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Oats For Winter Wellness

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Just as oats thrive in cold, damp climates, they will help you thrive through the long Canadian winters. These hardy grains are certainly more versatile than simply breakfast food.

Just as oats thrive in cold, damp climates, they will help you thrive through the long Canadian winters. These hardy grains are certainly more versatile than simply breakfast food. For November, I have chosen to surprise you with a variety of tasty oat recipes. Quick and easy to prepare, these oat meals (no pun intended) will be loved by kids and adults alike.

One of our most nutritious cereals, oats are also one of the most complete foods for humans. The grains are nutritional powerhouses, loaded with minerals, silica and other trace elements our body needs to build strong bones and muscles and to maintain joint elasticity.

Of all grains, oats contain the highest amount of protein. They also contain all the B vitamins, including traces of B12, in a density found in no other food. Oats are rich in vitamin E and contain seven per cent essential fatty acids and trace amounts of vitamin K. They are also the only cereal containing saponin, a hormone-like-substance that helps the pancreas regulate insulin production. This benefits diabetics immensely. For people avoiding wheat, oats make an ideal substitute.

Oats are easy to digest. They provide energy and give you beautiful skin. It is said that oats encourage growth because of the ideal composition of protein, fat and carbohydrates. For this reason babies should be introduced to oats as the first solid food after they are weaned. To start, cook the oats, then strain and feed the oat/water solution in a bottle to baby. Later the baby will love oats as porridge.

As soothing food for those with digestive problems, nutrition for the convalescent and energy for the strenuous hard worker, oats are an essential health food for the winter months and beyond.

Digestible Oats

Usually oats are not used for baking because they lack gluten, which keeps bread from falling apart. Oats are most commonly flaked and used as cereal. In preparation for flaking, the spelt (outer shell) is removed from the oat kernels (called groats), which are then steamed and rolled. The steaming process is important because it enhances the digestibility of oats. Another way to enhance the taste of oats is kiln drying. This can easily be done at home by simply moistening the kernels, then drying them in the oven at 140°F (60°C). This brings about a nut-like flavour with a pleasant aroma. Kiln-dried oats produce less mucilage, and the flakes and groats are wonderful for making patties and pancakes. Steaming and kiln drying does not destroy the enzymes or any vitamins, but makes oats more digestible.

Classic Bircher Muesli

Oat Grits

Delicious Oat Drink

Cherry-Oat Souffle with Vanilla Sauce

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