Let me introduce you to my sister, Sara. She is a gorgeous, clever thing and will soon be headed for university to become a dietician. In the summer, I had the utter pleasure in giving her a work placement, and had such fun working together. Today’s guest post is by this funny and intelligent young lady (God, that makes me sound ancient!) Enjoy, dear Reader, and do try the porridge – it’s delicious!! Johanna xx (Sara, over to you…)
Cheery Chia in Cambridge, by Sara Jones
You seem to need an awful lot of energy when you spend a great deal of your day confusing bus drivers with fake welsh accents, and congratulating supermarket fruit and veg teams on their good work. Spending my work experience here with Miss Best has been most insightful. Sat here in a cafe, post tea and cake, well, all I can say is I hope all my jobs are like this!
My first morning here I was woken up in the beautiful city of Cambridge, with a ‘would you like to try some raw porridge?’ In my time I have tasted a range of Johanna’s little culinary triumphs. This was no different, I think a little sigh of happiness is the only way I can describe this porridge.
It’s so easy just to pick up a packet of cereal, or grab a slice of toast, and I’m ashamed to say that I rarely even bother with that most days, however I feel inspired in the last few days just to make a little extra time in the morning. And its hardly hard work, so I don’t know why I feel so proud about it.
It’s almost a shame to call it a raw porridge, when ‘porridge’ has had such a weight on it for being ‘boring’. All you porridge haters don’t judge a book by its cover. This is the very meaning of the term.
I’d never heard of chia seeds before and although they look a little like frog spawn when soaked, (don’t be detoured by this) they are very nutritious, and with a little imagination can taste divine. It’s high absorbency rate means its great for hydrating. It contains the highest amount of plant based omega 3. (In fact it has 5g of omega 3 in every 2 tablespoons of chia seeds). Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, which is needed for normal brain as well as normal growth and development. The high content of oil, which is an unsaturated fat, makes it easier for the body to absorb Vitamins A, D, E and K, which are all fat soluble vitamins.
Protein makes up 20% of the chia seed, which makes it very good for building and maintaining muscle cells and, surprisingly, they actually contain more antioxidants than blueberries. So they are a very sexy little seed indeed!
Here’s the recipe for this yummy porridge. If you scroll down afterwards you can read all about the other nutritional goodness you get from this breakfast (and trust me there are far more than what I’ve noted) so you have the perfect excuse to get energized! (And use a welsh accent!)
Vanilla Chia Porridge / Breakfast Pudding
* 3 tablespoons chia seeds (you can find them in some well stocked super markets and most health food stores)
* 1 cup (250 ml) water
* ½ cup (125 ml) mixed nuts (eg brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts)
* 1/3 cup (80 ml) sunflower seeds
* 2 large bananas
* Pinch of vanilla powder (ground vanilla pods) or a few drops of vanilla extract
Before you go to bed:
In a large bowl or jug, soak the chia seeds in the 1 cup of water overnight. You could use a raw nut milk instead of water here, or any other non-dairy milk.
Soak the nuts and sunflower seeds together in a bowl of water overnight.
In the morning:
When you wake up bright and early the next day you have something new to look forward to, when you see the chia seeds swollen with water. Drain and rinse the nuts and sunflower seeds (not the chia seeds!). Put everything into a large jug and blend together with an extra 2 tablespoons of water with a hand blender, or you can mix it all up in a blender. You may have to add a little extra water if the mixture is too thick/your blender is not quite powerful enough.
This is the majority of the porridge done, however topped with something as lovely as blueberries and nectarines, and perhaps a drizzle of agave/maple syrup and a sprinkle of cacao nibs, it is yummy enough to make you a little bit teary eyed so early in the morning.
The sexy science behind the food!
Selenium is commonly found in brazil nuts. It is a trace element, so although only needed in teeny tiny amounts its essential to the body. Selenium combines with proteins to make selenoproteins, these are important antioxidant enzymes. Antioxidants are widely believed to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, by protecting from free radical damage to cells.
Nuts, like almonds and brazil nuts contain lots of protein. They are broken down, and the amino acids are absorbed by the body to make new proteins. There are huge amounts of different proteins in the body which are needed for hair, nails, skin. (They are essentially the building blocks of the body).
Fibre is vital to maintaining a healthy body, I like to think of fibre as the body’s discreet cleaner. Not that I have a cleaner, however, if I did I’d imagine her/him to be very sweet and never to ask any questions, this is exactly what fibre does in a sense. Much of it is not digested and just passes through the body, picking up socks here or there, and whatever else you have lying about, (well maybe not socks exactly) leaving your body sparklingly clean, and fresh as a daisy!
Almonds are thought to reduce the amount of ‘bad cholesterol’ (LDL) and increase the amount of ‘good cholesterol’ (HDL). On top of this they also contain antioxidants.
You might also like to know that almonds are a ‘tree nut’ and so technically a seed, so not a nut at all. (Crazy I know… some might even say; nuts!)
Sunflower seeds have a high content of Vitamin E. It is the body’s primary fat soluble vitamin. It’s antioxidant properties means that it protects the body by neutralizing free radicals that could potentially harm body cells and cholesterol. By ‘protecting’ (it prevents the cholesterol from being oxidised by free radicals) the cholesterol it reduces the risk of your arteries becoming clogged, which could lead to a heart attack.
Folate also found in sunflower seeds, facilitates the formation of haemoglobin, DNA and RNA. (So it is, in fact, crucial to the body’s functions).
Zinc, another contender, boosts the immune system and fights off any harmful infectious that comes its way. (Sort of the 007 of the nutrient world).
Sunflower seeds are happy little things, they contain tryptophan which helps the brain create and release serotonin, the chemical in our brains that calms us down, and reduces anxiety and depression. Hooray!
Blending this porridge up with a banana is a great idea, as it just makes it that little bit sweeter. Bananas are best known as a one of the best sources of potassium, (and their staring role of the hit tv show ‘bananas in pyjamas.’) This mineral is needed for normal function of the heart, and in maintaining a normal blood pressure.
They also contain a number of other vitamins and minerals which ought to be credited. For example, phosphorus. This mineral is used by the body to develop strong bones and teeth, (along with calcium which, as it so happens, is also found in bananas. Very handy). Another key role of phosphorus is its influence on the heart and kidneys.
Bananas contain a large range of B vitamins, which are used in the body for utilizing the energy you get from food. They are sometimes used as an antacid. These reduce the risk of stomach ulcers developing by suppressing acid secretion in the stomach, by activating the cells which build up the lining in the stomach.
Blueberries & Nectarines
Vitamin C is found in both of these fruits, however, there is a larger amount found in blueberries. Vitamin C is water soluble and so is not stored in the body, this of course is a great excuse to eat more blueberries, as you need to consume foods with vitamin C everyday. Vitamin C is utilized in the body in a number of different ways, for example repairing and maintaining bones; it is also used by the body to help make collagen.
Nectarines contain carotenes. They are found in plants that photosynthesize, and protect the plant against free radicals. In humans they act as antioxidants, and do a similar job, protecting the body from harmful free radicals which can damage cell tissue. Beta-carotene can also be converted into vitamin A which in itself is really, rather snazzy. (Or at least I think so). They also work as a great sweetner and an all round ‘jazzer-upper’.