I’m at my computer this morning, after a 45 minute walk and a nice hot breakfast… which has become the subject of this very article. Why write about my breakfast? Well, because it is both delicious and healthy, easy to make, and full of ingredients that each deserve a paragraph of their own. Here’s what I just ate a few minutes ago:
– ½ cup oats
– 1 cup water
– ¼ cup walnuts
– ¼ cup berries (alternate blueberries, raspberries, dark cherries)
– 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal (ground flax)
– 2 Tbsp protein powder (whey, or rice, pea, or hemp)
– 1 Tbsp raw unsweetened cacao powder
The instructions couldn’t be simpler:
Cook the oats according to package directions (cooking time depends on how the oats are milled). Then, simply add all of the following to the already cooked oatmeal.
There are so many reasons to enjoy this yummy dish first thing in the morning. In order to give you an idea of just how healthy this oatmeal is, here are the benefits of each one of the ingredients in my morning gruel:
You may have heard that oats are a great heart-healthy food, and it’s true. Oats contain a type of fiber known as beta-glucan, which, when eaten regularly, can help to lower cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular disease. It has also been shown to help improve immunity. Oats are also teeming with antioxidants, and a great source of minerals.
Life would cease to exist without water… and I find it to be one of the safest and most effective treatment for a wide range of medical problems. Before I get fancy with my patients, I often simply tell them to drink a more water. However, many people do not get as much as their bodies need. Staying properly hydrated is essential to health, since all of your body’s systems need to be hydrated to function properly. The water in your food counts…
Walnuts are fantastic food. They provide a solid source of plant-based protein, fiber, and they are rich source of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts and other nuts are a part of the diets of the longest lived people on the planet… and consuming walnuts has been directly linked to improvements in heart health and metabolic syndrome.
Berries like blueberries, raspberries, and cherries are a wonderful source of bioflavonoid antioxidants. These antioxidants help to reduce chronic inflammation throughout your body, thus helping to keep all of your systems healthy. Berries are also full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A and vitamin C.
Note: If you can’t find fresh, organic berries, frozen is a great choice. When you freeze a berry, the water inside the cells in the berry expands as it freezes, and the cell walls break open. This allows the pigments in the cells (the flavonoid antioxidants) to release. This is why frozen blueberries turn oatmeal purple, but fresh ones don’t: the cell walls of the frozen berry are broken open.
When it comes to bioflavonoids, frozen berries may even give you more bang for your buck than fresh. And, it is more convenient and less expensive to use frozen berries. So, check your grocery store freezer section when your favorite fresh berries are out of season (or, when you want the convenience that frozen berries offer).
Adding flaxseeds to your meals is a great way to get both fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. These little seeds are also rich in polyphenol antioxidants, as well as a host of minerals including copper, magnesium, and manganese. Make sure that you grind up your flaxseeds before you sprinkle them in your oatmeal, so that your body can properly absorb their benefits.
Adding protein powder to your oatmeal increases the macronutrient density of this dish. It also makes it “stick to your ribs” a bit longer. I find that my oatmeal keeps me fuller for longer when I add protein. This also helps to blunt any carbohydrate spikes that may occur as a result of eating carb-heavy oats (they’re healthy carbs, but carbs nonetheless). Just make sure you find an organic, whole food protein powder variety from a source you trust… you don’t want to start your day with a serving of artificial colors, flavors, additives or preservatives.
Raw cacao powder
Raw cacao is what cocoa, and chocolate, is made from. In its raw, unsweetened form, it is truly a superfood. It’s filled with bioflavonoid antioxidants, as well as B-vitamins, vitamin E, and a range of minerals. It also contains healthy fats, and has compounds that can help to increase serotonin levels, thus boosting your mood and making you feel your best. On top of that, cacao can help to reduce cravings. I find that a bowl of oatmeal with cacao added sustains me better than a bowl without it.
Try my recipe… you’ll be glad you did!
– Dr. Joshua Levitt