Unhealthy foods reign supreme as part of what many of us consider to be a complete breakfast. Mornings are busy, we’re tired, we’re hungry, and at every possible point of contact, sugary, salty, vegetable oily, high-carby options are available. Muffins, pastries, store-bought cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, fruit juice, toast – they’re all sitting their with the promise of filling the hangry pit in our stomachs.
The problem is that standard Western breakfasts tend to set into motion a nutritional disaster that flavours the rest of the day. An insulin spike (caused by a high-carb/sugar breakfast) not only puts your body in fat storage mode, it will also cause you to “crash” mid-morning and reach for the next morsel of empty calories to fill the void. This process of feeding and crashing will not only affect the rest of your day, but also the next morning when you wake up dehydrated, bloated, ravenous and hungry beyond belief, only to repeat the process over again.
And so begins an unhealthy eating habit.
So why not start the day off right? For the record, I don’t necessarily believe that skipping breakfast is unhealthy. Getting your daily calories from two big meals, rather than three medium-sized ones, is not only okay, but arguably good for our bodies. Many beautiful and wonderful things happen in our bodies when we fast, like cell repair and muscle building. When we eat, on the other hand, the focus is taken away from cell repair to digestion.
I’m not saying eating is bad (obviously!) – I’m just saying that there’s a time to eat, and a time to not eat.
Oatmeal is a staple breakfast for many of us. There are many different kinds as well, some more healthy than others. Plain old steel cut oats and rolled oats are different than the sugary processed crap put out by food corporations like General Mills. One thing we often don’t realize about oatmeal is that it is VERY HIGH in calories. Eating a big bowl of so-called “wholesome” Quaker Oats, then sitting in a chair and working at a desk all morning, is overkill in the calorie department. And again, that sugary oatmeal we eat as a “healthy” option will give you the insulin spike, followed by the sugar crash at 11:00am – which we often misinterpret as hunger.
Although sometimes I skip breakfast, and other times I have a butter coffee, there are other times when I’m craving a bowl of oatmeal. I created this “oatmeal” not only because it’s wheat-free, but also a source of protein and healthy omega-3 fats. For the record, I still eat wheat (I’m on the fence about gluten) – I just don’t like to eat it every day or in big quantities (a general rule I apply to most processed foods, of which wheat tends to be).
So here it is! Let me know what you think. Note that, while this meal is full of things our body loves and needs, I wouldn’t call it low-calorie by any stretch. It does, however, have more fibre than processed oatmeal (fibre slows digestion to help prevent insulin spikes), and the ingredients are all what I would call “clean” and non-bloating (wheat and dairy can bloat). Oh, and it’s also vegan.
Handsome Oat-Free Oatmeal
- 5 heaping tbsp flax seed meal
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk
- 1 tbsp raw pumpkin seed
- 1 tbsp cacao nibs
- 1 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- Closed fist of raw nuts of choice
- Dollop (or two) of almond butter
- Pinch cinnamon
- Pinch unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 an apple or pear, or handful of berries
- Blend together banana, flax meal, cashew milk until smooth. (Note, for flax meal I grind whole seeds into powder using a Magic Bullet – which is a bit cheaper than buying the flax meal itself.)
- You could heat this mixture in a pot if you like your oatmeal warm, or simply pour it cold into a bowl.
- Top with all the rest of the ingredients, finishing it off with a pinch of cocoa powder and cinnamon. You can add extra cashew milk on top, depending on the consistency you like.
You can also make this oatmeal the night before and leave it in the fridge. Note that chia seeds, when left to soak, will soften and become almost like tapioca – which some people like, and others don’t. You’ll likely need to add more milk in the morning as they will soak it up.