Hello cold mornings and helloooo warming bowls of oats. After a long, hot summer in Queensland, I am welcoming these cooler mornings and nights with open arms. Porridge is my number one go to for breakfast in winter for a few reasons. Firstly, it is actually a really versatile dish that you can change up with different toppings and flavours. Secondly, because it is delicious! And thirdly, oats are high in some amazing nutrients that are perfect for keeping us healthy through Winter.
Gut Healing Effect of Oats
Oats have long been known for their healing and nourishing potential. This is because they contain an amino acid called glutamine. Glutamine promotes healing of the mucous membranes, particularly in the digestive tract, as well as improving the acid:alkaline balance in the gut. Glutamine provides a source of fuel for cells of the small intestines AND helps to balance mucous production in the digestive tract. This promotes better stool regularity and helps to protect the lining of the gut.
Glutamine is not only beneficial for the gut though. It is also the amino acid precursor to GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps to calm the nervous system and promote feelings of wellbeing. In addition, Glutamine promotes muscle growth, improves recovery from exercise and has positive effects on metabolism.
In addition to these gut healing effects of oats, they also help to promote good milk production in breastfeeding mothers.
Creating a Complete Protein with Oats
When eating a vegetarian or vegan protein source, it is really important to combine your proteins in the right way to get a complete protein. If you're not sure what this means, then let me explain. Protein is made up of amino acids, some of which our body can make itself and some that need to be obtained from the diet. In total there are 9 amino acids that the body cannot make itself. These nine amino acids are called essential amino acids. Animal sources of protein will contain all of the essential amino acids. However, plant sources will only contain some of the 9 amino acids. In order to get a complete protein (ie. all 9 amino acids) we need to combine plant sources in each meal. Plant sources of protein include nuts and seeds, legumes and grains.
An example of combining plant sources of protein to get a complete protein is seen in this recipe as it uses oats (grain) and chia seeds (seed). Another example would be to have nut butter on toast (ie. grains + nuts) or by eating a dip like hummus (it includes legumes in the form of chickpeas and seeds in the form of tahini).
Balancing Your Breakfast Bowl
Getting a good balance between complex carbohydrates, good fats and protein is also important. Adding nuts and seeds increases the essential fat and protein content, making it a much more filling dish. Adding fresh fruits increases the overall nutritional value, provides a freshness to the dish and increases the fibre content. I also love adding yoghurt, whether that is natural yoghurt or a coconut yoghurt. This increases the fat content, making you feel fuller for longer.
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- 1 cup organic rolled oats
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup strawberries roughly chopped
- 2 figs roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ cup coconut yoghurt
- pure maple syrup or coconut sugar optional
- Place oats and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce to a simmer.
- Add half of the strawberries and fig as well as the vanilla essence and chia seeds and stir through.
- Simmer until all of the water has been absorbed and the porridge is a thick consistency.
- Turn off the heat and stir through the coconut yoghurt and chia seeds.
- Divide between two bowls and top with remaining strawberries, figs and maple syrup or coconut sugar if desired.