Delicious and Nutritious breakfast porridge recipe and my protein powder preference quandry

A healthy day begins with a healthy breakfast. I know this not only from the plethora of pointed press I have been force fed or voluntarily consumed about nutrition, but also from personal experience. In fact, this is perhaps the only nutrition fact that has remained consistent in my 50+ years of trying to eat right and eat well.

In my life of battling unwanted weight gain and episodes of malaise, general joint pain and depression, as well as acknowledged opportunities to find healthy options during life altering illness, I have seen the rise and fall and rise again of low carb, low fat, low sugar, liquid food substitutes, calorie counting, and cabbage (or other single healthy food) heavy diets. I have been taught four food groups, food pyramids, glycemic index, inflammation ratings (IF), and ONQI ratings, and the latest (and I think at this time greatest) ANDI score; and through them all the need for a good breakfast was always clearly stated regardless of how that “good” was defined.

Personal experience also reinforces the belief that breakfast makes everything better. I am more energetic, able to cope with pain, frustration and the good things in daily life with a nutritious breakfast. So what does a good breakfast look like for me?

I  find myself less likely to make poor food choices later in the day if I start my day with at least 14 grams of protien, a bit of fiber, and coffee. (Getting enough carbs is never an issue for me.)Ok, maybe the coffee just wakes me up enough to make my breakfast, but I can’t imagine breakfast without it.  Since I am training to compete again in a triathlon, weight loss is a priority for me as well and I restrict my daily calories to 1800. (If I ever doubt the benefit of 1800 calories a day, I just carry my dogs 35 pound bag of food around for a few minutes and I am again convinced that the best thing I can do for my knees, hips, feet and race times is shave another 35 pound off the old body. My doctors are in complete agreement on this fact as well. At 5’5″ I am currently weighing in at 218 lbs, definitely obese by medical standards.)

A side note here for those who privately express horror at my telling my actual honest weight, I think lying about it is even funnier. I mean look at me, this is obviously my weight. Yes my weight makes me uncomfortable, therefore I am doing something about it. Lying about my weight would change nothing. However, telling the truth motivates me to face and change that which makes me uncomfortable.

Anyway  porridge and smoothies are my two favorite breakfasts.  One fast, one more preparation intense, they both include the protien I need and the flavor I crave as well as other important nutrients.

Quinoa Porridge, 30 minute prep/cook time. 3 servings

2 cups filtered water, or 1 cup filtered water and 1 cup organic apple cider

1 cup quinoa (I like Trader Joe’s Red)

2/3 cup dried fruit (I like it with dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried blueberries, or chopped prunes)

2 tsp fresh grated ginger

healthy dash of nutmeg, or cinnamon or cardamom (only use one and experiment with fruit and spice combinations. I like cardamom with cranberries, nutmeg with prunes and cinnamon with cherries and for cranberries and tart cherries I use apple juice)

1/2 cup soy, rice or almond milk

Place everything but the fruit and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to slow simmer and cook for 12 minutes. Stir in dried fruit and milk choice and recover and cook for 5 minutes more. Turn off heat and leave for 10 minutes to finish absorbing fluids.

I eat one serving right away and  place the other two servings in containers in the fridge. They are delicious reheated or cold with a bit of creamer over them like rice pudding.

As to my smoothie, my recipe is very usual and completely basic. I throw a cup of frozen organic berries in my blender, add 1/2 cup of filtered water, 1/2 cup organic vanilla soy milk and a scoop protein powder and blend. If I feel like mixing it up I will add 1/2 banana and 1 T of flax meal. Smoothies are easy and fast, but they are the source of my greatest diet dilemma at the moment.

I am in a complete quandry, my favorite protein powder is whey based. I love Aria’s vanilla protein powder; the cost, taste, texture, and what it puts into my diet (the hard-to-get-enough B-vitamins, calcium, and iron) and what it leaves out (artificial ingredients); but what I am struggling with is that protein powders have a large manufacturing, shipping and container carbon footprint and the basis for this powder is also whey, hence NOT vegan, hence even BIGGER carbon footprint.  I love Aria, but feel it doesn’t fit my big picture of ethical living .

I am slowly working my way through trying vegan alternatives, so far the “not gonna do it at all” contenders are Trader Joe’s Soy Protein powder, Alive and MRM’s vegan protein powder. Sadly, I had a vegan protein powder that I  really, really liked from Spouts (store brand) that was discontinued about 2 years ago. Right now Aria is on my shelf while I muster the courage to bring home a hemp one to try (courage is necessary because finances and personal philosophy require me to actually finish the can of protien even when its sand box grainy (TJ’s)or tastes waaaay to “healthy” (MRM) or weedlike (Alive).

It all comes back to the same question, the needs of the one over the needs of the many. Where do my needs for nutrition, convenience and enjoyment end and my need to leave my circle a little better tended for my having been here begin, or better yet how do I make the two mesh well? So that is my protein powder problem and my blog for today.

I am tagging it for Sally Frye folowers as this porridge recipe would be very apropos for the Rennaissance, although it would not be served for breakfast but be a supper or nursery dish. Also my quinoa use and my struggle with the politics of protein powder speak to the key elements of my training and my homesteading/living green goals so going to those readers also.  I hope all of you enjoy.

I can’t believe its almost May, 2012. I must be off the cyber verse now, because I have a Puppy Shower to prepare for and many errends to run.

Namaste, friends.

Jo Crowfae