It’s so easy to slip out of self-care when you’re busy caring for other people. About a year ago I noticed I was stuck in a rut, working long, late hours trying to keep up with promises I’d made to clients. Consequently, I wasn’t taking time to eat nutritional foods. As a result I couldn’t concentrate and my brain sort of felt like it was dead, which made it harder to get my work done efficiently. I knew I had to make a few changes, so I did and things improved

But a month or so ago, as you may know, I got bronchitis. I lost my appetite and didn’t eat much for 4 weeks. Once again, I knew something had to change, and the bronchits experience felt like an invitation to completely rethink the way I eat. One of the changes I made was to significantly improve breakfast by eating a 5 grain porridge instead of bagels and cream cheese!

So for the past 2 or 3 weeks I’ve been eating this porridge every morning with 1 banana, toasted almonds and a tablespoon of maple syrup. It’s delicious! I look forward to waking up just so I can have some (Seriously!) All I do is scoop out 1/2 a cup or so, heat it up and add my fruit. Yum.

5 Grain Porridge Recipe

This recipe creates 4 – 5 servings, and uses whole grains that are baked for 1 hour in water. It takes about 5 minutes or less to prepare and you can mostly forget about it until it’s done.

Here’s what you need:

Before baking:

Preheat oven to 350o f

1/4 cup of each – make sure to buy whole grains uncut, not rolled, or processed in anyway.

  • millet
  • short grain brown rice
  • barley
  • rye
  • whole oats

After it’s done:

Add any fruit, nuts, sweeteners (maple syrup) you’d like, or eat it plain. Some people even add miso.


Mix the grains together so they are distributed evenly in a bowl. Rinse in cool water and drain off water.

porridgepotAdd the grains to a cast iron pot, like a Le Chasseur, or an oven proof dish with a cover, something like Corning Ware.  (I don’t know for sure, but I imagine the type of dish you use will affect the baking time.) I use the pot shown in this photo. My mom nearly got rid of it 15 years ago (because it looked too 70s, maybe?). Glad I took it from her. I love this thing!

The amount of water you need is measured in proportion to how much grain you have. Typically, 1 part grain to 2 parts water is enough for one hour of baking at 350o f.

In other words, the water line should be twice as high as the grain line. This will yield whole grains that are chewy. If you like mushier grains that are more oatmeal-like, add more water and bake longer (about 10 minutes).

Total baking time is about one hour, but after it’s baked for 30 minutes check to see if there is enough water to continue baking. The grains will eventually absorb all the water, but there needs to be enough water for at least 60 minutes or the grains will burn. If the water is too low at 30 minutes (like just enough water covering the bottom), add another cup or so. You can always drain excess water off after the grains are soft enough for you.

The beauty of baking the grains instead of boiling them is that the grains retain their nutrients. Boiling actually minimizes the nutritional value.

Anyway, after my porridge is baked I store my Le Chasseur cast iron pot in the fridge with the grains inside. Every morning I take out what I need, add some water and heat (I use the microwave). Then I add cut fruit, almonds and a bit of maple syrup. It’s delicious and keeps me full for hours.

Do you have any great breakfast recipes that help you stay focused and clear throughout the day? If so, share them below!