Nutritious Winter Porridge

nutritious winter porridge

Cold winter mornings call for hot bowls of creamy porridge. This porridge, that I so creatively dubbed Nutritious Winter Porridge, has been a total hit in our home this winter season and is so much creamier and nutritious than regular porridge made on just water (or milk) and oats. I love that my son loves this for breakfast, especially since it is full of plant based omega 3 & 6 fats, calcium, protein and iron, all of which are key nutrients needed for healthy energy and growth. It can be difficult when children go through phases of being picky with their food and since my son doesn’t have much dairy, I make sure he gets enough calcium from plant based sources, such as chia seeds and almonds. I try my best getting him to drink some of my green smoothies, but he just ain’t budging. Yet. Ha! 

So where’s the calcium? As I explained in my recent post on plant based calcium, chia seeds, almonds and even cinnamon are all good sources of plant based calcium. Even better, these are also full of satisfying fibre, protein and healthy fats, all of which promote a healthy digestive system and keep you full all throughout the morning. And as far as the toppings, you can add any of your favourite nuts/seeds and fruit (stewed, dried or fresh) and change it with the seasons to keep it interesting. Grated apple is super delicious as well and is perfect for coming into Spring. 

winter porridge

I tend to use organic porridge oats (also known as quick oats) to keep it quick and avoid having to get out a pot etc., but you can absolutely use steel cut or rolled oats instead if you have more time on your hands in the mornings.

Nutritious Winter Porridge
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Author:
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 40gm (1/2 cup) organic porridge oats - also known as quick oats (gluten free if needed)
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) boiling water
  • 1 generous tbsp almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1-2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 tsp honey or maple syrup (or you can use stevia or ½ a smashed banana to sweeten instead)
  • Top with chia seeds, almonds, a little honey & cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Place oats in a bowl and add the hot water. Stir well using a spoon and let it sit for a few minutes to thicken up.
  2. Add almond butter, coconut oil and honey (or banana if using). Combine well.
  3. Top with toppings of your choice. My favourites are chia seeds, almonds cinnamon and a little honey.
  4. Serve warm.

nutritious winter porridge

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Vegan vs. Paleo?

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I recently came across a great article by Dr. Mark Hyman addressing whether the vegan diet is better than paleo? A question that has probably crossed a lot of minds lately. Based on new research findings, Hyman points out that picking one of the two is completely unnecessary and that both have a lot of overlapping theories that all promote optimal health. And then he introduces a new middle ground way of eating that makes it all a whole lot simpler for those who aren’t quite keen to cut meat or grains completely… The pegan diet.

Research show that people who eat vegetarian/vegan diets typically have lower body weight and an overall better health profile with decreased chances of diabetes, healthier cholesterol levels and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Yet the same is true for the paleo diet. In fact, studies point out that the paleo diet improves blood pressure, cholesterol levels and encourages weight loss. The conversation can get heated, as each camp dogmatically adheres to their diet and cherry-pick studies validating their point of view.

What’s an eater to do?

Dr. Hyman introduces the Pegan (paleo-vegan) way of eating, which combines both diets’ strengths and focuses on real, whole, fresh and sustainably raised food.

Becoming A Pegan…

Becoming a Pegan means you don’t worry about focusing on how much you eat. When you focus on what you eat, your body’s natural appetite control systems kick into gear and you eat less.

1. Eat a low-glycemic load.

Focus on more protein and fats, including nuts (not peanuts), seeds (flax, chia, hemp, sesame, pumpkin), coconut, avocados, sardines and olive oil.

2. Eat the right fats.

Steer clear of vegetable oils, including soybean oil, which now comprises about 10% of our calories. Focus instead on omega-3 fats, nuts, coconut, avocados, and yes, even saturated fat from grass-fed or sustainably raised animals.

3. Eat mostly plants.

Plant should form 75% of your diet and your plate.

4. Focus on nuts and seeds.

They are full of protein, minerals, and good fats, plus they lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

5. Avoid dairy.

Dairy is great for growing calves into cows, but not for humans. Try organic goat or sheep products, but only as a treat.

6. Avoid gluten.

Most is from Franken Wheat, so look for heirloom wheat (Einkorn). If you are not sensitive to gluten, then consider it an occasional treat.

7. Eat gluten-free whole grains sparingly.

They still raise blood sugar and can trigger autoimmunity.

8. Eat beans sparingly.

Lentils are best. Stay away from big starchy beans.

9. Eat meat or animal products as a condiment.

There’s no need to make animal products the main course.

10. Think of sugar as an occasional treat.

Use it sparingly.


Read the whole article here. The original article goes into much more detail on the similarities and differences between the vegan and paleo diet.

Image via MindBodyGreen.com

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Nourishing Winter Vegetable Curry

Nourishing Winter Vegetable Curry

Winter is the ultimate season for comfort food. It’s dark and cold outside, leaving our bodies craving warm and hearty dishes. Unfortunately comfort food often clashes with healthy New Years resolutions, making the average winter meal plan looking pretty dull. And that is exactly where this healthy vegetable curry comes in handy. Full of flavour and nourishing ingredients, this curry is guaranteed to satisfy your comfort food cravings, while at the same time boosting your health and energy levels. Curries are my current go to winter meal and is easily adapted to include your favourite vegetables and proteins with some easy add-ons listed below.

Add-ons…

  • Cannellini beans or chickpeas
    Both of these legumes taste great in this curry and give it an extra boost of plant protein + health fibre.
  • Red lentils
    Red lentils help thicken the curry, giving it a dahl-like consistency. These also adding a good dose of fibre, which will make this curry even more filling.
  • Shredded chicken or beef
    Chicken and beef are great additions to this curry if you’re looking to add some meat.
  • Quinoa
    The addition of this protein rich pseudo grain is delicious and will thicken the curry up a bit too.
  • Broccoli & cauliflower
    These extreme nutritious vegetables are great in most curries and add a healthy boost of detoxifying nutrients + fibre.

nourishing winter vegetable curry

One of the best thing about curries is that they pretty much cook themselves and require minimal effort once all the veggies are chopped up. Amazing for anyone short on time. Curries are also easily adaptable to incorporate your favourite vegetables and proteins, so you can easily use the base of this curry as your “template” and make it your own by adding in your choice of vegetables fillings.

The beauty about making your own curry base from scratch is that you not only save money, but also get a curry sauce free from any colourings, preservatives, sugars and modified corn starch, all of which are added to most store bought curry sauces. Plus, making your own only takes you a few minutes and can be made to suit your own taste, however spicy or mild you want it.

Nourishing Winter Vegetable Curry
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Recipe type: Main
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 450 gm (1 lbs) potatoes (I used a mix of regular + sweet potatoes), chopped
  • bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1 tin (400 ml) chopped tomatoes
  • 1-2 red chilis, finely chopped (OPTIONAL - depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 500 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1-2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt
  • black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Sauté onion & garlic until tender and translucent (about 4 minutes).
  2. Add coconut milk, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, chilli and all other spices and combine well using a spoon.
  3. Add potatoes and carrots and if you want to add meat, lentils or quinoa, now would be the time to add those as well). Note that if you're using canned lentils or beans, you want to add these just shortly before serving to avoid them getting too mushy.
  4. Leave to simmer for about 20 minutes until the potato & carrot pieces are soft.
  5. Add bell pepper and fresh spinach leave to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  6. Adjust spices to suit your taste and finish top with fresh coriander just before serving.
Notes
Add ons:
- cannelini beans, chickpeas or lentils
- shredded chicken
- quinoa

nourishing winter vegetable curry

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Raw Goji Brownie Bites

Raw Goji Brownie Bites

Valentines day is coming up in just a few days and if you’re looking to create some homemade valentines goodies for yourself and your special someone, these raw goji brownie bites are the perfect choice. And they’re perfectly nutritious. Made from nuts, dates, goji berries and raw cacao, these have all the chocolate taste but none of the usual nasties. And there y’re from refined sugars, flour, butter & dairy.

Adapted from my raw chocolate brownies, these brownie bites are a bit nuttier in taste and with the delicious addition of antioxidant rich wonders. Goji berries.

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Goji berries have for centuries been used in traditional Chinese medicine to support overall health and wellbeing. Their popularity have since reached the western world, mostly due to their super potent antioxidant content – which is 500 times more potent than that found in fresh oranges when comparing ounce for ounceI don’t know about you but I’ll take a sprinkle of that any day!

Aside from being super charged with antioxidant powers, goji berries are also rich in nutrients, including the antioxidant beauty vitamins – vitamin A, E + C – as well as B vitamins, protein, fibre + iron. In fact, just 4 tbsp of goji’s provides you 180% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin A, 30% DV of vitamin C, 15% DV of iron and 13% DV of dietary fibre!

Adapted from this recipe Raw Chocolate Brownies

Raw Goji Brownie Bites
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Recipe type: Cake
Author:
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 50 small brownie bites
Ingredients
  • 150 gm (about 20) soft dates, pitted
  • gm (1/2 cup) almonds
  • gm (1/2 cup) hazelnuts, roasted
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) raw unsweetened cacao (or cocoa)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp goji berries, soaked for 5 mins
  • 1-2 tbsp water - if needed
  • 85% dark chocolate, melted to drizzle on top (OPTIONAL)
Instructions
  1. Place goji berries in a bowl and cover them in room temperature water. Leave to soak for 5 mins. Then drain and set aside.
  2. Place soft dates, cocoa, almonds, hazelnuts and sea salt in food processor and process on low setting (pulse) for about 30 seconds until the dates are broken up and the mixture is thick and sticky.
  3. Add the soaked goji berries and process again until an almost solid clump forms and the mixture sticks together well. If the mixture does not stick together but is crumbly in texture, add 1 tsp of water at a time until the mixture is sticky enough.
  4. Transfer the brownie mixture to a piece of parchment paper and flatten into a square. Wrap the sides of the parchment paper around the square and place in the fridge to set for at least 1 hour (or 20 mins in freezer).
  5. melt dark chocolate and drizzle on top (optional)
  6. Cut the brownies into little squares or shape of your preference. Serve chilled

Have an amazing valentines day everyone.

Raw goji brownie bites

Posted in Healthy Eating | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments