Whole-Wheat Pancakes. Photography by Luke Albert

Miss breakfast pancakes? Try this stack of Wellness

The pancake stacks in Dr Gary Deng’s Wellness Principles Cookbook have fewer than 10 grams of added sugar per serving, making them a fine breakfast staple

There are quite a few revelations in our new cookbook, The Wellness Principles, that may lead you to believe the book’s author is drawing on a wide body of knowledge gathered from outside the kitchen. Take this line, which appears in the book’s introduction: “biological effects are dose-dependent,” writes Dr Gary Deng, “it is what you eat regularly that matters. We want to enjoy our food, as well as eat healthy.”

Deng is, aside from being a talented home cook and a debut cookbook author, the Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Clinical Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. In his new book, he sets out simple, long-term guides to healthy eating and living, breaking down complicated principles, such as the Glycemic Index, the influence of sleep and a good social life on health outcomes, as well as the idea that eating a little unhealthy food every now and again is basically fine, especially if it helps us stick to a healthy diet for most of the time.

For those of us who like to binge on richer dishes a little more regularly, Dr Deng has formulated a series of recipes that enable home cooks to improve their fat and carb intakes, while still enjoying much the same meal. His stack of breakfast pancakes favour white flour for whole wheat (“white flour has the outer bran layer and the germ of the wheat berries removed, losing fibre, B vitamins, and minerals”), while reducing the amount of syrup in each serving, and swapping the milk in the batter for kefir or yoghourt, which makes them easier to digest. “The result has fewer than 10 grams of added sugar per serving,” he writes.

Miss breakfast pancakes? Try this stack of Wellness

Author, Dr Gary Deng

To make four servings of these pancakes you’ll need a cup (120 g) of whole-wheat flour; two teaspoons of sugar; a teaspoon of baking powder; half a teaspoon of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda); a quarter teaspoon of kosher (flaked) salt; a cup (280 g) of plain kefir or European-style yoghourt (i.e., runny yoghourt); one egg, beaten; a tablespoon of canola (rapeseed) oil; a cup (120–150 g) of fresh berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or sliced strawberries; a banana; and two tablespoons pure maple syrup.

First whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda (bicarbonate of soda), and salt and mix to combine evenly. Add the kefir and egg. Mix until it becomes a thick but still pourable batter. Let the batter rest for about five minutes.

Heat a large seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Brush with half of the canola (rapeseed) oil. Stir the batter and pour half into the skillet. Spread to about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick by tilting and swirling the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low. You will see little bubbles start to appear on the surface. Cook until the bubbling has stopped, the surface becomes matte, and the bottom is lightly golden, 3–5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden. Repeat to make the next pancake. Divide the pancakes among four plates: Quarter each pancake and stack two quarters on each plate. Top with the berries, banana slices, and maple syrup.

Miss breakfast pancakes? Try this stack of Wellness

The Wellness Principles

For a fuller recipe, as well as many other delicious, healthy alternatives to otherwise indulgent meals, order a copy of The Wellness Principles here.