Many breakfast cereals available on the average grocery-store shelf are made of white rice, highly processed ingredients, or grains that my body doesn’t particularly like—to say nothing of high levels of sugar, sodium, and a variety of preservatives that is not good for my brain.
I finally figured out a recipe that really works for my brain and Glycemic Index (GI). Incidentally, it so happens that all the ingredients are gluten-free, which is a big plus. Cooking up a large pot of this "brain" cereal allows for some in the refrigerator where it lasts for several days—depending on how hungry I am each morning, plus some for freezing. It's more than worth the work!
You can often find basmati brown rice in regular grocery stores along with steel-cut oats. I usually can find millet, quinoa, and amaranth at almost any health-food store, and sometimes at stores such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. See notes below about some of the ingredients.
- 1½ cups basmati brown rice (medium GI)
- ½ cup steel cut oats, soaked overnight if possible (low GI)
- ½ cup millet, preferrably hull-less (low GI)
- ½ cup quinoa (low GI)
- ½ cup amaranth
- ½ cup raisins, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup diced dates, if desired
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 6 cups water or more
Rinse quinoa well in a very fine strainer. This helps to remove any grit as well as the natural coating of saponin (a bitter soap-like substance that acts as a natural insect repellent). I don't usually rinse millet or amaranth as the grains are so tiny.
Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low.
Cover pan and simmer slowly, stirring periodically until water is absorbed. May need to add more water to complete cooking to taste.
Spoon into cereal bowls and serve with any milk-equivalent (e.g., rice, almond, soy, coconut).
May garnish with berries or other fresh fruit.
The cereal refrigerates and freezes well. To reheat, place desired portion in a saucepan with a tablespoon or two of water (or in a glass container in a microwave).
Heat and serve.
Basmati Brown Rice: Gluten-free and contains all eight essential amino acids. It has a low to medium GI, meaning that energy is released at a slower, steadier rate leading to a more balanced level of energy.According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, basmati rice has a medium glycemic index (between 56 and 69). This makes it a more desirable source of carbohydrates than some other rices or grains and products made from white flour.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah): Gluten-free. The Incas reportedly held quinoa crops to be sacred. Unlike other whole grains, a nutrient-rich germ layer covers the entire kernel of quinoa. As it cooks, this layer separates from the kernel and creates little white rings. When you see these rings, you know the grains are fully cooked.
Amaranth: Gluten-free. A staple food of the Aztecs (known as kiwicha) and of the Incas (called huautli), this grain has been cultivated for thousands of years. It contains more protein than any other gluten-free grain, is high in lysine (an amino acid most grains lack), and supplies iron.
Millet: Gluten-free. Millet likely formed important parts of the prehistoric diet in Chinese Neolithic and Korean Mumun societies, and is a traditional food in both Russian and Chinese сuisines. It provides about 11-15% protein by weight and is rich in B vitamins and other micronutrients (e.g., calcium, magnesium, and zinc).
Including foods identified as low or medium GI carbs, that slowly trickle glucose into your blood stream, is one way to keep your energy levels balanced and avoid glucose spikes to the brain. Complex carbs that are lower on the glycemic index reportedly can:
- Help you manage weight
- Reduce the risk of developing sensitivity to insulin
- Improve management of diabetes
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Improve blood cholesterol levels
- Help manage symptoms of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- Reduce hunger pangs and keep you fuller for longer
- Prolong physical endurance
- Help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise
One cup for me.
Approximate nutritional stats for one cup (according to my good friend Mary)
4 Grams Fat
48 Grams Carbs
4 Grams Fiber
8 Grams Protein