all the wonderful ways.
This version is just about as whole-food as you can get, with oats, beets, banana, eggs, and not a lot else. These days, I tend to add on greens and maybe an additional egg to make pancake meals a balanced meal.
Hope you enjoy!
One more big / little thing
I’ve decided to share most of my recipes in my newsletter going forward this year, rather than publishing all of them here on the blog portion of the website. If you enjoy regularly receiving recipes from me as well as focused nutrition topics, I encourage you to sign up to receive my nutrition newsletter.
Beet Banana Pancakes, serves 2
Inspired by David of Green Kitchen Stories Prep: 40-60 minutes to roast beets (can be done ahead) | Cook: 15 minutes
2 eggs 1 banana, peeled 1 cup /100 gr rolled oats 2 – 4 Tbs. filtered water, or more as needed ⅛ tsp. salt ¼ tsp. baking powder 2 medium / 100 gr cooked beets coconut oil or ghee for frying
To Serve: 1-2 tsp. olive oil 1-2 handfuls of greens 1 fried or scrambled egg, for each serving
Prep ahead: Wash and halve the beets and wrap them in foil. Roast in a 400 degree F oven until soft, about 40 minutes. You can prepare more while you’re at for other meals or snacks.
To make Pancakes: Crack the eggs into a blender; add the banana, water, oats, salt and baking powder and blend until smooth.
Then pour into a bowl. Grate the cooked beets and add into the batter and stir through.
Heat a little oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.
Whisk the batter and thin it a little as needed, then pour in ⅓-½ cup amounts into the pan. Cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining batter. If planning to have some leftovers, reserve the unused batter, so you can cook and enjoy them fresh.
For the greens and eggs: Heat the remaining coconut oil, add a pinch of salt, and stir in the greens, and a splash of water if needed. Steam/sauté for a couple minutes until wilted.
Then fry or scramble one additional egg per serving
Serve topped with a dollop of yogurt, molasses or applesauce, and with the fried egg and greens on the side.
I’ve been reflecting lately on healing and health – how some of us are ‘gifted’ with easy and good health, and easy and quick recovery from running and workouts for most of our lives…and then for some of us, health is a multi-faceted journey, a ‘getting to’ figure out what the nugget(s) of wisdom are underneath the sometimes long periods of pain, struggle, fear, disease, injury…
I certainly don’t have all the answers. But I know that finding and immersing yourself in what brings you joy, eating more foods that still look like they came from the ground/earth, and learning to set aside some of your hurry and worry helps a whole lot in the process.
I could give more details about eating colorful and anti-inflammatory foods, specific nutrients, etc. for sustainable and lasting healing.
But today, I’ll offer encouragement that is a little more abstract. Because finding what makes you feel whole and healthy long-term, what brings you joy and makes you feel like your most authentic self will always be worth pursuing.
I shared this recipe in a virtual cook-along with a few of my local Oiselle Volée running teammates this week and it was a big hit. It brought so much joy to me, and hopefully them, to share and bake it in community. Everyone loved the little pop of lemon this contains. The addition of the slight hit of acid enhances all the other flavors. This is also a great sweet dessert for individuals who are following a gut-healing dietary pattern. It contains only a little added sugar, which is highly inflammatory and problematic for gut-healing, but lots of flavor. Hope you enjoy!
Crumble Topping: 1 cup / 100 g rolled oats ⅓ cup / 37 g almond flour or ⅓ cup raw sunflower seeds, ground into a meal ¼ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground ginger ½ teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ cup /55 g coconut oil, ghee, or butter 2-3 tablespoons / 36 g sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the berries in a 8 x 8-inch baking dish or similar, and toss with ½ tsp. vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest.
Prepare the crumble in a separate bowl. Start by mixing oats, almond or sunflower flour, salt, spices, and vanilla.
Then add the coconut oil and sugar. Use a spoon or your hands to mix until combined. With your fingers, crumble the filling evenly over the berries.
Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges and the topping is golden brown.
Notes: Change up the berries depending on availability and season. Some berries might require 1-2 Tbs. of maple syrup or sugar added to the filling. If using frozen berries, thaw and drain the excess liquid before using.
One of the things I hear on repeat is that ‘meals just don’t taste good’ which often leads to dissatisfaction in a number of ways. Your taste buds aren’t satisfied so you reach for more even after you’re no longer hungry, nibbling on this and that and ultimately being dissatisfied and frustrated at overeating — or in some cases, undereating — because of it.
You’re needing to eat a certain way to heal your digestive system, but “it’s so boring” and “it just doesn’t taste good.” And you resist the healing effect that should be taking place.
You want to eat intuitively, but you’re overcome by cravings for “junk foods” and comfort foods and simply don’t want to eat “healthy foods.”
The Balanced Plate
One of the best ways to solve a lot of the problems listed above is to build meals that are balanced. This means your meal includes the six primary flavors of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent.
But it also means there’s a balance of those flavors, in the ideal-for-you proportions. A way that tends to be both nutritious and simple to apply is dividing those six flavors into categories of building and lightening foods.
You can ask the question of each food ingredient, will this build my body or lighten it?, to help you.
Here’s a good list:
Building Foods (comprising the flavors of sweet, sour, and salty) Whole Grains Sweet Vegetables (often root vegetables) Dairy Oils Sweeteners Fruit Animal Protein
Lightening Foods (comprising pungent, bitter, and astringent flavors) Beans and Legumes Nuts and Seeds Green Vegetables Spicy/Bitter/Pungent Vegetables – such as radishes, horseradish, spicy turnips, onions, garlic, and hot/spicy peppers, eggplants Fresh Herbs Spices
An Ideal Ratio for Your Balanced Plate
What’s an ideal ratio of building and lightening foods? This can depend on the person, but not as much as you might think. For most, aiming for a ratio of 60% building foods and 40% lightening is ideal. In the process of doing this, you’ll also nearly always incorporate the six flavors, and meals start to taste better, you enjoy them more, and you notice that you’re feeling satisfied without reaching for more — or struggling to eat because nothing tastes good.
Omnivore Balanced Plate
To make a basic meal that contains meat or eggs, it’s good to think about splitting the 60/40 ratio into the different components. I recommend 20% meat or eggs, 20% whole grain, and 20% sweet vegetables, like carrots, peas, or zucchini. Then the 40% can be mostly leafy greens, like romaine lettuce with a drizzle of vinaigrette dressing, a small handful of chopped nuts or seeds, and a pinch of fresh basil or mint. When you add in the oil/fat, spice and seasoning components, depending on your preference for the meal, it will be complete, satisfying, and balanced.
Plant-Based or Vegan Balanced Plate
To make a basic meal that’s free from most animal products, split your 60/40 ratio into a whole grain, a sweet vegetable, a legume, and a green/astringent vegetable. Start with 30% whole grain, and 30% sweet vegetables, like any of the examples above or fennel, sweet potato, or corn. Then the 40% can be split between 20% legume, tofu, or tempeh, and 20% leafy greens, like cabbage with a nut-based dressing, and a pinch of fresh basil or mint. When you add in the oil/fat, spice and seasoning components, depending on your preference for the meal, again, it will be complete, satisfying, and balanced.
One Idea, Many Variations
The beauty of this Balanced Plate idea is that ultimately, it can apply to any type of food, cuisine or flavoring profile. It worked out just fine when I made a Lasagna, rolled up ingredients into a Sushi Burrito, make homemade Pizza, pasta or noodles, and more.
It also helps to keep this idea in mind when you’re eating out. When your preferred dish on a menu isn’t quite as balanced as this, is there a way to make it a little more so by choosing a specific side or leaving off/adding something?
But I’m an athlete training for a race and need lots of food! Does this balanced meal ratio apply?
Yes, it does! There are two frequent meal scenarios that athletes tend to get into before recovery or performance starts to suffer. Either there’s not enough of the lightening / green vegetable component to most meals OR there’s too much of it, and not enough of the whole grains, root vegetables and (for plant-based athletes), beans or legumes. If you think one of these might apply to you, see if you can add in more of what’s missing, and see how you start to feel.
One Final Caveat
These percentages are not meant to be exact or obsessively measured. When you look at your plate, does about 60 percent of it contain a grain, sweet root vegetable, and maybe an animal protein or dairy? And does about 40 percent of it look like it’s green vegetables and maybe beans and a sprinkle of toasted nuts? That’s what we’re aiming for here.
When you begin to eat more meals that have a balance of the flavors in ideal proportions, you’ll also notice that ongoing digestive symptoms may begin to reduce and eventually go away. And because meals simply taste better without being elaborate or extra complicated, cravings and over- or under-eating begins to be less of an everyday issue.
Much of my nutrition practice is focused on individuals and athletes with digestive health issues such as leaky gut, food allergies and intolerances, chronic GI distress, malabsorption of foods and nutrients, and inflammation. If you’re tired, stressed, and not really sure what to eat to help or hurt anymore, I invite you to reach out to me for more personalized support.