Consistency is not my strong suit.
I am an artist. I don't paint (I want to try!), I can't draw to save my life, but I have to be creating SOMEthing or I will shrivel up and die a million deaths (artists are known to be dramatic). For years it's been photos and words that fulfill my need to create, but I've felt uninspired lately with our brown soggy landscape and lack of winter. Most of you know we moved a few months ago and have spent all of our free time emptying out and remodeling this great old house. Now that everything is functioning (notice I said "functioning"....because I'm pretty sure we will never be DONE), I have been back in my kitchen and it feels so good to get my hands dirty--I love to create simple and nutritious meals for my family to eat.
I also started working as a nurse in the fall, and I tell you what--it's given me a whole new appreciation for life, health, and taking care of our bodies. I have loved exploring nutrition these past few years, but recently I'm immersing myself a little deeper, and I am so excited about what I've been learning (and eating)--I have to share it with someone! Most of my patients are too sick to care about the benefits of broccoli and tumeric, but maybe you want to pull up a chair and listen? I guess you can say this is my attempt to save the world, one bite at a time.
I've been slowly chipping away at the book How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger. I don't have a ton of extra time to read right now, but I try to sneak a few pages in each day. The book is written in two parts--the first part details different diseases and how we can avoid them by eating right; the second part breaks down the author's favorite food groups and why they are so good for our health. The book promotes a fully plant based diet--I'm still eating meat (although less), and just trying to find ways to add more plants to every meal and snack. (And don't worry I still eat cookies, you know, for balance).
So let's start with breakfast. I love oats, and eat them almost every single day whether for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. Lately I've been loading them up with as much nutrition as I can fit into the bowl.
[Go ahead and skip this paragraph unless you want to realize how nerdy I am....I have been studying up on antioxidants lately, and why we need them in our diets every day. It's so hard to explain in a quick blog post, so do some googling, and you too can be a nerd as you read about electrons, DNA, and superoxides and.....blah blah blah I lost you, didn't I? How I explained it to my kids was like this: think of something rusty. Why is it rusty? Because it's lived a long life out in the elements. Oxidative stress (or "rusting") also takes place in our bodies at the cellular level--this is what causes us to age. Sunspots and wrinkles on the outside, memory loss and worsening organ function on the inside. We are all slowly rusting. But antioxidants help slow this process--so eat up! I look at this breakfast as a big bowl of goodness that keeps me from rusting].
buckwheat (cooked in almond milk) I like two switch it up from time to time from rolled oats.
cashew butter stirred in when it's still hot--this makes it extra creamy and more filling thanks to the healthy fat in cashews.
almond milk (just a splash more if needed to thin it out)
spoonful of ground flax (omega-3s, antioxidants)
2 spoonfuls of chia and hemp seeds (more omegas, hemp seeds are a good source of plant protein!).
shake of cinnamon (super high in antioxidants)
teeniest tiniest pinch of cloves because they are SO strong, but super good for you, and they make your oatmeal taste like Christmas.
berries-go crazy! This time of year fresh berries aren't always so great, so I keep the freezer stocked with frozen berries and I'll throw those in halfway through the cooking process. Not the same as fresh, but still good for you, and better than plain old oatmeal (if I use frozen I'll usually throw in a spoonful of coconut sugar since they tend not to be as sweet as fresh). The more pigment a plant has = the more antioxidants, so eat ALL the colors! Berries are also good for your immune function which is so important to me right now since waaaay too many of my patients have the flu.
nuts on top for more healthy fat and (you guessed it) pecans are high on the list of antioxidant rich foods (top 10 list HERE).
cacao nibs (or lets be honest most of the time those are dark chocolate chips).
And that my friends, was the longest recipe for oatmeal you've read, and probably one of the most unexciting blog posts ever. Keep in mind I've been writing long boring papers for the last four years (I'm stressing out I didn't cite my sources). So maybe blogging isn't my thing anymore....maybe I need to write a cookbook for food nerds.
*What do you think? Does anyone still read blogs? If I want to get back into sharing recipes, it has to be here, unless they are super short and easy (my favorite kind)--I can post those to IG. I've had so many requests to share house updates, and I will....haha someday (insert shrugging emoji). On TV they make is seem so easy to have your before and after pic all in the same month....we may be waiting a while for those "after" pics ;) But we really have made so much progress, I should share just to remind myself how far we've come*
Thanks for reading! Enjoy your oats!