A Tale of Two Porridges - Translational Medicine?
Dietitians are like detectives, figuring out how daily habits may be helping or harming. Consistent daily food habits can be like a controlled experiment - change one thing, see what happens.
Porridge number one - 8 ounces water, 1/3 cup oatmeal, 1-2 tablespoons walnuts and dried cranberries, plus a spoon of hot cocoa mix for ‘milk’ and sweetness. Maybe some cinnamon and ground flax seeds added at the table.
This was my dad’s routine for years after taking over meals for himself and my mother with Alzheimer’s dementia. The walnuts and cranberries had been a suggestion from another family member for their healthy benefits.
Unfortunately or fortunately after learning about histamine excess foods and symptoms, I recognized that the walnuts, cranberries, and chocolate mix were all giving my mom histamine reactions. The problem is additive. Have one walnut and things may fine. Have several histamine triggers every day, most meals possibly, and the accumulation can add up to severe symptoms. It may be random as the day reaches more tired or overstimulated stages, then histamine excess can spiral into anxious paranoia or acting out in anger.
Porridge number two - a transition towards better histamine levels and more protein content in a breakfast for elderly diners (small appetites need small portions that pack in more nutrients per bite).
8 ounces water, 1/3 cup powdered milk, (8 gr protein), 1/3 cup or slightly less oatmeal, 1-2 tablespoons pecans, 1-2 tablespoons raisins or dried cherries, rounded tablespoon of garbanzo bean flour (~3 gr protein),
- after cooking I add supplement/seasonings: teaspoon of raw honey (anti-cancer phytonutrients), 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon whey powder (cysteine source/NAC equivalent, ~ 3 gr protein)
…then my dad’s gets a spoonful of chocolate powder because he is unchangeable and my mom’s gets a spoonful of pure maple syrup because she likes sweet things and it is a good source of trace minerals for mitochondrial support.
The protein content in my dad’s routine breakfast was very low, maybe a few grams in the walnuts and oatmeal, and not really any appreciable protein content in the hot cocoa mix. The version two removes histamine triggers of walnuts, cranberries and chocolate from my mother’s serving and adds about 14 grams of protein to both of their servings, approximately two ounces or two eggs equivalent.
Dietetics is about what to eat, and how to prepare it so it is tasty. Occasionally I add a 1/2 teaspoon of DMG, dimethylglycine powder, but it changes the taste more. The garbanzo bean flour in small amounts just thickens the porridge and makes it more golden in color without much flavor change. It is noticeable in larger concentrations in a baked good as a beany flavor.
Porridge cooking tips - double boiler on medium heat, start with boiling water if in a hurry and there is an electric kettle available. It is basically lumpy pudding, as a kitchen chemistry mindset. Pudding recipe & tips - How Much Butyrate? (jenniferdepew.com).
If the microwave is preferred, I use a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup, mix my dry ingredients for one serving, add 8 ounces boiling water, cover with cling wrap, microwave on medium (7) for a minute, let stand for several minutes, stir, microwave an additional 30 seconds once or twice. Letting it stand covered shortens the amount of time needed to microwave. I then add the extra ingredients - better to not overheat supplemental foods. I use a plate to catch boil over, as it tends to.
The double boiler takes longer but is simpler for larger batches. Leftover oatmeal can be blended and used in quick breads as an egg substitute or additional emulsifier. Leftover oatmeal can be refrigerated and rewarmed, possibly thinned with a little hot water. The chilling increases resistant starch which promotes beneficial microbes that make the short chain fatty acid (SCFA) butyrate (and other SCFAs). Butyrate helps our colon cells as food and as immune protection. See: Resistant Starch/Butyrate (jenniferdepew.com).
Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.