As the weather warms up and we naturally seek lighter fare, some of the hearty breakfast standbys like oatmeal or pancakes or animal proteins may not seem so appealing. Yet fruit on its own can deliver a hit to your blood sugar while not filling you up long term, and cold cereal is often laden with sweetener and may not pack enough protein to help you feel full. Smoothies can be great, but protein powders are not right for everyone and do not always combine well with fruits from a digestion perspective. Plus, they mean washing out the blender every morning.
This is where my personal standby breakfast comes in. Grain-free, sugar-free and dairy-free, but hearty with protein, fiber and healthy fats, and full of flavor, this easy porridge involves no cooking but takes advantage of the natural qualities of the chia seed to add thickness and substance.
1 to 1 ½ cups unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice, such as almond, hemp or coconut
(If you tolerate dairy well without an inflammatory or congestive response in your body, it may also be an option for you here.)
3-4 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp hemp seeds
½ cup organic berries
(if local fresh berries of your choice are not yet in season, frozen berries are a good alternative. Please do your best to avoid non-organic berries as they tend to have a high pesticide load and a greatly diminished flavor relative to the organic ones. This is especially true of strawberries. You may also consider other sliced fresh fruit, but keep in mind that items like bananas, pears and grapes have a lot of natural sugars.)
Optional dash of cinnamon or ginger
(These warming spices help counteract the cooling effect of this dish, especially if your non-dairy milk is straight out of the refrigerator or you are using frozen berries. They also help kindle your digestive fire.)
Stevia, maple syrup or coconut sugar
Pour the milk into your bowl and stir in the chia seeds. Allow to stand, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping, for at least 10 minutes, but longer is fine too. You could even start this the night before and keep the bowl in the fridge.
When you are ready to eat, add the hemp seeds and berries, and spices if using. Depending on your palate and the sweetness of the fruit you are using, you may not need additional sweetener. If you do, sweeten to taste with stevia, maple syrup or coconut sugar. I prefer a liquid stevia preparation with vanilla flavoring, in order to keep the sugar of this breakfast as low as possible while adding flavor. If you are more tolerant to carbs, maple syrup is a great option. Coconut sugar is also good. I do not endorse cane sugar, even in the unrefined form.
Makes one hearty serving. Adjust the proportions to your personal preference.
Pranada Devi is a communications professional living in Toronto, Canada. She is the Managing Editor of Parvati Magazine, and serves as an advisor on marketing communications for Parvati’s various projects. She is the editor for Parvati’s book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie: A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker”.