Let’s talk about oatmeal. I know this may be a touchy subject. I’ll admit I have not always been a fan of oatmeal. It’s slimy, bland, mush that your mom probably force fed you as a child. Who wants to eat that? But oatmeal is truly one of the best ways to start your day. It’s filling, a whole grain, and the mushy, slimy-ness is actually what makes it so good for you. We’ve all heard that oatmeal lowers cholesterol. It’s not totally understood how this happens, but one plausible reason is that when you digest fiber (which oatmeal is full of!) the fiber becomes gooey and the cholesterol that is already in your blood stream binds to the gooey fiber. When the fiber is excreted from your body, it takes the cholesterol along with it, thereby lowering your cholesterol levels. Source
So when we cook oats to make them digestible, they start to exhibit those gooey, fiberous properties. The water and heat soften the cell walls of the oats, gelating the starch grains, making the oats digestible and also gooey. However, thanks to food processing we can easily makes oats less gooey. There are a bunch of variants of oats – oat bran, rolled oats, steal cut, quick cooking, Scottish. All good for you, but each has a distinct taste and texture. Source I have found that oat bran, rolled, quick, and Coach’s Oats a la Costco, are the least slimy. So do some shopping around before you totally swear away oats. And please. Don’t touch the oatmeal at any dining common or hotel breakfast. This stuff will turn you off from oatmeal for good.
I also have a few cooking tips to improve the taste of your oats. I’ll be posting more recipes on these in the future but here’s an overview:
1. When cooking your oats on the stove top, add a cut up banana about half way through the cooking process. As the banana cooks down, stir your oats rapidly. This will ‘whip’ the banana and the oats, making for a creamier cereal. The banana also acts as a natural sweetener so you don’t have to add much of your own. Win-win! Check out KERF for the original recipe.
2. Sub 1/2 of the water required for cooking with cow’s, soy, almond, or coconut milk. Again, the milk adds creaminess, and covers up some of the slime.
3. Cook your oats in a microwave or use less water when cooking your oats. This works best for rolled oats, which do not need much water to make them soft. Less water will mean drier and less mushy oats.
4. Mix rolled oats or previously cooked oats with yogurt and let sit in the fridge over night. The oats will slowly absorb the moisture from the yogurt overnight, and the yogurt will mask the slime.
5. Baked oatmeal … recipe soon!
6. Stir in a tablespoon of your favorite nut/seed butter to act as a thickening agent or better, follow this recipe:
Black Sesame Oatmeal
Black sesame seeds have chocolate undertones, and paired with coconut milk make this oatmeal extremely tasty. I paired mine with plum and chia seeds, but experiment with fruits and nuts that pair well with chocolate.
Serves 1 (but can be easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled! Trust me, you’ll want to.)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup Coach’s Oats
Cook according to instructions (about 5-10 minutes on the stove top). After cooking stir in:
1-2 T black sesame paste (available at any Asian supermarket)
sweetener (agave or honey)
Breakfast of champs!