Steel cut oats, Cuban food and omega fatty acids, oh my! ~ Rachel

So I tried steel cut oats for the first time this morning. First things first, they are expensive! I bought a tin of them for $8.99. That seemed excessive to me, especially for a grain, but my grocery store’s shelf was otherwise bare. I brought 6 cups of water to a boil, added 1.5cups of oats and boiled them for a minute. I then covered the pot and went to bed. When I woke in the morning, I discovered a pot completely full of oats (and not much liquid left). All I had to do was simmer them for 10 more minutes and serve up. I couldn’t believe that the entire pot was only 6 servings! For once in my life, a serving looked astronomically huge. I spooned some out (definitely not 1/6th of the pot), added a spoonful of brown sugar and a banana…and then I dug in. Verdict: Not bad at all. Next time I won’t make so much, even though they can be rewarmed over a week. I will also attempt to “season” them a little differently. I think I might spoon in some Better N’ Peanut Butter which I just discovered…it’s almost like peanut butter but has a fraction of the fat and calories. Just off the spoon it wasn’t bad so I imagine it’ll work in “stuff.” I wouldn’t use it on a PB&J sammich but I’m kind of a purist when it comes to those. My friend Leah also uses honey and cinnamon and sugar-substitute to season her oats. I think I just have to play around until I find the right combo. But I will admit they are better than those instant oatmeal packets.

Speaking of Leah, we had a wonderful lunch today at a Cuban restaurant. I had the Manduros wrap….manduros are fried plantains. Before you all gasp, I will say that fried in this case means barely fried at all (at least I think they are barely fried). Anyways, the wrap was busting out with rice, black beans, lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese and the plantains. It was yummy. It was also way too much food. Did I eat everything on my plate? I sure did. Sigh. It will click one of these days. I think I kept thinking that it was ok to finish the entire wrap because everything was healthy. Portion control is clearly not my forte. Anyways, I think I might figure out how to cook plantains. Anyone have any good recipes or techniques?

During lunch, we got on the topic of omega fatty acids. Here’ s the scoop on them:

A healthy diet consists of a good balance between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, neither of which are made in our bodies (we have to get them from our diets). Well, guess what? It’s pretty hard to have a good balance with the processed food we all consume on a daily basis. Omega 6 fatty acids come from nuts and seeds and refined vegetable oils. Just about every processed food will have some sort of oil in it that is chock full of omega 6’s. We get way more omega 6’s than we need. And while some omega 6 is good, too much isn’t. Hormones that contribute to inflammation in our bodies are constructed from omega 6’s.  The hormones that are constructed from omega 3’s, on the other hand, tend to decrease the inflammation in our bodies. You wanna know who gets enough omega 3 fatty acids? The Inuit people. Why, you ask? Well, they subsist on fish. Omega 3’s are mostly found in cold water, oily fish and some in flax seed and walnuts.

That’s my simplistic explanation of omega fatty acids…a little more detail can be found in this article by Dr. Andrew Weil.

In the end, I think the take-home message is this: Eat more fish and less processed food. But then again, I think the take-home message in any healthy eating lifestyle is going to be eat less processed food.

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