So, today is pancake day and I think folk will generally fall into one of the following groups:
1) Those who eat what they like, when they like and just enjoy the shit out of it leading to a wholly functional relationship with food and themselves. These people are less likely to have weight and / or health problems
2) People who talk a lot about healthy eating, and classify food into good and bad; pancakes obviously falling into the bad category, so they indulge but with a hefty side helping of guilt and have to go for a 75 mile run afterwards
3) Those who are intolerant to gluten (or who at least think that they are) and so look for alternative products to make their pancakes with (You could be in luck with Billy Craig's Masa Harina Pancakes recipe
4) Low carbers who have such a zealous commitment to their chosen faith that they will be attempting to make a pancake from a flattened cauliflower floret, fried in MCT oil and dusted with some chia seeds, matcha powder and raw cacao
*It is possible to be a member of more than one group
**absolutely no scientific basis for the above categories whatsoever
I want to talk specifically talk about the gluten free gang today (the low carbers can enjoy a day relatively free of jibing from me for a change :D).
So what exactly is it with gluten intolerance? Well, while some people are diagnosed as celiac, some choose to follow a gluten-free life, quite possibly in part attributed to the rise of the clean-eating faiths, like Deliciously Ella, the Hemsley Sisters, Davina McCall, Joe Wicks et al. There definitely seems to be a rise in bloating and digestion issues and that could potentially be due to the rise in super wholegrain pretentious breads that are common now, replacing the good old white bread that we used to have.
Starches in general are not digested too well. Pre-absorption and preparation of grains that basically pre-digest some of the starch over time before it is consumed tend to be preferential. Sourdough would probably qualify as long as it is a traditional method and not a chemically enhanced one.
People with metabolic issues (remember, that’s a lot of us) will typically suffer more digestive issues because of the low stomach acid that’s synonymous with hypothyroidism; and so intolerances are more common. On top of that, you only have to look at the ingredient list for a loaf of commercially produced bread to see that it is not only flour water and yeast.
Above are the ingredients that come up when I googled Warburtons bread ingredients. Now while it clearly contains flour, which has some anti-nutrients in it (such as PUFA), you can see that quite aside from the usual ingredients you would expect to see in bread, there are some real nasties in there – Rapeseed oil, for example would be much higher up my list of things to avoid than flour.
Which brings me onto the gluten-free, mass-market products. I know quite a lot of people who eat this stuff, fair enough, their choice. However, I think that people often assume, due to clever marketing, that this stuff is healthy (I use that term very loosely anyway) and almost beyond reproach, due to its gluten-freeness. Again, a quick Google search of Genius bread ingredients, returned the following:
So, what am I saying? In summary, eating a diet that is low in grains, or even free of them if at all possible, is probably good for your overall health. As long as you can achieve that without any stress. Eating a diet that consists of items manufactured by gigantic corporations to cash in on the trend for GF, probably isn’t that much better than the traditional products, in my view.
I think the overall take out for me is that if you are going to buy any products that have an ingredients label, check them! Don’t assume that because it’s from the local farm shop / Harrods Food Hall / labelled Gluten Free; it’s good for you. Because that simply may not be the case.
Also, I would encourage you to eat consciously and see how different foods make you feel, and then decide whether you don’t like them and / or they make you feel bad. Its shunning foods unnecessarily, probably as a result of following fad diets, that often leads to intolerances in the first place. I know that from the Paleo hell.
I’ve been cooking pancakes with Masa Harina today on Instagram (If you're quick you can catch it on Insta Stories). It’s a flour made from milled corn flour soaked in lime and is naturally gluten free. Although I'm sure it wont be to everyone's taste, It's this kind of stuff that I would urge you to search for and experiment with, rather than following the herd.
As always, I hope this is helpful, feel free to let me know if you have any questions and / or feedback.