Oh, the conflicting nutritional advice! As you know, I'm on a Good Gut kick for the New Year, keeping the microbiome happy with fruits, veggies, fiber, and probiotics. Hence the morning smoothies, including this latest peach-mango version which didn't feel as fibrous as the berry because I didn't have to chew seeds with each sip. Next time I'll throw in flaxseed meal to make up for it.
But then a friend said she and her husband are doing thirty days of ONLY meat, fruits, and vegetables. No grains (even whole grains) and no dairy.
And then this book which I'd put on hold came in at the library:
I'd been interested because I wanted more vegetarian recipes, but Rip Esselstyn is not just vegetarian, he's vegan. Good-bye, dairy with probiotics! The man doesn't even use oil to fry or roast. What the heck? And, just when you think you'll ignore all the health claims and try some recipes, he's got testimonies sprinkled throughout of people who rescued their cholesterol, their diabetes, their blood pressure, etc. after just--you guessed it--seven days of this "plant-strong" vegan diet. If you're at the end of your health rope, you may want to consider this extremism, though I had questions about some of the claims. Knowing calcium is fat-soluble, how will I get enough from dark, leafy greens, if no oils or butter are used to cook them? And how long were the rescued able to sustain their adherence to the diet? Unless you have a philosophical reason to be vegan, I think it would be difficult, and it requires a lot of cooking and a LOT of fruits and vegetables to keep up, which are expensive in time and money.
All that aside, there are definitely recipes I've bookmarked. First off, I tried this one:
Banana Steel-Cut Oats
1 super ripe banana, smashed
3 c water
1 tsp vanilla
1 c steel-cut oats
1 Tbsp chia or ground flaxseeds
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1/4 c berries, fresh or frozen
In a small pot over medium heat, mix the smashed banana, water and vanilla. Stir in the oats and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to low, stirring, occasionally. Cook 15-20 minutes, depending on how chewy you like your oats. Add the seeds and spices and serve, topped with fruit.
Esselstyn claims this makes two servings. Maybe two servings for horses. It makes a lot. Frankly, while it was tasty, it made more oatmeal than I wanted to eat, even in two sittings. And if I were forced to down half of it at one sitting, I don't think I could eat steel-cut oats again for at least a week. A small bowl of it was great, though.
What to do with the leftover oats?
You can just stir in a little milk the next day and nuke them, but congealed oatmeal looks so unappealing. Instead I opted for muffins that obeyed none of the new rules. Here's the original recipe, and here's my guilt-induced modification:
Leftover Oatmeal Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup add-ins (such as nuts, chopped chocolate, coconut flakes, fruit, etc. I used coconut and choc chips)
1 large egg
1 cup (185 grams) cooked oatmeal, preferably steel-cut
½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Preheat the oven to 400°F, and grease or paper a 12-cup muffin tin. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and add-ins. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the oatmeal to the egg, and mash with a fork to break up clumps. Add the milk and the butter, and stir or whisk to combine. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, and stir briefly to just combine. Divide the batter evenly between the wells of the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.
So that took care of another cup of the oatmeal...
This morning I looked at my container of congealment and did more internet searching. Someone suggested slicing it, frying the rounds in butter and serving with maple syrup. Ooh...not vegan, again, but appetizing. I went for it. No picture because it basically looks like you're frying up veggie burgers, but I will pass on my learnings:
- Make the slices as thin as you can because, as with all fried things, it's the crunchy bits that are the best.
- A skillet set on medium works, with about a 1/2 Tbsp of butter. Flip the cakes when the first side is nice and brown.
- If you were trying to convince someone other than yourself to eat these, you may want to invest in some powdered sugar or fresh-fruit garnish, to decrease the hamburger-y appearance.
That's it for today's diet adventures. This week I'm experimenting with the formation of new habits and will report in next week!