Sunday, December 06, 2009

Oatmeal with Walnuts, Bananas and Raisins - A Warm, Healthy, Vegan Breakfast


It Needs No Added Sugar
When traveling, the healthiest breakfast you can order is usually oatmeal but I'm always surprised to see it served with massive amounts of brown sugar, cream, and raisins. You really don't need all this. In today's recipe, the oatmeal needs no added sugar and is flavored with vanilla and cinnamon and sweetened with fresh banana slices and a modest amount of raisins. A bit of added oat bran adds more fiber and raw English walnuts allow each serving to provide over 1 gram of omega 3 and 5 1/2 grams of omega 6 essential fatty acids. Each serving also provides over 10 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber (over 1/3 your daily requirement).

Why Oats are Important in Your Diet
Oats and Oat bran contain the fiber "beta-glucan" which has been shown to lower bad cholesterol which in turns reduces the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Years ago, my husband Doug lowered his cholesterol from 240 to 179 in three months by eating this recipe every morning (sometimes he substituted diced apple for the banana for variety), exercising at least 30 minutes a day and taking 500 mg of time released niacin at dinner and again at bed time. His doctor, who was insisting that he take statin drugs (which carry their own risk and have numerous side effects), was shocked to see him lower his own cholesterol so quickly. Before taking this much niacin for this long a time frame, however, you need to talk to your doctor. They may monitor your liver enzymes.
Beta-glucan also has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar and helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes - one, because of the effect of the fiber and two, because oats are very high in manganese. Manganese is a co-factor for hundreds of enzymes including those involved in the secretion of insulin. Manganese is also important in the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids and supports bone health and energy production.


Oatmeal with Walnuts, Bananas and Raisins [serves 2 - 3]
2 2/3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or to taste)
1 cup rolled oats (5 minute oats)
1/3 cup oat bran

1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
1 small banana, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons raw English walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons seedless raisins

Boil water and vanilla. Add oatmeal, oat bran, salt and cinnamon, (stirring constantly while adding). Cook uncovered for 5 minutes until it thickens. Add banana slices and raisins and stir while cooking another 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and cover. Let sit for 2 minutes. Stir in the raw walnuts and serve. Adding the raw walnuts at the end helps preserve their omega 3 content.
Serve with a little soy milk if desired.

Per serving (2 servings): 339.5 calories, 10.8 g fat, 1.3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10.7 g protein, 59.5 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 1.1g omega 3 and 5.5 g omega 6 fatty acids.


Michal said...

As if I needed another reason to eat my oaties :) Until today I had never heard of beta-glucan before.

Oh I have a question which may be silly. What is the difference between oats and oat bran?

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Oat bran is the outermost layer of the oat kernel. It contains more fiber than rolled oats. You can add it to anything to increase fiber content (muffins, cream of wheat - even smoothies if you have a good enough blender).

janet said...

Yummy, this is my kind of breakfast! I sometimes add a ground brazil nut to my oatmeal for the selenium.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Great idea! I keep a big bowl of brazil nuts on my kitchen counter and crack one or two open every day for my selenium fix. I bet they would be great chopped up in this oatmeal recipe.