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Taylor on the Brain

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Your brain is your greatest resource—use it by design to help you learn how to stay healthier and younger for longer!

—Arlene R. Taylor PhD

If you like hot cereal, here's a recipe that 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 Trader Joe’s. See notes below about some of the ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups basmati brown rice (low to medium GI)
  • 1 cup steel cut oats, soaked overnight, if possible (low GI)
  • ½ cup millet, preferrably hull-less (low GI)
  • ½ cup quinoa flakes (low GI)
  • ½ cup raisins or diced dates or a mixture
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ - 1 tsp cinnamon to taste
  • 6 cups water or more

Preparation

Rinse and drain rice. 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.

Serving

Spoon into cereal bowls and serve with any non-dairy milk.

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 if you use one).

Heat and serve.

NOTES

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. If you prefer the whole grain over flakes, remember that 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.

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).

Low GI:

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
  • Provide the type of glucose that brain cells prefer

Servings size

One cup for me. Can serve with any non-dairy milk and/or sliced fresh fruit or berries.

 

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