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Hot Spiced Cereal Recipe

December 21, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

When you’re on a gluten-free, low carbohydrate diet you need to be inventive if you hope to have a richly satisfying and varied diet. I follow this type of eating plan because it suits my health better than any other diet I’ve ever tried before. The science supporting the avoidance of gluten, a protein found in many grains, and carbohydrate restriction played a big part in informing my decision. Thankfully, I’ve also created and discovered numerous recipes and products that help make my chosen diet a pleasure instead of a burden.

This past week has been particularly chilly in Southern California. One rainy morning, I had a hankering for something comforting and warm to start the day off right. In the days of old that would have meant making some traditional oatmeal topped with banana slices and perhaps a drizzle of pure maple syrup. Of course that’s about as far off of my current menu plan as one could imagine – a veritable carb fiesta.

I know that I’m not the only low carber out there who yearns for hot cereal every now and then. So if you’re like me in this respect, take heart. It is possible to create natural alternatives to cream of wheat and oatmeal using healthier ingredients. Today I’m going to give you a foundation recipe that illustrates exactly how it can be done. For those not following a carbohydrate or gluten restricted diet, consider trying this alternative concoction anyway. What’s presented below can be healthfully incorporated into virtually any style of dietary plan and will almost certainly enhance your nutrient density.

Healthy Fellow Hot Spiced Cereal
1 cup unsweetened almond milk *
1/4 cup almond flour/meal
4 Tbs flaxseed powder
3 Tbs unsweetened coconut (shredded)
a dash of various spices to taste **
1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 dropperful of liquid stevia ***
a dash of NutraSalt

* Product used: Blue Diamond Almond Breeze – Unsweetened Vanilla Flavor (refrigerated variety) ** I used organic allspice, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves and nutmeg. *** Product used: NuNaturals PURE LIQUID Alcohol Free Stevia

Nutritional Content: Calories: 470. Protein: 14 grams. Fat: 38 grams. Fiber: 14 grams. “Net” Carbohydrates: 8 grams.

Start by pouring the almond milk and vanilla extract into a quart-sized sauce pot over a low-heat setting. Add the dried spices to the liquid. Combine the almond flour, flax meal and shredded coconut to the pot. Stir continually for the next 3 minutes or so. Put in the dropperful of stevia and a sprinkle of salt to taste. Turn off the heat once the mixture reaches your desired consistency.

Coconut/MCT Oil or Olive Oil as Part of a Weight Loss Diet for 16 Weeks

Diet Time TC LDL-C HDL-C TG Insulin Glucose
MCT oil Baseline 4.79 ± 0.22 3.01 ± 0.17 1.43 ± 0.09 0.84 ± 0.16 102.30 ± 10.56 5.17 ± 0.14
Week 8 4.36 ± 0.21 2.55 ± 0.17 1.40 ± 0.09 0.76 ± 0.16 80.08 ± 10.56 4.81 ± 0.14
Week 16 4.49 ± 0.21 2.67 ± 0.18 1.49 ±0.09 0.77 ± 0.17 90.84 ± 10.56 5.19 ± 0.14
Olive oil Baseline 4.79 ± 0.20 3.02 ± 0.19 1.21 ± 0.10 1.18 ± 0.18 86.19 ± 11.25 5.14 ± 0.15
Week 8 4.29 ± 0.20 2.66 ± 0.19 1.16 ± 0.10 1.16 ± 0.18 78.96 ± 11.25 5.05 ± 0.15
Week 16 4.51 ± 0.20 2.76 ± 0.19 1.27 ± 0.10 0.98 ± 0.18 79.73 ± 11.25 5.27 ± 0.15
Source: J Am Coll Nutr. 2008 October; 27(5): 547–552. (link)

The reason I believe this hot cereal is superior can best be explained by citing several recent studies found in the medical literature. The base of my cereal (almonds, coconut and flax seeds) is scientifically shown to: a) lower several established risk factors associated with coronary heart disease including apolipoprotein B100, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and total cholesterol; b) protect against oxidative damage to cholesterol and heart mitochondria; c) reduce systemic inflammation in the form of C-reactive protein. Taken collectively, these documented effects point to this as being a highly protective nutritional formula for anyone concerned about heart disease and stroke. (1,2,3)

When preparing this recipe, I suggest you spice it as liberally as your palate allows. The aromatic components included in this dish aren’t just flavor enhancers or window dressing. For instance, allspice, cloves and nutmeg provide health benefits ranging from chemopreventive activity to potent free radical scavenging potential. In practical terms, they may very well protect the body from some of the destructive processes that contribute to health threats including cancer and cardiovascular disease. This humble recipe is yet another example of how we can strategically use food as preventive medicine. (4,5,6)

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Recipes

11 Comments & Updates to “Hot Spiced Cereal Recipe”

  1. anne h Says:

    Awesome and inventive and clever!
    When winter comes back to North Texas,
    I want to try it!

  2. JP Says:

    Thank you, Anne! 🙂

    At the moment, it’s the perfect weather to have it here: cold, dark and rainy! I love it!

    Be well!


  3. Tammy Says:

    Sounds delicious- thanks for sharing! I have also tried chia pudding cereals for getting a nutrient dense lower carb breakfast as well!

  4. JP Says:

    Thank you, Tammy. The same thought occurred to me. I have some organic chia (whole) seeds which will eventually end up in an upcoming recipe. Maybe even another cereal recipe. 🙂

    Be well!


  5. LCDC Says:

    I had this for breakfast this morning and was really impressed! The flavor is terrific (even though I left out the spices – I have a food sensitivity to myristicin), the recipe is easy enough for a hectic work morning, and the ingredients are all good for me.

    I think for a little variety I may try adding a tablespoon of cocoa powder to this.

    Thank you so much for this – hardly anything ends up in my TNT (tried ‘n true) notebook these days, but this is a keeper!

  6. JP Says:

    Thank you, LCDC.

    Adding pure cocoa powder would be a valuable addition, IMO. An excellent idea!

    Be well!


  7. JLJP Says:

    I tried the Hot Spiced Cereal today for the first time and really enjoyed it. Thanks so much!

  8. JP Says:

    I’m glad that you enjoyed it, JL. Thanks for letting me know!

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    pdate: Flax oil may protect the brain from stroke damage and possibly promote recovery …


    Nutrition Journal 2015, 14:20

    Oral consumption of α-linolenic acid increases serum BDNF levels in healthy adult humans

    Background aims Dietary omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids have remarkable impacts on the levels of DHA in the brain and retina. Low levels of DHA in plasma and blood hamper visual and neural development in children and cause dementia and cognitive decline in adults. The level of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) changes with dietary omega-3 fatty acid intake. BDNF is known for its effects on promoting neurogenesis and neuronal survival. Methods In this study, we examined the effect of the oral consumption of α-Linolenic acid (ALA) on blood levels of BDNF and Malondialdehyde (MDA) in healthy adult humans. 30 healthy volunteers, 15 men and 15 women, were selected randomly. Each individual served as his or her own control. Before consuming the Flaxseed oil capsules, 5cc blood from each individual was sampled in order to measure the plasma levels of BDNF and MDA as baseline controls. During the experiment, each individual was given 3 oral capsules of flaxseed oil, containing 500mg of alpha linolenic acid, daily for one week. Then, plasma levels of BDNF and MDA were tested. Results The plasma levels of BDNF and MDA significantly (P < 0.05) increased in individuals who received the oral capsules of ALA. Plasma levels of BDNF increased more in the women in comparison with the men. Conclusion ALA treatment could be a feasible approach to reduce size of infarcts in stroke patients. Thus, ALA could be used in adjunction with routine stroke therapies to minimize brain lesions caused by stroke.

    Be well!


  10. JP Says:

    Update: A good reason to include almonds (or almond flour) in your recipes …


    J Am Heart Assoc. 2015 Jan 5;4(1):e000993.

    Effects of daily almond consumption on cardiometabolic risk and abdominal adiposity in healthy adults with elevated LDL-cholesterol: a randomized controlled trial.

    BACKGROUND: Evidence consistently shows that almond consumption beneficially affects lipids and lipoproteins. Almonds, however, have not been evaluated in a controlled-feeding setting using a diet design with only a single, calorie-matched food substitution to assess their specific effects on cardiometabolic risk factors.

    METHODS AND RESULTS: In a randomized, 2-period (6 week/period), crossover, controlled-feeding study of 48 individuals with elevated LDL-C (149±3 mg/dL), a cholesterol-lowering diet with almonds (1.5 oz. of almonds/day) was compared to an identical diet with an isocaloric muffin substitution (no almonds/day). Differences in the nutrient profiles of the control (58% CHO, 15% PRO, 26% total fat) and almond (51% CHO, 16% PRO, 32% total fat) diets were due to nutrients inherent to each snack; diets did not differ in saturated fat or cholesterol. The almond diet, compared with the control diet, decreased non-HDL-C (-6.9±2.4 mg/dL; P=0.01) and LDL-C (-5.3±1.9 mg/dL; P=0.01); furthermore, the control diet decreased HDL-C (-1.7±0.6 mg/dL; P<0.01). Almond consumption also reduced abdominal fat (-0.07±0.03 kg; P=0.02) and leg fat (-0.12±0.05 kg; P=0.02), despite no differences in total body weight.

    CONCLUSIONS: Almonds reduced non-HDL-C, LDL-C, and central adiposity, important risk factors for cardiometabolic dysfunction, while maintaining HDL-C concentrations. Therefore, daily consumption of almonds (1.5 oz.), substituted for a high-carbohydrate snack, may be a simple dietary strategy to prevent the onset of cardiometabolic diseases in healthy individuals.

    Be well!


  11. JP Says:

    Updated 10/11/16:


    Journal of Nutritional Science, Volume 5 2016, e34

    The effects of almond consumption on fasting blood lipid levels: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

    A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials was undertaken to determine the effects of almond consumption on blood lipid levels, namely total cholesterol (TC), LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), TAG and the ratios of TC:HDL-C and LDL-C:HDL-C. Following a comprehensive search of the scientific literature, a total of eighteen relevant publications and twenty-seven almond-control datasets were identified. Across the studies, the mean differences in the effect for each blood lipid parameter (i.e. the control-adjusted values) were pooled in a meta-analysis using a random-effects model. It was determined that TC, LDL-C and TAG were significantly reduced by −0·153 mmol/l (P < 0·001), −0·124 mmol/l (P = 0·001) and −0·067 mmol/l (P = 0·042), respectively, and that HDL-C was not affected (−0·017 mmol/l; P = 0·207). These results are aligned with data from prospective observational studies and a recent large-scale intervention study in which it was demonstrated that the consumption of nuts reduces the risk of heart disease. The consumption of nuts as part of a healthy diet should be encouraged to help in the maintenance of healthy blood lipid levels and to reduce the risk of heart disease. Be well! JP

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