Brown is the New White


I love Sundays. Waking up later than usual, the aroma of hot coffee brewing and my mobile phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode, Sundays are meant to be more peaceful and easy-going than other days in the week.

My Sundays are regularly a day for breakfast at home. Breakfast menu choices would be eggs and sausages with toast and jam, scones and cream, nasi lemak, pancakes or waffles.  Lately, I had taken my Cuisinart waffle iron out of hibernation as pancakes and waffles were the preferred choice for several weeks. This valuable piece of equipment comes with seven heat settings and serves 4 portions of American Waffles at a time – a keeper.  Fluffy, indulgent hot pancakes and waffles are high-calorie wake-up calls filled with carbs and sugar with all the toppings we can get our hands on….maple syrup, chocolate sauce, chocolate chips, creme fraiche, melted peanut butter, fruit and nuts like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts to name a few.

Do you know that the mixture used for your pancakes or waffles can be made healthier with just a switch of one single ingredient? By the word “healthier” I mean lower calorie, higher dietary fibre and a lower GI, enough to fuel almost the rest of your afternoon.

For several months now, I had begun to bake my own bread as my lovely other-half presented me with an impressive Breville bread maker. Baking bread is new to me for I did not get to master the art of bread making like my chef mom.  Consequently, baking with a bread maker requires TEE….Trial and Error and more Error. On one particular (trial) day, the loaf of wholegrain bread came out perfect. All I did was replacing the entire amount of all-purpose flour (white flour) required in the recipe to a certain ratio with healthier options of flour available like wholewheat, buckwheat and rye. The thought came to mind that if I can bake a healthier loaf of bread, I can do so too with my Sunday indulgence of waffles and pancakes.

I searched for a recipe online for wholewheat waffles and tweaked it a little by adding 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract for added flavour. I noticed that as I cooked them on double time on my waffle iron, they turned out crunchier, to the delight of my other half. Perhaps you could do the same. I also separated the eggs, whipped the egg white separately in a separately bowl and then folded the whipped egg white into the mixture. This step is optional however, it is imperative that you do not skip this step if you want fluffier-than-normal almost willowy texture in your waffles and pancakes. Here they are on my plate pictured below:

Wholewheat American Waffles

Not limiting to waffles only, it is a healthier lifestyle choice if we can incorporate more wholegrain products to our daily diet. Grains forms the foundation of our daily food pyramid and in our Asian diet, white rice is the staple food. What is white rice?

White rice is a refined grain, just like white flour and white bread. Refined means these grains have been milled, removed of its bran and germ. These refined grains have a finer texture and a longer shelf life, less nutrients and less dietary fibre. So what makes the wholegrain wholesome? A grain is considered whole where it has all its three parts, the bran, germ and endosperm. White flour and white rice are refined grains because they have the bran and germ removed leaving only the endosperm.

Regular consumption of whole grains as part of a healthy diet reduces the risk of some chronic diseases as they are important sources of many nutrients which include dietary fibre, B vitamins and minerals. Dietary fibre from whole grains helps reduces blood cholesterol and may lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Food made of whole grains help provide the feeling of fullness with less calories. Incorporating whole grains in your daily eating plan may help maintain your weight.  There are a wide variety of whole grains available in the supermarket aisle today. Among them are buckwheat, barley, brown rice, oats, rye and polenta. To ensure these are whole grain products, ensure the package is labelled “whole grain” .

I have been incorporating some of the whole grain products in my daily eating plan for the longest of time. Anything white like white rice and white flour, including cauliflower (I know that does not count but I don’t have a liking to cauliflower anyway) in my diet is often replaced with a wholegrain product. I will have brown or multigrain rice instead of white rice, buckwheat noodles or brown rice pasta instead of white rice noodles and regular pasta. The all-purpose flour in my bread recipes is replaced with a combination of rye, buckwheat and wholewheat flour.

Making a change to a healthier lifestyle is not difficult. By replacing one or two ingredients in our meals does make difference. Our food will taste different for a short time as a result of this change. Similar to training our bodies to fitness, we have to train our taste-buds too. So why wait? Don’t procrastinate. Make a change to what you eat today.








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