Monday, May 16, 2011

Supercharged Oatmeal Breakfast

When my mom was a little girl her father got up early every morning and made a big pot of oatmeal for the entire family for breakfast. My grandfather had good nutrition sense. Oatmeal was one of the few whole grains that was readily available and frequently eaten in the typical American diet. I would not agree with having oatmeal every day – variety is the spice of life – but oatmeal is a frequent visitor to my breakfast table. Here is a breakfast that takes oatmeal to a new nutritional and taste level.

Let's start with the cereal. The night before take one cup of whole oats and 1/2 cup of whole barley, rinse and put in a large pot with 5 cups of water and one or two pinches of salt. When I say whole oats and barley, I mean whole. Not rolled, not cut. You can buy them at Whole Foods in the bulk section. The labels will probably read "oat groats" and "hulled barley". Bring the water to a boil. If you have time, let it simmer for 10 or 15 min. Then turn off the heat and leave the lid on the pot. The next morning the oats and barley should be mostly cooked. Add water if necessary to bring your oatmeal to the consistency that you want. Then bring it to a boil again.

Top your oatmeal with raisins and ground flaxseed. Raisins help prevent calcium from leaching out of your bones [1], and flaxseed is the plant kingdom's champion source of omega-3 fatty acids [2].

Pair your oatmeal with a lettuce, carrot, and radish salad. Top the salad with a simple dressing made from flaxseed oil (more omega-3's here), olive oil (high in monounsaturated fats), and balsamic vinegar.

[1] Amy Lanou and Michael Castleman, Building Bone Vitality, (New York: McGraw Hill, 2009), 197.
[2] Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, Becoming Vegan (Summertown, TN: The Book Publishing Company, 2000), 70.

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