It Starts With Food

it starts with food

It Starts With Food: Discover The Whole 30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways, by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Originally published in 2014. 328 pages.

*A recipe, the inspiration for the post (along with a book review from Booky McBookerson), follows this short review.

I read this book a while back and initially decided not to review it because I had already reviewed The Whole 30. It Starts With Food is the precursor to The Whole 30, and both books offer the same tried and true advice that most Americans have heard and ignore. Namely, that a diet rich in whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein and less -or NO- grains makes for a healthier body and a longer life.

There is a lot of science with outlining the way our bodies react to certain macro nutrients in certain proportions. Of course, as with all such books, there are recipes and encouragement to get you started on the plan. In this case, the eating plan widely known by the moniker of  the Paleo Diet. I’ve said here before that paleo is not something this family can embrace in its entirety, but we have adopted our eating to the general paradigm about 3/4 of the time.

One of the rules for the Whole 30 plan is that pancakes are off limits. It doesn’t matter if they are made from “approved foods”. Pancakes feed into the standard American diet and are therefor off limits for the Whole 30. I don’t really like the idea of anything being strictly forbidden (except for allergic reactions and health conditions), and I really don’t fancy being told I can’t eat pancakes. I’m a rebel!

Every “paleo pancake recipe I tried left a lot to be desired. If the flavor was good, the texture was intolerable. If the texture was acceptable, the flavor was lacking. So I set out to make my own version of paleo compliant pancakes and after a couple of tries…Eureka!

I’m going to share it here, with the caveat that the measurements are far from exact, and I kind of play it by ear until I get the batter I want. I paid attention this morning to what I was doing as  I made them so this is as close to a verifiable recipe as I’ve come yet. Here’s what you need:


  •  1 very ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil (plus more for the griddle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder
  • roughly 1 tablespoon coconut or almond milk (to loosen batter if needed).

Set griddle for 350. Mash the banana very well, and then whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and coconut oil. Mix the coconut flour and baking powder together, and then whisk in to the wet ingredients. If you’ve worked with coconut flour before you know it is full of fiber and therefore very absorbent. Don’t worry. The proportion of wet to dry is spot on here.

Pour coconut oil onto hot griddle and spoon batter to make pancakes no more than three inches.


These pancakes are extremely delicate, making flipping a particular challenge in they are too big. In fact, I found that a typical spatula is not the optimal tool for flipping them. I use an icing spreader like this one, which is thin enough to slide underneath the hot cakes so that they don’t break apart while being flipped. Cook for at least 3-4 full minutes before flipping. Don’t worry, they will be beautiful:


If you want, you can top ’em with maple syrup but the combined sweetness of the banana and the coconut flour is more than enough. The texture isn’t identical to traditional pancakes, but it’s close enough that you won’t miss the wheat. Trust me.


5 thoughts on “It Starts With Food

  1. Elspeth says:

    Yes. Very much like 🍌 bread. Now you have me thinking about adding cinnamon to it.

    Sprinkle blueberries on top if you add them. I tried adding them to the batter like traditional blueberry pancakes and that was a mistake.


  2. Elspeth says:

    Ok. This summer I pretty much blew off my no wheat lifestyle. Two trips, 7 birthdays (all the birthdays in this house fall between mid-May and Sept 1), and the general tone of summer life had me being a lot less selective in the way I eat. Labor Day came and went and I figured it was the best time to go on a Whole 75. No grains at all until at least Thanksgiving, then back to my typical 80/20 paleo way of eating.

    I hadn’t baked a pan of dinner rolls in a very long time, since I was mostly avoiding such things. But, I have to make 250 in anticipation of hubs’ massive extended family invasion next month for a celebration, and I needed to make sure I could *still* easily turn out a superb pan of Hawaiian sweet rolls. These turned out good:

    They tasted good, and I indulged just a little. Now it’s back to the Whole 30 plan and training for a spring race since concrete goals keeps my motivation high.


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