I love a big, cozy, warm bowl of porridge in the morning. Nothing is more satisfying and this particular version of hot cereal seems to keep me feeling full for longer than normal, which is always a good thing! I like to use prunes in place of the raisins, but both are delicious and alkalinizing in the body, so whatever you have on hand is good.
Maybe you’ve noticed by now that I’m OBSESSED with my porridge. I mean, I LOVE hot cereal. Steel cut oats, oat bran, rolled oats, millet, cream of wheat…I LOVE A BIG BOWL OF WARM CEREAL IN THE MORNING! It is so comforting. Especially when it tastes like a huge half-baked cinnamon oatmeal cookie in a bowl! Oh my.
There are so many different variations of porridge you can make. I’ve made about twenty or more – probably more like thirty actually. And most contain chocolate. Why am I so obsessed with chocolate? I don’t know. Maybe I have a magnesium deficiency. Some nutrition researchers hypothesize that cravings coincide with nutrient deficiencies and dark chocolate is an excellent source of magnesium.
I always think nutrient deficiencies are doubtful in my case though since I eat so many nutrient dense foods. But then again I do have increased nutritional requirements since I am an active person – I try to fit in at least an hour of physical activity per day of either running, yoga, the elliptical machine (which I love because I can get my reading in at the same time), or doing weight bearing exercise in front of my TV. Sometimes I do even more since it relaxes me to do a little floor work or yoga before bed (in addition to what I’ve already done).
Are you an athlete? An endurance athlete perhaps? If so, your nutritional requirements could be quite a bit higher than the average Joe. But if you just walk for 30 minutes four days per week don’t think this is an excuse to overeat. Increased requirements in generally athletic people such as myself (not endurance athletes for example) are not so much increased that you need to consume large amounts of food. In fact, my daily caloric intake is still only around 1700 calories per day even though I do about an hour of medium to intense cardio 5 to 6 days per week and about 30 to 40 minutes of weight bearing exercise (such as lunges and squats with no added weight) about twice per week.
So…are all calories equal? HECK NO!!! I guarantee you that if you ate 2000 calories per day of plant foods (which is probably closer to what I actually consume) you will look and feel completely different than if you ate 2000 calories per day of processed foods, fast foods, animal foods, high saturated fat foods…you get the picture. Not only that, but the amount of plant food you can eat that equals 2000 calories is about 3 or 4 times as much, keeping you fuller longer. AND IT’S DELICIOUS! Chocolate is a plant food by the way.
A healthy diet can help you maintain healthy nutrient statuses, and a recent lab test showed that without taking any supplements I had perfect values of everything. I was very curious about the results of this test since I am 100% plant-based and have been for going on two years now. I wanted to make sure my B12 was at normal levels since deficiency of this vitamin can lead to irreversible nerve damage and other adverse health problems. It was perfect though. Great!
I try to steer clear of supplements these days given the fact they can often lead to more problems than the manufacturers want you to believe (see my posts part 1 & part 2 on supplements). However, there are times when they are necessary. For example, having low levels of magnesium – not a deficiency per se, just lower levels (magnesium is used in TONS of body functions, so we use a lot of it) have been shown to correlate with migraine headaches in studies. I GET MIGRAINES!
Also, one of the precursors to my migraines happens to be photophobia (increased sensitivity to light) and research has shown that low levels of riboflavin (vitamin B2) correlate with photophobia. My doctor suggested I start taking magnesium and B2. I ignored her. Didn’t do it. Thought I could get the vitamins via food.
What foods are good sources of magnesium?
Well, my favorite is 70% or greater dark chocolate – dairy free of course. But also oats, bananas, prunes, raisins, and pecans are all good sources as well and all part of this recipe.
What about the riboflavin (vitamin B2)?
Riboflavin is one of the vitamins that manufactures include when they fortify foods that have been stripped of their natural micronutrients during processing. Since I don’t eat processed foods I don’t get riboflavin this way. Other sources of riboflavin include green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, almonds, green peas, sweet potato – all of which I eat a lot of.
But I’m still getting migraines
I finally gave in. I found good brands of magnesium and instead of getting B2 I decided I might as well get a B complex since I eat a 100% plant based diet. You can’t over consume B vitamins since excess are simply excreted in the urine (not all vitamins are and some are toxic if you consume too much, such as vitamin D). So I found a brand that had the USP label – remember what this is from my supplement posts? If not go back and read this post. It’s important if you take ANY supplements!
By the way – the picture below is of my B complex vitamin (note the USP label), but I also prefer Nature Made Magnesium Citrate since it is also USP verified. The citrate form of magnesium is MUCH more absorbable than the oxide form. The only thing I don’t like about this vitamin is that it contains beeswax and gelatin. If I find another high quality, vegan version I will definitely switch. If you know of one, please leave your recommendations in the comments below! 🙂
I have to say, since I’ve been taking magnesium and B complex vitamins I feel so much better. My headaches have reduced in frequency by a considerable amount, and if you suffer from migraines, you know that’s a MAJOR deal!!!
So, healthy diet + a good source of vitamins (do your research – don’t just buy any brand!!!) = better health. Don’t just take supplements if you don’t need them though. Remember, my doctor suggested them to me. I still believe you should aim to get your nutrients from wholesome, delicious foods. It’s funner that way anyway, right?
So on to my delicious porridge recipe. I used chopped, pitted prunes in mine, but raisins are fine too. Both are very alkalinizing to the body which is good. 🙂
CINNAMON RAISIN PORRIDGE
Prep Time: 2 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 32 minutes Makes: one bowl
- 30 grams (2 tablespoons) steel cut oats
- ¾ cup filtered water
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 20 grams raisins or dried, pitted prunes, chopped
- 15 grams (1 tablespoon) oat bran
- ½-3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2-3 packets stevia (depending on desired sweetness)
- ½ large (60 grams) banana, chopped or mashed
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 10 grams (about 1 tablespoon) chopped pecans
- Bring the water and almond milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the steel cut oats and reduce heat to medium-low. Keep an eye on it for a minute or two so that it doesn’t boil over. You might need to put slide the saucepan half off the burner until it comes to a simmer. Stir in the raisins or prunes.
- Place the saucepan back on the burner and let simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring every few minutes and scraping the sides of the pan.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in the oat bran, cinnamon, and stevia. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Add additional liquid (water or almond milk) as needed.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the banana and flax seed.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and add any additional almond milk to reach the desired consistency.
As always, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. I wasn’t sure I’d like it as much as my chocolate porridge recipes, but this turned out to be my new favorite of the moment. Yay!