With the arrival of winter, temperatures drastically fall and warm & comforting foods become more and more appealing as we attempt to warm ourselves from the inside.
I for one am not the biggest fan of winter. In fact, I’d say I highly dislike it if I weren’t trying to have a more positive outlook on life. When I am freezing cold, hungry and struggling to move out of the foetal position and away from the heater, the last thing I want to consume is a cold salad (although it would be delicious of course). All I want is something warm, kinda mushy, delicious but also, and very importantly, nutritious.
When people think of comfort food, often it is associated with being full of sugar and gluten and less full of anything with any nutritional value; a perfect example being porridge.
While porridge can be made into a deliciously nutritious dish, the packaged kind from my old friend Uncle Tobys, is certainly not.
Oats themselves can be incredibly nourishing and are actually a known nervine, or rather, something which supports the nervous system, however, this doesn’t mean you should go out and consume all the oats! Their benefit is highly dependent upon the type, how they have been processed and also on the person consuming them.
The details about oats can be a bit tedious, so instead, I choose to use an ingredient which I know is highly nutritious, as well as gluten free.
So, I’d like to introduce you to my little friend, buckwheat!
Buckwheat is an ancient grain, and although it has ‘wheat’ in its name, it is actually a seed which is completely gluten free and amazingly beneficial to the body. Buckwheat has an impressive list of biological activities which it exerts in the body; all of which are related to its unique amino acid profile.
It has been shown to improve heart health by lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. It contains rutin; a powerful antioxidant which specifically supports the circulatory system.
Additionally, other antioxidants, known as polyphenols, contained within buckwheat support brain, digestive and liver function – bonus!
Although buckwheat doesn’t exert specific nervine actions like oats, they take the cake in regards to their macro and micro nutrient and vitamin profile.
Buckwheat is a great source of plant based protein, and provides two essential amino acids; arginine and lysine, making it the perfect inclusion into a vegetarian or vegan diet.
The complex carbohydrates found in buckwheat are absorbed slowly into the bloodstream which helps to regulate blood sugar and energy levels, and its dietary fibre content helps to regulate digestive function (helps you poop regularly) and maintain satiation (helps your eyes become smaller than your belly).
Now, what I’m about to say may not matter to some, but just believe me when I say it’s pretty great. For every 1 cup of cooked buckwheat, you are getting an impressive 86mg of both magnesium and manganese, 118mg of phosphorus and 34mg of iron; all accompanied by zinc, niacin (B3), folate, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid (B5).
As I said, this may all sound like dribble, but these vitamins and nutrients all play massive roles within the body; a list which will make this post even longer than it already is.
Buckwheat is super versatile, and can easily be included into things like soups, curries, granola and muesli. It can also be milled into a flour, or pre-purchased in this form, and be used as a gluten free flour substitute for all your baked goodies!
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that buckwheat is great, as are the accompanying ingredients in this recipe. So, the next time you’re craving a delicious, warm and nutritious bowl of porridge, give this guy a go.
- – ½ cup raw buckwheat (soaked overnight)
- – 2 TBSP chia seeds
- – 1 red apple (grated)
- – 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
- – 2 TBSP sultanas
- – 2 tsp cinnamon
- – 1 tsp ground ginger
- – 1 tsp vanilla
- – stevia to taste (honey can be used, I chose to use stevia to lessen the sugar content)
- – pinch Himalayan pink salt
- – pinch nutmeg
Method: (the easiest recipe ever)
- Place all ingredients into a saucepan, place on medium heat, and stir until the mixture thickens and warms through.
- *you can serve this however you like, topped with things like berries, nuts, seeds etc. Try different combinations and have fun with it!