Shifting to foods that foster better health with an anti-inflammatory diet changed how I eat. 5 Grain Porridge with Coconut, Apples & Berries, whole grains, healthy fats and natural sugars, what a way to start the day! Good food makes for great medicine.
Over the last couple of months I’ve shifted my eating patterns; eliminating processed foods, high-fat dairy, red meat and white sugar I consume, not because I’m on some fad diet but because my body gave sent up a couple of big red fags that told me (in no uncertain terms) it was time to adjust.
Aching joints, breathing issues, asthma and arthritis raging out of control and an over all feeling of ‘dis-ease’. This is not my usual state of health. I could just chalk it up to age and keeping going back to the doctor’s office for more pills, but that’s really not my style. Truth be told I haven’t felt like my usual healthy self since un-diagnosed appendicitis almost killed me in 2011. It was my first serious illness, ever. I’ve been a healthy, happy human for 50+ years because I address the underlying issue (no matter what area of my heath it covers), instead of slapping a ban-aid on the surface. Over my lifetime I’ve employed a great deal of wellness techniques; everything from Eastern medicine and naturopathy to meditation, so I knew it was time to do some research and made a few changes.
Fueling Better Health
Instead of looking at each one of these issues as separate, I took a broader approach and examined at what these issues had in common and found chronic inflammation. Inflammation is our body’s natural defense system to things like unwanted viruses and bacteria, but what happens when it spirals out of control? Researchers have now linked inflammation to everything from Type 2 Diabetes, to heart disease, some types of dementia, cancer, ulcerate colitis and Crohn’s disease (inflammatory bowl disease in general), rheumatoid arthritis and yes, appendicitis – to one underlying cause – inflammation. If you want to be well you have to eat well, so I adopted new measures to better support my body’s immune system with an an anti-inflammatory diet.
So much of how our body responds is based on what we eat. Eat in a way that fuels swelling and does not aid the body’s natural ability to heal itself and watch your health slide. Unfortunately so much of our grab-and-go lifestyle creates the perfect conditions for inflammation to thrive.
Eat Well, Live Well
Food is as much medicine as it is fuel and pleasure in equal measure. The difference in my body since this shift in our refrigerator has been HUGE; better mobility, less pain, deeper breathing, better sleep and a more positive outlook. I feel like I am emerging from a fog and suddenly everything is clearer. Reaching back to healthier habits I’m feeling the regenerative affect of whole grains, colourful vegetables, fresh herbs, natural sugars, healthy fats, and a whole lot less white crap (white sugar, bleached flour, white rice and yeast)!
Healthy and Terrific
Key for me has been satisfying my taste buds as well as feeding my body and 5 Grain Porridge has become one of my favourite go-to breakfasts. I pack it with plenty of nutrition, focus on gluten-free grains and pair it with healthy fats like coconut or walnut oil then dress it with a bit of natural sweetness – in this case lightly sauteed apples, blueberries and honey.
Use any grains you choose, if you don;t have five use three. I had a great deal of rice on hand but I could have easily used wheat berries, farro, bran, millet or amaranth, not all of which are gluten-free, but they are all incredibly delicious! Found some amazing raw coconut at the local health food store some time back and was planning on using it for a coconut cake, but I’m re-thinking cakes, for the time being at least.
Change Is Good
Far from cramping my style, this change in eating has reinvigorated my take on food and flavour. Diagnosing cravings differently, I’m examining what my body is saying and finding new ways to truly feed the underlying need instead of consuming without thinking. This change is sure to refocus what I feature on Food Gypsy with a greater emphasis on plant protein, fish and vegetables as I borrow from Asian & Mediterranean cultures for flavour and ingredients.
Life is a journey of exploration, and this is one taste adventure I’m excited to undertake because I can promise you this, it’s been far from boring — because I never compromise on taste. Life is too dam short for food that doesn’t taste good!
Follow along, discover something new or re-discover a familiar food love. Eat well and live well.
A power packed breakfast to fuel your day. Whole grains, coconut, fruit and honey. All natural and deeply satisfying, make 5 Grain Porridge on a Sunday then heat and go, go, go all week long.
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup red rice
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 large sweet-tart apple
1/2 cup blueberries
dash of nutmeg
2 tablespoons honey + enough to serve
Combine brown rice, oats, quinoa, red rice and ground flax, salt and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and partially cover, stir occasionally while cooking cereal until all the water is absorbed – about 40 – 50 minutes. If the result is looking a little two stiff feel free to add a bit more water, overall you’re going for a softer result than your typical stick-to-your-ribs oatmeal. (Advance prep: You can make this ahead and store it in the fridge for up to five days, makes for a great weekday breakfast.)
In a small pan heat the coconut oil and toast the coconut flakes over medium-high until evenly brown, about 2 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Toss in chopped apple, nutmeg and honey and cook, stirring constantly so as not to burn. Cook about 3 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Remove and begin plating, and toss blueberries into the pan only very briefly to coat with excess sugar and change colour to a deep, rich blue before adding to the top of your breakfast.
Serve 5 grain porridge topped with apples, coconut and berries and finish with a measure of honey, or skip the added sweetness all together, it hardly needs it.
Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer and recipe blogger. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.