Think you can’t eat pancakes when you have digestive problems?  Think again.

With traditional pancakes, the combination of gluten, dairy & refined sugar can lead to a tornado of digestive upset.  However, you can replace those ingredients with nutrient-rich, easily digestible alternatives to make a tummy-loving pancake.

Everyone tolerates grains differently, so I like to give options of pancakes mixes.  My clients often look at me incredulously when I give them a pancake option on their nutrition plan!

 

All pancakes are:

  • gluten-free (without using nutrient-poor standard gluten-free flours)
  • dairy-free (but toppings have dairy options)
  • refined sugar-free (with plenty of healthier sweet options!)
  • packed with vitamins & minerals (of course)
  • high in protein (which makes them super-filling)

These recipes are in order of least digestible to most digestible (in theory), but this does vary between individuals as to whether you can tolerate FODMAPs, particular grains or high fibre.

Key to acronyms:

Low FODMAPs diet – mainly used for IBS.  FODMAPs is an acronym for Fermentable, oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides & polyols which are fermentable carbohydrates that can cause digestive upset.

SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) – mainly used for IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)

SSFG (SIBO Specific Food Guide) – a blend of Low FODMAPs and SCD designed for SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)

Here are the 5 options:

1  Gram & brown rice flour pancakes

2  Buckwheat pancakes or blinis (Low FODMAPs)

3  Buckwheat & coconut flour pancakes  (Low FODMAPs)

4  Coconut flour pancakes (Low FODMAPs, grain-free, paleo, SCD, SSFG)

5  Banana pancakes (Low FODMAPs, grain-free, paleo, SCD, SSFG)

 

Make it easy

Forget weighing scales!  American cups & tablespoons are an easy way to make batches up super quickly.

Busy mornings

All batters (except 4 & 5) store well in the fridge for 3-4 days. Make the batter the night before for easier mornings.

Cooking fats

All recipes default to coconut oil as this is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and safe at high heat.  But you can use butter or ghee if you tolerate dairy.  Both these have high levels of butyric acid (more in ghee) which is healing to the gut. Lactose intolerant folk can often tolerate butter and/or ghee.

Dairy-free milks

Choose from FODMAP-friendly almond, hemp or rice milks. Coconut milk or oat milk are additional options if you don’t follow the Low FODMAP diet.  Grain-free milks are almond, hemp or coconut (always check labels).  If you’re on SCD then your preferred home-made dairy-free, grain-free milks will be fine.

Toppings

Choose from:
yoghurt (live, plain, preferably organic), non-dairy yoghurt (coconut), home-made 24 hour lactose-free yoghurt
fresh berries, stewed apple or ripe bananas (often often well-tolerated fruits)
ground nuts, seeds, nut butters, milled flaxseed
ground cinammon
raw cacao nibs, grated raw chocolate or melt 70%+ dark chocolate to drizzle
savoury toppings such as spinach, tomato, olives, peppers, chives, green parts of spring onions (often well-tolerated)

Sweeteners (only if required)

Ground cinammon is the best sweetener to use or add 1 tsp. vanilla essence into the pancake mix.  If you need something sweeter,  opt for raw local honey, maple syrup or date syrup.  Or try coconut sugar if you crave a traditional lemon & sugar option.

Note: If you have IBD you may find it’s best to avoid flaxseed, cacao nibs, chocolate, yoghurt (unless 24 hour lactose-free, home-made version).  Also keep to raw honey as your preferred sweetener.

Where to buy

Gram flour is in most supermarkets (check the Asian aisle).  For buckwheat, coconut, brown rice and nut flours, they are increasingly coming into supermarkets, but you may need a health food shop or have to buy online. Nut flour can be made easily in a high-speed blender.

 

Recipe # 1   Rice & gram flour pancakes


If you can’t tolerate legumes such as chickpeas (gram flour), then leave the batter in the fridge overnight to help the protein break down to become more easily digestible.  They may also be more tolerable if you cook them slowly. These are great with sweet or savoury toppings.

Ingredients, makes approx. 10 large pancakes

4 large eggs
1½ cups gram flour
1½ cups brown rice flour
3¾ cups non-dairy milk (see above)
Coconut oil for cooking (approx. ½ tsp. for each pancake)

Method

1.    Sift the flours into a mixing bowl
2.    Add eggs and milk and whisk till smooth
3.    Melt coconut oil in a large frying pan until very hot
4.    Pour in the batter to make a thin layer, tip pan to distribute the batter to the edges
5.    Cook on each side for about 1-2 minutes until lightly browned
6.    Add toppings as required

 

Recipe # 2   Buckwheat pancakes (blinis)

Buckwheat is definitely not a type of wheat; in fact it is not a cereal grain but a fruit seed.  It is commonly called a pseudo-grain. It is a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids and is a good source of fibre.  These work well with a savoury filling. As blinis, these are delicious straight from the fridge with nut butter on them as a snack.  Warning: they come out brown/grey – not the prettiest pancakes!

Buckwheat flour is low FODMAP at ⅔ cup, so ensure you control your portion sizes.  Either eat as blinis or limit to 1-2 large pancakes per serving.

Ingredients, makes approx. 10 large or 40 small pancakes (8cm diameter)

4 large eggs
3 cups buckwheat flour
3¾ cups non-dairy milk (see above)
Coconut oil for cooking (approx. ½ tsp. for each pancake)

Method

1.    Sift the flour into a mixing bowl
2.    Add eggs and milk and whisk till smooth
3.    Melt coconut oil in a large frying pan until very hot
4.    Pour in the batter to make a thin layer or make several smaller blinis (you can use a silicone mould or do freehand)
5.    Cook on each side for about 1-2 minutes until lightly browned
6.    Add toppings as required

 

Recipe # 3   Buckwheat & coconut pancakes

These are great if you find 100% buckwheat too strong; some find it has an aftertaste.  The coconut flour has added fibre and reduces grain content (coconut is not a grain or a pseudo-grain but a fruit). These are not so easy to flip due to the coconut flour, so medium-sized pancakes are often better.

Coconut flour has not been tested by Monash University for FODMAP content but it is believed to be low FODMAP under 3 tablespoons (note: ½ cup = 8 gently heaped tablespoons).  Buckwheat flour is low FODMAP at ⅔ cup, so ensure you control your portion sizes of both flours accordingly! 1-2 large or 2-3 medium pancakes per serving should be fine.

Ingredients, makes approx. 10 large or 15 medium pancakes

4 large eggs
1 cup buckwheat flour
½ cup coconut flour (this absorbs a lot more fluid)
4 cups non-dairy milk (see above)
Coconut oil for cooking (approx. ½ tsp. for each pancake)

Method

1.    Sift the flours into a mixing bowl
2.    Add eggs and milk and whisk till smooth
3.    Let sit for a few minutes for the coconut flour to absorb the fluid
4.    Melt coconut oil in a large frying pan until very hot
5.    Pour in the batter to make a thin layer, tip pan to distribute the batter to the edges
6.    Cook on each side for about 1-2 minutes until lightly browned
7.    Add toppings as required

 

Recipe # 4   Coconut pancakes

These are totally grain-free and suitable for those with severely compromised digestive systems, particularly those with IBD where intestinal inflammation is high.  Without grains, the pancakes start tasting more ‘eggy’ but still give a ‘carby’ feel which many of my clients seek.

There is a small amount of coconut flour (classed as Low FODMAP in this dose) so unlikely to cause an issue, but due to its fibre content, some sensitive people may find it difficult to digest.  The batter will keep for 1-2 days in the fridge. These are great cold from the fridge with nut butter on.  Alternatively add 1 tablespoon of nut flour to make the pancake more ‘grainy’.

Ingredients, makes 4 small pancakes (12cm diameter approx.)

2 eggs
1/3 cup dairy-free, grain-free milk (see above)
2 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tbsp. nut flour (optional)
Coconut oil for cooking (approx. ½ tsp. for each pancake)

Method

1.    Sift the flour into a mixing bowl.  Add nut flour if using.
2.    Add eggs and milk and whisk till smooth
3.    Let sit for a few minutes for the coconut flour to absorb the fluid
4.    Melt coconut oil in a large frying pan until very hot
5.    Pour in the batter to make a thin layer, tip pan to distribute the batter to the edges
6.    Cook on each side for about 1-2 minutes until lightly browned
7.    Add toppings as required

 

Recipe # 5   Banana pancakes

Often, the most tolerated of all pancakes.  It’s still ‘eggy’ and because of the banana these are very sweet, so you won’t need any sweet toppings.  Make this batter fresh daily – otherwise the bananas turn brown.  A tablespoon of finely-ground nut flour makes these more ‘grainy’.

Ingredients, makes 4 small pancakes (12cm diameter approx.)

1 egg (or 2 eggs if you prefer them less sweet)
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 tablespoon finely-ground nut flour (optional)
Coconut oil for cooking (approx. ½ tsp. for each pancake)

Method

1.    Mix egg and mashed bananas till smooth. Add nut flour if using.
2.    Melt coconut oil in a large frying pan until very hot
3.    Pour batter into small pancakes (about 12cm diameter for easy flipping)
4.    Cook on each side for about 1-2 minutes until lightly browned
5.    Add toppings as required

 

You’re an individual

As with all foods, individual tolerability varies, particularly when you have ongoing digestive problems.  If you have any digestive worries then start with the first recipe, but if you have severely compromised digestion, start from the bottom recipe and work upwards.

Have fun trying them out.  Do let me know below which ones you prefer.