We’ve all heard words of wisdom regarding breakfast. Some call it the most important meal of the day, and in many ways it’s true. Breakfast sets the tone for the entire day. A favorite in our house in the autumn and winter is something called Jook, or Congee (or even Konyi, in South India).

One of the big mistakes that we often make with breakfast, is choosing something that essentially breaks down to sugar by the time it reaches the stomach. While your brain is actually fed by sugar, it’s much better for your body and the mind when that sugar is produced through the work of breaking down fats and proteins. Fats and proteins are long-term energy storage.

By starting the day with sugar (simple carbs) without enough fat or protein, you give your body and mind the signal that sugar is the fuel of choice, and you spend the day craving carbs and sugar every couple of hours. The blood-sugar roller-coaster exhausts the pancreas, which can lead to water-system imbalances and diabetes.

One of the best favors you can do for yourself is to get out of the habit of eating a sweet breakfast.

Complex carbohydrates, like hot grain porridges can be good, they do a body better when they’re cooked with plenty of fat and protein.

Jook, or rice porridge, which is found in different cultures under different names, satisfies a hungry belly and digests easily. It basically consists of one part rice cooked with between 4 and 10 parts of water or broth. The rest is up to your taste.

Jook also can be used medicinally. Cooked as a simple porridge, it gives rest to a tired digestive system (for example after a digestive illness). My little guy knows to ask for it when he has tummy troubles. It can also be an amazing vehicle for medicinal herbs and another way to bring more bone broth into your diet.

Here’s a simple recipe for Jook:

jookBasic Jook (serves 3-4)

1/2 c. rice (basmati or jasmine)

4 c. water or broth

1 tsp. ghee

1/2 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. salt

Rinse the rice thoroughly until the water runs almost clear. Put all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until rice starts to lose shape, about 30 minutes.

Or, cook it in a crock pot overnight.

Serve topped with cilantro, sautéed leeks, gomasio (sesame seeds with salt), umeboshi (pickled plum paste), pepper, sautéed veggies…endless possibilities. So tasty, light and nourishing.

Tell me in the comments what variations you’d like to try.