Today's meal idea is all about oats - a true superfood. Here at Smiling Horse, oats are very popular and THE top choice of you-know-who - neigh! We've discovered that just 1/4 cup of oats provides significant amounts of manganese, molybdenum, phosphorous, copper, biotin, protein, carbs and lots more. Oats have been shown to improve cardiovascular health, enhance immune response, stabilize blood sugar and help protect against some types of cancer. Lots more great benefits - google if you're interested! Like all cereal grains, oats have phytic acid, which is not easily digested by humans and can hinder the absorption of all of those wonderful nutrients, which is why it's important to cook and prepare grains carefully to reduce this acid if you want maximum nutritional benefit. Oats are not very digestible when eaten raw, but - soaking them for at least 12 hours can replace the need to cook them. So, you can cook 'em if that's your preference, but - if you're pressed for time in the morning, you could try this soaking method. We eat oats this way once or twice a week for breakfast and love the texture of soaked oats. There is lots of information out there about soaked oats, so if you are unsure about soaking, check out your trusted nutrition sources.
Interesting Factoid: Why are raw oats not easily digested? Answer: As a cereal crop, they're a member of the grass family. They're actually a seed and can survive long periods of dormancy in the soil - even a few years - so they're like little fortresses - tough to break down!
What we do: For one serving, put 1/2 cup of oats and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water or non-dairy milk in a container and soak in the fridge overnight for at least 12 hours, but 24 hours is even better, so make them up in the morning and toss into the fridge the day before. Use the 3/4 cup of liquid for 24-hour method. Adjust liquid to your taste with experimentation. Tip: If you're OK with the added flavour, add a teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar as well in the soak to help make the oats more digestible. In the morning, stir 'em up, put 'em in a bowl and then add whatever you like to eat with your oats - it's as simple as that!
Note: We discovered - it isn't recommend you use whole oats (groats), which are not easily digested unless they are cooked, so don't use those for soaking and don't use steel cut oats either unless you are cooking them. They're basically chopped oat groats and still include the outer husk. Also, don't use quick oats for soaking, which digest in a shorter time and won't provide the same long-lasting energy boost. The best option for soaking is rolled oats, which are actually groats that are steamed and then rolled, making them more digestible. They are available in gluten-free form (oats are not gluten-free unless processed that way), and if you can find organic, that's ideal because oats, like most grains, are commonly grown with the use of pesticides and fungicides.
Our recipe: It's just soaked oats in a bowl with banana slices, chopped walnuts, cinnamon, chopped dates and a teeny amount of maple syrup. Lots of great stuff here including Omega-3 fatty acids in the walnuts and all of the fantastic vitamins and minerals found in everything, including the cinnamon, which is another neat little beneficial food. This hearty breakfast will power you for at least three or four hours!
Feel free to let us know in the comment section below why you do or don't eat soaked oats! What are your favorite toppings?