After our first son was born we experienced many health issues that we didn’t understand, which caused us to launch many desires for health and the understanding of health issues. We learned about Dr. Westin Price, who was a dentist that traveled the world to study primitive cultures about 70 years ago. He wrote a great book about what he learned, called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. You can follow the amazon link to the right to learn more about that book.
I read the book cover to cover and was fascinated by the pictures and stories of people in about ten different primitive cultures where he traveled. In every case the vibrancy of the people was directly correlated to the quality of the foods they ate, and the pictures are a very dramatic illustration. I’m a visual learner so I appreciated all the pictures:)
Later we were introduced to another book called Nourishing Traditions, which is a cookbook based on the lessons learned from Dr. Price and his studies. I was excited about this book and spent a couple years trying out different recipes and learning about foods I had never heard of before. This is the book I’m referring to:
I wrote about a dozen of my favorite recipes inside the front cover with page numbers so I could refer to them often. One thing I began cooking everyday for breakfast was some type of grain prepared like oatmeal. I bought about eight different types of grain and tried a different one everyday for variety. I narrowed down the list based on what the most people in our family liked to eat (and what was a better price), until I got down to rice, wheat, and oats. Candice didn’t want the babies to have wheat because it is harder to digest, so then I had rice and oats. For the past year or so I’ve stayed with oats because they provide more calories than rice (due to their fat content).
I learned from the Nourishing Traditions book that all seeds and grains have built in protection against deterioration (like being digested in your tummy) that is designed to preserve the nutrients until germination. But if you soak them you can remove this “protection” just like warm, wet soil does. So I got a hand grinder and ground about a cup of grain at night so I could soak them in water with a little apple cider vinegar (later I changed this to raw milk or whey instead) overnight before cooking them. The hand mill I had is pictured to the right:
I later got a Nutrimill to save me about 20 minutes of grinding every night. The result is closer to oat flour than oatmeal, but I appreciate the time savings and the cooked result looks about the same. I use the Nutrimill, as pictured on the left:
During this time Candice began a 3 year apprenticeship with Dr. Shamosh in Phoenix, AZ to learn Chinese Herbology and Indian Ayurveda. I learned a few things from her studies, including the importance of the six tastes to digestion. We got a poster that we put up in the kitchen which detailed the energetics of food, including many spices. I experimented with many different spices in my oatmeal and tried to cover all the tastes, and we all enjoy it now. It’s still a bit different everyday because I don’t measure anything, but I think that’s part of the fun:)
So here is my latest oatmeal recipe, with estimations as to how much I use of each item:
- 1-1.5 cups of oats
- 2-3 cups of water
- 1/2-1 cup raw milk
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Creme, Ghee, or Butter
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Molasses
- 1 tsp Raw Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Cardamom
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
- 1 tsp Ginger powder (only in the winter when it’s cold, because ginger is warming)
- (optional) Handful of raisins
First grind the oats and cover them with water and raw milk in a pot or bowl, and stir them up to make sure they all get wet. Cover the pot or bowl (I use a big plate for this) and let it soak overnight. When you’re ready to cook it, put it in a pot, add some more water (if needed, depending on how thick you want it), and stir to get it mixed up again. Turn on the stove to medium or medium-high heat and mix in all the other ingredients. The higher you turn the heat, the faster it will cook, but you’ll need to stir more then. Even on low you’ll need to stir every once in awhile so you don’t get uncooked clumps in the mixture. I’ve learned that I can get it cooked and ready in 15 minutes if I cook it on medium-high and stir almost constantly. If the heat is too high then you won’t be able to keep it from sticking to the bottom and burning a bit no matter how fast you stir, but if the heat is medium or lower it may take 30+ minutes to get to a good consistency (this is based on a typical electric stove in the USA, gas stoves will likely cook faster).
I know it’s done when the mixture thickens and looks more like lava than soup – the thickness will depend on the water/oats ratio – if it’s too thin you can cook it longer, if it’s too thick you can add more water. I like it best when the bubbles combine and cause the oatmeal to “burp”. When I serve the older kids I put a little honey or maple syrup (we call maple syrup “waffle sauce”) on top, but when I feed or serve the babies I don’t add anything.
If you’re wondering about the 6 tastes, they are sweet, salty, sour, astringent, pungent, and bitter. The sweet and salty tastes are well covered in the list above, but here’s how I get the others:
Sour – Molasses
Astringent – Cinnamon
Pungent – Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg
Bitter – Cardamom
You can learn more about the importance of the six tastes to our healthy digestion (from an Ayurvedic perspective) by reading an article Candice wrote on her site at http://phxherbs4kids.com/nutrition-articles/1-our-digestive-experience-an-ayurvedic-perspective.html.
Last night we were up late and I didn’t grind any oats. So when the kids woke us asking for food I made scrambled eggs and chocolate milk (not necessarily the best combination, but I was tired and that’s what they asked for). Our five children (mostly the older three) ate nine eggs and asked for more but that’s all I had so I gave them some toast. I appreciate my oatmeal:)