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 ensure 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. This actual “slow” process doesn’t take any more of your time, just a little foresight to allow the process to work properly.
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 break down 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 and certainly is a great start to the day. I have always loved porridge for breakfast, but my body didn’t agree, so I listened and found another option that worked better. Only you know the answer to this question and let your body be your teacher. I’m here to give you the facts so you can make educated decisions for yourself.
How Would I Know?
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. Food and 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 food and 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.
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
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.
Optional extras, you could add some quality fat to this in the form of butter, cream, coconut oil and also if you wanted extra protein, add yogurt/kefir or try popping in some egg whites to the mix.