The first time I made this breakfast many years ago my friends and family thought I was crazy. Eating a bowl of mainly chopped fruits and seeds covered in banana nut milk? It was unheard of. Cereal was cereal and there was a hard and fast rule that it needed to dry, contain grains, and come from a box. But like so many other culinary parts of our lives, breakfast had evolved with better choices, quick and easy solutions, and fresh ideas. Enter my little (actually big) bowl of unconventional cereal and milk. It’s not only better for you, it’s also smart, trendy, and thoroughly enjoyable. This natural breakfast will trump any notions you have about healthy breakfast food. And if you are having issues with gluten or grains, this dish is an alternative that doesn’t compromise.
Boxed cereals are an American invention but like so many great ideas, it veered way off its initial nutritional course. Cooking whole grains and other starches for the morning meal was common in many cultures and not anything new. What was new was getting it dry and ready to eat right out of a box. We asked for convenience and we got it. At a price. Believe me, I had my fair share of boxed cereals growing up. They oozed with sugar and almost candy-like flavors but not with nutrients. Not to mention I was hungry within the hour. Fast forward to my new cereal staple which is sweet and flavorful, can easily last me through the morning and even until dinner, and it’s fresh and loaded with nutrients. Start ringing the bell and come and get it. Real Breakfast is served.
There are lots of choices for ingredients in your new healthy breakfast bowl. For my bowl I went a bit tropical and included fresh and sun-dried fruit, sprouted buckwheat and quinoa, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, and even threw in a dash of lucuma powder for good measure. This is powerful food. But you can add any combination of fruits/grains/nuts/seeds you want. The possibilities are literally endless. And I promise once you start eating this kind of cereal, boxed cereals will become a thing of the past. I now eat real cereal with fresh milk. It’s gives me exactly what I need in order to function at my best.
For my milk I turned to the almighty Brazil nut. Using Brazil nuts for this cereal was a natural expression of how much I value these wonderful nuts. I also thought they would really compliment the tropical goodies in my cereal mix. I love their flavor which is distinct and pronounced in a very good way Brazilian Chia Parfait. As it turns out one of my all-time favorite nuts has a lot to offer. Aside from their considerable nutrient levels including the important selenium, these nuts are highly evolved. The process of growing Brazil Nuts is very complex and that translates into one brilliant and valuable nut.
Brazil trees are native to several regions in South America and among the largest trees in the Amazon Rainforest where they grow wild. These amazing trees have long lives (up to 1000 years) and are so revered in Brazil that it is illegal to cut them down there. One especially interesting aspect of Brazil nuts is that Efforts at cultivating them on plantations haven’t been successful because the trees are so dependent on the rainforest ecosystem for their fruition. Bearing their 300 fruit pods per season is quite a complex process which involves numerous rainforest companions.
Brazil nuts are actually the seed of the tree. They grow in 4 to 6 pound pods about the size of a man’s hand. One pod contains up to 30 seeds or nuts. Collectors must wait until the pods drop to the ground to gather them – a hazardous occupation since the force of a pod hitting the ground could kill a man. Once collected, the castaneros convey the nuts by river or road to processors. The nuts remain a kind of currency, traded for food and manufactured goods.
Like most nuts, Brazil nuts should preferably be soaked to remove phytic acid and help your body digest them more efficiently. If you are short on time, you can cut the soaking time down to 2-4 hours (or even 20 minutes) since any amount of soaking time is beneficial. If you have the time and inclination, you can soak and sprout the Brazil nuts for up to 2 days to achieve even greater health benefits. But don’t let the lack of soaking and/or sprouting time prevent you from making this incredibly delicious and versatile milk.
To accentuate the rich flavor of Brazil nuts and lower the level of fat content, I added coconut water, frozen bananas, a few spices, some fresh ginger, and blackstrap molasses to my milk. I’ve experimented a lot with the spices and sweeteners for this recipe and this flavor combo really spikes my taste buds. But you can pretty much use any spices and sweetener you want. Hard to miss with this mix.
This cereal and milk are a real breakfast treat. Delicious, healthy, filling and low-fat, it’s an exciting way to start your day. It will remove any fixations you have about healthy breakfast food, and can be savored any time really, day or night. I hope you enjoy this wonderful meal and all the benefits and flavor it has to offer.
This recipe is raw, dairy and gluten-free, and serves 2 – 3 persons.
Super-Charged Breakfast Bowl w/Brazilian Banana Milk
- Feel free to experiment and create your own perfect mix of ingredients. These ingredients can be easily substituted with other grains, dried and fresh fruits.
- Try to use dried fruit that is unsulphured, unsweetened, contains no oil, and is preferably organic.
- 1/2 cup sprouted buckwheat
- 1/2 cup golden raisins or other raisins of choice
- 1/2 cup chopped dates, pitted
- 1/2 cup Incan berries (or golden berries)
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes or shredded coconut
- 1 – 2 medium-sized bananas, chopped
- Add all ingredients to a large bowl.
- Toss well.
- Transfer to serving bowls and add any toppings you wish.
- Serve immediately or store refrigerated up to 3 days if using fresh fruit and up to 2 weeks if using only dried ingredients (can include dates).
- Yields 3 – 3 1/2 cups.
Brazilian Banana Nut Milk:
- 3 cups coconut water or water
- 1/4 cup Brazil nuts (preferably soaked in water for 2 – 8 hours then drained and rinsed)
- 3 – 4 frozen bananas, chopped
- 1-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla or vanilla-flavored stevia to taste
- 1 tsp blackstrap molasses or coconut nectar or coconut/palm sugar or other natural dark sweetener of choice
- 1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
- pinch of sea salt (optional)
- Add all the ingredients to a blender.
- Blend until very smooth.
- Serve immediately.
- Yields about 3 1/2 cups.