An Interview (and recipe!) with nutritionist Eli Brecher of Cereal and Peanut Butter

Posted on: 17 December 2018

Eli, what inspired you to first start your blog and what drives you to keep creating
new recipes and content?
Growing up with Crohn’s, a digestive and autoimmune condition, meant that I had to
avoid several major food groups from the age of 8, including gluten and dairy among
others, so I’ve always been interested in nutrition and alternative “free-from” baking.
During my first year at university, living away from home for the first time, I was
struggling to find food that worked for me, so naturally I looked to Instagram for some
healthy recipe inspiration! I started experimenting in the kitchen and documenting my
favourite creations – mainly breakfast (lots of pretty smoothie bowls and porridge) as
well as gluten-free dairy-free desserts – and from there it grew into a platform of over
8,000 followers today. I am passionate about bringing my audience new content on a
daily basis to prove that a healthy diet can be simple, delicious and affordable.

For you, it’s Crohn’s that’s led you to cut out certain foods, but for others it
may be societal pressures. In the era of ‘clean eating’, do you feel a
responsibility with how you frame your lifestyle on social media?
Absolutely! I’m a huge advocate for balance and anyone who follows my Instagram
@cerealandpeanutbutter will know that I don’t eat “clean” 100% of the time at all.
While I do love fruit and veggies, I also have a major sweet tooth and I always have
a batch of freshly baked brownies, banana bread or blueberry muffins lying around.
Although they don’t contain gluten or dairy as I’m intolerant, that doesn’t
automatically make them healthy, and I think it’s really important to indulge (in
moderation of course).
I strive to share more than just the sparkly moments of life and try to be as
transparent as possible. I’m not afraid to discuss the behind-the-scenes less
glamourous side of running a blog/business, as well as the pressures of university
and the realities of living with a chronic illness.

Congratulations on your recent graduation! Universities are often at the
forefront of social change, but they can also be bit of a bubble. How did you
find ways to be proactive in …
I think the first step is to realise that you don’t need to label yourself or try to squeeze
into a specific clique or bubble. From the very first day, it’s so important to be open-
minded and seize every opportunity to meet new people, from joining societies to
playing different sports. I know it sounds cliché but following the crowd never ends
well! For example, as a Fresher, I was definitely aware of the peer pressure that
surrounded me on a daily basis to drink excessively, order pizza at 4am and skip
lectures to sleep in. However, my initial attempt to keep up with the consumption of
alcohol (and let’s be honest, pizza) led to a severe Crohn’s flare-up after just a few
weeks, which is when I realised the potential damage of following the crowd – it’s
always better to just follow your own instinct!

What are your favourite comfort foods to combat period grimness?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Jelly Cups! This is hands-down my favourite recipe from
the whole blog. It combines all my favourite ingredients (chocolate + peanut butter +
berries) and takes just a few minutes to prepare – no baking and minimal washing
up! From a nutritional perspective, the dark chocolate contains antioxidants and
minerals such as iron, while the peanut butter provides a dose of protein and
essential healthy fats. Here’s the link if you want to try them:
https://elibrecher.co.uk/chocolate-peanut-butter-jelly-cups/ 

Can you create a breakfast recipe please so we can replicate your beautiful
Instagram at home?
How about… Cinnamon Porridge with Caramelised Banana

Ingredients:
1/3 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup boiled water
1/3 cup almond milk
3 tsp cinnamon
1 ripe banana
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp peanut butter (optional)

Method:
1. Add the oats to a saucepan and cover with the boiled water. Leave to soak for
10 minutes – this gives a creamier consistency and makes them easier to
digest.
2. After 10 minutes, slice the banana into 1-2cm chunks and add 1/3 of these to
the pan of oats, along with 2 tsp cinnamon.
3. Cook the porridge on a low-medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring several
times.
4. Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, add the
remaining banana slices and sprinkle over the cinnamon. After 3 minutes, flip
over each slice and cook on the other side for a further 2 minutes.
5. Transfer the porridge to a bowl, top with the caramelized banana and a
spoonful of peanut butter and enjoy!

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