Good Eats

Nutrition is one of the three legs of my good health tripod. The other two are exercise and rest. I’m a vegetarian, and find a great deal of pleasure in cooking food that is healthy and fun. (If I had to describe my style of cooking, it would be “vegetarian peasant comfort food.”) Good nutrition is vital to my ongoing journey as a cancer survivor, and is also central to my life as a runner.

Here are a couple of breakfast recipes that fit all of my criteria. They’re both grain-based, offer superb nutritional value, and are fun and easy to make. And they both taste good.

My usual breakfast these days is based on quinoa. it’s good because it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, and is therefore a complete protein source. It’s a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus. It’s high in magnesium and iron. It’s easy to digest. And it’s easy to find – I buy mine at my local bulk food store, where I have a choice of white, red, or black quinoa (all organic).

To make my breakfast quinoa, I first rinse the quinoa in a sieve for about three minutes; this takes away a coating called saponin which could leave a bitter taste. Then, I boil the quinoa in water and a touch of sea salt. Once it’s come to a boil, I cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to simmer, and let it do its thing for 15 minutes. About 10 minutes into that process, I throw in half a diced apple, a handful of raisins, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Lately, I’ve been cooking 3/4 cup of quinloa on Sunday afternoons, which gives me enough breakfast quinoa for most of the coming week. Each morning, I put some in a bowl, drizzle two tablespoons of Udo’s Oil on it, and I’m good to go.

My second recipe is what I have in between my quinoa mornings. I don’t find it quite as tasty, but it’s still good. It’s based on steel cut oats, which have a lower glycemic index than instant oatmeal. It has has a nuttier taste and is chewier than other kinds of oats. It also takes a little longer to cook than regular oats.

I get around the longer-cooking thing by making my oat breakfast the night before. I simply combine 1/2 cup of steel-cut oats (once again, bought at the bulk food store) with half a diced apple, one tablespoon of flax seed, 1/2 cup of almond milk, and a little bit of cinnamon in a bowl, cover it, and leave it the fridge overnight. In the morning, all I need to do is tuck in.

Let’s face it, I’m a lazy vegetarian peasant. With either one of these two great dishes, all I need to do in the morning is put the espresso pot on the stove. After fueling on good grains and good coffee, I head out for my daily run.

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3 comments

  1. I also love quinoa! My favorite recipe is quinoa with cooked spinach with garlic, corn and roasted red peppers.

    All the best, Alan! Keep blogging, I enjoy reading it.

    Lia.

  2. I’m addicted to steel cut oats in the mornings. Very rarely do I stray from my oats. I add a banana instead of an apple, also cinnamon, also raisins and a heaping spoonful of ground flax seeds. I’ve tried them with almond butter and other combos but this is my favourite. BTW if you soak your oats the night before, they only take 5 mins to cook in the morning.

    Quinoa ROCKS. It’s the ONLY grain that contains all 22 essential amino acids (that our body can’t produce, so we have to ingest) and an awesome protein source. It’s so wholesome that it used to be considered sacred by the Incas.

    During the European conquest of South America, the Spanish conquistadores burned down all the quinoa crops in an effort to rid the indigenous population of their culture. The locals were forced to grow corn instead, and quinoa eventually disappeared off the face of the planet. It was almost lost to the world.

    But in the early 1980s an American couple from Colorado heard about the grain and went out in search of it. They found some remnants, brought it back to the US, and started cultivating it. The rest is history! 🙂

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