Happy New Year! January seems like the appropriate time to make resolutions and goals. But alongside change, comes reflection. Looking back at the past year, one of the biggest changes I made was cutting out sugar. I mentioned a few blog posts back why and how I made the decision. With something sounding drastic and restrictive has been liberating and spiritual. It became less of an experiment and more of a lifestyle. It made me reexamine the foods I was eating and realized that sugar is in practically everything. In fact, it would be quite difficult to fully exclude sugar, especially going out to eat, you never know if someone has added a teaspoon of sugar here or there. But here are some of the few things I’ve noticed:
I sleep better. I fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly.
Eat when I want. You know that saying “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re 80% full.” I was always annoyed by that saying, like how are you really supposed to know, because our mind and bodies are so interconnected, it’s not just our bodies dictating our physiological needs, it’s our minds too. Sugar has been shown to disrupt those very pathways that signal to our brain, I am full. Eliminating sugar has provided me with a balanced mind-body connection. I feel connected in a way I have never been before.
Energy stabilized. My energy throughout the day is less up and down. Sugar spikes our energy levels, so eliminating it has leveled out my energy so that I experience less dramatic swings.
Clearer skin. I noticed immediately less redness and inflammation in my skin. My skin is now softer and clearer than it was before I ate sugar. And most noticeably less puffy.
It’s hard to fully articulate all the changes I have felt but to say it’s just that “I don’t eat dessert” would be far from the point. It has drastically changed my life in ways that make me want to continue for the foreseeable future. I really can’t imagine eating sugar again. It doesn’t make me feel good and being quite sensitive to it, disrupts my mind/body connection and overall health. Other people may not be as sensitive, may not experience the energy swings or physiological changes, but being one that is, it’s easier to be without it. In fact I don’t think about it much, other than making recipes without sugar, mostly because I don’t crave it. Once it’s out of your system, it is much easier to avoid.
So without white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, or agave, we are here at breakfast, wondering how we can still have pancakes. Fear not because I have an amazingly Fluffy Vegan Pancake recipe. Naturally sweetened and spiced up with cinnamon and vanilla. Plus there’s a *secret* (or not so secret anymore) ingredient that makes these pancakes light and fluffy!
Bananas are densely sweet, and the perfect, natural sweetener for this dish. Smashed and mixed with cinnamon, vanilla, hemp milk, and flax seeds. These pancakes is full of flavor and nutrition! I like using hemp milk here because I find it creamier and thicker than many other nut milks. It also has a unique and earthy flavor, particularly complimentary to bananas and cinnamon. I add flour, baking soda and salt, although a gluten free flour would work just as well, just note it may be denser.
Here the*secret* to making these light and fluffy little cakes is canned chickpea liquid, more notably aquafaba. That murky water that is usually rinsed off, becomes frothy and meringue-like when whipped at high speed for 5 minutes. Folded into the pancake batter it lightens and interacts with the batter making for a bubbly reaction.
These pancakes are quite possibly some of my favorite I’ve made. They have the denseness and sweetness from the bananas but the light and fluffiness from the aquafaba. Even if you are eating sugar or not, these pancakes are amazing! They are naturally sweet, not overbearing, but real and delicious. Hemp milk, flax seeds, and cinnamon create an earthiness that runs through the batter. Flour, and most importantly aquafaba, give these pancakes the light and airy lift needed to balance to the dense and sweet banana. With cold days ahead and warm kitchens seemingly more and more the place to be, this recipe may just be the comforting boost you need on a chilly winter weekend. Enjoy!
3/4 cup hemp milk (or any milk)
1 teaspoon flax seed
1 large ripe banana (or 2 small)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (unsweetened, you can find brands that don't add sugarlink)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 14-ounce can of chickpea liquid reserves (*aquafaba)
coconut oil for greasing
In a small bowl or cup, stir together the hemp milk and flax seeds, set aside for 10 minutes. In the meantime, in a large bowl, smash the banana with a fork. Mix in the vanilla and cinnamon. Add 1/2 cup of the hemp seed milk mixture and stir until combined. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix until just incorporated, adding more of the milk as needed. Set aside. In another bowl, pour in the reserved chickpea liquid (not the chickpeas, just the liquid from the can!), and using an electric mixer, whisk until soft peaks, about 5-7 minutes. Gently, fold the whites into the banana batter, until just incorporated. You might see the mixture bubble up (it’s the chickpea liquid interacting with the baking powder!).
Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium heat. Add a small spoon of coconut oil if the pan if needed. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out the batter and place onto the pan. Let cook until edges start to dry and bubble up, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until golden brown. Remove and finish the rest with the rest of the batter. Top with your favorite fruit, nuts, and seeds. Enjoy right away!
Makes: about 6-8 small pancakes
Total time: about 30 minutes