Russell Heath has been my friend since college in the 1970s. He has been a vegetarian since his teens, although if you invite him to a barbeque he will eat a steak. A lean 160 pounds, Russell loves the outdoors and divides his time between Alaska and Maine. He is used to spending weeks in the bush alone, so a three-day canoe trip to Keji Park in southern Nova Scotia is pretty tame by his standards. (Having sailed solo from Alaska to Maine the long way, using a plastic sextant for navigation, he knows the night sky, which makes for interesting conversation after the sun goes down.)
Russell can hike or paddle all day, skipping lunch if he has to without running out of steam. Part of his secret: starting the day with a large quantity of hot cereal loaded with fruit, nuts, and whatever. He intentionally makes it with lots of water to get hydrated for the day ahead (I like mine thicker).
I have had it for breakfast at least three times a week for years and never find it boring. Here is my latest version.
» Red River cereal
» 2 Tbsps crushed walnuts
» 2 Tbsps sunflower seeds
» 2 Tbsps pumpkin seeds
» 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
» a sprinkle of hulled hemp seeds
Following the directions on the box, cook the cereal to desired quantity and consistency. I use 1 cup of cereal and 2 cups of water. You can use any type of hot cereal, but I am hooked on the flavour of Red River (cracked wheat, cracked rye, flax). Lots of fibre, of course.
In a (large) bowl, sprinkle the seeds, nuts, and frozen blueberries. Spoon in the hot cereal. This thaws the frozen berries. (You can use fresh berries, of course.) The berries provide the sweetener. Sometimes I add a bit of bee pollen. I used to include a liberal dose of my in-laws’ Nelson & Nelson maple syrup, but I have radically reduced sugar lately, and now my palate doesn’t miss it.
This makes a tasty, chewy meal that takes some to eat, which is a good thing for overall digestion. The nuts provide B vitamins, the flax and hemp Omega-3 oils. Blueberries are lauded as one of the best antioxidants. It is easy to prepare in the morning when you are not quite awake, and is as filling as the traditional bacon and eggs. The difference is that you can eat it every day and your arteries will thank you for it. Vary the fruits and nuts and it is never boring. Just add long days paddling or carrying a pack and you will be as strong and healthy as my friend Russell.