FUNCTIONAL FOOD | O Porridge, My Porridge

Ummm…is it fall yet?

With our recent weather, you wouldn’t think that we are well into the first month of fall. Yes, the mornings have definitely been much cooler; and, as I constantly check all the weather reports like a dork, I do hear that fall is upon us!

With a change of season comes a whole new wave of foods (pumpkin-spice anything, anyone?) and new craving for warmer dishes. Out go the cool smoothies (well not out completely but…maybe just not as often?) and in come the warm, more comforting foods to enjoy post workout or before heading out to work: a warm breakfast that energizes us, keeps our blood sugar levels stable and keeps us fueled to kick some butt for the rest of the day!

My go-to breakfast for days like these is porridge–it’s creamy, comforting, hearty, and filling. If you know, or suspect, that you are going to have a long day, porridge sure does pack a punch to help you start your day and keep you focus for those early meetings.

Without further ado, today I’m going to provide you with two recipe options that include seasonal fruits that you can find at your local farmer’s market or grocery store for both a traditional porridge à la G and a quinoa version, since not everyone loves oats (gasp!); and because it’s sometimes fun (and actually quite nourishing) to mix it up!
 
Apple Pie Quinoa
Ingredients:
1/3 cup quinoa
1 red apple
A handful of strawberries
1 tbsp + 1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 medjool date
1 cup coconut or almond milk
1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil (optional)
Optional topping ideas: 1 tbsp chia seeds, or 1 tbsp almond butter

Wash the apple and chop it into cubes. Slice the strawberries into thin pieces. Chop the date and discard the seed. 
Place the fruits in a saucepan over medium heat and cover them with water (about ½ cup). Add the 1 tbsp of cinnamon, and vanilla. 
Stir frequently while cooking, for about 15 minutes, until the apples are soft. 
Once the apples are stewed, add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
Add in the quinoa, the other 1 tsp of cinnamon and reduce heat to a simmer. 
Add coconut oil (optional, but it adds a creamy boost) and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Enjoy!

Persimmon Oats
Ingredients:
1/3 cup rolled oats (soaked previously in water so they are easier to digest)
1 cup coconut or almond milk
1 tbsp cinnamon + 1 tsp
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 medjool date
Optional topping ideas: 1 tbsp chia seeds, or 1 tbsp almond butter

Wash the persimmon and cut it into cubes. Chop the date and discard the seed. 
Place the fruits in a saucepan over medium heat and cover them with water (about ½ cup).
Add the 1 tbsp of cinnamon, and the ½ tsp of cardamom. 
Cook for about 12-15 minutes, until water has absorbed and the persimmon is soft.
Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. 
Add oats and reduce heat to a low simmer. 
Add coconut oil (optional, but as I said above, it adds more to the creaminess) and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until desired creaminess is achieved! 

Enjoy!

(Note: You can switch these recipes up: instead of using quinoa, you may use oats (simply reduce cooking time) or the other way around. You can also switch up the fruit and do this with your favorite fruits! I can’t get enough of bananas, but I’m a little monkey :) 

 
NUTRITIONAL INFO
 
Rolled oats are high in fiber; they also contain manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium, some B vitamins and iron. I do stress to soak your rolled oats in water before consuming them (you may do this the night before or for at least 4 hours); this will help remove the phytic acid which can make them harder to digest and make the nutrients more difficult to absorb in our bodies. Plus, phytic acid can also make some of us feel bloated! I will be explaining the importance of soaking very soon!
Note: steel cut oats are an even better option, but they do take longer to cook. Feel free to use these if you have the time!

Quinoa is high in protein and fiber. It has all the essential amino acids and is also a great source of magnesium, manganese, vitamin E, iron, phosphorous, copper and zinc. It is technically a seed not a grain, and is naturally gluten free. 
 
Dates are a great source of potassium and a special type of soluble fiber which has been noted to aid in keeping blood sugar levels stable by delaying the absorption of glucose in the small intestine. This fiber also increases satiety – which helps to keep up feel fuller for longer. Dates are also rich in B vitamins, copper, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, phosphorous.  They also contain zinc and selenium.
 
Persimmon: Have you been seeing these orange babies everywhere? I sure have. They are an amazing source of provitamin A, copper, manganese, and some B vitamins. Get them while they last!
 
Apples are a good source of vitamin C, and fiber; their skin contains a lot of the nutrients, so try to leave it on!
 
Strawberries are an amazing source of vitamin C, which helps keep our immune systems strong. Pairing them with iron-rich oats is a perfect combo since iron absorption is enhanced with intake of vitamin-C-rich foods. Strawberries also contain vitamin K, flavonoids, dietary fiber, manganese, some B vitamins, and iodine (which is essential for our thyroid).
 
Cinnamon: It might just be my favorite spice. It helps lowering blood sugar levels, circulation and is even a digestant. Plus, in my opinion, it is absolutely delicious on everything–especially fruits!
 
Cardamom helps relieve gas, is a digestive aid (like cinnamon) and is rich in zinc and manganese (an antioxidant mineral). 

Every couple of weeks, I will be posting nutrition and wellness advice, recipes, and interesting findings worth sharing with all of you. I know that we all have different interests and needs so I will try to cover different topics with every post. I would love to read your feedback so I encourage you to share your thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below.

If you would like to know more about me, please visit my website Alimental G.