Quinoa and millet porridge with cinnamon

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With the weather starting to turn a little colder now, a warming bowl of porridge for breakfast is beautifully nourishing and wonderful for your digestion.

Soaking your grains assists in improving their digestibility and nutrient content (Arneja et al, 2015; Ahmed et al, 2013). If you soak whole quinoa overnight, then drain and leave in your strainer over a bowl, covered, in warm conditions, you can see little tails appearing from the sprouting process, which indicates it is germinating, and is much easier to digest this way.

In Western countries, dietary guidelines often tell you “what” to eat, but not how best to eat to support digestion. Having the right balance of ingredients in your meal, a moderate quantity of food, and eating foods cooked and warm, all assist with digestion. It is also important to eat regular meals. Having a warm, light, easy to digest breakfast, and not rushing it down as you run out the door, but rather sitting down and enjoying and chewing your food properly, will result in much better digestion. This is often forgotten in our modern, busy society!

Try this breakfast when you have time – it could also be prepared the night before, and then heated up when needed the next morning. Don’t forget to enjoy it.

Recipe

Ingredients per person:

  • 1/4 cup of a mix of quinoa and millet flakes (I use about 3/4 quinoa and 1/4 millet. You could also use brown rice flakes in your mix, or use whole quinoa and millet, ground in a small spice grinder. You may need more water with this.)
  • 1/4 cup of your preferred milk – e.g. organic, non-homogenised whole milk, goats milk, unsweetened almond milk etc
  • handful of organic raisins
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Optional, to serve – organic, whole milk, unsweetened yoghurt, and/or ground linseeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds (these can be freshly ground in a small spice grinder for the best nutrient content, and should be stored in the fridge), extra ground cinnamon

Method:

  1. Soak your quinoa and millet overnight (or around 8 hours) in water, with a dash of apple cider vinegar if you have some, or just in plain water, covered, if possible. It is best to rinse the quinoa before soaking to reduce bitterness.
  2. Place your quinoa and millet in a small saucepan (if soaked, drained).
  3. Add in your raisins.
  4. Cover with water, around 1/2 cup per person.
  5. Bring to the boil over moderate heat, covered, then lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly. Add extra water as needed, keeping a porridge consistency.
  6. Add your preferred milk and the cinnamon, and warm through, continuing to stir.
  7. Pour into your favourite bowl, and if you like, top with 1 tbsp yoghurt per person, an extra sprinkle of cinnamon, and a tsp of ground linseeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
  8. Enjoy with a cup of your favourite hot beverage!

 

References

Arneja, I., Tanwar, B. & Chauhan, A. (2015). Nutritional Composition and Health Benefits of Golden Grain of 21 Century, Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa wild.): A Review. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 14 (12): 1034-1040.

Saleh, A. S.M., Zhang, Q., Chen, J. and Shen, Q. (2013), Millet Grains: Nutritional Quality, Processing, and Potential Health Benefits. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 12: 281–295. doi: 10.1111/1541-4337.12012

 

Warming spiced turmeric almond, macadamia and coconut milk

image With the cooler weather comes a strong desire for warming, deeply nourishing foods. This light and easily digestible warm drink is perfect for providing some deep nourishment before bed, along with being lovely at any time of the day. The vibrant colour comes from the addition of turmeric, and illustrates the goodness this ingredient brings. Turmeric has been shown to have potent ant-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and may help reduce your risk of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and arthritis (1). Sweetness comes from the addition of banana in this recipe, however it is also beautiful to use a teaspoon of raw honey instead of the banana, added at the end. The cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg add natural sweetness, warmth and assist digestion.

Recipe (Serves 1)

Almond, coconut and macadamia nut milk, 200mL (you can also use other types of milk if you prefer)

1/2 organic banana (you can use 1 tsp raw honey instead of the banana, added at the end)

1/2 tsp organic ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp organic ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp organic ground turmeric (you can also use 1-2 tsp of finely grated fresh turmeric)

1/2 tsp organic ground ginger (you can also use 1/2 – 1 tsp of finely grated fresh ginger)

1. Place the almond, coconut and macadamia nut milk in a saucepan, and heat gently.

2. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger, and continue to heat gently until steaming.

3. Slice the banana into a blender.

4. Add in the steaming milk, and blend on high for a minute or so.

5. Pour into a well loved mug, add a dash of boiling water if you want more liquid, slowly sip and be nourished.

Singletary, K. (2010) ‘Turmeric – An Overview of Potential Health Benefits’, Nutrition Today, Vol 45(5), pp. 216-225.

Breakfast on the go and warm organic strawberries with cinnamon, vanilla and yoghurt

imageSometimes it is hard to manage to eat a healthy breakfast when you are out and about, amongst work, markets, surfing…..grabbing something at a cafe often disagrees with your digestion. Taking something with you which you have already prepared is a good strategy for your wallet as well as your digestion. This simple recipe is lovely and easy to put in a small container to carry with you. The spices add flavour and a little sweetness. Using organic strawberries and good quality natural or home-made yoghurt results in a lovely flavour. You may also wish to drizzle over some raw honey. If you’re having it at home, sprinkling over a few mint or lemon balm leaves also adds a bit of extra zing.

Recipe:

Per serve –

a couple of handfuls of organic strawberries, fresh or frozen

1/2-1 tsp of cinnamon

1/4 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp  vanilla essence (without sweetener added)

few-several dollops of home-made organic yoghurt or good quality natural yoghurt, or coconut yoghurt for paleo

1. Place the strawberries into a small saucepan. Add a tablespoon of water and the cinnamon.

2. Cut the vanilla bean, if using, in half, and scrape the seeds into the strawberry mixture. Then place the bean into the mixture as well. I let it stay in the mixture overnight to marinate after it’s cooked, and take it out just before eating. Alternatively, add in the vanilla essence.

3. Cook over low-medium heat for around fifteen minutes or so, keeping a close eye on it so it doesn’t dry out. You may need to add a little more water if it dries out too much. Keep stirring the strawberry mixture, and it should develop a puree-like texture.

4. Place your yoghurt in your transportable bowl. (Or elegant ceramic bowl if you are having it at home!)

5. Once the strawberry mixture has cooked, spoon it over the top of the yoghurt.

6. You may wish to add a drizzle of honey if you like it quite sweet. A sprinkle of mint leaves or lemon balm leaves is lovely if you are having it at home.

7. Enjoy!

Strawberry, paw paw and goats milk yoghurt breakfast bowl and long- term effects of low FODMAP diets

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Sometimes you feel like something light and energizing for breakfast. Perhaps if you get up early and surf or do some other exercise, you might need some carbohydrates to refuel your body for the rest of the day. Having digestive difficulties can sometimes make this challenging, as many grain based breakfasts can be heavy or irritating for the digestive system, especially modern gluten-containing grains. Dairy may also cause negative effects in your body if your gut is damaged, especially modern pasteurized and homogenized products which can be harder to digest due to the altered structure of the dairy product and lack of natural bacteria to break down the lactose. Unfortunately in our modern world, many of us are significantly affected by stress, which can cause the gut to not work properly and become damaged.

Low FODMAP diets have been shown to significantly improve symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (Halmos et al, 2014). They have also been used in the treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, with a low FODMAP diet or a combination of the a Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and the low FODMAP diet being used as part of a multi-faceted treatment regimen (Siebecker, 2014). Recent research has shown however, that long term use of the low FODMAP diet can result in the development of an unhealthy balance of gut bacteria (Halmos et al, 2014). The authors of this study recommend the gradual reintroduction of FODMAP-containing foods after a short term on the low FODMAP diet, to a level that symptoms allow. This finding highlights the importance of balance and using restrictive diets only for specifically diagnosed conditions under the guidance of a registered practitioner.

This recipe is light, energizing and full of beautiful energy, and is ideal for a coastal summer breakfast. It is low FODMAP and consistent with the SCD diet guidelines. Goats milk is often tolerated by people with digestive difficulties better than cow’s milk, due to the different structure of the protein in the milk and is often used successfully for children with autism for this reason. Having it in the form of the 24 hr yoghurt means it is low in lactose, and thus is easier to digest again. The paw paw and strawberries contain carbohydrate which is  important especially for those who exercise, and in an easier form to digest than grains. I hope you enjoy the recipe, and that it gives you a feeling of well-being and fulfillment!

Strawberry, paw-paw and yoghurt breakfast bowl

Serves 1

Organic red paw-paw, diced, 1/2 cup

Organic fresh strawberries, chopped, 1/2 cup

A few dollops of home-made 24 hr goats milk yoghurt, made according to the SCD diet protocol recipe  (except instead of a yoghurt maker, I used an oven proof glass baking dish covered with unbleached, chlorine free baking paper, and put it in my oven set at around 40 degrees C for 24 hours – this worked well) (Coconut yoghurt for Paleo)

1. Place paw-paw and strawberries in an elegant bowl.

2. Spoon a few dollops of 24 hr home-made goats milk yoghurt or coconut yoghurt on top.

3. Enjoy for breakfast with a green tea or decaffeinated coffee, or as a snack any time of the day!

References

Halmos, E. P., Christophersen, C. T., Bird, A. R., Shepherd, S. J., Gibson, P. R., & Muir, J. G. (2014). Diets that differ in their FODMAP content alter the colonic luminal microenvironment. Gut, gutjnl-2014. Chicago. Retrieved from:  https://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/85940363/731002850/name/FODMAP.pdf

Siebecker, A. (2014). Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth – dietary treatments. Retrieved from: http://www.siboinfo.com/diet.html