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Healthy Substitutes: Ditch the quick oats

I recently posted this article in the local Lindsay newspaper. I'm trying out a new theme: 'Try this, instead of that'- dedicated to everyday examples of simple substitutions. Our health is shaped by the daily choices we make overtime.

This first recommendation is based off of looking at hundreds of diet diaries. A pack of oatmeal is a common breakfast for people on the run or for children.

  1. Instead of buying individual, flavoured instant oatmeal packets, try:

  2. Steel cut oats

  3. Buckwheat groats

Instant oatmeal packs contain quick oats, which have been mechanically altered so they can cook quickly, and then they’re fortified with synthetic nutrients to replace the natural vitamins and minerals they contained prior to processing.

Quick oats are refined carbohydrates (in same category as white rice and sugar) so they have a higher glycemic index compared to rolled oats or steel cut oats. This means that they’re absorbed more rapidly, causing a spike in blood sugar, which requires a large output of insulin to help the body get that sugar into our cells and out of the bloodstream. Combine that with the added sugar found in those packets – a blood sugar nightmare!

When our blood sugar rises rapidly and falls, it can create symptoms like: low energy, hunger, headaches, mood changes, poor focus, irritability – all things you don’t want your child feeling mid-morning in the classroom. Overtime, diets high in simple carbohydrates can eventually lead to insulin resistance issues which underlies Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity, Fatty Liver Disease, Metabolic syndrome and PCOS.

Steel cut or buckwheat groats are my top choices because they’re complex carbs that are absorbed more slowly to stabilize blood sugar which keeps you full longer. This minimizes unnecessary snacking. They also have a nice, nutty flavour in addition to a favourable nutrient profile.

Pre-Soak: Soak 1 cup of steel cut oats with 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar in 3 cups of water overnight. Discard water, rinse, and boil in 1 cup of water which will only take 5min to cook. This is much better than the typical 25min. The nutrients are also more bio-available when pre-soaked like this since it removes the phytic acid.

Overnight: You can also make steel cut oats in the slow cooker overnight. Try this recipe here

Tip: Make sure you top off your bowl with fresh fruit or frozen berries, cinnamon, chia seeds, hemp hearts, flax seeds, and your favourite nut butter. If you need extra sweetness, try 1 tsp of raw honey or maple syrup.

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