Here I go again, breaking a promise to myself. This morning, I woke up and started thinking about this weekend’s blog. I promised myself, I’d stay on topic. Oats. That’s it. No Rants. (I’m not trying to be known as Erin: The Girl Who Complains About The Fitness Industry and It’s Myths…Who Cooks Sometimes) But, then, as soon as I hit the start button on my treadmill at Planet, biting my tongue was nearly impossible.
Enter, Lady A and Lady B: two bright eyed and bushy tailed women, conversing with each other, from either side of me. Yes, one using the treadmill on the right, and one using the treadmill on the left. Here’s a snippet of their chat:
Crazy Lady A: I can’t believe it’s been almost a month. Thank God I’m starting to see results.
Crazy Lady B: It takes awhile. What does he want to you at?
Crazy Lady A: 1400. (Calories, I’m assuming) I’ve been eating more like 1000, since I don’t really want any muscle. I’ve already lost 7 pounds in 2 weeks!
Crazy Lady B: That’s great! I was doing that for a while. Now, I’m at like, 800, on a heavy day, with all clean protein and green veggies. I’m just trying to save room for my glass of wine at the end of the day.
Dear God. Where does one start with that?
First, Crazy Lady A. Let’s call her The Rebellious One. The Rebellious One is probably like many New Years Resolutioners. It’s getting to the end of the month of January, and she’s still on track. She feels like a badass. (Which she is! She’s lasted a month, which we all know is actually a struggle and a half.) But, then, realizing that her results haven’t magically accompanied the end of the month, The Rebellious One has decided to go against her trainer’s advice and eat far below what is probably her calorie maintenance. It makes sense right? Calories in vs. calories out. Eat less + burn more = year round bikini bod…except not really. So sure, she’s probably started to lose weight off of this crazy low amount of calories. 7 pounds in two weeks! What Rebellious One hasn’t figured out yet, is that her weight loss is probably made up of much less fat than she’d like. Since she doesn’t want to “get bulky”, she probably spends her days on the elliptical instead of picking up weights. Therefore, her body is probably getting rid of water weight, and then burning through a crap ton of muscle mass before or while burning fat.
I can’t even get started too much with Crazy Lady B (who’s keeping her nickname), or else this would be a book. But, really? Cutting calories to replace nutrient dense food with wine? Every night? I’m all for wine, but you won’t catch me trading in my sweet potato for it.
What the Rebellious One and Crazy Lady B need to realize is that their bodies are way too damn smart for them to being playing these games. Our bodies, as a matter of fact, have been doing a fabulous job of keeping us alive, long before My Fitness Pal came out. Why? Because surviving is your body’s one job. Imagine this: our body’s thought process…if that was possible. “Okay, this lady wants to lose weight, but I want to survive. Let’s think about what helps me survive. Fat! That shit keeps me warm and well insulated. Muscle, on the other hand, burns fat. Yeah, we’ll need to get rid of that too. Oh, and since I need to stay alive with less fuel, I’m going to need to down regulate functions a bit and slow our metabolism while I’m at it.”
Essentially, the bodies of my new crazy friends are now burning a combination of muscle and fat, all while getting used to surviving on these crazy amounts of calories. Guess what will happen when these guys finally decide to stop dieting? Their smart ass bodies will thank them by storing all the fat they loss, in case they ever decide to take a walk on the crazy side again. How do I know? It’s happened to me as well!
It wasn’t until I remembered how much I actually love food that I was able to break out of the that thought cycle. Hell, two years ago, I would be envying those ladies. Now, they induce the kind of rant I just put you through. If they were to eat more and lift more, they’d be in such a better place. Not because lifting will make them bulky, but because it build muscle, which will raise their metabolism…to burn more fat. Science.
Anyways…on to the actual point of this blog. Oats! Without further ado, my five favorite ways to oat:
Make them sweet.
These cookies can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Anytime, really. And, they’re super customizable. The base is made from 1/2 mashed banana, 1 egg, 1/2 cup quick oats, and 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder. Personally, I added some chopped pistachios and a few pomegranate seeds to the top for some crunch, and to satisfy those sweet and salty cravings. Bake at 350 degrees, for about 11-12 minutes.
Make them savory.
Savory oatmeal, who would have thought! In this bowl, I have some scrambled egg whites on the bottom, and a 1/2 cup of cooked quick oats on top. Throw a sunny side up egg on there with some veggies, salt, and pepper, and you’ve got yourself a filling all-in-one-bowl kind of breakfast.
Make them mini.
As someone who makes part of her living selling breads and cookies, it’s just reality that muffins are not leaving my lifestyle any time soon. Thinking I might as well accept that and move on, I used modified my definition of “mini muffins” here. Simply mix 1 egg, 3 egg whites, 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 1/2 banana that’s been mashed, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and a 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and vanilla extract. Portion into mini muffins, top with a few berries, and bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes!
Make them like a barista.
What do you do when you fall asleep on the couch before you finish your evening cup of coffee? Well, don’t let it go to waste, that’s for sure. Instead, make some Mocha Chocolate Oatmeal! Cook your oatmeal using equal parts water to coffee. Then, mix in 1 teaspoon of cocoa, a dash of cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla to finish them off. You can also top this bowl of goodness with some fruit and a drizzle of peanut butter. (Come on, why wouldn’t you?)
Make them for your grandma.
I’ve told you before, the eighty-year-old in me gets along with my dad for many reasons; one reason being our mutual love for carrot cake. We both took after my grandmother, who always insisted that carrot cake could be a birthday cake, just like vanilla or chocolate. It took me a while to get on board with that, but these days, I look for any excuse to copycat off of carrot cake flavors. With oatmeal, it’s super simple. Season your oats with a half teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove (if you’re feeling fancy), and vanilla. Once cooked, mix in a handful of grated carrots, and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. If you’re a dried fruit fan, you could also throw some raisins on there.
There you have it! Oats, five ways! Next week, we’re talking about a few of my favorite comfort foods.
Until then, stay tuned and stay hungry!