What’s In It: Packaged Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a whole grain so it’s healthy breakfast right? Yes it is a whole grain and when my clients are travelling for business or even pleasure and want to take some healthy options with them I will recommend they take some packages of the unflavored oatmeal as it packs easily in the suitcase and can easily be made in a hotel room.

The flavored varieties of oatmeal however, are a whole different ball game. As soon as you start adding flavors it opens the door to the refined sugars, natural flavors (which are normally far from natural) and lots of other chemicals.

Check out the picture below, this is from a box of Quakers Apple & Cinnamon Oatmeal.

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The ingredients are:

  • Whole grain rolled oats (with oat bran) – good so far!
  • Sugar (doesn’t tell us which form so I’m 99.99999 % sure that it’s from a refined source)
  • Dehydrated apple pieces (calcium stearate – an anticaking agent and sulphites – preservative) – not sounding too tasty
  • Natural flavors
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Guar Gum
  • Calcium Carbonate (thickener)

So what am I getting at? Well yes, ideally I want you to make your own oatmeal at home using either rolled oats or even quick cook oats (see the President Choice ones I buy below).

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Here is how I would make my own apple cinnamon oatmeal:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (or quick cook oats)
  • Water or milk as the liquid
  • ½ apple, chopped
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of maple syrup or raw honey for sweetness or you could add raisins or some other dried fruit instead.
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds (optional for added protein)
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax (optional for added fiber – remember the fiber is going to help keep you feeling full and ward off those cravings later in the day)

Look at the difference. Which one do you think contains more real food? I know I would rather have the real apple than dehydrated apple with calcium sterate and sulphites added – yuk!

If you are thinking, I don’t have time to make my own oatmeal in the morning – could you not get up 5-10 minutes earlier? If this really isn’t an option then here are 2 solutions:

  1. You could use the packaged plain oatmeal and add the apple, cinnamon and sweetener yourself
  2. Make overnight oats (see recipe below).

I understand time is precious but so is your health. Sometimes making those healthier choices means that you either spend a little extra time in the kitchen the night before or go to bed a little earlier so you can get up a little earlier to make yourself a healthy breakfast. Give it a try!

 

Overnight Oats

1 large banana, mashed

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (you could also use cow, goat, coconut or other milk alternative)

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1-2 tsp pure maple syrup or raw honey (optional)

  • In a small bowl, mash the banana until almost smooth. Now stir in the chia seeds and cinnamon until combined.
  • Stir in the oats, almond milk, and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • In the morning, stir the oat mixture to combine. If your oats have a runny consistency even after they soak, simply stir in an additional 1 tablespoon chia seeds and place the mixture back in the fridge until it has thickened up.
  • If the oat mixture is too thick, simply add a splash of milk and stir to combine.
  • You can top this with fresh fruit, coconut flakes or some nuts and seed

 

 

 

 

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Change Your Eating Habits With These Simple Tips

Cooking Woman Using Computer

How many times have you thought to yourself that you should be making healthier food choices? More fruits and vegetables, less processed foods with colouring and preservatives, and more chicken and fish. Out with the bad, in with the good!

That little voice in your head tells you to cut back on the caffeine, alcohol and even quit those cigarettes; however, sometimes it seems like more effort than it’s worth.

Knowing where to start is half the battle; realizing that you didn’t get there overnight is another point to consider. Taking back your health is going to take a little time and effort. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Just think about that one healthier choice you can make today and stick with it. Perhaps it will be drinking more water or having one fewer cup of coffee. Regardless of what your one thing is, stick to it and make it habit. Then be sure to congratulate yourself on a job well done and realize that you can tackle the next goal you set for yourself just as easily.

Consider making conscious choices to incorporate whole foods in their natural state as becoming a way of life. The cells in your body are made from the raw materials that you eat. What better way to nourish your body than with whole, natural and life giving foods.

So this year, forget about the fad diets and latest weight loss gimmick. Begin to fuel your body with foods closest to their natural state as possible (preservative, pesticide and chemical free). Read the labels. If you don’t understand the word it’s probably not good for you. Try making more salads and soups, rice and beans, fish and steamed veggies. Take your lunch to work; eat less and more slowly; stock the fridge with fresh fruits and veggies; drink lots of water; Switch to herbal or green tea instead of coffee.

Remember moderation and balance. Who knows? Those pants just might fit a little looser, your skin may clear up, you may even feel more energy or sleep better at night.

Melanie Grime is a holistic nutritionist at the Collective Health Clinic serving the Orangeville, Dufferin, Wellington and Caledon areas. Melanie Grime RHN treats everyone as an individual with their own specific needs and helps clients suffering from health issues by looking for the root cause of symptoms and working with them to reach their health and nutrition goals. She specializes in weight loss, hormonal issues, detox, meal plans, nutritional consulting and family nutrition.

How to make your own salad dressing in 60 seconds (& Why to Avoid the Store Bought Ones)

 Olive-Oil

Salad dressings are a staple in many fridges, unfortunately most of them are store-bought. I have issues with these as the majority of them are made with inflammatory and rancid oils. Even the “healthy” versions contain these toxic oils. They can also contain high amounts of refined sugar and white vinegar.

The biggest mistake we have made is over-heating our oils.   When oils are exposed to high heat or heat for extended periods of time this turns the oil rancid.  Rancidity also happens when the oils are exposed to light and air.  This rancid oil will cause free radical damage in our bodies which can lead to inflammation and health issues long term.

Another issue is that most dressings are stored in plastic containers and contaminants can leach out of the plastic, into the oils and then into our bodies when we consume them.

Many oils are very delicate and the processing that most of the salad dressings go through mean that the oils are damaged by exposure to light and heat.

If your goal is to eat less processed food and more real food, then trying to make your own dressing is a great place to start. They are super easy to make yourself and yes, the basic ones can be done in about 60 seconds, all you need is some extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar (balsamic & apple cider vinegar are my favourite), salt and pepper.

I have included 4 recipes below of my favourite go-to dressings and it really is as easy as putting the ingredients in a mason jar and either shaking or blending it up.

Greek Salad Vinaigrette

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

½ tsp dried oregano

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Balsamic Dressing

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 pinch sea salt

1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

 

Honey & Fennel Dressing

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (buy Omega Nutrition brand)

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp flax oil (or just double up on the olive oil)

1 tbsp honey

1 to 2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground fennel

 

Poppy Seed Dressing

1 tbsp wine vinegar

½ tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp salt

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 tbsp honey

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ tsp poppy seeds

 

Melanie Grime is a holistic nutritionist at the Collective Health Clinic serving the Orangeville, Dufferin, Wellington and Caledon areas. Melanie Grime RHN treats everyone as an individual with their own specific needs and helps clients suffering from health issues by looking for the root cause of symptoms and working with them to reach their health and nutrition goals. She specializes in weight loss, hormonal issues, detox, meal plans, nutritional consulting and family nutrition.