Amaranth - The Grain of the Moment.
Most of us are more than short on time in the mornings, especially if you exercise before work or need to get your kids to school. It can almost be impossible to fit in a nutritious breakfast – yet, it’s considered by most to be the most important meal of the day.
A solid breakfast with protein sets you up for a great day full of energy and focus without mid-day slumps and cravings for sweets or starchy foods.
Here is a more scientific explanation to help this sink in:
Sugary, simple carbs like cereal, health bars, and toast are quick burning fuel that is used up within a few hours, leaving your body depleted of energy by mid afternoon. Where as, complex carbohydrates with a mix of protein and fat, provide a slower burn leaving you fuller longer.
Furthermore, proteins and fats, fuel your brain and have a slower energy output release, meaning stable energy levels, mood and less brain fog in the afternoon. Complete proteins also encourage the relase of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and other essential amino acids that aid with:
Motivation – if you’re happy (Dopamine) you’re more likely to stick to your fitness goals and continue to make healthy food choices
Increased memory and focus – associated with acetyl-choline
Lowers stress levels – one of the many benefits of amino acids like tyrosine
So how do you plan a meal with the perfect amount of protein, fats and complex carbohydrates?
A well balanced oatmeal bowl can satisfy all of these needs, so can a well balanced smoothie during warmer summer months or even eggs with dark leafy greens. Add some omega oils or coconut oil and you’re covered.
Here is my super easy amaranth bowl that has become my winter staple.
What you need:
+ ½ cup of Amaranth (go for the quick cooking brand, or you’ll need to soak over-night to cut down on cooking time)
+ 1 TBS Chia Seeds
+ 1 cup of bowling water
+ 1 TBS of sunflower seeds
+ 2 brazil nuts chopped
+ 1 TBS of coconut oil
+ 1/3 cup of berries (I like to heat frozen blueberries on the stove in the winter and enjoy them fresh in the summer)
Cook the amaranth as directed and add in the nuts, coconut oil and berries. Enjoy this rich and protein packed meal before you hit the office and you’ll instantly feel energized, full and focused for your day.
Why amaranth and not quinoa?
Amaranth and quinoa are very similar in that they are not a true grain, but rather an edible seed high in fiber and protein.
In the winter months Amaranth is more of warming grain is a little heartier in texture. Plus amaranth provides just a bit more nutrients than quinoa. Here is simple article breaking down the two.
Why Brazil nuts? I thought nuts were high in fat and inflammatory?
Yes, nuts are very high in fat and can be inflammatory if consumed in high amounts. We forget this because when we buy nuts they are already de-shelled and we just eat them at leisure. I think shells on nuts are nature’s way of regulating how many you can eat in a sitting. You wouldn’t shell your way through 10 brazil nuts in one sitting, but you might chuck a handful back without thinking twice.
What can brazil nuts do for me?
Brazil nuts have the highest amount of selenium compared to its other nutty friends. Selenium is a strong anti-oxidant that helps prevent heart disease, liver cirrhosis and cancers. Small amounts of selenium can go a long way in preventing harmful cancers. Here is a list of recommended daily dosage.
Brazil nuts also have high levels in B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and zinc. Among the highest levels of iron among the nut family, Brazil nuts are among my favorite for this reason alone.