Hormonal imbalance became a part of my life a few years ago when my mom entered menopause. Hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety, muscle pain, all these became a part of her life, due to this imbalance. Not to mention the more serious conditions it might lead to, from obesity to cancer.
Bearing in mind that stress is another strong factor that can cause this kind of imbalance, I started looking for natural solutions to protect myself and my whole family, including my teenage daughter, also prone to hormonal imbalance during puberty, and my mom, whose symptoms I hoped to reduce.
And what better solution than infusing our favorite foods with ingredients that help hormonal balance? Say, pancakes. Why not? Pancake recipes are very flexible and allow to incorporate many different ingredients that help restore hormonal balance. Like those rich in manganese.
Don’t rush to dismiss pancakes as unhealthy, sugary delights. A few simple changes in the classic pancake recipe will turn your favorite breakfast into a healthy snack.
Healthier Pancake Base
– Replace regular flour with whole wheat, coconut flour, almond flour or soy flour. Other options that can replace regular flour and are very rich in manganese are teff, rye, buckwheat and chickpea flour, as well as oats, brown rice, and amaranth;
– Replace regular refined sugar with honey, pure maple syrup, molasses, agave syrup or stevia;
– Replace regular milk with non-dairy milk, like almond, soy, rice or coconut milk.
– Use healthier vegetable oil alternatives both in the batter and for frying, like olive oil or coconut oil;
– If you are using yogurt for fluffiness (I highly recommend that you do), choose a low-fat or nonfat variation or soy yogurt.
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Benefits of Manganese-Infused Pancakes
Besides balancing your hormones that affect almost every aspect of health, manganese is involved in numerous processes, including bone health, proper enzyme function, protection against diabetes and so on.
Luckily, manganese can be found in many foods and manganese deficiency in healthy people is rare. As I mentioned before, women are more prone to manganese deficiency at certain periods of their life like puberty, menopause or perimenopause. Also, unhealthy habits and stress speed the pace of hormonal decline.
Besides the abovementioned flour alternatives, other rich sources of manganese that can be incorporated in pancake recipes are hazelnuts and macadamia nuts. Here are two delicious and healthy recipe suggestions.
Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Pancakes
Prepare your recipe base by mixing ½ cup whole wheat and ½ cup oatmeal together with the other usual ingredients (make sure you choose the abovementioned healthier sweetener and milk options). Add either ½ cup of cocoa powder or a cup of dark chocolate chips into the batter. Or both, why not! Then add a cup of finely chopped hazelnuts and spice with a teaspoon of cinnamon. You can toast the hazelnuts beforehand but, in that case, they will lose many of the nutrients. That is why I prefer them raw. Add some more chopped hazelnuts and dark chocolate chips on top of cooled pancakes.
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pancakes
If you love white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, you can now have them for breakfast. Mix 1 ¾ oats and ¾ whole wheat for the base. Vanilla soy milk works really well here, together with a teaspoon of vanilla extract, ¾ cup non-dairy white chocolate chips and ¾ cup finely chopped macadamia nuts. Serve with pure maple syrup on top with some more sprinkled white chocolate chips.
That’s what I call a balanced diet!