Overnight No-Cook Chocolate Berry Oatmeal & Buckwheat Groat Breakfast Pudding
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And Now for the Real Post
Breakfast just got even better.
Hands-down, this is the most delicious, most nutritious, most satisfying breakfast I've ever eaten!
Am I exaggerating?
Anne Marie's brilliant suggestion of adding unsweetened cocoa into the oatmeal pudding was sheer genius.
It not only tastes scrumptious, but it also adds all the polyphenol blood pressure lowering benefits of cocoa to this already-tastes-too-good-to-be-healthy-for-you breakfast concoction.
Four servings. Made overnight in your fridge. Layered parfait-style (or not) into a bowl in the morning.
This breakfast pudding parfait has it all!
And it's so easy!!!
Makes enough to last for 4 mornings.
- Cholesterol-cutting rolled oats that are loaded with both soluble & insoluble fiber.
- The atherosclerosis-preventing polyphenol, avenanthramide, found in oats, boosts the production of artery-saving nitric oxide. This is a dose-response relationship--so the more oats you eat--the more nitric oxide you're producing. Now you can enjoy oatmeal for dessert!
- The "miracle polyphenol", epicatechin, found in cocoa. It lowers blood pressure, neutralizes inflammation, increases HDL's, dilates blood vessels, helps prevent atherosclerosis, increases nitric oxide production and more!
- The anthocyanins found in berries--that boost memory, tamper inflammation, & clean out "toxic brain junk"--like mini-brain maids.
- Buckwheat groats - high in protein, loaded with B vitamins, gluten-free, low-glycemic, & it even steadies blood glucose levels. Groats also lend a nice nutty crunch to this breakfast pudding. Who could ask for anything more?
- Chia seeds - you'll get 1 tablespoon per serving, which provides all the omega-3's you'll need for the day (2.7 grams), along with bonus anti-oxidants, protein & fiber.
- Walnuts have the highest amount of antioxidants of all the nuts, as well as heart-healthy omega-3s, and a perfect ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s. It's the best nut out there, hands down.
First: The Recipe
Second: All the Benefits
Soak the Oats, Cocoa, Chia, Soy Milk, Vanilla, & Smashed Banana Overnight in a Jar or Covered Bowl
Soak the Buckwheat Groats in a Covered Bowl Overnight & Rinse Well in the Morning
Layer Thawed or Fresh Mixed Berries, Chocolate Oat Chia Pudding, Raw Buckwheat Groats, & Top with Chopped Walnuts. Yum!!!
The Healthy LIbrarian's Overnight Chocolate Berry Buckwheat Breakfast Groats & Oats with Chia & Walnuts
For a copy of the recipe on one page, click here
Servings: 4 (you can store leftovers in the fridge, & enjoy 4 days worth of already-made breakfasts)
Part 1: The Chocolate Oat Pudding
2/3 cup of old-fashioned (not instant) rolled oats
2 cups of soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
4 tablespoons of chia seeds (white is prettier, but not necessary)
1 medium to large ripe banana, smashed up
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1 tablespoon unsweetened, un-Dutched cocoa (I like Penzey's) (cocoa is optional, of course--it's still good plain)
Optional: 1 packet of stevia
1. Microwave 1/2 cup of the milk until very warm. Mix in the 1 tablespoon of cocoa. Un-Dutched cocoa doesn't dissolve well in cold liquids--that's the reason for this step.
2. Mix everything together (the oats, the milk, the chia, the banana, the vanilla, the cocoa-dissolved-in-the-warmed-milk, & the optional stevia), mix well, & put in a quart jar or sealed bowl to soak overnight in the fridge.
3. Store leftovers in the fridge.
Part 2: The Buckwheat Groats
3 cups of water
1. Soak groats in 3 cups of water overnight in a sealed container in the fridge.
2. In the morning, rinse very well. A few times, is even better. It removes the sticky coating from the groats.
3. Store leftovers in the fridge.
Part 3: Putting the parfait together
You really don't need to make a parfait--it just looks pretty. It's fine to dump one serving's worth of everything into a bowl--it will taste the same.
MIX UP ONLY ONE SERVING AT A TIME. STORE THE LEFTOVER CHOCOLATE OATMEAL PUDDING & GROATS SEPARATELY. LAYER THEM WHEN MAKE YOUR BREAKFAST
1. Thaw 1 cup of mixed frozen berries, per serving (fresh is fine) in the microwave. I use 1 cup of berries per serving
2. For each serving, layer 1/4 of the chocolate oatmeal pudding, 1/4 of the buckwheat groats, with 1 cup of mixed berries.
3. Top your breakfast with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts.
Nutrition Info Based on Using Eden Extra Soy Milk - Use Less Groats for Fewer Calories
Why You Want to Eat Oats Everyday
The New Science Behind Oats - Avenanthramides
Old news: Oats have a soluble fiber, known as beta-glucan that helps to lower cholesterol by reducing its absorption into the blood stream. They are also low-glycemic, taking a nice leisurely time to digest, so they keep you full longer, and keep your blood sugar steady. All commendable qualities.
New to me news--the Avenanthramides--the heart healthy polyphenol found in oats : Over at the USDA-Agricultural Research Vascular Biology Lab at Tufts University, Dr. Mohsen Meydani is the "oat expert". It turns out that the polyphenols in oats, better known as avenanthramides, are the real power players when it comes to heart health. First off, they prevent LDL from oxidizing, which sets the process of atherosclerosis into motion. They work their magic by "decreasing inflammation in the artery walls, by limiting the growth of artery-stiffening smooth muscle cells inside arteries, and by preventing white blood cells from sticking to artery walls." Harvard Health Letter, May 2010.
But it gets even better. Meydani has recently found that the avenanthramides in oats are not only anti-inflammatory, but they put a stop to the kind of wild cell growth in the artery walls that starts the whole process of atherosclerosis in the first place--which can eventually lead to heart attacks. As if that weren't enough--when you ingest these avenanthramides with your morning oatmeal, you're also preventing atherosclerosis by increasing artery-saving nitric oxide production in the endothelium or lining of your arteries. That's the "magic gas" that keeps the arteries relaxed and dilated. And it's a dose-response--the more avenanthramides, the greater the nitric oxide production. Side benefit: lowered blood pressure. For Meydani's research click here and here.
Curbing colon cancer with avenanthramides, too. We knew that oats and other whole grains helped to reduce colon cancer, but the mechanism wasn't fully understood. Meydani's just-published research in Nutr Cancer 2010 Nov. 62(8):1007-16 found that the avenanthramides in oats tamp down inflammation in the colon, and inhibit the growth of colonic cancer cells.
What's So Good About Cocoa?
The Greek name for cocoa means, "Drink of the Gods". Maybe they were on to something. Epicatechin is the polyphenol in cocoa that does its magic on the cardiovascular system.
- It lowers blood pressure
- It reduces insulin resistance and improves platelet function
- It increases nitric oxide production--that "magic gas" that improves endothelial function, and it has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- In a recent meta-analysis in the journal Circulation, 75 grams of dark chocolate for 3 weeks increased HDLs by 14% and decreased LDL oxidation. Lowering blood pressure took even less cocoa to do the job.
- How does cocoa do all this? It's probably because it increases the availability of nitric oxide, and it also increases arginase--which prevents nitric oxide from breaking down. It's a 2-for-one!
- Cocoa's best benefit? It inhibits the kind of inflammation that creates atherosclerotic plaque.
- This study will give you a good reason to drink cocoa daily. One of the tests for a healthy vasculature is the ability of our blood vessels to dilate. This study looked at the dilation of arteries after drinking a high flavanoid cocoa drink, compared to a low flavonoid drink. There was a significant increase in vasodilation with the high flavonoid drink--and nitric oxide levels increased as the level of flavonoids in the cocoa increased.
- Watch out! Avoid cocoa or dark chocolate that is "Dutch-Processed" or is treated with an alkali to decrease its bitterness--that destroys the flavonoids!
Bring on the Berries, Everyday!
Berries, baby! The research is nothing but good, good, good for berries & the brain. In fact, now we know a little bit more about how they do their magic on the brain. They "activate the brain's natural "housekeeper" mechanism, which cleans up and recycles toxic proteins linked to age-related memory loss and other mental decline." Like mini-brain-maids these cells clear out brain junk. I have berries daily in my Green Smoothies, and either on top of my oatmeal, or mixed in plain soy yogurt. Lower-cost mixed berries are at BJ's or Costco. Read more here and here.
If You're Going to Eat Nuts, Stick to Walnuts--For So Many Reasons
In a report [presented at the] 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, scientists presented an analysis showing that walnuts have a combination of more healthful antioxidants and higher quality antioxidants than any other nut.
“Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts,” said Joe Vinson, Ph.D., who did the analysis. “A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. But unfortunately, people don’t eat a lot of them. This study suggests that consumers should eat more walnuts as part of a healthy diet.”
Walnuts are the top nut for heart-healthy antioxidants
Vinson noted that nuts in general have an unusual combination of nutritional benefits — in addition those antioxidants — wrapped into a convenient and inexpensive package. Nuts, for instance, contain plenty of high-quality protein that can substitute for meat; vitamins and minerals; dietary fiber; and are dairy- and gluten-free.
Years of research by scientists around the world link regular consumption of small amounts of nuts or peanut butter with decreased risk of heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, gallstones, Type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.
Despite all the previous research, scientists until now had not compared both the amount and quality of antioxidants found in different nuts, Vinson said. He filled that knowledge gap by analyzing antioxidants in nine different types of nuts: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, and pecans. Walnuts had the highest levels of antioxidants.
Vinson also found that the quality, or potency, of antioxidants present in walnuts was highest among the nuts. Antioxidants in walnuts were 2-15 times as potent as vitamin E, renowned for its powerful antioxidant effects that protect the body against damaging natural chemicals involved in causing disease.
“There’s another advantage in choosing walnuts as a source of antioxidants,” said Vinson, who is with the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. “The heat from roasting nuts generally reduces the quality of the antioxidants. People usually eat walnuts raw or unroasted, and get the full effectiveness of those antioxidants.”
Dr. David Katz of the Yale University School of Medicine, published a small randomized-controlled study in 2010, that demonstrated how a walnut-enriched diet improves endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in type 2 diabetic individuals, suggesting a potential reduction in overall cardiac risk.
Source: Ma Y, Njike VY, Millet J, Dutta S, Doughty K, Treu JA, Katz DL, "Effects of walnut consumption on endothelial function in type 2 diabetic subjects: a randomized controlled crossover trial," Diabetes Care, 2010 Feb;33(2):227-32. Click here for the full article.
Chia - For Omega-3's, Anti-Oxidants, & Plenty of Fiber
"Chia seeds are one of the oldest cultivated plants known to man. They are loaded with antioxidants, essential fatty acids (3 and 6), vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Chia seeds maintain blood sugar levels as they slow our body's conversion of carbohydrates into simple sugars. They are great for an athletic person as they can effectively replenish minerals lost in sweat.
Chia seeds can also help in weight loss as they swell up to 10 times their size, which prevents absorption of some calories we eat. Chia puddings are great for breakfast as they will provide you with ample energy throughout the day."
This ancient seed is the highest plant source of omega-3s, and it's also loaded with fiber (soluble & insoluble), antioxidants, protein, calcium, and a laundry list of other vitamins & minerals.
If you've read Christopher McDougall's best-selling book, Born to Run, about the fit & healthy Tarahumara barefoot runners you know what a nutrition powerhouse the chia seed is. McDougall likens chia water to "drinking a smoothie of wild salmon, spinach and human growth hormone". Not at all sure about its human growth hormone similarities!
To learn more about all the benefits of drinking chia water, click here for Christina Pirello's article about chia. And a big thank you to reader M.L. for sending Pirello's article this way.
If the Tarahumara Indians sound familiar to you, it's because they are Dr. Esselstyn's poster children for zero heart disease--thanks to their plant-based diet of squash, corn, and beans.
Now I'm wondering how much a role chia has contributed to their stellar health. That is, until Western food made its way into their once hidden Copper Canyons--bringing along diabetes, obesity, & heart disease.
Excerpt about chia from McDougall's Born to Run:
"...after I satisfied my hunger and thirst with some iskiate, I at once felt new strength, and, to my own astonishment, climbed the great height without much effort. After this I always found iskiate a friend in need, so strengthening and refreshing that I may almost claim it as a discovery." (written by the great Norwegian explorer, Carl Lumholtz in the 1890's)
Months later, I'd (Chris McDougall) learn that iskiate is otherwise know as chia fresca--"Chilly chia." It's brewed up by dissolving chia seed in water with a little sugar and a squirt of lime.
In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone.
As tiny as those seeds are, they're superpacked with omega-3s, omega-6s protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants.
If you had to pick just one desert-island food, you couldn't do much better than chia, at least if you were interested in building muscle, lowering cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart disease; after a few months of the chia diet, you could probably swim home.Chia was once so treasured, the Aztecs used to deliver it to their king in homage. Aztec runners used to chomp chia seeds as they went into battle, and the Hopis fueled themselves on chia during their epic runs from Arizona to the Pacific Ocean.
Despite its liquid-gold status, chia is ridiculously easy to grow; if you own a Chia Pet, in fact, you're only a few steps away from your own batch of devil drink.
Humble Buckwheat Groats
Buckwheat is the highest source of protein in the plant kingdom, with 50% more B-vitamins than wheat. And it's gluten-free.
Did I mention that it's high in lysine--an important "not-so-easy-to-get" amino acid---and it's high in that "hard-to-find" soluble fiber that slows down digestion, which is helpful for keeping blood sugar levels stable. A plus for diabetics.
It's so satisfying, & I'll vouch for the claim that buckwheat is a slow-release carb. This breakfast keeps me full for four hours. Really.
Gas-free (unlike steel-cut oats), too! A definite plus. Maybe it's because of the soaking.
What's the big deal about buckwheat? For starters, it's not really a cereal grain, but a seed, related to rhubarb & sorrel. It's rich in flavanoids, like the antioxidant, rutin, loads of B Vitamins, sky-high in magnesium, potassium, & phosphorus, & it helps to lower glucose levels.
I hope you enjoy the breakfast pudding parfait as much as I do.
Please let me know what you think!