Breakfast’s Best Kept Secret
It was either pancakes, waffles, French toast or oatmeal, but I was struggling with the final decision on what to make. This weekend’s crisp cloud covered mornings sparked a transition in my house; from the cooling fresh fruit smoothies of summer to heartier meals that warm the body from the inside out. I stood groggily in the kitchen waiting for the coffee to brew, staring into my glass front cupboards for inspiration.
It was the buried mason jar full of tiny seeds labeled “millet, cook 1 to 3 ratio in water for 30 minutes,” that my eyes finally settled upon. Something new, not drowned in sugar like the pancakes or waffles would inevitably be, and just a little more interesting than my go-to bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and walnuts.
I cooked the millet in a small saucepan with a pinch of salt, a cinnamon stick and 5 or 6 whole cloves. As it thickened on the stove the whole house began to warm with the scent of the simmering spices. The tiny seeds morphed into a soft mixture with a slightly nutty flavor, which I served in shallow bowls with a heaping spoonful of whole milk yogurt, drizzled with a teaspoon of raw honey.
This has been my breakfast routine 3 of four days since: a low maintenance but highly nourishing meal that deserves a bit of praise. Millet is an ancient food, actually a seed although it is often grouped in the grains category, which has been used for centuries in China, India, Greece, Egypt and Africa. Unfortunately, in the wake of oats, flour, lentils, quinoa and other popular grains, millet gets little attention.
There are no shortages of reasons my newly favored food is breakfast’s best-kept secret. Its benefits include:
- Gluten free and easy to digest
- Low glycemic and will not feed excess yeast growing in your body
- Beneficial for healthy bacteria in your digestive system
- Aids efficient digestion by hydrating your colon
- Contains serotonin that calms your nerves and helps balance mood
- High levels of magnesium, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, fiber, B vitamins and antioxidants
- Phosphorus in millet has been shown to aid in fat metabolism, tissue repair and energy creation
- Eastern medicine traditions praise millet for soothing morning sickness, balancing fluids in the body and strengthening the kidneys
- Natural breath sweetener
Unlike most grains, millet does not need to be soaked in order to reap the health benefits it provides, making it a quick and easy food to prepare.
- 1 cup millet
- 3 cups water
- A pinch of salt
- Place all in a small pot and bring to a boil. Add seasoning (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, orange zest etc.) as desired. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes (longer for a softer texture). *Millet can also be cooked quickly in a pressure cooker or cooked ahead of time and kept refrigerated for up to a week.
- For breakfast – top warm millet with whole yogurt, honey and fresh/dried/stewed fruit. I also love it with a scoop of applesauce, stirred in with toasted nuts and keifer or warmed with almond milk and spices.
- Millet anytime – millet also makes a great side dish prepared like a pilaf or stuffed into roasted veggies.