One of Nature’s Most Nourishing Foods
Ironically, one of nature’s most nourishing foods is also most often prepared in unhealthy ways. Oatmeal cookies usually contain white, denatured sugar and health-destroying fats. Some instant oatmeal breakfast packets contain artificial flavorings, sugars and preservatives. Even oatmeal prepared as a hot breakfast cereal is usually sweetened with white sugar and combined with other harmful foods in the morning. Consequently, although oats are being consumed in the United States, few people are reaping the benefit from eating this nourishing food.
The nutritional value in just 1 cup of oats is very high as it contains significant amounts of the following vitamins and minerals: Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Ascorbic Acid, and Iron (Jethro Kloss, Back To Eden [Loma Linda, CA: Back To Eden Books Publishing Co., 1988], 666). Keeping such information in mind and the fact that vitamins and minerals should always be obtained from food rather than supplements, learning to cook with oatmeal is gaining interest.
What are some changes that those who already consume oatmeal in unhealthy ways can make to obtain the benefit from this food? First, learning to alter recipes that already call for oatmeal is one of the easiest and fastest ways to immediately start benefiting from eating oatmeal. To give an example, consider a recipe for oatmeal cookies. The average ingredient list will indicate the need for granulated sugar. Avoid the use of white sugar and opt for the healthier golden brown sugar or “sugar-in-the-raw” now widely available in food stores. Look for recipes that call for honey or a fruit juice concentrate as the sweetener instead of white granulated sugar. The advantage to these recipes is that the authors have usually also substituted other harmful ingredients for healthier choices.
Due to the high fiber content of oats, Americans are learning to include this valuable grain in their diets in ways they had not previously conceived. For example, some good cookbooks that stress increasing fiber in the diet, suggest adding instant oats or oats that are cooked between 1 and 3 minutes to dishes such as meat loaf. It may not sound appealing but it makes for a wonderful way not only to stretch the loaf, but also to add fiber without affecting flavor.