As a little girl, my grandmother would make me cream of wheat (which I called Macarena for reasons unbeknownst to my entire family) for breakfast lunch and dinner. Of course, the porridge Nana would make me was thick with full-fat milk and huge hunks of butter. (My grandmother, until the day she passed away, was always afraid that as a vegetarian, I would waste away due to malnutrition). I wouldn’t be surprised if she hid hunks of meat in the Macarena either. That said, I loved my Nana’s Cream of Wheat. Even as an adult, I would sit on my grandmother’s couch watching re-runs of I Love Lucy as I wolfed down steaming bowls of Cream of Wheat. As simple as this meal is to make (as any corn-fed all-American knows), there is something wholly satisfying and heart-warming about the steaming bowl of Cream of Wheat.
My nana is no longer with us but she has definitely left some parts of herself with me. I.e. her passion for cooking, pizza, anything with loads of onion and garlic, and feeding her loved ones. My nana was a better person than I will ever be, but I like to think that through nutrition and food, I can help, heal and satisfy the people I love- just like she did.
I wont be making Cream of Wheat anytime soon but I have found ways to satisfy cravings for warming, satisfying, bowls of porridges that make the people around me smile. I only wish my nana were still around to see the great leaps I am making in the kitchen. More importantly, I wish that I had begun this wellness journey before I had lost her. My grandmother suffered towards the end of her life- she had a number of health problems ranging from a weak heart to diabetes to arthritis. The more I learn about health and nutrition- the more I study- the surer I am of the fundamental connection between what we put into our bodies and our health. Not only do I believe that a plant based, whole foods diet can prevent ailments and diseases, I trust that changing one’s diet can reverse any number of illnesses and infections (despite DNA, years of bad habits and age).
I don’t just think I could have helped my grandmother, I KNOW I could have helped her. Maybe I could have given her a few more pain-free years. Maybe I could have saved her. I’ll never know.
It may seem banal writing about my grandmother and then sharing a recipe for porridge. But I know in my heart of hearts, that she wouldn’t have had it any other way. She would have loved this stuff. So this porridge, heart healthy, deliciously sweet but with a pretty low glycemic-index, vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar free, chocked full of goodness and superfoods is made with love and with nana in my heart.
Buckwheat Acai Superfood Porridge
- 1 cup raw buckwheat grouts
- 2 cups homemade almond milk
- 2 tbsp coconut milk
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 ½ ripe bananas
- 2 tbsp. raw coconut sugar
- Raw shelled hemp seeds
- Raw cocoa nibs
- Organic acai powder
(these are the toppings I chose to use but any fruit, seeds, nuts or nut butter would be great with this porridge.)
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add the buckwheat grouts. After a couple of minutes, stir in the sliced banana and coconut sugar. Once all the water has been absorbed, slowly add the almond milk, bit by bit and continue stirring. Once the buckwheat has softened and the liquid has been completely absorbed, stir in the coconut milk. Place in a bowl with the desired toppings and enjoy!