Happy National Oatmeal Day! I grew up eating this simple breakfast nearly everyday. If it wasn’t oatmeal, it was Cream of Wheat or granola, which is just dried oatmeal! I’ve since developed a deeper appreciation for this hearty grain.
When I started incorporating practices from Ayurveda into my life two years ago, I learned that oatmeal, along with other whole grains, is the ideal breakfast to provide the body with slow burning fuel to start the day. Growing up, we ate plain oatmeal topped with butter, brown sugar, and milk. Now, I soak the oats in water overnight to decrease the phytic acid (learn more about phytic acid in this post) and the cooking time. I melt ghee in the pan along with ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom, spices that stimulate digestion, and add raisins with a splash of homemade nut milk for more sweetness and flavor. Sometimes I’ll stir in coconut butter for more richness or almond butter for extra protein.
Then comes the fun part, toppings! I like sunflower and pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch and stewed apples or pears for more sweetness and moisture. Other additions include shredded coconut, sesame seeds, and crushed walnuts. Every bowl is a bit different and I am endlessly entranced by the flavors revealed in each new combination. The cherry on top of all this deliciousness is that ALL these ingredients are available in bulk, making it zero waste as well as nutritious! I am able to find all the spices at Whole Foods Market and bring my own jars to fill up. Oatmeal is a bulk staple, available in most stores with a bulk section, along with most nuts. While Whole Foods recently stopped carrying shredded coconut, I am blessed to have other options and found it at Central Market.
Now for what the ingredients actually DO:
Cinnamon is an inflammation soothing demulcent, producing a slippery mucilage similar to soaked oatmeal or chickpeas.
Ginger is a carminative, relieving gas by stimulating the digestive juices and calming the intestines. Ginger tea is an excellent pre-meal drink.
Oatmeal, even the flattened flakes most of us eat, is a whole grain rich in fiber. It takes your body longer to digest keeping you full longer and stabilizing blood sugar.
Ghee is clarified butter that has been boiled to evaporate all the lactose, leaving a richer and healthier product with a higher smoke point.
All the toppings and mix-ins have their own set of nutritional benefits that I use to support my body in different seasons. I’ve recently started seed cycling to support my moon cycle, so I add 1TBS pumpkin seeds+1TBS ground flax seeds the first two weeks of my cycle and 1TBS sunflower seeds+1TBS sesame seeds the last half. I love apples and pears but prefer to produce shop at the Dallas Farmer’s Market, so I stick to what’s available and growing locally. Luckily I found apples there this weekend, they were organic to boot!
So there you have it! My go-to breakfast for the Fall and Winter. Good ole oatmeal, sometimes steel cut, always with lots of flavor and texture, never the same thing!
How do you like your oatmeal? Do you have a different go-to breakfast for the cooler seasons?