Flapjacks and My New Secret Weapon

This morning I made ‘Flapjacks with a Twist’, which were basically the standard American pancake, with 1/2 the flour substituted for oats that had be whirled in my food processor to make a course flour. I topped them with sauteed apples (sauteed with a splash of water and some cinnamon)

I have a new secret weapon in my arsenal for change, that I did not buy for my 10 year old or even my 12 year old – instead I bought it for my nearly 20 year old son, who has such an adversion to anything healthy that I fear for his children.

Sustained Energy for Kids – a great collection of recipes and sneaky ways to make tasty and (gasp) healthy food that even a 20 year old will eat!

Here’s a recipe very similar to my Flapjack recipe that is sure to be a hit!

Yield: Makes 24 flapjacks – 6 cm in diameter

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 t. sugar (substitute honey as an option)

1 c. low fat milk

1 t. oil (canola, macadamia or peanut)

1 c. cake flour

1 tsp bicarb soda (baking soda)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 c. oat bran

1 apple peeled and cored

2 sm. green bananas, cut into 24 slices

lemon juice, squeezed over cut fruit

Place egg, sugar (honey) and salt in mixing bowl and beat lightly with spoon

Add half of the milk and oil and mix

Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder together. Stir in gradually to the egg and milk mixture until smooth and lump free

Leave batter to stand 10 minutes to moisten ingredients while you prepare fruit and heat the pan

Grease a non-stick pan with small amount of oil and drop batter into pan. Drop banana and apple into wet side of pancake before flipping

Cook until bubbly on top and slightly browned underneath. Turn and cook until brown.

Repeat until all batter is cooked.

Nutritional note: the fruit helps to lower the GI of the pancake, so do not omit it.  Allergens: wheat, eggs and milk

Nutrients: GI lower (59) Carbs (8g) Protein (1g) Fat (1g) Fibre (1g) KJ (194) GL 5




Not so subtle fibre

In our quest to eat more nutritious foods, I have subtly (or so I thought) been adding bran and whole grains to our diet. At the moment, I am not quite up to making bread, so I have switched out our previous choices (“Best of Both” by Albany which advertises that it has the benefits of whole wheat, while looking almost like white; Brown bread – which seems to be a coloured white bread in texture; and whole wheat, which actually had very little in the way of texture, save a few seeds…) to “health bread” – packed full of seeds, whole grains and additional fiber.

If you have read my previous posts, you know that I have a son who has very strong opinions, especially about his food.  He has decided that he doesn’t at all care for the health bread, and will rather by his own white bread.  

 Round One of the Conversion Bout goes to “Old Habits That Die Hard”

This week, I substituted our usual morning muffin with a bran muffin with fresh chopped apple baked inside.  My kids all partook without hesitation

Round Two goes to “Mom’s Clever Ingenuity”

However, my two youngest came home from school that day with complaints. My youngest exclaimed “Mom, if that was somekind of a crazy experiment – it worked. I have been having problems with gas all day!  I had to keep squeeking my chair on the floor to cover the sound!”  oh dear…

Finally, this morning I decided to make the family favorite: flapjacks.  Only I called them Flapjacks with a Twist.  I substituted 1/2 the flour with ground oats and sauteed apples and honey instead of providing the usual syrup.  Hubby loved them, Daughters ate them happily (only after my sugar addict complained that I wouldn’t provide the powered sugar she prefers on her flapjacks). Son of Strong Opinion, however, declared them as terrible… ate an egg and walked out of the kitchen still hungry.

This may be a long long road for some in my family…. 🙂

Here is what I have learned about the importance of whole grains and fibre in the diet….

  • Refined wheat flour has 24 nutrients that are removed in the refining process, yet only 4 are replaced (iron, B1, B2 and B3)
  • It helps to keep the digestive tract and liver healthy which offers: healthy skin; lowered risk of bowel disease such as appendicities, diverticulitis, colitus and bowel cancer; lowered risk of diabetes.
  • It keeps energy levels up by slowing down absorption of sugar into the blood.
  • Soluable fibre absorbs water and will help control your appetite – that is one reason that 1/2 cup of oats can sustain while 1 1/2 cups of boxed cereal leaves you hungry (sugar also plays a role).
  • Wheat bran can actually reduce the absorption of essential minierals including zinc because of the presence of phytate – an anti-nutrient.
  • Ideal fibre intake should be not less than 35 grams per day, which is attainable from a healthy diet without additing extra fibre.
  • Ideal fibre sources include: oats, beans, seeds, fruit and riaw or lightly cooked vegetables.
  • Overcooking food destroys fibre content.

So, good news for my dear children: our new healthy diet will cover most of the fibre you need. Bran muffins will not be a regular offering. And you won’t need to squeek your chairs in class.


Water – Not just for swimming in

Water – one of the basic necessities of life. Something that is perhaps easy to take for granted.

This is the first big change we are making in our home.

There are two basic issues that I am contending with:

a) are we consuming enough water daily?

b) is the water we are consuming good for our bodies?

The facts I always knew included:

  • our bodies are 66% water
  • we should drink 8 glasses of water
  • water cleanses the body

What I didn’t know:

  • Drinking more water than you need can actually tax your kidneys
  • The roles of water include flushing the kidneys, dissolving minerals and acting as a delivery system, lubricant and temperature regulator
  • Mild dehydration can lead to constipation, headaches, lethargy and mental confusion (Ah! at last I have a proper reason for my foggy brain!)
  • Dehydration increases risk of urinary tract infection and kidney stones
  • Thirst kicks in when you have lost about 1 and 2 percent of body water, but is often mistaken for hunger
  • Conditions such as gastric ulcers, joint pain,asthma and allergies can be linked to chronic low-level dehydration

We definitely need to consume more water in our household!

As a result I am trying the following tactics:

We have installed a water cooler – tastier water, and more fun to pour for the younger ones 🙂

A variety of yummy things for water enhancement are available in our fridge including fresh mint, sliced lemons and even strawberries when they are in season.

A lovely BPA free plastic water bottle accompanies my girls to school

In my case, not only was I not drinking enough water, but much of the water I was drinking was tap water.  I am not one to buy the water purifying company’s hype about desolved solids (are desolved solids still called solids??), however I did read that tap water not only can lack some of the minerals we require, but it can also contain estrogen, or xenoestrogen which can cause an imbalance of hormones in the body, increasing the risk of hormone related cancers. There is some disagreement as to the source of this estrogen is, but either way it’s not good.  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/143994.php   http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/12/estrogen-in-water-birth-control-agriculture.php

Sadly my research into estrogen in the water has also revealed that plastic bottles – especially those marked as a plastic type 7 in the recycle triangle – can also leech xenohormones into the contents. This was of course after I installed my nifty new water cooler.  Embracing my decision to make small changes over time, this knowledge will have to work its way into my plan at a later stage.  Perhaps we will eventually have to install a reverse osmosis filter on our water taps… one day.

Step by Step

Change may come to you in trinkets and I hope it adorns your life gracefully.  ~Dodinsky

Sometimes the most lasting change is the one that comes in bits and pieces.  This is my plan and hope for what lies ahead. My family is an ordinary family. We work hard. We eat sometimes what is most convenient. We love each other deeply.  We long for time to spend together, but never seem to find enough of it to completely satisfy. Sometimes our intentions are outweighed by our lack of motivation. We have recently discovered that life is a gift, a precious gift. And time will stop for no one.

I am a mom of 4 amazing kids – the eldest has married a wonderful husband and lives not to far away. My second is an independently minded young man of nearly 20. He feels strongly about what he feels strongly about and doesn’t care much about the rest. My two youngest – age 12 and 10 are busy growing into their own special personalities and still have time to embrace new ideas without too much friction. At least I hope so!

Amongst our group is one who hates vegetables as if they were meant only for torture and death; a man who loves meat (When we met he said,”Please know this now – I’m not one for rabbit food. I like my meat and potatoes.”); one who loves all things sweet – and given the chance will partake without thought to as much as possible; and one who, though given the gift of an athletic body, doesn’t give much thought to what she eats. Then there is myself.  A 44-year-old woman, who has always desired a healthy lifestyle – has had short moments living in one, and has recently been faced with and healed of a life altering disease. 

The challenge is ahead: educate this bunch properly -above and beyond the “you should’s” to the “understand why  you should” and coax them gracefully into a new healthier lifestyle.  I’m committed, and they are at least semi-willing.  

 So here we go!