Getting More From Your Oats
This morning I had oatmeal for breakfast, big deal right? Well, it wouldn’t be very remarkable had it not been for the way I prepare them. I soaked them overnight in a bowl with a plate over the top to function as a lid, then upon waking I popped them onto the stove for 5 minutes and there before me were the most nutritious oats one can ingest without harvesting them from their own organic farm, of course. Here’s how I did it:
1 cup rolled oats (avoid the quick oats crap, it’s exactly that and isn’t good for you at all!)
1 cup water (the purer the better, of course)
2 tbsp yogurt (full-fat if you’ve got it)
Let it sit at LEAST 7 hours. Overnight is better. In the morning, just stir in your favourite treats and cook it for 5 minutes on the stove. I put some raisins, cut up fresh apples, cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey in mine. When it’s all done, I like to throw in a pat of butter, or if it’s too hot, some whole milk or cream. If you like it sweet, use raw local honey or real maple syrup. Avoid sugar, corn syrup and other/artificial sweeteners like the plague!! Now, for the most important part, here’s WHY I did it:
We all know that white flour is horrible for our health; and some of us know that any kind of flour, even so-called ‘whole wheat’, is garbage if it’s ‘enriched’. But there are some people out there advocating the death of grains, claiming that they can’t be digested by human’s anyways and aren’t a part of our ‘Natural Diet’, whatever that is. The fact of the matter is, plenty of historically healthy peoples around the globe have traditionally included whole grains in their diet since the invention of agriculture thousands of years ago. So what’s their secret? Well, one of them is proper preparation. There are a few ways to do this, and my prefered and easiest method is to soak them.
Here’s a bit of text from the Weston A. Price Foundation
” Grains require careful preparation because they contain a number of antinutrients that can cause serious health problems. Phytic acid, for example, is an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound. It is mostly found in the bran or outer hull of seeds. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in improperly prepared whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects.
Other antinutrients in whole grains include enzyme inhibitors which can inhibit digestion and put stress on the pancreas; irritating tannins; complex sugars which the body cannot break down; and gluten and related hard-to-digest proteins which may cause allergies, digestive disorders and even mental illness.”
The reason for these and other anti-nutrients is simple: self-preservation on the part of the seed, that they may not sprout until conditions are just so. Seeds need a number of factors – namely moisture, warmth, and slight acidity – in order to begin to sprout. These are the conditions which you imitate by soaking your grains in the solution I’ve described above. In doing so, you rid your grains of their anti-nutrients and make them very available to your body for proper digestion and absorbtion. There’s even a bonus – the vitamin content, particularly B-vitamins, actually increases!
Other animals soak their grains as well, as many of them have multiple stomachs and a longer digestive tract than humans.
All of these issues arise in the process of making bread as well, and I will address proper bread selection and baking in a future post. Until then, look for breads that require ‘soaking’ or fermentation in their baking process, such as sourdough rye. Make sure it is organic, and that it has the fewest ingredients possible. Wheat bread, for instance, is very simple being just whole wheat flour, salt and water. Avoid quick-rise breads, as they still contain the anti-nutrients we read about above. Until next time, stay healthy and active!
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