The Evolution of Breakfast and Other Miscellany


Some weeks ago I reported on the purple porridge I had been eating for breakfast - the purple being the blackberries I picked in the autumn. Soon after that Madeleine advised me to add some protein at every meal, plus to eat some prunes as snacks for extra iron. So I added hazelnuts and chopped prunes to the purple porridge which turned it into a much more satisfying breakfast. It had crunch now, and extra sweetness. Then my friend Monique invited me for porridge brunch (I absolutely love that I have friends who invite me over for porridge). Porridge with All The Things. Berries and nuts and seeds and cacao powder and maca powder, goji berries, date syrup, and a yummy mixture of chia seeds and chopped dates soaked overnight in water.

On top of that went chopped apple and a green smoothie with spinach, coriander and carrot. It was an amazingly tasty concoction and we ate on the steps of her deck in the sun and looked at the garden.

Back home I was inspired to take up the challenge and see how much nutrition I could cram on top of one bowl of rolled oats porridge. Then I remembered that Madeleine challenged me to switch up the morning oats with millet porridge sometimes as it has a lot of iron to offer. I was doubtful, but gave it a go. I am so glad I did. Millet porridge is delicious - it has much more of an actual taste than oatmeal does. A little bit nutty. Here's how to make it: Whiz up the millet in the blender. It starts out looking like coarse polenta. You want to grind it until it looks like fine polenta. Then cook it in a saucepan at a ratio of one part ground millet to four parts liquid. I use one cup of ground millet, two cups of water and two cups of soy milk. Cook it like porridge until it resembles creamy baby food. I am sure this would make excellent baby food. 

Then add all the toppings. I added a toasted walnut/sunflower seed mixture, the chia seed and date mixture (I keep a jar of it in the fridge now), and frozen blackberries. I had to leave a space so you could see the millet, but after I took the photo I added chopped prunes as well. This is a delicious and absolutely filling breakfast. I don't need to eat for hours after this. I eat about a third of the above quantity each day and store the rest in the fridge. The next day I mash it up in the saucepan with a little extra soymilk with the back of the wooden spoon and heat it up again on the wood stove. Yum, yum. And so much cheaper than almost any of the fancy cereals and granolas and what have you at the supermarket.

In other news: it turns out that the medical opinion on my dizzy spells is - stress. Yes, I was clenching my teeth so hard I was rearranging the geography of my inner ear leading to dizziness and nausea. Insane, but there you are. One of the many, many negative physical manifestations of stress on our poor bodies. Still, I am pleased it was so dramatic and unpleasant and the stress trigger so obvious and transient. It made it an essential problem to deal with. Now I am practising deep breathing whenever I feel my jaws clench. My lovely doctor said it is obvious I hold stress inside (hence the clenched teeth). She advised loud singing! You can imagine how happy my family is about that. I already cause certain other people stress with my constant humming. It will be too delicious, I mean dreadful, if my enthusiastic, untuneful and medically prescribed singing causes unfortunate stress reactions in certain other persons.. (it's ok, certain other persons are planning on getting noise-cancelling headphones)..

Oh, and a few weeks of not eating any dairy resolved the blocked ears as well. Dang. Cheese.

Still, there is hope that I can eat cheese occasionally as a treat. But not as a major food group. Which it is. Ah well. Millet porridge really is very yummy..


Deborah said…
Singing loudly sounds like an uncomplicated, inexpensive, do anywhere type of stress reliever. Let us know how it goes.
Meanwhile, enjoy your delicious looking breakfasts and please keep sharing the good living tips.
Jo said…
Deborah, possibly not anywhere.. I'm thinking the library, crowded lifts, the dentist.. but yes, I take your point. I love the prescriptions I get from my doctor..
simplelife said…
I'm a porridge girl, might have to give the millet version a try, after I get some millet of course.
How interesting about the stress and dizziness, gosh stress has a lot to answer for. Just at the start of our lockdown here in tassie back in March/April I was eating my tea when my tooth broke, it split from bottom to top and the side fell off. Got myself an emergency dental visit, turns out it was a tooth that I'd had previous root canal on and it had a crown on it. I had completely broken the crown in half, the dentist said the only way I could break it like that was being a clencher. I said well sometimes I wake up and my jaw is aching from the clenching I've been doing in my sleep. Now that I'm aware of it I've realised just how much and often I do clench my teeth, no wonder I wake up with headaches and I have pain in my cheeks and sometimes into my ears. I'm yet to get the tooth fixed, or a splint that the dentist suggested. He told me of a patient who used to wear hers when she vacuumed, because that was when she clenched her teeth, understandable. Less understandable was the woman who needed to wear hers while chopping carrots, but there you go.
Anyway didn't mean to hijack your story. I hope you've managed to reduce some of the stresses in your life and also that you have a good list of songs for belting out, do you take requests?
Cheers Kate
Anonymous said…
Although I am not a breakfast person, I might just have to give your concoctions a go, as I do love oatmeal.
Stress... so much to say. Glad you now have answers to your physical ailments, and that you are able to see improvements. Sing away, my friend! I think my family would prefer me having the dizzy spells, over having me sing loudly! In my head, I think I sound "inspired," my daughters tell me otherwise. That however, has never stopped me from absconding a karaoke machine at get togethers. What I lack in talent, I make up for in personality. ;)
May your week have less stress, and more singing.
Be well.
Anonymous said…
Here's my current favourite millet porridge: 1/2 cup millet, good pinch of sea salt, 1 and 1/2 cups water, handful of pumpkin cubes, some diced onion. Bring to the boil, turn right down low and simmer until creamy and done. Top with toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and a few spring onions if you have them.

Mary said…
I am a breakfast and oatmeal person - I wake up hungry, so all of this sounds delicious. Can you elaborate a little on the chia seed-chopped date mixture?
Jo said…
Kate, I very much love your stories, and all the stories I read here. It is one of the joys of writing stories to get stories in return! Please keep sharing them.
I do think it is extraordinary how much we don't listen to what our bodies are telling us. It is not something we have had much education in, and we just soldier on, right up to the point that we get ill or break a tooth! I am very slowly learning to listen to my body but it isn't something I have had a lot of practice with...

Patricia, I don't do breakfast either! I mostly eat my porridge around 11, lunch at two thirtyish, dinner at 7:) I do love your determination to do what you love, no matter what your family thinks! I, too, sound very inspired while singing. I know this for a fact:)

Madeleine, I will try this, at least once, because I totally trust you, but I am not quite sure about pumpkin flavoured porridge.. will report from the front line in due course..

Mary, the chia and date mixture is too easy. A couple of tablespoons of chia seeds and chopped dates in a jar. Add water, it doesn't really matter how much, the mixture will either be firm or sloppy and you can experiment! You need at least as much to cover the seeds and then some. Leave in the fridge overnight then spoon onto your breakfast. If it's too firm ad more water and put it back in the fridge overnight, if it is too sloppy add more seeds and put it back in the fridge overnight. It's one of those things that you just can't break. My kind of cooking:)

Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Love the breakfast, it looks great and very tasty. Just the thing the next time you decide to move umpteen cubic metres of mulch in a day! :-)

Actually, you can make your own toasted muesli mix with whatever you want to chuck in it, and I've been doing that for years. The stuff in the supermarket often has too much salt and sugar for my tastes. So easy to make too.

Might have mentioned that stress was a factor, but glad that you are getting onto it. I clenched my teeth (and you can do that in your sleep to, so if you wake up with a sore jaw, neck and shoulder...) so hard the first and only time I experienced that debilitating drama, that I had to replace the cracked tooth with a crown.

Yes, if this is happening, something needs to change. Life is a journey rather than a destination.


Anonymous said…
Hi Jo,

millet, like rice, has been eaten with savoury flavours for millennia so don't be put off by the thought of adding pumpkin and onion. In the west the sweet breakfast has been popular for hundreds of years and we have the health record and waistlines to show for it! In places like Asia and South America, breakfast is typically savoury and includes vegetables, grain and protein. In my experience it is much more satisfying.

An added bonus of eating cooked, sweet-tasting vegetables like pumpkin (also onions, carrots etc) regularly is that they can help satisfy our natural desire for the sweet taste and also rebalance blood sugar levels.

Jo said…
Chris, mmm, the tooth thing seems to be a theme. Thankfully stress is not a constant in my life, and I kind of instigated this particular conflict. I don't regret it, but I was rather surprised at the intensity of the stress reaction. It is making me rethink those plans for world domination that seemed like such a good idea at the time..

Madeleine, it's not the savoury nature of it so much as the mushy pumpkin that I am highly suspicious of. I have a long and chequered history with mushy pumpkin. However I can theoretically understand its appeal, and still may possibly give it a go:)

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