28 May Traditional Bircher Muesli And Are Oats Okay To Eat?
I had a craving for some oats and oats and I havn’t gotten on for quite some time. However I grew up on them and I used to love them. I used to love the fact that mum would cook all us kids porridge on top of the fire at home and it was such a lovely warm way to start the day and a great traditional breakfast for the entire family. I can also totally see myself doing this one day in the future with our family.
I then used to eat cheap oats at uni some mornings, but then my whole digestive issues began and my body started to break down and I got my leaky gut. So good old oats became problematic for me. You see when you have leaky gut your body can develop intolerances to all sorts of foods and some of those foods can be classified as “okay food”, but with an inflamed digestive system your body reacts. So the key while you are healing you need to steer clear of them. Then reintroduce (good quality well prepared ones) again once you have got a healthy digestive system and see if they are right for you.
You see at uni oats used to give me crazy gas, itchy skin and put me to sleep when I ate them, I mean literally! I would eat a bowl of porridge in the morning in Dunedin and go back to sleep til lunch, then drag my feet for the rest of the day. I could never understand how anyone could eat porridge for breakfast because I would always feel so slow, tired and exhausted on them while I was at uni. I dabbled here and there in eating them because they used to be such a great way to start the day, especially on a student budget but then once I learnt all about my digestive issues and how to heal my gut, they were out and out for quite some time.
I probably hadn’t had any really for maybe 2-3 years, but I had experimented a couple of times and each time I did the reactions lessoned and now when I eat oats that are prepared well I get energy and its sustained! Just like it is supposed to be. You see when you have leaky gut your gut can’t break down foods, it can’t deliver nutrients and energy to your body, so something like oats, nuts, legumes for me was a disaster at the time. So instead my meals were much simpler based around eggs/meat and vegetables and fruit. When I based my meals around this along with lots of fermented foods and broths my gut was able to heal. See my post here on how to heal leaky gut.
So now I can eat some of the other great real whole foods (as long as they are gluten and lactose free ) that I may not of been able to eat while I was healing such as oats. You see as long as your food is real and from it whole real source and prepared properly then you are on the right path. In todays world we are just looking for fast food. Food that is quick, easy to often rubbish. This is what is leading us to our health problems. We need to slow down and treat food with care and respect and when we do this we are also doing the same for our own body.
Food that is real food is the key, if however you have digestive issues, skin problems or energy problems then you need to start looking at what you are eating and starting to explore what foods are right for you at this stage and this is what I help clients with every day. We are all unique, we all have different metabolisms, digestive systems and history, so what works for you may not work for someone else. The key is to explore and learn to understand your body and what works today may not be what works in the future as our body is continually changing, so the key is to start listening to it each and everyday and starting to pay attention and treating food and your body with respect.
Now good old oats come in many shapes and forms and the key is to purchase whole oats and ones that are gluten free. Oats are naturally gluten free but many are prepared in factories containing gluten and one pinprick size amount of gluten can be enough to contaminate a bag and for someone who is super sensitive to gluten like myself this is enough. So I prefer not to risk it and I purchase organic guaranteed gluten free oats.
Then oats need to be prepared well in order for you body to be able to breakdown and absorb the nutrients. If I was to just have dry oats in the form of muesli I would be crippled over with gut pains, so for me I need to really prepare my oats well and if I am going to have them I have them like this traditional bircher or cooked into porridge.
Why Do You Need To Prepare Oats Properly?
Traditionally porridge was made preparing the oats the night before and allowing them to soak overnight. What this does is breaks down the oats so they are more digestible, encourages beneficial enzymes to come to life and removes the phytic acid which inhibits absorption of other minerals, enabling you to easily digest your oats.
Phytic acid is in a lot of foods and too much of it can cause irritation and cause us to lack certain minerals. This is not because we aren’t consuming them, but because of the foods we are consuming with them that aren’t prepared properly. It is this phytic acid that my body reacts to and part of the reason why I was so exhausted but eating good foods.
Phytic acid is in the outer layer of all grains. If left, phytic acid combines with calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and iron in the intestines and inhibits their absorption. This is why you need to be careful if you are consuming a diet that is high in grains that aren’t prepared well.
What needs to be done to all grains is properly preparing them to allow you to get all the nutrients from them along with the energy. This means soaking them to allow enzymes to help breakdown and neutralize the phytic acid. We use an acid to do this, this can be in the form of whey, kefir or yogurt or if you can’t handle dairy then lemon or apple cider vinegar will do the same thing. By soaking your oats you neutralize the phytic acid which inhibits certain enzymes, this soaking allows the beneficial enzymes to work and increases the amount of vitamins and minerals present that your body will absorb. You are encouraging the food to come to life, as if it was in soil beginning to sprout.
So for me if I am going to have oats or porridge this is how I will eat them and this is how my body is enjoying them when I do have them.
Traditional Bircher Muesli
1/2 cup organic gluten free whole oats
1 cup water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Optional : 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon raisins, 1 teaspoon chia , shredded coconut to garnish.
Place all the ingredients in a jar or bowl and place in the fridge for 12- 24 hours.
I make mine soak for 24hours, so if I am having for breakfast I make at breakfast that morning before.
To make into porridge, simply pour into a pot and heat up on the stove. I cook just for a couple of minutes and often add just a little more water to make it extra creamy.
These ones had been soaking for 24hours and they go all soft and slimly. I drained the excess liquid for the photo I served these ones up with fresh sliced feijoas and coconut yogurt which wasn’t in the photo. Yum!