I over heard a conversation between a group of people the other day about the importance of drinking water, eating more vegetables and eating less meat based on the recent advice that they had received from their physician as if it were a recent discovery.
The reality is however that the modern diet, whether it be in Europe or North America, has become so reliant on processed foods over the past few decades that people no longer know what it means to eat real whole foods or what to do with them. When I first moved to Italy I was shocked to learn that much of the younger generation doesn’t know how to cook and rely on prepared and frozen foods for the most part. When I decided to try the Macrobiotic approach for the first time a few years ago, I attended an introductory cooking course and some dinner seminars at a center here in Milan and while some of the information I learned was new to me, much of it reinforced information I already knew. While the transition was relatively easy for me, for others, it was huge. Some of the participants had never had brown rice and had never even heard of quinoa.
One of the questions that came up most during my time at the macrobiotic center, and one of the questions I get asked most frequently is by far “what about breakfast/what do you eat for breakfast?”
Italians are not known for their healthy breakfast which normally involves caffeine and copious amounts of sugar in the form of a pastry. When they decide to make healthier dietary choices they add more salads and vegetables, cut back on meat and refined carbs but they struggle most with breakfast. Many of the people I’ve spoken to are utterly perplexed and have no clue what to eat for breakfast.
When I get asked the question, my answer is simple, “I eat porridge”, literally every day. The varieties are endless it’s almost impossible to get bored. Change up the grain, mix grains, vary up and combine the fruits and even vegetables, toss in nuts, seeds and nut butters and even cacao for a chocolate fix and you could probably come up with a new flavour combination for every day of the year. Wouldn’t that be a fun experiment!
Carrots are great for your eyes, skin and general immune function. They are rich in many nutrients, but are an excellent source of vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin K, fiber, vitamin C and the group B complex vitamins, namely biotin which is essential for the formation of skin tissue. Carrots are natural antioxidants, have cardiovascular and anti-cancer benefits and contain and estrogen like compound that is excellent for libido. In fact, recent studies have shown that carrots also have a positive impact on fertility and motility. How nifty is that? More than just rabbit food I’d say.
Carrot Cake Amaranth Porridge
Recipe & Photography by Nissrine at Harmony à la Carte.
This dessert inspired porridge is made with gluten free Amaranth and loaded with the goodness of carrots, walnuts and chia seeds for a healthy, nutrient dense breakfast that’s also delicious.
Note: I don’t add any sweetner here because I’m used to eating this way and often enough the natural sweetness of the fruits or vegetables I use is enough and in this case the plain rice milk adds natural sweetness. If you’re not used to this way of eating, or have more of a sweet tooth, feel free to add in a sweetener of choice. My recommendation would be a small amount of maple syrup or brown rice malt syrup or honey if you’re not strictly vegan.
- 1/3 C Amaranth, rinsed well with a fine mesh strainer
- 1 1/3 C Filtered Water
- 1 Carrot, shredded
- 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
- Pinch of Pure Bourbon Vanilla Powder
- Walnuts, Chia Seeds and Rice Milk (or other milk of choice) for serving
- Add shredded carrot, rinsed amaranth and water to a pot and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat
- Stir in cinnamon and vanilla, reduce heat to low and let simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes, until the water has been absorbed and the amaranth has cooked, stirring frequently in the last 10 minutes of cooking
- Transfer to a serving bowl, top with walnuts, chia seeds and rice milk and serve immediately