Typical Breakfast…or Hello, I’m a Bird

So I was assembling my breakfast a couple days ago when I realized that it typically incorporates four different types of seeds. Now if you had asked me to name four types of seeds a year ago, I couldn’t have done it. So the fact that I’m now eating four varieties is quite a feat.

In honor of my first blog entry since graduating from health-supportive culinary school, I’ve decided to provide a tutorial on how to make the best bowl of [healthy] oatmeal you’ve ever eaten. A few years ago, pre-packaged, sugar-laden quick oats were the only kind I’d tried. You put them in the microwave with water for a couple minutes and BAM you’ve got breakfast. Yes, this option is probably better than cereal, but until I made oats on the stovetop, I had no idea how delicious they could be. Not to mention much how much better for you they are!

Now, we’ll begin with the basic ingredients:

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For an everyday bowl of oats, I’ll use 1/2 cup of old fashioned rolled oats, 1 1/3 cups of water, half a banana, and a pinch of salt.

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I like adding banana to my oats because it makes them extra creamy and voluminous and adds sweetness without using added sugars.

Combine these ingredients in a pot, making sure to slice the banana into small pieces, like so:

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Bring the the oats + banana + water up to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cover.

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Let them simmer away at a very low temperature for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. The more you stir, the less the oats stick to the pot, which means the less mess there is scrape off the bottom of your pot when you are done.

After they’ve bubbled away for 5-7 minutes and are a creamy consistency, you can add the fun mix-ins. Here’s where the seeds enter the equation. Based on things I learned in school, I add ground flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds (or sunflower seed butter) to my oats. Pictured here:

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Starting at the top right: 1) hemp seeds contain:

– All 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids our bodies cannot produce.

–Nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid and a perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid – for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system

–A superior vegetarian source of protein

–A rich source of phytonutrients

–The richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (source)

Next, at the bottom right come 2) chia seeds which:

–Are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids

–Provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc (source)

Also, chia seeds gel when added to a liquid. They get sort of slippery…it’s really hard to describe until you’ve tried them yourself. And as a warning: if you have an issue with textures, you might want to steer clear of chia seeds for this reason.

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At the bottom left and top left we’ve got 3) flax seeds which have:

–Omega-3 essential fatty acids

–Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75- 800 times more lignans than other plant foods

–Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types (source)

But! Here’s the thing about flaxseeds. You have to grind them before you eat them, or else your body cannot digest them. On the bottom left are the whole flaxseeds and the top left are the ground flaxseeds. I use an old coffee grinder to pulverize the seeds, then store them in a ziploc bag. Only grind a few tablespoons at a time, though, because ground flaxseeds tend to go rancid pretty quickly (you’ll know by the smell).

Now that we’ve got all that useful nutrition information out of the way, let’s proceed:

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The mix-ins.

I usually add 2-3 teaspoons of chia seeds, 1 teaspoon of hemp seeds, and 1 teaspoon of ground flax seeds. I also add about 1/2 cup of plain, full fat organic yogurt. Yogurt adds some creaminess to the oats plus provides probiotics, which your tummy will love:

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Stir:

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Polka-dotty oats, thanks to the seeds!

Then I transfer the oats to a bowl and top with a variety of nut/seed butters. Here’s where the 4th type of seed comes in. Along with almond butter and white chocolate peanut butter (yes, it’s as good as it sounds), I add sunflower seed butter. Sunflower seeds are good because:

–They are an essential fatty acid

–They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, Vitamin E + B (source)

If I’m feeling crazy, I’ll also add a 1 tsp of maple syrup for some extra sweetness. All together now:

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As you can see, the warm oats make the nut/seed butters get all melty and gooey. I’ll dip my spoon into the oats, then get a dollop of nut butter in each bite for some added creaminess.

Et voila.

I’m pretty boring and eat either oats or this for breakfast every day. Thanks to the healthy fats and carbohydrates, this will keep me full for 3-4 hours. Which makes birdseed oatmeal a winner in my book!

Posted: Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 @ 8:47 pm
Categories: etc.
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