Yesterday was Day Ten, the final day of the Sugar-Free Challenge. Minus that little (unintentional) slip up on Day One, I’m going to call it a success.
Want to know what I’ve missed the most? Ketchup.
Yep, ketchup. And I can’t imagine that’s something I couldn’t make myself if I really wanted to. Maybe I’ll try it someday. Or maybe there’s a sugar-free brand out there somewhere. Anyone ever heard of one?
In celebration of ten (almost) sugar free days, I’m going to reveal this NAVI (New And Vastly Improved) breakfast I’ve been going on about.
Let me start by telling you about my old stand-by breakfast. I love cold cereal. I’m a cold cereal freak. If I could walk hand-in-hand along the beach with cold cereal, I would.
One of the hardest things about going gluten-free for me was finding new cereals. Believe me when I say the options become much, much more limited. And when you cut sugar out of the mix, it gets even tougher. I found a couple of brands that I really liked. This was my one of my favorites:
Check out the ingredient list:
Three ingredients. Three.
Is it sugar free? Technically, yes. Not-so-technically, this is a carb-fest. It’s basically just corn. Corn is a grain.
Let me say that again: corn is a grain. Not a vegetable, as so many people firmly believe.
Now consider that, due to my dairy sensitivity, I no longer drink milk. Instead I pour either rice or soy milk (or more likely a combination of the two) over my cereal. More carbs. Soy has some protein, but rice milk? Not so much.
Corn and rice for breakfast. Grain and grain. Carb and carb. And without even the benefit of the fiber, were the grains whole.
The straw that broke this camel’s back came when the camel looked up the glycemic index of “cornflakes”. The glycemic index ranks foods from 1-100 according to the impact they have on blood glucose levels. Higher ranked foods can spike blood glucose, while low glycemic foods keep it steadier. A diet based largely on high glycemic foods can lead, over time, to diabetes and other ailments.
Examples of high glycemic foods? Bagels, muffins, white bread, white pasta and, of course, sugar. Basically, the typical American diet.
Another example of a high glycemic food? Uh, corn flakes. They comes in at a whopping 74. Ouch. The suggested target is 55 or under. Even adding fruit and nuts, as I always do, isn’t going to do much to level out that blood glucose spike.
So, what’s a cereal-loving girl to do? Especially one who loathes hot cereal. Oatmeal, with all of its lovely fiber, comes in at about a 54, which is decent. (Let me clarify that by saying quick or slow-cook oats are a 54. Instant oatmeal, which is processed and usually loaded with sugar, is an 84 – not good.)
The problem is, I detest oatmeal. I find it too hot and heavy in the mornings. (Wait, what?) And cold oatmeal sounded gross.
I decided to try quinoa. It’s lighter than oatmeal, might be okay cold and has a GI rating of 53. I got to work experimenting with a couple of different versions. Here’s a sneak peek:
Quinoa is easy enough to make. It comes in red grain or white, but they taste similar. You can buy it by weight, or in a box. I use this brand:
Just boil one cup of quinoa in two cups of water for about ten minutes. I prefer to let mine cool, but you can eat it hot, too. Makes about four servings, so you have breakfast for the next three days as well! Of course, the fun part is how you dress it. I’ll share my two favorite versions here, but feel free to play around and add what you like.
Summer Breakfast Quinoa
Top with sliced almonds, a generous dollop of cold coconut milk (for sweetness) and fresh raspberries.
I also like to add a bit of soy milk.
I probably should have shown you a picture of what the quinoa looks like, but I was too busy smothering it in luscious toppings. Trust me, it’s under there in all of its low glycemic glory. You can see the small, round grain peeking out in spots.
Autumn Breakfast Quinoa
Top with chopped walnuts, pureed pumpkin, cinnamon and a generous dollop of cold coconut milk. Sprinkle with nutmeg and a few dried cranberries.
Don’t forget the soy milk!
How about you? Would you ever consider going sugar-free? Have you ever tried quinoa? And, most importantly, do you want to hear more about food on Mowenackie?