Four Grain Strawberry Ripple Porridge
It seems lately that grains have become a somewhat controversial health topic. With the rise of gluten intolerance and many low carb diets, grains and starchy vegetables like potatoes have gotten a a lot of blame over the years. It is interesting for me to see how many of these claims against whole grains are actually weight loss claims disguised as health claims. If you really dig into it, you will find that behind many “grains are bad” concepts there is someone trying to sell a weight loss book or diet fad or some sort of diet supplement. (I hate diets) There are some exceptions of course, in particular for people suffering from severe gastrointestinal problems like Chrones disease or Ulcerative Colitis etc. In my opinion singling out grains as the cause to our health/weight problems is a huge mistake. Whole grains are an important staple for many cultures. They provide fibre, protein and a wide array of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, manganese and B vitamins. They have been shown to lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure and help with diabetes management. They also provide satiety. It is much easier to fill up on whole grains than it is to fill up on fruits and vegetables.
Having said all that, modern society does have a very large problem with the types of grains they consume. The majority of grains consumed in the west are refined. This means that outer bran and germ layers have been removed leaving behind the fluffy endosperm layer which is pretty much devoid of nutrients and also increases the concentration of gluten in the grain (in gluten containing grains like wheat). Most of the fibre and vitamins and minerals are contained in the bran and germ. This means that the grains we eat most often are treated like sugar in the body. The lack of fibre and nutrients turns any food into one that raises blood sugar levels setting you down a path to gaining weight, obesity, diabetes and just general inflammation. Even our wholegrain breads are usually part wholegrain, part white. And our cereals are so highly processed and full of sugar that there is no nutrition left. In some cases the proteins in our cereals are so highly processed they become toxic. It is no wonder that so many people feel better when they give up gluten ( even if they are not gluten intolerant) or grains.
More than this, if you think about it people generally only eat two – three types of grains on an every day bases; Wheat: and most often refined wheat which is in everything: breads, pastas, cereals, wraps, cakes, biscuits, pastries, pies. White rice: definitely a better alternative than refined wheat but nutritionally does not compare to brown or wild rice varieties. The other common grains are corn which is also highly processed and often times genetically modified and maybe oats? Usually the instant kind filled with artificial flavours. My question is what about the huge array of other whole grains that no one cares about? What about quinoa, millet, teff, barley, rye, amaranth, spelt, buckwheat, sorghum, bulgur wheat an many more. Each grain has a slightly different nutritional profile and it is important to incorporate as many different unrefined whole grains into your diet to get the nutrition we need and also to get some variety and excitement into our food! Before you ask no I do not avoid gluten or wheat. I do however avoid refined wheat whenever I can. I try to eat good quality whole wheat and make room for as many different whole grains as possible ( although I don’t really like amaranth)
So this leads me to my recipe for four grain porridge. A heartier variation on traditional porridge. Very filling and warm and cosy. Of course you can top the porridge with whatever you like. I am a sucker for strawberries, I have to have them in my house at all times and they were looking particularly pretty so I had to serve them up. You can also mix up the grains. Use something like quinoa and millet instead of the rye and spelt to keep it completely gluten free if needed.
Hope you enjoy the recipe and didn’t mind the longer than usual ramble on in the post.
|Four Grain Strawberry Ripple Porridge|| |
- ½ punnet strawberries
- 3 pitted dates
- ¼ cup rye flakes
- ¼ cup spelt flakes
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup buckwheat grouts
- 1 TBSP chia seeds
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup almond milk
- drop vanilla extract
- strawberries and chopped almonds to serve
- Blitz your hulled strawberries and dates together in a food processor until smooth. You can add a little water to loosen if needed. Set aside.
- Combine all grains and chia seeds together in a saucepan with water, almond milk and drop of vanilla extract
- Bring to the boil, stirring constantly then reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and you have reached your desired consistency. Add a little more almond milk or water if needed ( the mixture should be thick and creamy and grains should be tender)
- Swirl through strawberry date mixture with a spoon.
- Top with a little extra almond milk, strawberries and chopped almonds - or whatever you like.