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GOLDEN GINGER QUINOA BREAKFAST BOWL

Golden Ginger Quinoa Breakfast Bowl topped with coconut yogurt, walnut pieces, and extra raisins (plus a little a drizzle of honey after the photo was taken!).

Golden Ginger Quinoa Breakfast Bowl topped with coconut yogurt, walnut pieces, and extra raisins (plus a little a drizzle of honey after the photo was taken!).

Quinoa isn't just for dinner — it also makes a great protein-rich, gluten-free breakfast option.  This version is a little savoury, a little sweet, and 100% nutritious & delicious!

Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, but it is actually a seed.  It is rich in antioxidants, fibre, and vitamins & minerals including magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins.  Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that contains all nine essential amino acids.

Here I have also added bone broth powder (optional, omit for vegan) for a collagen boost, along with hemp, flax, and chia seeds for extra protein, fibre, minerals, and those brain-boosting omega 3s! Turmeric and other warming spices deliver wonderful flavour and antioxidants galore.

Why Bone Broth/Collagen?

Collagen is a natural protein found predominantly in skin, bones, joints and ligaments as well as the digestive tract.  Our bodies make collagen using specific amino acids that we consume through food.  The main collagen-forming amino acids are glycine, proline and hydroxyproline.  Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies produce less and lower-quality collagen.  This contributes to the wrinkles, joint problems and reduction in bone density and metabolism that many of us have already started to experience!  

Adequate collagen is also necessary to balance the gut microbiome and maintain a healthy digestive tract.  In addition to acting as a prebiotic, collagen is believed to reduce inflammation and support the integrity of the mucosal barrier or gut lining.  This helps to prevent what is sometimes referred to as the "leaky gut syndrome".

In a leaky gut, undigested proteins and microbes are allowed to pass through the intestinal wall.  Over time, this may lead to chronic inflammation and dysfunction of the immune system and gut-brain-axis.  Leaky gut is believed to be associated with numerous medical conditions, including arthritis, eczema, nutrient malabsorption, chronic fatigue, functional gut disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, and mental and neurocognitive disorders such as depression and autism.

To help our bodies make collagen, we must first ensure an adequate intake of the amino acid building blocks.  Good food sources include grass-fed gelatin, bone broth, eggs, and white fish such as cod.  Vegans can get the necessary amino acids from plant-based foods such as legumes (including peanuts), soy, brewer’s yeast, and spirulina.  Not everyone has a diet rich in these foods.  Fortunately, studies suggest that bone broth powders and collagen supplements may help to support the immune system, heal and protect the gut, reduce the visible signs of skin aging, and improve joint and arthritis symptoms.  

Ginger & Turmeric

Ginger and turmeric are in the same plant family, Zingiberaceae, and both have been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for millennia.

Turmeric's main active ingredient is curcumin.  This potent phytochemical has amazing anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, wound-healing, and cognitive and mood-enhancing benefits.  If you are new to turmeric, it is better to start with less and build-up gradually to see how you tolerate it and to adjust to the somewhat pungent flavour.  Remember that natural medicines and remedies have side effects, too, and consider discussing with your health care provider.  Also note that turmeric is used as a colouring agent and can stain your clothes!

Ginger has a fresh, fragrant and slightly peppery taste.  It is well-recognized as having anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, analgesic and pro-digestive benefits.  Research also suggests that consumption of ginger can boost immunity and reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

Golden Ginger Quinoa Recipe

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 3/4 cup uncooked gluten-free quinoa

  • 1 can (1.5 cups) organic full-fat coconut milk (or substitute some unsweetened almond milk for a lower fat/lower calorie option)

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or nut-free milk (I like to use my Almond Cow to make homemade plant-based milk)

  • 2 Tbsp Organika Health chicken bone broth powder, original or ginger (optional)

  • 2 Tbsp white chia seeds

  • 1 Tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger

  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

  • pinch each of nutmeg and black pepper

  • 2 Tbsp shelled hemp seeds or gluten-free flaxseed meal (optional)

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • optional stevia, honey (nonvegan) or maple syrup to sweeten as desired

  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)

  • optional toppings: coconut or Greek yogurt, nuts, seeds and/or nut butter, toasted coconut flakes, dried or fresh fruit, nondairy milk, honey or maple syrup

Instructions:

  1. Wash the quinoa. To do this, place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer sitting in a bowl. Cover with water and gently rub the grains together with your hands for 30 seconds. Rinse and drain. Repeat this process 2 more times.

  2. Put the rinsed quinoa, coconut milk, almond milk, bone broth powder, chia seeds, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and pepper in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes with occasional stirring until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

  3. Remove from heat and stir in hemp or flaxseed meal, vanilla, and raisins. Sweeten to taste.

  4. Serve warm or chilled with your favourite toppings.

Golden Ginger Quinoa can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

This recipe was originally published on Dec 2, 2017.