Oatmeal is a type of cereal that immigrants from the Old World brought here to America as a daily staple. Modern science acknowledges the health benefits of oat grains in improving heart health and in providing roughage for the intestinal tract. Something most modern cooks don’t know is that oatmeal needs to be soaked, or lacto-fermented, in whey or another acidic liquid to neutralize phytates so that we can digest it and receive all the nutrients we should get from our oatmeal. This is effectively creating your own probiotics, or adding digestive enzymes, to help your body absorb all the nutrients.
Use a glass bowl. Do not use metal or plastic, which may interact with the acidic whey, lemon juice or vinegar with which the grains are being soaked.
Mix, cover and soak 12-24 hours at room temperature.
1 cup lukewarm filtered water
2 Tbsp. whey, lemon juice or vinegar (I highly recommend whey – see how to Make Some Whey below.)
1 cup rolled oats
½ tsp. cinnamon
Finish preparing the oatmeal. In a saucepan, boil 1 cup water, 1 tbsp. maple syrup (formaldehyde-free) and 1/8 tsp. sea salt. Add soaked oats. As an option, add one or more of the following: ¼ cup raisins, ¼ cup unsweetened commercial coconut, ¼ cup seeds or nuts, 1/8 cup ground fresh flaxseed, ½ tsp. cinnamon, or anything that provides the texture and flavor you enjoy. Bring to boil and simmer 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. To serve, add butter, cream, and substitute stevia or raw honey for sweetening.
Keep it naturally sweet. Try to have your oatmeal with fresh or dried fruit and low-glycemic sweeteners such as raw honey (packed with probiotics and nutrients if it’s not heated above 112 degrees Fahrenheit), maple syrup or stevia (from a tropical plant). If you are trying to increase your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, don’t give it a shock with high-glycemic, refined sugars and syrups.
Make some whey for true lacto-fermentation. Buy 2 pints of whole-milk plain yogurt, not ultrapasteurized if at all possible. Put yogurt in a thin, white towel or in a double layer of cheesecloth. Hang it over a bowl several hours at room temperature until some yellowish, clear liquid collects on the bottom of the bowl (it should not be milky, so avoid squeezing the yogurt). You now have whey (the yellowish, clear liquid) and yogurt cheese, which you can use in place of commercial cream cheese (it is a little more sour than the commercial version).
If you will take the time to soak your oatmeal and other grains you eat, you will find that your digestion will improve. Your body will not have to deplete its own enzymes to digest your food, and you will find that you are not as hungry for junky, sugary food during the rest of your day. If you are addicted to sugar, you may find that this helps you eat more healthy food in general.