Living in Japan means enjoying the food! It is delicious, healthy and . . . not always Japanese. Here's what it's all about.
My Oatmeal Smoothie
I live in Japan, and whole grains are not easy to come by. Here, it's white rice and white flour. This is slowly changing, but for now, if I want whole grain anything, then it's going to be oatmeal.
I've been cooking my oatmeal for a couple years. Cooked oatmeal is cheap, healthy, and filling. It's not difficult to clean up, but it isn't easy either.
Also, because it's hot, cooked oatmeal is hard to eat during the summer. On hot summer days, I felt less guilty about skipping my oatmeal.
Is it possible to eat oatmeal without cooking it? Maybe even as a smoothie? How is that even possible? Enter soaked oats.
Why Soak Oats and How to Soak Them
It's hard to imagine how an oatmeal smoothie works without soaking oatmeal first. But for those of you who use dry oats, let us know in the comment section how it goes. For me, I soak my oats. Here's how we do it.
- Add water to oats in a 1:1 ratio. For example, add 1 cup of water to 1 cup of oats.
- Let it sit overnight.
That's it. The following morning, you have soaked oats. Some people use milk instead of water. Some people insist on at least eight hours of soaking, but the shortest amount of time I can get away with is four hours. Some people keep them in the refrigerator. During autumn and winter, I don't mind leaving them on the counter. But why soak at all?
The phytic acid in oats makes them hard to digest. Phytic acid is naturally found in grains and seeds. Soaking (or cooking) oats breaks down this acid, making them easier to digest. Similar to cooking, soaking also softens the oats as they absorb much of the water. This also makes them easier to eat.
As soon as I learned about soaking oats, I tried it. I've never cooked oatmeal since. Ready to give it a try? Great! Now here's the recipe for my oatmeal smoothie.
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy milk, or your choice of plant milk
- 2-3 tablespoons jam, your choice (I like blueberry)
- 1 banana, medium
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 dash nutmeg
- 1 dash cinnamon
- 1 dash clove
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- The night before: add oats to water (1:1 ratio). Place in refrigerator overnight.
- Add soaked oats, soy milk, chia seeds, banana, jam, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove to blender.
- Blend until smooth.
Here's What It Looks Like
Magic Bullet Blender
Ok, but How Does It Taste?
It's hard for me to be unbiased because I drink my oatmeal smoothie almost every day. However, I will say that I've shared it with others and they like it. Some even make their own oatmeal smoothies.
I use soaked oats to keep my smoothie healthy. They add a thick, milkshake texture. The soy milk and banana give it a creamy taste. During the summer season, I use a frozen banana. The chia seeds add a nutty taste.
The nutmeg, cinnamon and clove really spice up the oatmeal smoothie without adding sugar. While adding them to the mix, the smell alone wakes me up. The jam, of course, sweetens the oatmeal smoothie. It doesn't work without the jam.
But why use jam at all? Why not use whole fruit instead? After all, fruit is healthy and has no added sugar. Fruit works just as well, but it's about preference. Fruit can be expensive. Jam costs much less all year round. Besides I'd rather eat strawberries or blueberries on their own instead of blending them into a smoothie. Instead of a handful of fruit, a couple spoonfuls of jam do the job.
With so many ingredients doing so many things, do they clash? For me, they work together as long as I don't add too much of any of them.
How About a Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal Smoothie?
Tips to Make Your Oatmeal Smoothie Awesome!
- Consider using ground flax seeds instead of (or along with) chia seeds. Ground flax seed was my first choice, but it's impossible to find them in Japan. Also, remember to always use ground flax seeds, whether you grind them yourself or buy them already ground. Regular flax seeds cannot be digested so grind them up for optimum health!
- Go easy on the spices, especially if you use a lot of them at lunch and dinner.
- If you like strawberry jam, try adding garam masala. Garam masala is a blend of spices including pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaf and cumin. Somehow it goes really well with strawberry jam!
- Once you get used to your oatmeal smoothie, tone down with the jam. Use as little as you can. Less jam means less added sugar and it saves money.
- Look at those stats again! Your oatmeal smoothie is healthy but don't forget to eat right at lunch and dinner, too.
- Spread the word: oatmeal is awesome and smoothies are a great way to enjoy it!
Is Oatmeal Healthy?
Millicent on December 17, 2019:
If u don't have jam can one use pineapple to make it taste good I mean the oat and banana smoothie
Lena Durante from San Francisco Bay Area on May 02, 2017:
Thanks for sharing this recipe. I've never made a smoothie with oatmeal before, but I know I've had it in smoothies I bought before. The soaking tip is great!