Sunday, May 15, 2011


After a delicious, healthy breakfast this morning of whole wheat pancakes with real maple syrup, blueberries and whipped cream, it got me wondering something... why are we so obsessed with throwing white sugar into everything we cook?

I used to obediently follow recipes and add the sugar in, until I started realizing how unnecessary it was. Let's take our breakfast this morning for an example: the pancake recipe originally calls for white flour (basically sugar once it enters your body!) and a tablespoon of sugar. Using whole wheat flour instead of white actually can make it easier to get that fluffy pancake texture. Since one of the keys of making pancakes is to stir ever so gently as to avoid activating the gluten in the flour, using whole wheat flour makes it more fool proof, since it takes a lot more stirring to get the gluten going in whole wheat. Even better you can use a low-gluten flour like stone ground spelt. Then you can give that batter a good stir and get everything well combined without worrying about gluey pancakes. As for the tablespoon of sugar... really? Is it really that important? I can tell you having experimented that it isn't. Leaving it out makes absolutely no difference in your finished product, and you can't even really taste it if you do put it in. So why would you?

We like our pancakes decadent, covered in maple syrup, berries and whipped cream. But this doesn't have to be unhealthy either. The berry syrup is as simple as dumping some frozen berries from my freezer into a bowl and microwaving it for a minute or two. No need to add sugar, berries are plenty sweet enough on their own. If you do need a little sweetness, stevia works great, but I don't even bother with that anymore. Disclaimer: microwaves are really not an ideal way of cooking stuff, it would be healthier to throw the berries in a small saucepan and heat them up on the stove, but I'm lazy and the microwave is very convenient. I've promised myself that if/when this microwave dies I'm not going to buy another one, I will learn to live without, but until that time... the berries get microwaved.

Lastly, the whipped cream. It was a revelation to me when I realized that you don't have to sweeten whipped cream. It still tastes amazing on food when it's just the straight up cream, no sugar needed! It's so ingrained in our minds that we have to add sugar while whipping cream, but why? I love it unsweetened now, and when it's sweetened it tastes sickeningly sweet to me now. Leaving it natural lets the rich taste of the cream shine through. And there are those that would argue with me, but I'm a big advocate of natural fats like cream. They contain loads of vitamins that your body craves, and will help you stay full all morning. A breakfast of white pancakes with low fat table syrup will spike your blood sugars and leave you hungrier than ever half an hour later. Won't help you loose weight. A breakfast of whole wheat pancakes (if they contain lots of eggs for protein even better), real maple syrup, berries and whipped cream where the only sugar is the natural sugars in the berries and maple syrup will fill you up and keep you going. Plus if you ask me, it's way, WAY yummier.

1 comment:

  1. So true Emily! I made some cookies for a special treat this past weekend and I cut the sugar in half from what the original recipe said and they were still *plenty* sweet enough. In fact they were probably still a little too sweet for our tastes. Many recipes, like you said, don't even need the added sugar in them. Great post!

    -Mindy (The Purposed Heart)