Do you like hot cereal?  It is a comfort food to me.

Probably because I used to wake up to the smell of hot cereal and buttered toast {my mom in the kitchen} when I was young.

ricepudding

So now, I experiment with all kinds of combinations of grains.  Lately it’s been soaked oatmeal and brown rice together, porridge of millet, quinoa and oats,or leftover brown rice pudding in milk.  So yummy!

Why soaked?  Because grains need time and the right environment to break down and let them know that it’s time to relax and release their nutrients. The job of the phytate, or phytic acid, is to keep the grain from being broken down by the enzymes we produce for that purpose. And to make things worse, when digestion is challenged, and the digestive enzymes needed to break food down aren’t being produced as well, things get pretty ugly especially where grains and nuts are concerned.  In general, our insides are happier when grains are prepared with traditional methods.

 

What about the pricey cold cereal alternatives?  Sad to say, the nutrients and protein in the grains are destroyed by the high-heat extrusion process, leaving a product that is actually toxic. One study suggested that the cereal box was actually more nutritious than the cereal itself. {1960 study, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.} Sorry Wheaties. *See diet-guilt disclaimer below.

For much more on this topic, visit http://www.westonapricefoundation.org/food-features/living-with-phytic-acid or if you are feeling really ambitious, tackle Dr. Price’s book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.  500+ pages of his research showing the physical consequences of our modern diet, versus the healthful consequences of the traditional diets of the past. Very worthwhile reading!

To make your hot breakfast cereals tasty, consider all the yummy toppings you can try, but remember, easy on the sugar, even the natural ones!

For crunch: pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, unsweetened coconut, raw cashews.

For milk: homemade rice or almond milk, raw whole milk, kefir, yogurt or coconut milk.

For sweetener: raw honey, black strap molasses, agave, sucanat, berries, apples, peaches, raisins, craisins, etc.

To soak, just combine water and grains in the normal proportions that you would to cook them {oatmeal is 2/1, two parts water to 1 part oatmeal}.  Rinse the grain and add it to the measured water in a pan.  Add a little acid, about a 1/2-1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, plain yogurt or kefir.  Let it sit over night or for up to 24 hours and then just add a few shakes of Real salt and put it on the heat to cook. For whole grains, you may want to strain and cook in new water. This method really speeds things up as you’re getting breakfast ready because soaked grains cook quickly. Yay!  Better nutrition and it streamlines the morning routine.  Can’t argue with that…

Ever tried amaranth?  I think it is delicious (though possibly an acquired taste) with real grade B maple syrup, nutmeg and almond milk.

Millet?  Personally, I think it is best mixed with oats or quinoa or both.  I would suggest in order to have “stay power” through the morning, that you add fat (butter or coconut oil) and some protein, preferably soaked nuts like almonds, walnuts or pecans and or seeds like chia or sunflower, or some Greek yogurt to the mix.  No sugar cravings at 10:00 am would be a blessing, huh?

Variety is king when it comes to breakfast. Be daring and make up your own combinations of grains and toppings. {Your children will probably follow your lead in flexibility and open-minded curiosity.} Remember to rinse grains well, especially quinoa, in a strainer before soaking.  You can soak and cook grains separately or together.  The nice thing about cooking them separately, is that when they are cooked and in the fridge, you can warm up a new combination every day. Try re-heating grains in a saucepan with a little apple juice, apple slices and cinnamon.

Then, you know, sometimes just plain old oatmeal with milk and honey is nice.

I wish you happy mornings!

Jacque

*If you have a desire to improve your family’s nutrition, I recommend that you slowly implement the ideas you are gathering and using the new skills you are learning.  No worries about the past and never mind trying to change everything all at once.  Pantry purging = pantry shock and it isn’t pretty!  Just keep moving forward and little by little, slow by slow, you will see the fruit of your efforts.

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