Recipes

The Porridge Diaries ~ A girl who religiously eats smoothie bowls for breakfast ventures into the mysterious world of Oats.

It all started with a churn in my stomach and feelings of exhilaration taking over my body. My chest felt a strange rush and soon my head began to feel like it was being compressed. “Do I feel like I should go for a run for 2 hours or lay in bed for the whole day?” I would ask myself this almost every time I would have a smoothie for breakfast.

Don’t get me wrong, I love smoothies and the thought of not having one for breakfast would legitimately make me anxious. I would go to bed knowing which one I would have and wake up to make that exact smoothie, place it in the freezer while I would work out and devour it immediately after finishing. I have issues. Who doesn’t? But this was becoming borderline crazy and almost obsessive compulsive? I knew after eating a smoothie for breakfast that I wouldn’t feel quite right. I’d go to the toilet immediately after eating, which felt great but the energy I felt after having a smoothie would plummet after around an hour. I felt lethargic and my head felt like it was slightly bursting. I began to realise that I was consuming way too much sugar in the mornings and I wasn’t consuming enough food that had a slow release of energy to really fuel me throughout the morning and to get through the day. I also train very hard in the gym and so I needed food that would fuel my muscles and reenergize my drained body, not make it feel more drained! So I decided to challenge myself and not make one smoothie for a week! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go for 5 days or 7 but I thought I’d do 5 first because that alone would be a massive achievement.

I was reading and watching a lot of information about a WSLF (whole starch low fat) diet and decided that I wanted to try that approach to eating to see if there were any benefits to my digestion, bloating and energy levels. I was slightly concerned about going into this challenge however, because there was a period of time where I wasn’t really able to digest grains very well as I have quite a few stomach problems that inhibit me from eating certain foods at different times and so the food I eat changes rather frequently. I am now back on my medication to rid the bacteria and inflammation from my gut but it clearly doesn’t reduce all of my symptoms and the way food affects my mood and energy levels as experienced when I have a smoothie, which are very high in fruit. I thought I needed to try and get my body used to eating something else because it is true that if you remove a food group from your diet for a while then it will reject it, which is what happened with grains.

Day 1: Berry Porridge

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Ingredients:

~ 1/2 cup oats
~ 1 cup water + an extra 1/2 cup of liquid (I used about 1/4 almond and 1/4 water)
~ 1/2 tsp cinnamon
~ 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
~ 3/4 cup frozen berries + extra 1/4 cup for the topping
~ 2 tsp chia seeds
~ 1 tbsp hemp seeds

Method:

~ Place all ingredients into a saucepan and add the extra liquid to suit your preference.
~ I topped my porridge with the berries still frozen, 3 strawberries and a sprinkling of walnuts and coconut flakes.

Diary:
On the first day I felt absolutely no bloating or pains, which completely surprised me considering it was my first time eating oats in such a long time! I still had a great toilet session (sorry, TMI) but that could also be as a result of my medication, which helps to keep me regular. What I loved the most about this first day is how satiated I felt and how sustained my energy levels were. I had no spike in my blood sugar levels which I would normally feel in the mornings and I went until 1:45 with only eating a carrot as a snack in between breakfast and lunch, feeling completely content with the amount of food in my belly. Everyone who I’ve seen eat a WSLF diet eats one cup of oats for breakfast but would I have even been able to eat lunch that day if I ate that much!? It honestly baffles me but maybe one day I’ll realise the 1/2 cup just isn’t doing it for me anymore. Over all today was great, I had lunch at my boyfriend’s house and brought my own lunch as they were all having meat, we watched Split which was amazing and I ate an apple during that, and then we went to Soul Burger for dinner and I got the American Badass “Chicken” Burger consisting of a hash brown, onion rings, coleslaw a plant based chicken patty, pickles, tomato sauce and mustard. I usually panic about having more than one heavily starchy or carby meal in a day but I honestly felt great even though I ate a damn dirty burger.

Day 2: Chocolate Porridge with a Berry Sauce 

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Ingredients:
~ 1/2 cut oats
~ 1 cup water + an extra 1/2 cup of liquid
~ 1/2 tsp cinnamon
~ 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
~ 1.5 tsp carob powder
~ 2 tsp chia seeds
~ 1 tbsp hemp seeds
~ 1/2 banana, mashed
~ 1/2 cup berries

Method: 
~ Place all ingredients into a saucepan and add the extra liquid to suit your preference.
~ Heat the frozen berries in a microwave for about 30 seconds to a minute. Add any sweetener to these if you wish.
~ I topped my porridge with strawberries, the berry sauce and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and cinnamon.

Diary:
On day two, I woke up feeling great and I didn’t experience the intense feeling of hunger that I usually feel in the mornings. This allowed me to go for a 4.5k run, which is something I am not good at, yet I felt I had so much energy in me and I’m accrediting that to the starches. What was surprising about my will to run was that I also got my monthly’s the night before (once again, sorry TMI), which usually makes me want to sit in bed and do nothing but I felt quite the opposite. Having a warm breakfast was great on this day as cold foods usually aggravates my stomach when it’s doing its woman thing, and so this porridge actually really helped to settle and soothe my stomach. After I had lunch, I noticed that I was having some stomach pains and became rather bloated, which intensified after dinner, however I definitely don’t think this had anything to do with what I had for breakfast. It was more so related to the topic that I probably shouldn’t speak of again, and I would have been very surprised if it didn’t happen at all throughout this week. The second day is always the worst for me in terms of pains and I’m glad that breakfast at least didn’t upset my stomach.

Day 3: Apple Pie Bircher Muesli 

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Ingredients:
~ 1/2 cup oats
~ 1 apple
~ 1 cup water + 1/2 almond (depends on your preferred consistency)
~ 2 tsp chia seeds
~ 1 tbsp hemp seeds
~ 1/2 tsp cinnamon + a dash of nutmeg and ginger
~ 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
~ 1 tbsp coconut flakes or shreds.

Method:
~ Grate the apple and then place all ingredients into a bowl or jar. Stir well to combine.
~ Place the bircher muesli into the fridge over night.
~ Chia seeds absorb a lot of liquid so it may require more to be added to it in the morning if it has become too dry.

Diary:
This morning I woke up with quite a bloated and puffy stomach and I know the reason for that. I was a bit bummed out because it was a much cooler morning than the previous two had been (they were both in the 30s) and I had to have a cold breakfast. Yes, I could have heated this up but I was craving a bircher muesli, so I thought I would just run with it. Unfortunately, it put me in a lot of pain and discomfort and I have a feeling it was a combination of the bad time my ovaries were having plus the harder to digest oats. As I said before, I’m using a 5 grain porridge and so some of the grains that are in it may not have had enough soaking time, meaning they’re harder to digest. At this stage, I was really excited to see the progress in my digestion and bloating after my monthly’s had passed. However, throughout the day I had such sustained energy and a feeling of fullness as well as regular toileting. I had a very simple dinner that night of steamed vegetables and legumes which are full of fibre and easy to break down, which didn’t aggravate my stomach at all.

Day 4: Coconut Mango Rice Porridge

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Ingredients: 
~ 1/2 cup rice porridge
~ 1 cup water + 1/2 almond
~ 2 tsp chia seeds
~ 2 tsp hemp seeds
~ 1 flat tbsp natural coconut yoghurt (I used Cocobella)
~ 1 small – half a large mango, chopped

Method:
~ Place all ingredients into a sauce pan, omitting about 1/4-1/2 of the mango for the topping. Stir well to combine over a low-medium heat and serve.

Diary:
This morning I woke up feeling pretty good and much better than the day before, I had no bloating nor any pains, which was such a relief! What I’ve been noticing is that I’m not very hungry when I first wake up which means I’m more motivated to go into the gym as it feels like less of a chore since my stomach isn’t gurgling and telling me to eat. This morning I did an upper body strength training routine that was very tough and I was surprised at how many repetitions I was doing as well as the weights I was lifting. I wasn’t even that hungry after finishing my routine so the act of having to cook breakfast after working out really helps my body to build up a hunger. I used to have my smoothie bowl ready in the freezer waiting to be eaten as soon as I would finish working out and, because I knew I didn’t have to make anything, I would literally devour it as soon as possible, even if I wasn’t feeling too hungry. I’d usually feel way too over-stuffed and uncomfortable but I would tell myself “you just worked out, you needed to eat that much food” to justify how much, and the way, I was eating.

Day 5: Vegan Oatmeal Pancakes

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To find the recipe for these pancakes, please refer to my previous blog post all about them!

Diary:
On this morning, I woke up with such a flat and lean looking mid section, I had great digestion and I was full of energy once again with hardly any hunger. I did, however, not work out on this day as my partner was over and I wanted to use that hour that I would be in the gym, to prep and cook these pancakes. To be perfectly honest, these aren’t something I would have often at all, or ever. I’m not someone who makes sweet treats and enjoys eating them because I have a bit of a bad mentality toward it in regard to my health and fitness goals, thinking that it will impede my progress. However, if you go check out the recipe, you’ll see how good for you they are! I was so happy that after eating them, I didn’t feel sick or become terribly bloated. My digestion was normal, I was full of energy and wasn’t lethargic at all after having a meal higher in sweetness. This breakfast kept me going for such a long time as well and I felt a sustained and comfortable amount of fullness and energy throughout the day. I also want to note that my mood increased sufficiently this week! I noticed that I was in much better spirits and I think that may be due to the fact that I was so satiated and content with my body (for most of the days), that I didn’t constantly think about food and exercise, which is something I was extremely glad to experience. Last point is that my sleeping this week has been great after not incorporating as much fruit into my day and adding more starches into my meals. OVERALL, A SUCCESSFUL WEEK AND I PROVED TO MYSELF THAT STARCHES AND CARBS DON’T MAKE ME CHUBBA BUB, WOO!

I hope you enjoy all of these yummy recipes! I had such an awesome week experimenting with my food and I hope you guys can try breaking any habit that you might want to get out of as well.

Jess xx

 

 

 

 

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