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.