Easy Nutritious and Filling Fare

When my doctor suggested I try a vegan diet to help ease the aches of pains of aging, I was worried about how I’d get enough protein. My standard breakfast had consisted of a couple of slices of turkey bacon, some sort of carb and fruit—plus coffee, of course.

Oatmeal IngrediantsI knew about the health benefits of walnuts, especially for women. They’re loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, so I decided to make them the protein base for my new breakfast menu. The obvious pairing is oatmeal—long known as a healthy heart food and a comfort carb. Since I work at home, I have the ability to make breakfast at my leisure, but that doesn’t mean I have a lot of time to spend at the stove. I am not a fan of “instant” food because it’s usually been processed, so no packets of oatmeal for me.

Instead, I opt for organic rolled oats bought in bulk at my local health food co-op. It cooks up in under 4 minutes in a microwave and tastes great. My recipe is simple:

  • 1/3 Cup Raw Oats
  • 3/4 Cup Cold Water
  • Place in deep microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 3 minutes, 45 seconds.

An easy way to shop nutsMy additions to my oatmeal always include about 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts. I buy these in bulk too, and found an easy-peasy way to chop them without making a mess or getting my food processor dirty. Unlike almonds (another healthy, tasty nut), walnuts are soft and break apart easily under pressure. The simplest way to chop them is to put a half-cup or so in a plastic zip-loc bag, close—but don’t seal. Roll over the bag of nuts with any heavy round object—a can of beans, an empty jar, a wooden rolling pin—whatever you’ve got, until they nuts are “chopped” to the size you prefer. If you don’t use plastic, just put them between two sheets of waxed paper.

Sweet William applesFresh fruit is another must-have. I tend to go with whatever is in season in my garden: strawberries in June, ever-bearing raspberries from June–November, blueberries in July and August, and apples from late August until they’re gone. These Sweet Williams have just the right bit of tartness to add some tang. Once I no longer have fruit of my own, I’ll buy organic apples and bananas.

Another prime ingredient for me is cinnamon (again, bought in bulk at my local health food co-op). Though studies are not definitive, much research shows positive health benefits. For the most unbiased answer, I looked to WebMD which noted, “Lab studies have found that cinnamon may reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects, and fight bacteria,” though they make no recommendations. If it helps with my aches and pains, great; if not, it still adds flavor that can replace the more common sugar, honey or syrup. I use close to a teaspoon!

Ready to eatI top the oatmeal first with the cinnamon, then the nuts, then the fruit. To cream it up, I pour a about 1/4 cup of creamer around the circumference of the oatmeal. I use a mixture of 1 part soy vanilla creamer to 1 part cocoanut creamer to keep it vegan. The same mixture creams up my coffee—a “half-caff” blend I grind daily.

In less than 10 minutes of prep time I’ve made a delicious, healthy breakfast that keeps me going until lunch.