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Oatmeal: Hearty, Healthy & Soulful

Oatmeal isnメt just for breakfast anymore.

In my home Oatmeal is a hearty staple that my family really enjoys. I make a huge pot, cover it and keep it in the fridge. Morning, noon or night, kids, teens and adults alike will benefit from this delicious, and nutritious dish. In addition to being great tasting, Oatmeal is also a great food for athletes and exercise buffs. A small portion of Oatmeal 1-2 hours before a workout provides a slow burning source of carbohydrate energy, whereas after exercise it helps restore glycogen in the muscles which supports recovery and growth. Add a protein shake to the equation and youメre body will thank you with strong immunity and a body that is less prone to injury.

Note: The glycemic index of long cooking oatmeal is approximately 50-55, which is considered a medium glycemic rating. Foods that lead to a slow increase in blood glucose, such as lima beans, cherries or plain yogurt, have a low glycemic index. Foods that induce a rapid rise in blood sugar, including millet, rice cakes and sucrose have a high glycemic index.

Ingredients

2 cups Steel Cut Oats or Porridge Oats (with added wheat germ*, oat bran, flaxseeds*) or regular Large Flake Oats
1 large unpeeled grated apple
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup dried black currants
4 cups filtered water

*Always remember to use the highest quality ingredients when you are preparing any food. It is best not to use pre-ground flaxseeds or wheat germ unless they are specially packaged to protect their delicate fats from the damaging effects of light and oxygen.

Method

In a large saucepan add water, apple, currants, cinnamon and vanilla. Bring to a boil reduce heat to low and stir in oats. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally, add more water if too thick.

Variations- add nuts (e.g. slivered almonds, walnuts) and seeds (e.g. flax, sunflower, hemp, pumpkin) dried fruits (e.g. raisins, cranberries, dates, apricots, mango, pineapple)

Sweeten with- unpasturized honey, blackstrap molasses, pure maple syrup, brown rice syrup or Splenda.

Top with- fresh fruit such as bananas, peaches, pears or any other of your favorites.

To increase the protein- stir in your favorite flavour of whey protein isolate powder to a bowl of oatmeal after it is cooked and cooled, donメt reheat oatmeal after protein powder is added or it will turn lumpy.

There are so many different and delicious combinations, try experimenting and Iメm sure youメll find that oatmeal isnメt just for breakfast anymore.

モThe Porridge in the tiny bowl was lovely. It was just right! It wasnメt too hot and it wasnメt too cold, and Goldilocks ate up every bit of it. That was goodヤ, Goldilocks said happily, when she scraped the tiny bowl clean. ムThat was very, very good! And not for one single moment did she feel sorry that she had eaten somebody elseメs breakfast.

~The Three Bears

Definition: According to a definition in Samuel Johnson's 1755 Dictionary of the English Language, oats were "a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but which in Scotland supports the people." Since oats are by far the most nutritious of the cereal grasses, it would appear that the Scots were ahead of us all.

Today, whole oats are still used as animal fodder. Humans don't usually consume them until after the oats have been cleaned, toasted, hulled and cleaned again, after which time they become oat groats, which still contain most of the original nutrients.

Oats are highly nutritious and filled with cholesterol-fighting soluble fiber and have a pleasant, nutty flavor. Most of us are familiar with rolled oats, which are used as a hot breakfast cereal and cookie ingredient, but many health food stores also stock oat groats and oat bran.

Oat bran is the outer casing of the oat and is particularly high in soluble fiber, thought to be a leading contender in the fight against high cholesterol. Oats are high in vitamin B-1, contain a good amount of vitamins B-2 and vitamin E, and are filled with cholesterol-fighting soluble fiber. They also have a pleasant, nutty flavor. Oats are great value for money, easy to use, quick to cook and readily available.

Steel Cut Oats

Steel-cut oats are groats that have been cut into 2 to 3 pieces and not rolled. They take considerably longer to cook than rolled oats and have a decidedly chewy texture.

Also known as: Irish oats, Scotch oats, pinhead oats, coarse-cut oats, steel-cut oatmeal, Irish oatmeal, Scotch oatmeal, pinhead oatmeal, coarse-cut oatmeal, porridge oats, porridge oatmeal.

References 1. CSNA 101 Education Program, 2001, Chapter 3, The Glycemic Index of Carbohydrates pp 59-61.