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Oatmeal

Susan R. Johnson MD, FAAP, 10/24/2000

I only used to eat cold cereals for breakfast, and if I ever had oatmeal, it was "instant" oatmeal from a small package. I had no clue how to cook oatmeal from "scratch". I have been reading a book by Sally Fallon called Nourishing Traditions. It has been changing the way I look at nutrition. She recommends soaking and fermenting grains before we eat them, specifically oats. The outer layer of all grains contains phytic acid. Phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in our intestinal tract and block their absorpition. She believes that a diet high in unfermented whole grains can lead to mineral deficiencies and bone loss and may be one of the reasons why so many of our children have small jaws with many crooked teeth that don't seem to fit. When we soak our grains it allows enzymes from lactobacilli and other organisms to break down and neutralize the phytic acid. Soaking and fermenting also partially degrade gluten and other hard to digest proteins found in oats, wheat, rye, and barley. Whole rice and whole millet do not contain gluten and have lower amounts of phytates so it is not necessary to soak them.

She doesn't recommend eating granola since the grains are cooked under dry heat and therefore are extremely indigestible. Boxed breakfast cereals are made by the extrusion process where flakes are formed at high temperatures and pressures. The extrusion processing destroys many valuable nutrients in grains and makes certain proteins toxic. In addition several cereal companies are using biogenetic engineering to produce their grains.

So here is an easy recipe for healthy oatmeal: Before going to bed I heat 1 cup of water in a pan until the water is warm and then add 2 tablespoons of whey. I get the whey from a pint of good quality commercial organic plain yoghurt made from whole milk. If you scoop out a little yoghurt from the center of the yoghurt container then the next day a clear liquid is found in the center. This liquid (which I used to throw out because it was watery) is whey. I add 2 tablespoons of whey to the warm water and then add 1 cup of oats. People with severe milk allergies can use lemon juice or vinegar to substitute for the whey. I cover the pan and let the oats soak overnight (at least 7 hours). The next morning I add another cup of water with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to the soaked oats and cook to boiling, then I reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. 1 to 2 tablepoons of ground flax seeds can then be stirred into the cooked oats. The oatmeal is creamy and tastes great with applesauce, butter, sucanat (an unprocessed sugar), maple syrup, raw honey and/or whole milk or cream. Contrary to popular opinion we all need good quality fats in our diet, and the best time to consume them is in the morning or the early afternoon when our liver and gall bladder can more easily process them. Fats help us absorb vitamins and provide us with minerals. They also are a component of the fatty myelin sheaths surrounding the nerve fibers in our brain.

*** Here is another recipe from the book, Nourishing Traditions: One can take 1 1/2 cups of left-over oatmeal and add 1 egg and stir. Coat a frying pan with 1-2 tablespoons of butter and then scoop the oatmeal-egg mixture onto the pan by large spoonfuls. Flatten the spoonfuls with the back of the spoon and cook each side of these oatmeal pancakes until lightly browned. Serve with a little raw honey (a good source of minerals and enzymes), sucanat, or 100% maple syrup for breakfast or an early afternoon snack.


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