Allow me to tell you why. Growing up in India, I was fortunate to experience living in different parts of the country, thanks to my Dad’s work. It influenced our life and food, allowing us to enjoy the wonderfully diverse and flavorful Indian cuisine. Also, I had the luxury of a variety of warm breakfast options at home throughout childhood. I loved it! And I tell you my back story here to bring to light that all these experiences shaped my palate to crave something fresh, warm, homemade, and flavorful! Oatmeal was a rarity, reserved for one of those days when we wanted to keep it super simple. So my takeaway was – to do oats when no other choices are available.
After moving to the United States, I was in charge of my kitchen. So what do I do – I take the easiest route available. I eat oatmeal every single morning. In the beginning, just because it was easy and quoted as healthy. That was the start of my love for oatmeal. And before I knew it, I was hooked !!!
I didn’t have a good answer for a long time when family members asked me why I had to have oats every morning. My reply was – “I just feel great overall !” That was till I learned more about the goodness of this grain.
In a nutshell – Oats are a stellar source of fiber, are antioxidant-rich and a great source of complex carbohydrates and protein (Yup, protein too – there’s 6g in a cup of cooked oatmeal !!!). Also, they are gluten-free. And to top it all, they are mood-enhancing too, as they help the body release – ‘the feel-good hormone’ Serotonin !!!
To elaborate on the fiber part a little bit, – Oats have the super potent fiber Beta-Glucan. Now, this is a biggie! It’s known to promote immune health and prevent cancer. Antioxidants in oats also help with heart health, better skin, and cancer prevention.
When it comes to Oats, we have got a wide variety to choose from-
- Whole grain oats – this one is the healthiest with just the hull removed. It can be a good rice substitute. A little tricky to work with but can be cooked in an instant pot with no trouble.
- Steel-cut – this is the whole grain chopped with a steel blade. It still contains all the goodness of the grain, while the cut makes it easier to cook. My personal favorite and breakfast every day!
- Rolled oats, AKA Old fashioned oats – are steamed whole grain and rolled. So more processed than steel-cut, but very versatile and can be used for baking and other healthy goodies. I use it often in baked goods.
- Instant oats – are most processed because they are steamed, rolled, and sometimes cooked and dried, therefore a higher glycemic index. I am not a fan of these, as all that processing robs the goodness away.
Now that you are convinced about how good this grain is, I have a treat for you – the reader. I’m sharing my favorite oatmeal bowl recipe. Because oatmeal is the blank canvas that allows a variety of toppings, my oatmeal bowl has evolved to become this super filling and nutritious breakfast loaded with immunity-boosting herbs and superfoods.
P.S. – This recipe is for a dark chocolate flavored bowl, thanks to Cacao and the chocolate-flavored protein powder. These ingredients could be easily substituted or left out to customize this recipe to your favorite flavor.
Cook 1/2 cup of overnight soaked steel-cut oats with 4 cups of water. The overnight soaking is not mandatory but is recommended for steel-cut oats to expedite the cooking process. The goal is to keep the end product soupy by cooking it with a lot of water. That helps volumize it and also allows for all the toppings to mix well. Once cooked, add the following toppings, mix well and enjoy!
- 1 teaspoon of Amla (Indian Gooseberry) powder – find on Amazon.com
- 1 teaspoon of Moringa powder – find on Amazon.com
- 1 teaspoon of Nutritional Yeast – find on Amazon.com
- 1 teaspoon of Cacao Powder – find on Amazon.com
- 1 teaspoon of Chia Seeds
- 1 teaspoon of Hemp Seeds
- 1/4 cup Walnuts
- 15 black Organic Raisins
- 1 cup of any fresh fruit – berries go very well.
- 1 scoop of Orgain Chocolate Protein Powder – find at Costco.com
- 2 teaspoons of Flax and Pumpkin seed powder OR Sesame and Sunflower Seed powder. (This is based on the time of the month as per seed cycling guidelines).
Even incorporating oatmeal a few times a week is a great way to benefit from the goodness of this superfood! What’s more, this need not be breakfast. Since oats help with Serotonin and Melatonin production, they help relax the body and induce sleep, making it an ideal choice for dinner too.
Snacks like homemade oatmeal cookies, oat bars, and nut granola mixes are great ways to get kids started on this wonder grain. Additionally, crepes and baked goods with oat flour are clever ways to add this grain to your mix.
And for the hectic mornings, overnight oats come to the rescue!
With this wonder grain, possibilities are endless. The best part is that oats can be easily incorporated into many cuisines and recipes and let you get as creative as you want to be!
Try loving oats – they will love you back!