Thursday, June 18, 2009

About Pam's Breakfast Grains

Ever wonder what those little bags of grains and seeds are in our clinic waiting area?

People say that a cancer diagnosis is an invitation to change your life. Certainly, in terms of modifying my diet and exercise habits, cancer has been a huge motivator for me. Shortly after my surgery, a friend brought me a batch of her multi-grain breakfast cereal. I liked the nutty taste and texture of the whole grains. I started experimenting with cooking whole grains and eventually settled on this recipe.

I've been eating my breakfast grains most days for the past 4 years. Along with other lifestyle changes I've made, the grains have helped me remain cancer-free. The whole grains provide lots of fiber. They are 5-10% protein and the rest mostly carbohydrates but because they are unrefined, the carbohydrates are slow-release. This breakfast (plus a teaspoon of omega-3 - rich fish or flax oil) gives me enough energy to keep going for 5-6 hours. Because of its high fiber content, it has also helped cleanse my intestines and keep my cholesterol level very low.

If you buy bulk grains and mix them yourself, they cost about 50 cents per serving – something that met the budget and appetite of my starving-student nephew during his first year in foggy, wet Arcata.

-Pam Chang

Single sample batches of pre-mixed breakfast grains including the dried fruit condiments and a printed copy of the the recipe are available at Sarana Community Acupuncture for $5 each.

The mix recipe:
Each batch of breakfast grains contains:
1/4 cup each of any of the following grains: wheat berries, rye berries, oat groats, millet, quinoa, barley, coix seeds(=yi yi ren)*
1/8 cup brown rice
1/8 cup amaranth
1 Tablespoon of red (aduki) beans
1 Tablespoon of green (mung) beans
1/4 cup almonds or hazelnuts

Preparation method:

• Soak the grains (not the condiments) overnight (6-12 hours) in a medium size saucepan
• Rinse and drain 2-3 times
• Add water to cover 1/2" above the top of the grains. (like boiling rice, but because you've soaked the grains, you don't need to add as much water).
• Turn to high heat, boil, then turn down and simmer for 20-30 minutes (or cook in a rice cooker)
• Turn the heat of when most of the water has been absorbed but before the grains have started sticking to the bottom of the pot
• Stir in condiments or other dried berries (we use gou qi zi*), chopped dried fruit, toasted walnuts, cinnamon, sesame seeds or whatever you like to give the grains a nice flavor
• Let everything sit for 5 minutes to steam the dried fruit


• add maple syrup or brown sugar if you like, but the raisins may provide enough sweetening
• add flax oil, cod liver oil, and flax meal to increase the omega-3 content
• for softer grains, soak for up to 24 hrs and add a little extra water when preparing to boil, let boil for an extra 10-15 minutes

* you can look for yi yi ren and gou qi zi in the bulk section of a health food store, an Asian market or a Chinese herb shop or ask the clinic to order some for you in bulk.

This recipe makes enough for 5-8 servings
Refrigerate the leftovers and re-heat enough for breakfast each day
Chew carefully, as there may be occasional grain hulls present

1 comment:

  1. I have been using Pam's breakfast grains for quite a while now and absolutely love them. Very healthy and tastes great. Give them a try!!!!
    Diane Hirano