A few times this week the topic of oatmeal has come up in my life.
Oatmeal seems to be one of those topics that when you Google it, or Bing or Duck Duck Go it, the TOP results will give you options for “Why it is good for you” and “Why oatmeal is not so GOOD for the human gut.”
There is a lot of confusion our there (about many food items) because what we have been taught has been underpinned by AGENDA!
Money and bias – and even ignorance – has permeated the Educational and Medical system.
And hear me on this – writing about oatmeal is not at the top of my “want to do” list today.
I would much rather trickle out a short fiction piece, finish my video with Jason’s band rocking it so I can make a Seasons Post, and I need to finish my interview with Doug.
I also would much rather share photos from Laura’s garden (we were there last Saturday) – and so how about if I share some of the pics from Laura’s garden while I tackle this oatmeal topic and then I get on my way?
Please skip this next part if you are not in the mood to explore the topic of oatmeal (or health).
I am still glad you dropped by this post – and let me know if you like Laura’s garden photos 🙂
Let me start off by saying that if oatmeal is working for you – keep doing what you are doing. Just like I said on my sugar rant (here): if you are happy and thriving- then “get on with your bad self.”
If you are thriving (medication free, at a weight you enjoy, have energy, clear skin, sleep is good, and you feel a sense of wellness – puh-lease – KEEP doing what you are doing – ok?)
But if you sense that something is a little off- maybe what your eating is contributing.
Maybe the little things are adding up to rob the system of functioning at its best.
Sometimes we need to cleanse and fortify the GI – and then revisit food items to see how they make us feel.
If you are interested in fortifying your bio terrain – well start thinking in terms of gut health. The inner organs and intestines impact ALL of your health because the gut is the second brain. Also, you are “not” what you eat – instead – you are what you absorb from what you eat. And this is also why I believe supplements are key to restoring the terrain (but again, if you are super healthy – this does not apply to you). Although you still might want to learn – or explore opposing views:
John Stuart Mill noted:
“The only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this; nor is it in the nature of human intellect to become wise in any other manner.”
Part 1: My Take on Oatmeal
(NOTE: This all for educational purposes only)
1) Remember – try to stay teachable – the tendency for CONFIRMAtION BIAS might keep you from staying open-minded. Like even if you think oatmeal is fine and dandy- your body might not be as happy with oats as you might assume. In the comments below in Part 3 – a few folks shared how they only realized oats did not agree with them as they got off of them and healed the gut – and then tried adding them back in.
2) If you are one that insists oatmeal should be a part of your life – would you consider at least having the old-fashioned, steel-cut variety that has not has been over processed? I once heard someone say that those “packs of instant oatmeal” are like eating a napkin with some sugar added, a dose of artificial flavors thrown in – and a few b-vitamins to make the FDA happy…. and some packages might have mold from sitting in piles…. and before you snicker – ask yourself if you even know the place where those packs were processed? You likely don’t. Was it even in this country???
The insta-oatmeal packs might be tasty and comforting…. but imagine this item going through the digestive track. Then think of what your goal for eating is…. which is to fortify the body with fuel and nutrients – and to give us a sense of well-being. Do you think this item is helping this?
Also, if weight-loss is your aim, oatmeal will likely make you gain.
Awad (2016) over at “Spoon” University (here) wrote: … a 2010 study involving 1000 individuals who followed dietary and behavioral changes, including eating oatmeal everyday for three months, actually gained weight eating this superfood on a daily basis. This was because they loaded their oatmeal with sugary toppings, made their portions too large and rewarded themselves with a mid-morning snack for eating a healthy breakfast.
This fresh off the press article here found evidence that compared to an oatmeal breakfast, two eggs per day increased plasma carotenoids and choline without increasing Trimethyl Amine N-oxide concentrations (Missimer et al., 2018).
3) Think of fortifying the immune system and oatmeal might need to be eliminated for a while. For some people (and guess what – most people who have had tons of antibiotics over the years and eat the Standard American Diet have fungal imbalances inside – they do….) so for some people this means an “anti-fungal diet” might not include oatmeal.
If I had to get up and offer only one suggestion to a group of folks – you know – like if they said give your most potent tip to someone who needs to heal – I would say:
“Get on an anti-fungal diet, eat good fats and oils, and take supplements that target your healing goals.”
I would also say it is okay to GO slow – like that snail from Laura’s garden. Our aim is to do no harm and sometimes slow is a good way to go.
4) Oatmeal could pull from gut health – and anyone with an autoimmune disease or chronic illness needs to really be thinking in terms of gut health – Or at least start by thinking of rebuilding the immune system (and terrain). How do we fortify immunity? It is related to organs and intestinal health – and what we are absorbing through the mucosa lining in our stomach. Chew on that for a while and when you have time – start looking it up. It starts to make more sense.
In my very humble opinion, most people have clogged intestines and our allopathic medical community IGNORES the need to clean up the digestive track.
It really irritates me when doctors jump into medical procedures before even considering natural alternatives. I see this again and again and one of the earliest testimonies was that of Callan Pinckney.
In January 1991, as an undergrad, I had another life detour and found myself back in Fla. Later I realized the gift this detour would be – for many reasons – but it was this season that led me to a handful of good books, including Callan Pinckney’s book Callanetics (here).
I did her exercises for a while – but it was really her story that was so powerful.
Callan’s “body was so damaged because of her poor diet and physically demanding jobs, that she was confined to a wheelchair. Her knee and back pain was so severe that doctors advised her to have surgery. However, after the results she had achieved with ballet as a child she decided to try exercise first.” And guess what? Callan healed her body – naturally – no surgery needed. Sure, sometimes surgery is the answer – but too often it is the first choice because doctors are trained to think and act this way. It is what they do. It is how they get paid. It is how they were educated, shaped, conditioned – etc. It is usually “all they know” and so it is important to realy interview – and be selective – with your health care professional…anyhow…
sometimes natural alternatives prevent the need for surgery – and I have dozens of other examples. But the only other example I will share right now connects it back to the gut topic in this point:
A friend from the gym shared a story about how he was about to get acid reflux surgery – (yes, surgery, for acid reflux. what? Guess there is a new device that can be used to get down in there….) – and well – he decided to spend a year with simple eating and cleaning out his GI to see if that would help. He did herbal cleanses (and enzymes and supplements) and slowly cleaned out all the “back up” – and….. His acid reflux is gone – he also feels very good. This outcome might vary for folks – but he argued that his reflux was related to clogged intestines (and likely a system that needed to be reset).
The analogy he used was like a clogged sink – and if you only keep working at the upper level where the drain is – you are missing the elbow joint clog – or maybe gunk out in the street pipe.
Did you get that?
Because the GI tract is LONG and layered (mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, anus – and joined with liver, pancreas, and gallbladder) – doesn’t it make sense that a problem with one end (mouth and stomach areas) would be interconnected to deeper areas?
When I taught elementary science we used to have students cut up string to show the length of different parts of the GI system. The small intestine in adults is approx. 23 feet long. The large intestine, which is wide in diameter, is aprox. 5 feet) long – and dear readers – we need to be thinking of these areas more often when we consider health and healing.
Part 2: Mark”s Daily Apple Tidbits:
Mark (from MDA here) wrote:
“Oatmeal is a perfect example of the essentially tasteless, but oddly comforting food that’s difficult to give up (judging from all the emails I get). It’s tough to explain, because it’s not like oatmeal is particularly delicious. It’s bland, unless you really dress it up. No, I suspect it’s more than taste. I myself have fond childhood memories of big warm bowls of oat porridge steaming on the breakfast table. I’d add brown sugar, dig in, and head out to adventure through blustery New England mornings with a brick of pulverized oats in my happy belly. The nostalgia persists today, even though I don’t eat the stuff and have no real desire to do so.”
“That’s my take on oats. Better than wheat, worse (and more work to improve) than rice. I won’t be eating them because I frankly don’t enjoy them, there are numerous other food options that are superior to oats, and I don’t dig the weird head space they gave me, but I’ll admit that they aren’t as bad as wheat. If I want starch, I’ll go for some sweet potatoes.”
This is a page from Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint book (p.89).
Part 3: Comment Shares
Oatmeal Comments from Everyday People (from Paelohacks):
Chris Ford wrote: Oats are often contaminated with other gluten grains during processing (Thompson, 2005) article here.
Also the avenin protein appears to have similar effects to gluten (Lundin et al., 2003) article here. Oats induced villous atrophy in coeliac disease.
Considering you don’t need starch or beta-glucan –
I’d rather ask, “Oats – why?”! 😉
Dexter wrote: I would refer you to http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/you-just-think-youre-low-carb.html entitled “You just think you’re low carb” Dr Davis talks about what happens to one’s blood glucose levels after ingesting oatmeal and other sugar spiking foods.
On Edit: There is evidence that eating oatmeal retards the healing of tooth cavities while eating paleo at http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/03/reversing-tooth-decay.html
Edit: Dr Davis has a new posting on Mar 10 regarding Oatmeal exclusively. http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/oatmeal-good-or-bad.html regarding the insulin spike brought on by eating oatmeal in most people.
BEB wrote: I agree that they are among the least bad grains and I discuss them in my post about Scottish traditional food. If you are interested in consuming grains, the Weston A. Price foundation is a great resource. Did you know oatmeal was usually eaten fermented back in the old days? My boyfriend refuses to give up oatmeal, so I make fermented oatmeal for him.
Why don’t I eat oatmeal? Personally, I think grains muck up our bodies. In my case, even nice oatmeal messes with my digestion. My father who is paleo was slow to give up oatmeal but once he gave it up he lost even more weight. Oatmeal has fiber, but in the end it’s glucose, which is a sugar, and they have very little nutrition compared to true paleo foods.
Hollie wrote: “I stopped eating oatmeal after I found out that it was adversely affecting my blood sugar. I began testing after I read that the best way to avoid heart disease was to avoid raising your blood sugar. Oatmeal boosted it up to the 160’s in a flash.”
Peggy: “I tried eating oatmeal for breakfast yesterday. I chose the real deal – not the instant type. Even so, it didn’t agree with me. Had a terrible night, feel bloated, woke up with distended belly. This was totally not worth it. In fact, it reminded me of how bad I felt in the morning before Paleo (and just thought that was normal).
Kaz: I’ve tried to consume conventional as well as certified gluten-free oats, and even they do hideous things to my digestive system — if it wasn’t one bowel extreme, it was the other, or sometimes both. (Ugh, quite gruesome, as I’m sure you can imagine.) All grains do that to me, though, not just oats. They also do not keep me full, no matter how much I’d bulk them up. Because of this, I do not eat them. I think they taste awesome, though, and ate them every day for years despite the pain. I had no idea the oats were to blame for my digestive issues, though, because I thought I was being “healthy” by eating them. I feel much wiser now, and much happier since eliminating them from my diet. 🙂 Shirley Sommers added (to Kaz): “This exactly as if I would have written of myself. I remember driving to the gym , where I worked, 5 days a week . Had awful stomach pains after eating my bowl of oatmeal: * you wrote ‘Because of this, I do not eat them.’ I think they taste awesome, though, and ate them every day for years despite the pain. I had no idea the oats were to blame for my digestive issues, though, because I thought I was being “healthy” by eating them. I feel much wiser now, and much happier since eliminating them from my diet.”
KA24: Organic, steel cut oats. Soak them for 24+ hours, rinse them very well and store them in a cold environment. I’ve had no issues with them, so I’m not sure they are that bad at all. Not the same for everyone though, so it’s one of those “proceed with caution” things.
ED: Oats contain high levels of lectins and phytic acid which can cause intestinal imbalances and block the absorption of nutrients.
Andrew: Oatmeal is my #1 reason for going paleo…I would eat a huge bowl of delicious oatmeal with almonds and frozen berries almost every night. I became curious as to why I was always deathly hungry 45 minutes after pounding multiple servings. Long story short; a series of Google searches lead me to the paleo diet.
Marina: Guys! I LOVE OATMEAL. I know it is tasteless for some, but for me… plain rolled oats soaked in nothing but hot water… delicious! BUT!!!! I am emotionally attached to rolled oats and have to give up on them because all the stomach pain they cause. For long time I was making myself believe that the pain was in my head, but now seeing similar experiences from others, there is one way to go: Goodbye oats!
(This all for educational purposes only)
Did you like the photos from Laura’s garden?