Gut-Friendly African Grain Bowl

There is no other meal of the day that makes me as happy as BREAKFAST! (insert fist pump)

Breakfast has always been something I looked forward to, probably mostly because I was starving when I woke up: a common symptom of blood sugar issues related to malabsorption in the gut.

Regardless, I've taken the good from that past pesky side effect of untreated SIBO and turned it into a passion for high protein, high fibre, high fat and most importantly big flavoured breakfasts.

Grains & Gut Health

For many people suffering from poor gut health, grains can make them shiver just looking at them. Often rice, quinoa, wheat, corn, oats, etc. can be difficult for the gut to break down and
assimilate. This leaves fibres and sugars available for microbes (often SIBO) to feed from and cause symptoms like gas, bloating, loose stool and/or constipation.

Another common issue with grains is there may be an immune reaction in the gut after eating them. We often see this as an IgA immune reaction, meaning there is work to do in healing the
gut lining. Once you do, we often see those immune reactions to foods fade away.

This leads me to today's breakfast: Gut Friendly African Grain Bowl, featuring teff!

What is Teff?

Teff is a beautiful grain that originates from Africa. It hasn't been in our North American diet for long, and this could be a big contributing factor as to why its so well tolerated in our digestive
systems. The foods we eat often have the most opportunity to trigger an immune response in a stressed digestive system.

Let's break the cycle (or at least loosen it up a little) and leave avocado toast, oatmeal and cereal out of the rotation for a while and dig into this anti-inflammatory bowl, shall we? I promise you won't be disappointed! :)

Health Benefits of Teff
  • Teff seeds are teeny! Less than 1mm in diameter and look similar to a poppy seed. I find it has almost a pumpkin taste but I've heard others describe it as having a nutty flavour. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think it tastes like! I'd love to hear.
  • Teff is rich in nutrients and fibre, which helps to slow down blood sugar release. This is key when choosing a starchy carb at meal time to avoid blood sugar crashes and capitalize on immune boosting, energy boasting and fertilizing vitality.
  • Teff is naturally gluten free, so Celiacs, fill your boots! This also makes it perfect for both our detox and Low FODMAP parts of our 12-Week Gut Restore Program, as it is also a Low FODMAP food!
  • Teff goes head-to-head with other calcium packed foods like spinach and milk. With 180 mg of calcium per 100g of teff, you're well on your way for your daily requirement of calcium with this bowl.
  • Rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant! As well as vitamins B1 and B6.
    • B1 helps to convert food (glucose) into energy. Something that people who suffer from IBS need more of: energy!
    • B6 is great for supporting adrenal function as well as calming the nervous system and metabolizing foods.
  • It is rich in minerals and most intriguingly, iron. This grain is turning out to be an amazing option for vegetarians, right? Wait till you see what's next! ...
  • Teff is PACKED with protein. Move over quinoa (or just step aside for a quick minute), teff is here to shine! A 2-ounce serving of teff boasts as much protein as an extra large egg (vegans, you with me?) It has all 9 essential amino acids and is
    high in lysine, which promotes elastin and collagen production. Healthy glowing skin, here we come!
  • Teff is high in prebiotics, a resistant fibre that feeds beneficial bacteria in the gut. This is important to help build our army of weight managing, digestive aiding, immune boosting bacteria in our digestive systems!

Additional Benefits

Teff is pretty dope, but it isn't standing solo as the only ingredient in this bowl to crush on. Let's look at a few other ingredients and why we love them:

Turmeric: Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, is a curcuminoid which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. I link its ability to stain the fingers when handling it, to its ability to have a big impact our organs. I see that as a confirmation that this herb positively and lovingly nudges our tissues action's in the right direction. Try it for yourself
and see what positive improvements you notice!

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is not only one of our favourite spices, it also aids in balancing our blood sugar levels. This is helpful in those with IBS and SIBO because they tend to have difficulty absorbing sugars into the gut wall. This can lead to blood sugar/energy crashes, cravings, mood fluctuations and brain fog.

Cinnamon is beautiful in coffee and teas, smoothies, breakfast bowls and homemade raw desserts.

Macadamia: Macadamia nuts have always been one of my favourites. Though they usually only appeared in white chocolate cookies! Now that I've ditched gluten and processed junk, they appear in homemade raw desserts, my homemade macadamia milk as well as breakfast bowls like this one.

Macadamias are Low FODMAP (yay for IBS friendly nuts!) and high in healthy fats. They are also a great source of protein, B-vitamins (essential for liver detoxification, nervous system health and hormone production) as well as iron and the powerful antioxidant

Let's break free from the cycle of almonds and cashews and toss this beautiful nut in our cart next time we're at the grocery store!

Maple Syrup: Our 12-Week IBS Gut Restore Program has 2 phases for nutrition. One is the Detox portion, free from gluten, dairy, processed sugars and alcohol. The other, void of FODMAPs (reach out to learn more about our nutrition protocol and program). Maple syrup is one of the few sugars we approve in our program because it is appropriate for the Detox portion as well as Low FODMAP parts of the program.

Maple syrup is rich in nutrients and minerals which aid in slowing down the blood sugar release as well as nourishing our bodies! I
grew up in a forest and welcome what flows through the veins of maples, any day. #naturegirl

Hemp Hearts: You'll see me include and write about hemp in many of my recipes. This is because it is one of the few fibres that is well tolerated in the gut for those with IBS and SIBO.

Why is it important to not eliminate fibre? Good question! It helps to bind to toxins and hormone bi-products in the gut and remove from the body in a timely fashion. They help to keep the gut clean, and move food and waste through the digestive system - important in those who have a hard time detoxing, eliminating or have a damaged migrating motor complex.

Hemp is also almost 1/3 protein (all 9 essential amino acids are present), and 1/3 Omega fatty-acids. It also rich in minerals and GLA, a strong anti-inflammatory found in plants (we heart plants!)

Gut-Friendly African Grain Bowl

IBS-ers and SIBO sufferers, this recipe is good to go for both phases of our 12-Week Gut Restore Program! 

Like any of my bowls, this recipe is easy like Sunday morning. You can double or triple up the recipe and keep stored in the fridge for 4-5 days for easy breakfasts!


  • 2 cups cooked teff (found at most health food stores)
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of ground curcumin or turmeric
  • 1tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 handful of raw macadamia nuts, chopped
  • Drizzle of homemade macadamia milk
  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. To begin, while the teff is still warm and in the pot, mix the maple syrup, turmeric or curcumin powder, vanilla extract and sea salt and combine.
  2. Layer the spiced teff at the bottom of your bowl and begin building.
  3. Place the sliced banana in one section, the hemp hearts in another, chopped macadamia beside those and pour some beautiful macadamia milk over top.
  4. This dish would also be beautiful with cloves as an added spice as well as blueberries and /or strawberries.

Be sure to look out for my upcoming teff pancake recipe! Also, teff is great as a savoury dish and I will for sure be featuring some of those as well. So much to look forward to with this beautiful grain :)

P.S. Try my Teff Pancakes if you're looking for some more yummy teff inspiration!

In good health and happiness,

Cassandra Hope, RHN

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