Simple Steps to Filling Oatmeal

Oatmeal tends to be polarizing – team “I love oatmeal” and team “why would you ever eat mush“. I’m on team oatmeal! Especially on cold mornings as a warm and cozy breakfast option. Oatmeal can be a filling dish or it can leave you hungry an hour later. What makes the difference? Adding protein, fiber, and fat.

Nutrition

Oats are a nutritious carbohydrate (carb) choice. In 1/4 cup of raw steel cut oats there are 5 grams of fiber and in 1/4 cup of raw rolled oats there are 2 grams. For visual, 1/4 cup raw oats comes out to roughly ~1/2 cup of cooked oats. Oats are a great source of soluble fiber (did you know there are a couple of types of fiber?) Soluble fiber is good for lowering cholesterol, helping control blood sugar levels, and slowing digestion to improve nutrient absorption from food.

The Big No-No

A common oatmeal breakfast is made up of: oats, milk, fruit, and honey. Although all choices are delicious and not inherently “bad”, the combo can be bad news for our blood sugars. By eating only carbs it will spike blood sugars higher and can leave us feeling tired an hour or two later. This can all be solved by adding protein, fiber, and fat! Adding these ingredients helps us feel fuller for a longer period of time too.

Protein, Fiber, Fat

Add protein

  • Almonds or almond butter
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Sunflower seeds or seed butter
  • Hemp seeds
  • Protein or collagen powder
  • Or on the side: eggs, protein smoothie

Add fiber

  • Cacao nibs
  • Flaxseed
  • Chia seeds

Add fat

  • Chia seeds
  • Coconut milk or coconut flakes or coconut butter
  • Hemp seeds
  • Nuts & nut butters
  • Seed & seed butters

Step 1: cook oats + liquid of choice

Step 2: add protein, fiber, and fat

Step 3: mix and enjoy!

Combination Ideas

Listed as a formula of fruit (as natural sweetener) + protein + fiber + fat + (optional) spice.

  • Blueberries + protein powder + flaxseed + almond butter + cinnamon
  • Pomegranate + collagen protein powder + chia seeds + coconut flakes
  • Strawberries + sunflower seed butter + cacao nibs + hemp seeds
  • Banana slices + hard-boiled eggs (on the side) + ground flaxseed + cashew butter + cacao powder (for chocolate version)

Try overnight oats if you prefer a cold breakfast or are short on time. Make multiple servings at once, leaving you with on-the-go breakfast options for the week. No need to even warm it up! If you like chocolate, try this Chocolate Banana Overnight Oats by Eating Bird Food. Or if you prefer vanilla, this Simple Vanilla Protein Overnight Oats by The Blissful Balance is delicious.

Still not impressed? If oatmeal in any shape or form is not your thing, read this post: The Formula for a Balanced Breakfast for more nourishing breakfast ideas.

How to Detox Your Menstrual Cycle

Detox your menstrual cycle? You read that right. A woman’s period usually involves tampons, pads, and whatever else she needs to make it through (dark chocolate anyone?) The problem is that the majority of women are never educated on what is actually in period products. Which if you think about it, is scary, because these products are put in and around vulnerable areas of the female body.

What’s in normal tampons?

Before diving in it’s important to understand that tampons are technically classified as “medical devices”, which changes labeling requirements for manufacturing companies. They are not legally required to list the ingredients. This is why boxes may include a “suggested list” of ingredients, leaving consumers unaware or confused by the ambiguity. Every brand may have slightly different ingredients, but this is a list of the most commonly used:

  • Pesticides & herbicides: used in non-organic cotton crops. These are known toxins that are encouraged to be avoided in food, so why have them in our period products?
  • Dioxin: one of the “Dirty Dozen” list of the most harmful hormone-disrupting toxins. Discussed more in How Toxins Impact Health.
  • Chlorine: yes, the same chlorine that’s put in swimming pools is put in tampons. It is used to create a whiter product for visual appeal.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA): another one of the “Dirty Dozen” list of the most harmful hormone-disrupting toxins.
  • Rayon: produced from sawdust and used to increase the absorbency of tampons. It is also the ingredient that is suspected to increase the risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome (1).
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): gases produced from certain solids or liquids. In tampons they’ve found carbon disulfide (reproductive toxin), methylene chloride (carcinogen), heptane (a neurotoxin), and others (2).
  • Fragrance: similar to beauty products, this is an umbrella term. The word fragrance does not specify what ingredients are being used, therefore making it impossible to determine safety or toxicity of each one.

How to reduce toxin exposure each month

There’s a lot of personalization when it comes to how women manage their monthly menstrual cycle, so not all of these ideas will apply. And let’s be honest, you might not be ready to transition to a period cup yet. It’s ok! Everyone at their own pace, but here are tips to help start your transition to a more non-toxic period.

Switch to organic and unscented tampons

There are also great companies like Lola, a subscription service of organic feminine products delivered straight to you.

Choose BPA-free or cardboard applicators

Brands like Seventh Generation, Honest Company, and Organyc can be found in stores like Target or CVS.

Consider reusable pads

Pads can also contain the same harmful ingredients as conventional tampons. Check out these brands which sell reusable pads (of course with washing and sanitation directions included): Lunapads and GladRags.

Switch to a menstrual cup (period cup)

Each brand offers different size options and instructions on how to start using one. Saalt Co, Lunette, and Diva Cup are reputable companies.

I’ve personally switched to a period cup and will never look back! Why? because they’re environmentally friendly, reduce my toxin exposure, only need to be changed every 6-12 hours, they make traveling easier, and it saves money each month.

Look into period underwear

Yup, underwear specific to wear during your period. Designed for heavy to light flows. One of the most popular brands is Thinx.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to feel panicked and upset by learning this information. Instead of focusing on the negative, try to feel relieved that you may have learned something new. Empowered by this information and knowing that there is an effective way to start reducing toxin exposure even more. Baby steps, baby steps.


Resources

  1. National Center for Health Research. http://www.center4research.org/tampon-safety/. 2019. Web. 19 February 2019.
  2. Women’s Voices for the Earth. https://www.womensvoices.org/menstrual-care-products/whats-in-your-tampon/. 2018. Web. 19 February 2019.