Pimp my allergy-free porridge

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The cold snap on the Eastern coast of Australia, combined with Julie Leth’s #pimpmyporridge a few months back, has made me craving an early morning oatmeal fuel up. Unfortunately for myself and about 17 percent of Australians, food intolerance or allergies prevent us from this particular food choice. For another seven percent, ethical or religious reasons restrict certain food groups like dairy.

What’s a gluten-free girl to do?

Based on recommendations made by Dr. Eric Haakonssen, who I recently interviewed regarding bone density and female cyclists, I looked at adapting some porridge recipes for various dietary requirements. These changes have all been made while trying to maintain the highest possible amount of calcium intake. As per AIS recommendations for their athletes, we were still aiming for 1000 milligrams intake prior to exercise.

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Figures above are approximate based on recently available nutritional data. If you do have food allergies, please substitute any ingredients for ones appropriate for you, and always double check labels.

A note about oats: In Australia, oats aren’t considered gluten-free, so I’ve substituted them out in these recipes. However if you can eat them, do. They will add extra calcium to these recipes.

Fig and Almond Rice Porridge

This is a simple, yummy porridge that is both lactose-free and gluten-free. It’s a great pre-ride meal. Word to the wise – taste it before adding syrup. It’s pretty sweet as is!


  • 1 cup fortified coconut mik
  • 1/2 cup of rice or quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • honey, maple syrup or golden syrup to serve


  1. Place the coconut milk in a pot and bring to boil. Meanwhile, chop figs and almonds.
  2. Once milk is boiling, turn stove heat down to medium. Add figs and almonds. Two minutes later add rice flakes
  3. Boil ingredients, stirring occasionally, until rice flakes reach desired softness.
  4. Stir in cinnamon.
  5. Serve topped with almonds, syrup and anything else you desire.

This porridge contains approximately 620 milligrams of calcium. Serve with one cup of calcium fortified orange juice for an additional 200 milligrams of calcium.

Chocolate Orange Baked Porridge Bars

These nut-free, lactose-free, gluten-free treats make for great on-the-go bars. Play with this recipe and add almonds for even more calcium.


  • 2.5 cups rice or quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1 cup fortified soy milk
  • 1 cup fortified orange juice
  • 2 eggs or egg substitutes whisked
  • 6 tablespoons chocolate drink mix (Note: I used a lactose-free one, if you can tolerate lactose Milo, Sustagen or other similar products work.)
  • 1 tsp baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line a loaf tray or square baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix rice flakes, figs, chocolate drink mix and baking powder in a big bowl.
  3. Add soy milk, orange juice and egg, stirring well. The mix will look runny.
  4. Pour into the pan and pop in the oven.
  5. Cook for 20-30 minutes. It’s done when the top of the loaf feels spongy, or all the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Leave to cool for 5 minutes. Eat hot or if you can wait for it to cool, cut into bars and refrigerate/

The whole loaf contains approximately 1180 milligrams of calcium. The content of each slice will depend on how you divide it up.

Serve this with a cup of soy coffee mid-ride, 300 milligrams of calcium in the milk, to top up your calcium levels.

Interested in other allergy-free recipes? Check out Gracie Elvin’s gluten-free salted caramel slice or Chloe Hosking’s protein pancakes. Do you have other allergy-free or high-calcium recipes you love?

Alana Crimeen is a qualified physiotherapist and Australian Physiotherapy Association member. Her professional background involves working in the public system including as an independent practitioner in an emergency department and in outpatient injury rehabilitation. She was introduced to riding in a velodrome, fell in love with riding on the road and learnt healthy fear for riding on the mountain. She likes to keep up with recent research relating to athletes in order to hassle her training partners about cross-training from a more educated point of view.

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