Boxed cereals, even the ones labeled organic and natural, are not a very healthy breakfast option. This is because making the cereal into those cute little shapes involves a process called extrusion—a high heat industrial processing technique that denatures the grain, rendering it into an inflammatory food. A much healthier option is to cook your own whole grain porridge. Also known as Congee in traditional Asian diets, this way of preparing whole grains is very digestible and nourishing to the body. You can use most whole grains to make congee, though rice is the one that is traditionally used in Asian congees. I also like to make my congee using millet or quinoa. Adding a slice of dried Astragalus root adds immune-strengthening properties. I cook my congee in a crockpot overnight, so it’s all ready to go on the morning. Leftover congee is good for about two days.
Crockpot Congee Recipe
Soak ½ cup of the whole grain (such as rice, millet, or quinoa) in warm water for 8-12 hours (soaking grains makes them more digestible and makes their nutrients more available to the body). Strain off the soaking water in a fine mesh colander and rinse the grain well. Put the soaked grain into a crockpot and add 4 cups of water. Cook on low setting for about six to eight hours. NOTE: You may add more or less water if you prefer a thinner or thicker consistency.
Serve the congee with any nourishing seasonings of your choice. You can do a savory mix of fresh chopped green onions, fresh cilantro, toasted sesame oil, and a spoonful of fresh miso paste. You may also try a sweeter blend of dried fruits such as goji berries or raisins; chopped nuts or nut butter; butter or ghee; honey, maple syrup, or molasses; and spices such as cinnamon or cardamom. As long as your ingredients are nourishing and pure, feel free to experiment!
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I am a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist with a Heart-centered practice in the Santa Cruz mountains. See my About page for more about me and the work I do.