3.28.2012

Grain Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free Waffles (but first, Paleo Politics)

One of my favorite things on NPR is the coverage of Supreme Court hearings. I love how Nina Totenberg reads from the transcript of court proceedings as if she's reading a script for a play. She makes the proceedings of the Supreme Court come to life for me while I'm standing in my kitchen, preparing dinner. It's almost as if the Justices are pontificating political issues purely for my entertainment.

What do politics have to do with preparing dinner (or breakfast or lunch for that matter)? I could argue that the current topic being debated by the Supreme Court (health law) has everything to do with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, because I believe wholeheartedly in achieving health through food. Funny that Justice Scalia recently argued that if the government could make people buy health insurance, then they could also make people buy broccoli. He might be on to something.

Since going Paleo (or Primal, Hunter-Gatherer, Caveman, whatever), I've discovered a whole new set of food politics. I've been asked questions such as, How do you feel about coconut milk? What is your stance on sweet potatoes? What about olive oil? (For the record: love it; can't get enough; use it everyday.)

The biggest debate I've avoided, and the reason I've postponed sharing the following recipe, is nuts. Yes, nuts. Crazy, huh?

To bake or not to bake with nut flour seems to be a polarizing debate in the Pale0/Primal blogging community. There are those who strongly believe there is no place for nut flour treats on the Paleo plate, and others who post recipe after tasty recipe for Paleo friendly brownies, cakes, cookies, bars, breads, etc.

How do I feel about baking with nut flour?

Well . . . I wish I didn't do it, but I'm glad I can. Kind of like health insurance: wish I didn't need it, glad I have it.

Putting vegetables and meat on the table for my family says, "I love you!", but putting a loaf of Paleo bread on the table says, "I like you too!" My family has always loved baked goods, and going Paleo meant giving up many of our favorite treats. I'm thrilled that we've rediscovered the joy of baking with ingredients I can justify eating!

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But . . . I do my darnedest to limit our consumption of nut based Paleo "goodies" to once or twice a week. I believe nuts should be consumed in moderation and I find it far too easy to consume too many, especially when you mix nuts with cocoa powder or shredded coconut or dried fruit. I'd really rather eat meat and vegetables (or at least that's what I repeatedly tell myself when I'm tempted to make a batch of Paleo Brownie Bites).

So . . . Although my kids ask for them every day, once a week I make these Paleo friendly waffles for breakfast (to be honest, I could eat them every day too!).

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Grain Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free Waffles
(recipe adapted from PaleOMG)

1 3/4 cup almond meal*
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon arrowroot or coconut powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour a scant 1/2 cup of batter onto a greased waffle iron and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 small waffles.

*You can make your own almond meal by grinding whole, raw almonds in the food processor (ideally, the almonds should be sprouted and dehydrated, but that's another post). For this recipe, I use just shy of 2 cups of raw almonds to make my own almond meal, then add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and proceed.

grain free, dairy free, sugar free waffles

Now . . . what to put on your waffles is a different debate. How do you feel about maple syrup? What about butter? What's your stance on fruit? (For the record: stopped buying it; only buy the best; no more than two pieces a day.)

Personally, I love to spread a little almond butter on my waffle and top with a half of a banana, sliced. As a politician said long ago, To each his own.

14 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. we should do breakfast! these would be great with blackberry jam :)

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  2. Our family is vegan so the politics of food is something I'm very familiar with. Funny thing is it seems to be everyone's problem but ours. I'm constantly asked but what about honey? Don't you need milk? What about the bugs you eat by accident on your produce? and the truth is I've never agonised about any of these. Isn't it funny that to ask 'what's with all the fried food? really, sugar cereal? soda in lunch boxes?' is somehow out of question but just because you do a little thinking about your health, your kids health, it's all on the table?

    Your waffles look delicious. And for what it's worth, is it really worth living without coconut milk?

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    1. so very true! no one used to ask me why i was feeding my kids sugar and flour for breakfast, but now that i don't, i field questions like, "but where do they get their energy?", and concerns such as, "you're going to waste away!"

      one of the most important things i've learned from changing my diet is to trust my instinct when it comes to food and eating. i don't have to answer to anyone but myself when it comes to what i consume. and it's nobody's business how many cans of coconut milk i go through in a week :)

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    2. Our local market has started carrying coconut milk in 1 quart tetrapaks! to die for.

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  3. I'm not doing paleo per se (though I am trying to greatly reduce grains and dairy), but I use hazelnut meal a ton in baking and find it awesome - a great, tasty replacement for much of, if not all, white flour in recipes.

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  4. Thanks, Molly!! ~m

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  5. Yes. Thanks Molly. The politics of food can be overwhelming to me. But, I am finally in the place where I just eat the foods I want. If I feel better not eating wheat... then I don't eat it.

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  6. I'm hooked on your blog. Thanks for every Paleo post you've created. Please please please convert a crepe or Kaiserschmarrn recipe for me!!!! Just so we can have it once a month for a treat.

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  7. Looks wonderful! I'm married to a man with a severe nut allergy though so I just beg that when baking for those outside your family you let them know that it is a nut flour. We've had a lot of people tell us that something is nut free when in reality they used almond extract or a nut flour. Tons of people seem to forget that Nutella is a nut product too...why, I'm not sure.

    Jennifer

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  8. I hope you take my opinion not as an attack but as a critique on the paleo diet idea. I'm an historian so I may be biased - too many books read on the evolution of food, the environment, communities and our human species may have made me too skeptical about "the most natural diet" for mankind.
    Nevertheless, and in a nutshell, here's what I think about the matter: hunter-gatherers were, by definition, nomadic. Some groups more than others, most of them seasonally returning to places where they had hunted and gathered before. They could barely transport food, so they adapted to whatever they would find - insects, fish, roots, fruit, berries, mammals, birds, nuts, eggs... Also, they were stuck with the staples they had in their region: no almonds or coconut if you lived in the taiga, no big mammals or oily fishes if you lived in the South American jungles. Also, and very importantly, you could not pick whatever nut of meat or vegetable or fruit or root you fancied the best. You had to do with what was made available solely by Nature. Furthermore, most fruits, nuts, vegetables and animals we eat today are only modified descendents of the wild species our non-agriculture ancestors ate. If we could go back in time, most of these staples would prove quite distasteful for our tastebuds... Accordingly to their whole lifestyle they lived short lives (around 30 years) and were prone to a host of infections and ailments, some of each they carried along their short lives. They were as healthy as their travails and food enabled them to be.
    When agriculture was developed and spread throughout most of the world, not only the lifespan but the physical quality of life increased enormously. Our contemporary society (broadly speaking, from the US to Japan via Iceland and Turkey, say), with all its cancers and smoke and fat and sugar and leadpoisoning is, by far, the age in which more people than ever before lived to see and enjoy their greatgrandchildren in good health and leading an active life. This is, by any standard, no mean feat. People are simply, and generally, more well-fed.

    Now, if you ask me, is food politics an important issue in contemporary society? Absolutely! IMHO, though, the emphasies should be placed on making healthy, wholesome, varied staples available to the most of the world's population. 1st world fashionable diets, whatever the fad they follow, are only that: 1st world fads. Humans are omnivores, biologically speaking - each person on Earth should have access to the amount of animal and vegetable proteins, carbs, vitamins and minerals needed to make them strong and apt to whatever activity they lead in their lives: a farmer in Malaysia should have more than the bowl of rice 4 times a day with the occasional chicken bit thrown in, as a child in the affluent US should have only three hearty, varied meals per day, and not all those "healthy snacks" that completly deflate the notion of "meal" as a social and cultural tradition.

    Anyway, paelo or no paleo, your recipes sound yummy! I'd better go and try some of them...

    Marta

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  9. Wow those look yummy! I especially love that last photo.. the lighting is gorgeous!

    xoxo
    Janee
    www.yellowbirdyellowbeard.blogspot.com

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  10. Oh food politics... vegan, vegetarian, paleo..they all have their own police department. Its tiring sometimes. I get nervous every time I hit the publish button if I think my meal contains too much of something ( particularly sweet potatoes or fruit ) But really...everyone is different, and I think sometimes we forget that we are supposed to enjoy food and it is not supposed to stress us out! Paleo treat here and there? Yes please :)

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email: mollydunham@sbcglobal.net
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