Oatmeal Health and Porridge RecipeAs the hot Summer wanes and the cool Fall saunters in, I find myself looking forward to oatmeal porridge. It is, perhaps, one of the most traditional breakfasts of most cultures. It's also the most readily available and most affordable whole grain around. Whether it's a grocery store, diner, restaurant, or hotel, you're very likely to find this wonderful grain in abundance. Humble looking, and deliciously tasting, oatmeal boasts many health benefits. Especially when combined with cinnamon, flax, and raw honey.
First off, oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate. Unlike refined carbohydrates, the body breaks complex carbohydrates down into glucose very slowly. The slower we turn carbs into glucose, the better. Why? Because it allows the body to store glucose as glycogen in the muscles and liver. This allows us to have energy stores that constantly supply our brain and organs with glucose when needed. You will find yourself satisfied for hours after a small bowl of oatmeal. Since athletes use up their glycogen stores within the first hour of activity, oatmeal is the perfect carbohydrate for them to replenish those stores. If you're a runner, have blood sugar problems, or simply metabolize food very quickly you may find some serious benefits to eating oatmeal porridge every morning for breakfast.
Oats are very high in silicon which the body converts into collagen. Collagen is used to repair muscle, keep our bones flexible so they do not break, build strong hair, nails, and skin. Collagen is often used for its anti-aging benefits. The more collagen we produce, the tighter our skin remains and the better our body heals from injuries. Oats are also known to have a nourishing effect on the nervous system. Those with anxiety and insomnia may greatly benefits by eating oatmeal porridge every day. Its ability to heal the nervous system is largely due to its phosphorous and choline content.
Oats are also a fantastic source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and creates a gel-like consistency that slows down the digestive system. This is what attributes to a longer feeling of fullness and satiety. This fiber also helps to rid the body of bile acids and excess cholesterol. Studies have shown that as little as 3g of dietary fiber each day will begin to reduce cholesterol. My oatmeal porridge recipe gives you 12g of fiber - that's already one quarter of your day's worth! Have a quinoa salad for lunch and some kitcheree with steamed broccoli for dinner and you're well over 50g of dietary fiber for the day to keep the bowels clean and quickly moving.
Now, when it comes to eating breakfast I normally advocate fruit only. In terms of food combining, I advocate eating fruit alone and without other foods. Unless you have severe candida or acid reflux, breakfast porridge is the one exception to those two principles. Oats, like most starches, digest in the small intestine. This is where fruit also digests. I have found that low-glycemic fruits like apples, pears, and berries can be cooked into the oatmeal, or used as a fresh topping without any digestive upset. Although oatmeal has protein and a very small amount of fat, its starch content is so high that it doesn't seem to disturb the digestion of the fruits.
More than anything, I believe in eating locally and seasonally. Here in the Northeast, you are not going to find an abundance of fresh fruits in the winter time. This is why dried fruits, like raisins and apples, are traditionally used in most porridges. It is important to cook the dried fruits with the oats, instead of topping them after it is cooked. This allows the excess sugar in the dried fruits to escape through the steam. It also makes the dried fruits more digestible. Better yet, soak the dried fruits for a few hours and discard the water before adding it into the porridge.
My recipe consists of thick rolled oats, flax meal, cinnamon, and raw honey. The flax meal provides a good dose of omega-3 for the Winter, which a healthy body can convert into DHA and EPA without the addition of fish oils or animal products. The cinnamon is an amazing herb that boasts an array of benefits from being a strong anti-fungal to boosting the immune system by increasing circulation. Cinnamon also helps the body use glucose and store glycogen more efficiently. Perhaps this is why oatmeal and cinnamon have always been used together? The raw honey is delicious, nourishing, and can actually dry up dampness in the intestinal tract. Put all of these together and you have a nutritious, delicious, and healing bowl of breakfast.
Let food be your medicine and eat your way to health!
Makes one serving.
1/2 C of thick rolled oats
1 C of pure water
2-4 tablespoons of flax meal (ground flax seed)
1 tbsp. of cinnamon
1 tsp. - 1tbsp. raw honey
1) Mix oats with water and bring to a boil.
2) Remove lid and let simmer for several minutes until desired consistency.
3) Add flax meal (2 tbsp for good health, 4 tbsp if you need more omega-3s or fiber)
4) Add cinnamon and raw honey (no more than 1 tbsp.)
5) Stir and enjoy!