Welcome to Food for Thought Fridays! Here at Intentional By Grace we are all about healthy eating! Join me each Friday to learn about common (and sometimes uncommon) foods we eat and how they affect our bodies.
There is nothing like a good, warm, hearty bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Second only to quinoa, oatmeal makes a regular appearance on our weekly breakfast menu.To be sure, I am not referring to the oatmeal found in pre-packaged boxes. I am talking about real oats without added salt, sugar, and other nonsense. 😉
5 reasons why oats should be included regularly in our weekly menu plans:
- Helps lower our risk of cardiovascular disease by moving cholesterol out of the digestive track.
- Reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes by helping to stabilize blood sugar.
- Aids in weight management by helping you stay full longer.
- Helps increase milk supply in nursing mothers. There is no scientific research supporting this, but it has been said to help some women.
- Tolerated by most people with gluten sensitivities due to its low gluten make up.
To understand the amazing health benefits of oats, we must understand fiber.
Fiber is essential for our health and well-being, and it is the fiber in oats that make it so nutritious.
In and of itself, fiber is not a nutrient, but it is found in vitamin and mineral rich foods. Fiber cannot be digested. Therefore, fiber’s sole purpose is to help carry wastes out of our bodies.
There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble, and we need both kinds to receive the health benefits that are raved about in mainstream health. The store bought cereals should not be your source for fiber. Just saying.
- Slows down the time it takes to empty food from the stomach, which makes you feel fuller longer. This fact is what makes oatmeal a good food for weight management.
- Breaks down as it passes through the digestive track, binding fatty acids and slowing down the rate of sugar absorption in the body. This helps to keep cholesterol levels down. Lowering our cholesterol is one of the reasons we suspect that it may help increase nursing mother’s milk supply.
- Makes stools heavier, which helps with diarrhea, etc.
- Speeds the process of moving waste through our intestines and colon, which helps with constipation, etc.
In addition to fiber, oats are an excellent source of manganese. They also contain seven B vitamins, vitamin E, and nine minerals, including iron and calcium.
What ways are there to eat oats?
- Oatmeal – This is the most popular way to prepare oats.
- Granola – This can be partnered with milk (raw milk preferably), yogurt, or kefir. It can also be eaten by itself as a quick, on the run snack.
- Cookies – Oats are a great addition to any kind of cookie recipe.
- Filler – You can add oats to just about anything to make it more filling. I use it in place of bread crumbs or crackers in some recipes. Do you remember Smoothies in a Bowl from our weekly menu plan?
- Oat milk – Great alternative to cow’s milk, especially if you aren’t drinking raw milk.
- Oat flour – Great for baking, and since it is low in gluten a good alternative to whole wheat flour.
How We Eat Our Oats:
Basic Soaked Breakfast Oatmeal Recipe
The night before: In a quart size mason jar, mix the the following:
- 1.5 cup of uncooked rolled oats (not the quick or instant oats)
- Cover the oats with water, about 1.5 cups
- 1 Tablespoon of acid medium (i.e., Kefir, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, lemon juice, whey, etc.) We use Kefir or Yogurt for our oat soaking.
- Add any nuts or seeds that you will be adding to your oatmeal (i.e., almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, etc.)
Cover the jar with a lid and give it a good shake. Let the jar sit on the counter overnight.
The next day:
- Bring to boil water (about 3/4 cup).
- Once the water is rolling, add your jar of ingredients, PLUS raw milk/Kefir. Here’s where it is tricky for me to tell you what I do because I “eyeball it.” Once you have your jar poured in, add raw milk so it looks good and runny. It will cook down and the oats will soak the water and milk up. So you don’t want to add too much or you’ll be cooking all morning, and you’ll lose a lot of the nutrients in the cooking process. My rule of thumb is to usually give it a good hard splash of milk and maybe a soft splash or so more of Kefir.
- Add any additional ingredients that need to cook in with the oats (i.e., chopped apples, raisins, shredded coconut, peaches, etc.). We love apples & raisins!
- If all of this is boiling, then it’s time to turn down the heat.
- Simmer for about 5 minutes or so. It depends on how runny or how thick you like your oats. Just make sure you keep stirring frequently so the oats don’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
To serve: Spoon your oatmeal into bowls and add butter, honey, and fresh raw milk. Top with chia seeds another “hold you over ’til lunchtime” kind of meal.
Muffins are another good way to incorporate oats.
Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins Recipe
In a medium size bowl, mix the following dry ingredients:
- 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup sucanat
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup walnuts
In another medium size bowl, mix the following wet ingredients:
- 3/4 cup raw milk
- 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted if solid)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup mashed bananas
Combine the two bowls of ingredients together and mix until well incorporated. Line your muffin pans with liners. Fill each cup 1/2 to 1/3 of the way full. Sprinkle tops with a little cinnamon (optional). Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Eat while they are piping hot!
If you happen to have any leftover, these are great for the freezer. Just let them cool completely. Then, put them in a freezer bag and throw in the freezer. They keep in the freezer for a long time.
Some other good ways to prepare oats:
- Lazy Granola – We use this in place of store bought cereal.
- Smoothies in a Bowl
- Oatmeal on the Go Bars – I am trying these out this month in my batch cooking!
And that, friends, is oats and probably more than you ever wanted to know!