17 Feb Why You Need To Prepare Oats Properly
What is wrong with eating oats?
Porridge, the breakfast of champions! Sure to fuel your day with power and punch. This is true, if you do it right for some people. Not for me though at the moment.
Whenever I start with some bodies nutrition plan I generally get asked what my opinion is on oats or homemade muesli. Oats can be good as long as you know you can tolerate the grains and that they are prepared properly. Traditionally the only way that oats were used was in the form of porridge or bircher style muesli.
Why 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 these nutrients, but because of the foods we are consuming with phytic acid which can inhibit absorption. So the key is to insure foods containing this acid are prepared properly to avoid this happening.
Fast Convenient Food
We live in a convenient world and we want everything done yesterday. I remember when I grew up we had porridge that was placed in a huge pot the night before then cooked over the fire in the morning. This is how we need to treat our oats. Mum had it right. We want to be nourishing our body so that it can absorb nutrients and vitamins, not rushing around and trying to eat as fast as we can.
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.
What needs to be done to grains is properly prepare them. 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.
Oats And Gluten Intolerance
You need to be careful with oats if you have a gluten intolerance. Oats themselves don’t contain gluten so most oats are gluten free. However because they are prepared in the same factories as wheat, 1 pinprick size of gluten in a truck carrying oats is enough to contaminate it and to cause issues in those with sensitivity. There are brands around that are gluten free. Steel cut oats are fantastic, these are gluten free and as natural as they come. I find these the safest bet when trying to really avoid gluten. I get these either online from various places and from your local health store.
Should I have Porridge for breakfast?
If you love porridge for breakfast, if you are in good health and feel great each and every day and are having oats for breakfast, don’t change it. However if you think you would like to find some other breakfast alternatives, see how you go by removing them for 30 days. Then see how you feel, look, act and perform. Then reintroduce and compare.
This is how you discover what foods work for you. If you find no change then this could be a fantastic breakfast for you. Only you know the answer to this question. I’m here to give you the facts so you can make educated decisions for yourself.
So What Is A Gluten Intolerance?
You need to learn to listen to your body. If you continue to expose your body to something it is intolerant to, you will always feel the same. Gluten intolerances aren’t just shown up as a gut irritation. In fact only 30% of symptoms are in this form. Other gluten intolerance symptoms include:
- joint aches
- skin problems
The list is huge. There are so many symptoms linked to gluten intolerances and people just think it is a gut reaction that shows an intolerance. You don’t need to be diagnosed by a doctor to learn what foods work for you. Listen to your body, remove the high allergen foods, take note of how your body is, then reintroduce and see how it reacts. This is why sourcing good quality oats lets you know if you can handle oats or not. If you source cheap and nasty oats that have been exposed to gluten, you will never know if it is the oats or the gluten causing problems.
Is Home Made Muesli A Good Option?
This comes back to making your oats easily digestible. If you do have an amazing homemade muesli that you use, I would soak that overnight and turn it into bircher style muesli instead. This means you get to enjoy your muesli and ensure your body is getting the best possible start to the day in terms of nutrients and making it really digestible.
You Need To Eat Protein For Breakfast
The other thing to understand is your body needs protein in the morning to help give you energy and fuel you for your day, so starting your day with a big bowl of porridge or bircher muesli may be comforting, but it also may set you up for cravings and energy lows later in the day.
Only you will know this, so start to listen to your body. It may be worth your while adding protein to your breakfast. When I used to have porridge for breakfast I used to crack egg whites into it to add protein. Alternatively pop some yogurt or kefir alongside nuts to up the protein sources.
So Why Don’t I Eat Oats?
Im slightly fragile at the moment with my leaky gut and digestive problems, so oats are off the menu for me. I am following a strict autoimmune diet to bring down inflammation in my gut. Ben has them every now and then without issues, more as a dessert with honey and berries. He finds it is not the best breakfast for him and he runs way better with a protein rich breakfast rather than porridge.
Once I have healed I may try some some again and see how I react. The thing with them is the time to prepare, so they often get forgotten in the day to day planning. I know a lot of other quicker to prepare breakfasts, so I guess this is why Ben doesn’t have them much. That doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t. Prepare and source good quality oats properly and then listen to your body.
Here are a couple of ways to have your oats in the morning or in the evening :).
Traditional Porridge Recipe
- 1 cup of oats rolled or cracked
- 1 cup of warm water with 2 tablespoons of whey/yogurt/kefir
- 1 cup water
- Handful of almonds and walnuts.
- Mix oats with warm water. Cover and leave in a warm place for 7 hours or as long as 24 hours. Overnight is most convenient. Place nuts in a seperate bowl, cover with water and soak.
- In the morning, rinse and drain the nuts.
- Bring 1 cup of water to boil and add soaked oats to it, reduce heat and let it simmer for a few minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in blueberries and nuts.
- 1 cup of rolled oats
- 1/4 cup crushed almonds
- 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
- 1/4 shredded coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups warm water with 2 tablespoons whey/yogurt/kefir or lemon/apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 sultanas
- Mix oats with almonds, walnuts, cinnamon and warm water mix. Stir, cover and leave to soak overnight for 7 – 24 hours.
- Boil 1 cup of water, add the soaked oats along with sultanas and simmer for a few minutes.
What are your thoughts now on oats? Does this raise more questions than answers? I would love to hear what you think.
Check out my next post where I discuss oats again and share with you another recipe including them.
Still not sure if you should eat oats or not? Inside the online gym I help you fine tune your diet so you know what is right for you. From out 30 day body renovation program through to detailed questionnaires to help you really understand your body and what foods help you thrive. Check it out and start to take charge of your health today. Learn more here