Wednesday, 5 March 2014


Vanilla oatmeal with caramelised bananas, black tahini, goji and figs

For the month of February, I tried a different eating approach.  Still plant based of course, but it was one more focused on eating starches (grains, legumes, tubers), and it was based on the book by John McDougall, "The Starch Solution".
If you are interested in a plant based diet, I highly recommend you read the book, if anything, it will give you some information that you may not know.
I really liked the book and found it really informative, I also like it because it sticks to the low fat, high carb way of eating, which is what I enjoy the most.

Whilst it challenged some of my beliefs about eating, order of eating and food combining, I still gave it a go.
The first change that came about as a result of the book is that now I have renewed my obsession with oatmeal!
I remember always loving oatmeal, but since I started eating a predominantly raw diet, it kind of went out the window, along with most grains.
But now we've had a welcomed reunion and the love affair is well and truly established!
So, I will dedicate this post to some oatmeal recipes and give my views on the diet at the end.

Let's get oaty!

Basic Vanilla Oatmeal
Serves 1

1/2 cup organic wholegrain oats
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
Stevia drops (optional)

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan, except the vanilla, and stir on low to medium heat until the oats are cooked, approximately 3-5 minutes.
After they are cooked to your liking, stir in the vanilla extract.  

The secret to a creamy oatmeal, is making sure that you stir the whole time that you are cooking them.  This will always result in an oatmeal with a creamy consistency despite using just water.  Of course, feel free to use all milk or some milk, whatever ratio you love.  This is just the basic recipe.

Once you have your basic oatmeal recipe, you can make any flavour combination.  
Just think of all the amazing flavours you can create!!!

Fig, Cinnamon & Banana Baked Oatmeal
Serves 1

1/2 cup organic wholegrain oats (wheat free if you're avoiding gluten)
1 ripe banana (reserve a couple of slices for decoration)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of non-dairy milk of choice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 medium fig, sliced

Pre-heat oven 180 degrees celcius.
In a blender, add the oats, banana, water, milk of choice and cinnamon.  Pulse to mix through and break down the banana but don't liquify it, you still want there to be pieces of oats.
Pour it into a small baking dish, and top with fig & banana slices.
Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes.  When the 15 minutes is up, place under the grill so that bananas and figs can caramelise.  Feel free to add a little of coconut sugar but I didn't bother.

Vanilla Pear Oatmeal with Spice Baked Apples
Serves 1

1x Basic Vanilla Oatmeal 
1 small ripe pear
1 medium apple, chopped
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or whichever ones you like)

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Add chopped apples to a bowl and pour over spices, mix well, making sure they cover every piece.
Place it on an oven tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven to roast for about 20-30 minutes.
I normally make the baked apples ahead of time, and keep them in a container in the fridge for when I want to use them.
I bake them at the same time I bake pumpkin, saves resources and time!
Once they are done, go on to make the basic vanilla oatmeal recipe, adding finely diced pear at the beginning of the cooking process so that the pears can get soft and breakdown.  Start mashing the pears whilst you stir the oatmeal.  This with the vanilla will combine to make the most delicious flavour combo, I promise!
Once ready, pour into a bowl and top with your spiced apples.  I also added some raw pepitas.

Blueberry Vanilla Oats with Mixed Berry Compote 
Serves 1

1x Basic Vanilla oatmeal
1/2 cup of blueberries
1/2 cup mixed berries*
1/4 cup of water
stevia drops (optional)

Make the basic vanilla oats recipe, adding the blueberries to the pan at the beginning.  This will soften the blueberries and turn the oats the most lovely colour!
For the compote, add the mixed berries, water and stevia (if using) to a small saucepan and heat on low-medium heat until the berries start to breakdown and the water begins to evaporate.
Once the oatmeal is done, place into a bowl and top with the berry compote.
I served mine with some cinnamon spiced raw tahini which I just made by mixing some ground cinnamon with a tablespoon of tahini & a bit of water to make it runnier.  You could also use peanut butter if you prefer.

*Feel free to use frozen berries, they are handy & I always have them in the freezer for when berries are out of season.  They are a much cheaper option too.

Now, for my thoughts on the eating approach proposed by Dr. McDougall:

I had no expectations as I feel that the way I eat is pretty healthy.  The only thing I thought might happen is that I would get bloated from eating all the grains, but this didn't really happen.

The main challenge of this diet for me was actually giving myself a break!  A break from feeling bad about deviating from what I normally eat, a break from not necessarily eating huge amounts, a break from being consumed with what I'm going to eat!
I know that may sound silly, but I felt that things had started to get a little bit ridiculous.
I mean, the reason why I started eating plant based was so that I could gain the well documented health benefits, but then I turned into a person consumed by my quest of 'health'.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, it's just that for me, I felt that I was letting it take over you know?
But it's all good now.  In regards to how I feel when I eat a combination of raw and cooked, grains or not:  HAPPY!
It's nice to have the flexibility, and rather than be dictated by a 'philosophy', I'm now dictated by my gut! 

Hope that helps, and please post any oatmeal recipes that you love so that I can try them out.

Peas, love and mungbeans


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