The POWER of OATS!
The overall body remedy!
Many of us already include oats in our diet, especially on these cold winter mornings; but do you really know all the benefits they are providing...both on the inside and outside of your body?! You might become surprised!
If you are a gluten-intolerant person, please don't be discouraged from reading this. There are ways for you to receive the benefits of oats, as well.
Also, any recipes given include gluten-free alternatives. Plus, you might just find this interesting. READ ON! (For those who are unaware of "gluten," it is a protein found in barley, rye, oats and wheat (think "BROW" to help remember that). Some people are known to be intolerant of this protein being unable to digest it. It is known as "coeliac disease".)
The scientific name of oats is Avena sativa. It is in the grain family. The plant is native to Northern Europe. It has been cultivated since classical times as an important nourishing and strengthproviding food source. It is also known as an important feed for livestock, horses in particular, due to its energy giving qualities. In fact, horses are known to become overly excited if fed too many oats!
Oats prefer to grow in a cooler climate like Scandinavia of N. Europe. In New Zealand, oats are grown in central and eastern Southland, and west Otago. They are even claimed to be the best oats in the world (Ansley 2001)!
Unfortunately, there is a limited supply of New Zealand oats and most supermarkets don't stock them. However, there is one producer of New Zealand rolled oats, Harraway and Sons of Dunedin. Guess where Piko gets their rolled
oats?! Harraway's! It is important to support N.Z. companies, in addition to receiving the benefit of the best product!
Without going too much into detail, grains are known as one of the most chemically treated foods from the process of seed and grain storage, growth stages, and through to flour making.
Therefore, it is recommended that organic oats (and grains, in general) be chosen, especially if you must prioritise which foods you buy organic.
Oats are well used in the "herbal world" of alternative medicines. Oats are prepared and used in different ways from the plant:
Grain, groats or oats-the fruit or cereal of the plant
Oatstraw-the whole (above ground) part of the flowering plant.
Oatbran-coarse husks of the grain
Rolled oats or flakes-lightly processed grains by rolling and steamed (in the steaming process it will loose some of its nutritional components, although still quite nutritious)
Organic oatstraw, oatbran and rolled oats, and non-organic rolled oats and oatmeal (or oatiemeal) are available at PIKO.
For anyone sensitive to gluten there is a way to obtain the benefits of oats without the gluten protein. Ody (1993) says, "Allow a decoction or tincture [of oats] to settle, then decant the clear liquid only for use" to obtain a mixture that should be gluten free. Several sources refer to this being a safe method, but obviously, use caution. Using a fine muslin cloth (or cheesecloth), in addition to a sieve, to strain any liquid is recommended.
The nutritive properties of oats make it prised for medicinal and everyday uses. Oats contain Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K and the minerals Silicon, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Phosphorus. They are an important protein source, as well.
The nutritive quality of oats may be the reason why oats make an excellent nervine tonic. Oats are basically food and nutrients that directly "feed" your brain and nervous system in whole.
Overwhelmingly, herbal references list this as the number one use of oats-a "nervine tonic" or "nervous system restorative". Oats are one of the best foods you can give yourself during times of stress and they are also known to work as an antidepressant.
Oats have an overall balancing effect on the nervous system making them useful as a stimulant and/or relaxant. That is to say that oats are even used for cases of insomnia. Oats are so beneficial for the nervous system, they are even considered helpful for people with multiple sclerosis or shingles. Another use of oats for the nervous system is through Bach flower remedies, for cases of uncertainty or dissatisfaction.
Oats also have a warming quality. Many people turn to oat porridge to help warm them on these frosty winter mornings. This is smart thinking, because the easily assimilated fats of oats "ensure resistance to low temperatures" (Darrigol 1984).
Oats also have the capability to stimulate the thyroid gland improving one's immunity and resistance to colds. Pritchford (1993) recommends a regular daily intake of oatwater as an "internal antiseptic" to increase immunity. We
all need oats this winter to conquer that flu bug!
Often times you will find oat based skin remedies. It's known as an emollient or contains soothing actions. This is due to the high levels of silicon and starch. Do any of you suffer from dry and irritated skin in the winter? Try soothing it by mixing rolled oats into a paste with some yogurt and smooth it over the inflamed area. A footbath of boiled oatstraw is recommended for any foot ailments.
The high silicon content is important for restoration of connective tissues. Therefore, oats are a good food to aid in the repair of broken bones or other connective tissues like ligaments and tendons! Maybe this is why homeopaths use
a tincture of oats for arthritic conditions.
Oats are also good for the heart! Did you know that oatbran, and to a lesser extent oatmeal, are known to help lower abnormally high levels of cholesterol?
Oats are even recommended for diabetics as an aid in balancing blood sugar levels.
Another important use of oats is their high energygiving abilities. In Chinese medicine, oats are used to restore "qi" or energy. Oats contain a stimulating substance called avenose known to improve any performance requiring energy; hence they are recommended for "sportsmen, manual workers and lovers!" (Darrigol 1984). (Yes, oats are even known to be an aphrodisiac.)
So are you convinced that oats are meant for us?!
Just think of oats as a SUPERHERO named AVENA SATIVA!!!
Some uses and recipes including oats (or oat alternatives):
Thyme OR Licorice & OATSTRAW Syrup
For expectorating coughs and/or colds
The oatstraw acts as a nutritive addition for colds and chills. (Kids seem to like this one too!)
To make 200ml
½ C. licorice root or thyme (preferably fresh)
½ C. oatstraw
2 Tbs. Honey (manuka recommended)
*Decoct (simmer in boiling water) thyme or licorice and oatstraw for at least ten minutes
*Strain, squeezing as much liquid as possible out of the herb (As suggested earlier for gluten intolerant people, ensure no solid matter from the oatstraw is present by straining through muslin and a sieve.)
*Measure 200ml of the herbal liquid and add honey
*Heat gently to dissolve honey
*Bottle, label and store in refrigerator
(Canterbury College of Natural Medicine 2001)
OATWATER (internal antiseptic)
Simmer 2 Tbs. Oat groats or flakes in 1 liter water for 30 minutes – 2 hours (the longer, the better).
Strain and drink as is.
Cinnamon Skin Polish
For all skin types, a fragrant skin smoothing scrub
2 tsp. oat flakes or oatmealr
2 tsp. dried milk
1 tsp. powdered cinnamon
Just add water, mix into smooth paste and massage over damp face or irritated area of skin.
Dried contents can be stored together and used at any time.
Megan's Fulfilling & Warming Winter Porridge
Ingredients: (no measurements are ever made..these are a guesstiment...adjust as you like!)
¾ C. rolled oats OR millet, rice or buckwheat flakes
½ C. buckwheat groats (added protein & gluten free)
¼ C. pumpkin seeds (added Zinc-good for winter immunity!)
¼ C. ground sunflower seeds (added Zinc and Calcium)
¼ C. ground sesame seeds (added Calcium)
2 tsp. ground linseed (good source of natural fiber and omega-3 fatty acid-strengthens immunity and helps clear heart and arteries)-be careful of laxative effects of fiber...adjust to what you need (more or less)
4 dates or handful of organic sultanas or currants
2 C. EcoFarm Organic milk (or soy milk) and/or water (milk more fulfilling and important Calcium source)
Optional sweeteners for the sweet toothed:
Large tablespoon of (Grandma's) homemade applesauce (basically apples, sugar and cinnamon), 1-2 tsp. maple syrup (it's back on tap at Piko!) Or any other sweeteners mentioned last month
Simmer gently on med. to med-high heat stirring constantly (don't burn milk!) 5-10 minutes.
Remove from heat, cover and let sit another 5 minutes (if you can wait that long!)
Prepare to feel an all-body warmth while your brain awakens!
Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crust
(Great time of year for this one!!!)
1 ½ C. rolled oats (or millet, rice or buckwheat flakes)
½ C. white flour (or buckwheat or rice flour)
¼ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbs. Brown sugar
¼ C. finely minced nuts (optional)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ C. (~125g) butter, melted
Combine all crust ingredients and mix well.
Press firmly and evenly into bottom and sides of 9 or 10- inch pie pan, forming a thick crust.
Reserve a handful of crust for topping.
6 C. peeled, sliced tart apple (any variety ok)
3 Tbs. lemon juice (preferably fresh)
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice or ground cloves
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. grated lemon rind
3 Tbs. White flour (or gluten free flour)
¼ C. brown sugar or honey
½ C. sour cream (optional)
handful of chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F.
Place sliced apples in large bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with spices; toss until well coated. Add the lemon rind, sprinkle in the flour, and mix again. Gradually add the sugar or honey (and optional sour cream) as you mix.
Don't worry if the apple slices break a little while being mixed and tossed.
Distribute the filling into the unbaked crust.
Sprinkle the handful of reserved crust mix over the top, with or without the optional extra nuts, and pat neatly into place.
Bake 40-45 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the crust is nicely browned on the edges.
Serve hot, warm or at room temp.
This newsletter was researched and compiled by Megan with information from:
(Canterbury College of Natural Medicine 2001). Materia Medica. Canterbury College of Natural Medicine, Christchurch. Canterbury College of Natural Medicine (July, 2001) "Medicine Making-Herbs 1-July 2001" Darrigol, J-L. (1984) Cereals for Your Health. Thorsons Publishers Limited, Wellingborough. Fisher, C. & Painter, G. (1996) Materia Medica of Western Herbs for the Southern Hemisphere. Hoffman, D. (1996) Holistic Herbal. Elements Books Inc., Boston.
Katzen, M. (1995) The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley. Ody,P. (1993) The Complete Medicinal Herbal. Dorling Kindersley Ltd., London. Pritchford, Paul (1993) Healing With Wholefoods. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley. Stubbin, C. (1999) Do It Yourself Pure Plant Skin Care. The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, Zilmere.
Some Oats Products Available at Piko
Organic Rolled Oats-$3.77/kg
Nairn's Organic Rough Oat Cakes ("sugar free, wheat free, GM free")-250g, $6.99 (a yummy treat!)
Organic Maple Nut Grainola-750g, $8.60
Heath Valley Oat Bran Flakes w/ Raisins-$10.38
Bach Flower Remedies-$7.50/30ml
Some OAT alternative PORRIDGE ideas available at Piko:
Organic Hulled and Kibbled Millet-$7.00/kg
Organic Buckwheat groats (whole or kibbled) (kibbled available again sometime in August)-Canterbury grown! $5.42/kg (whole)
LOHRA Thermo semolina cereals-different varieties include: Rice, Rice-Oats-Barley-Millet, Millet, and Buckwheat $4.67/500g
Ceres Organic Rice, Rice & Spice, and Millet cereals (popular for babies too!) $4.35/500g
Buckwheat Flakes (used like rolled oats)-$7.41/500g
Millet Flakes (used like rolled oats)-$4.81/500g
Add any embellishments like fruit (fresh or dried),seeds or nuts...be creative!
Bio-Gro Organic herbs and spices from Fiji: cardamon, cloves, curry (hot & mild), cumin, garam masala, ground ginger, nutmeg, whole pepper corns. They vary in size from 15-50g at $2.84. The whole pepper corns also come in 75g at $7.36.
Organic Kava-100g, $8.31
Seven Oaks Organic Echinacea tincture- $10.54/50ml, made and grown in Christchurch
100% Beeswax candles $7.53/pair or Glittered 100% beeswax candles $10.54/pair. (They're beautiful and made locally!)
Organic Shakkar – Indian dried cane juice, probably the purest sugar cane product available "Shop packed"-500g, $3.34
Pure Nature Organic Shakkar-1 kg, $5.60
Organic Popcorn-150g, $3.32
Organic Karikaas unsalted cultured butter. Available fresh on WEDNESDAYS (previously Mondays)
Fruit & Vege update from Tineke:
"Unfortunately, due to the very harsh winter conditions, quite a few crops are frozen: lettuces, cauliflower and broccoli. I can't even get them from the North Island. A lot of other things are in short supply as well: kale, lettuce bags and kumara. Luckily, we do have a very good supply of kiwifruit, apples, garlic, onions, leeks and silverbeet. Back in stock are the citrus fruits oranges, grapefruit, mandarins, limes and lemons.
An interesting root vegetable that you might have noticed is celeriac. It is a form of celery. The taste is milder when cooked, stronger when raw. It can be grated fresh in salads or used in soups and stews. It is very nice done in pea soup which is, of course, great this time of year!"