Almond Oatmeal with Bananas and Blueberries

Thursday, November 8, 2012
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I really missed coffee but matcha green tea was a delicious substitute.

Woo hoo!!! I just completed a one-week detox diet and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. I'm usually pretty good at following 80/20 rule - 80% of what I consume is healthy, nutritious food and 20% is splurge. But the cold weather always makes me crave comfort foods and sweets (and booze...) and the situation was getting out of hand. With the holidays quickly approaching, I decided it was time hit the reset button.

Get the details and results of my cleanse and a healthy breakfast recipe after the jump.

The plan I followed is an older version of the Whole Living Action Plan from Whole Living Magazine. I cut out sugar, alcohol, dairy, eggs, gluten, most meats, and processed foods. I tried to fully detox caffeine and failed but I did switch to antioxidant-rich tea. I have been eating fresh vegetables and fruits, wild salmon, organic chicken, nuts, beans, gluten-free grains, and small amounts of natural sweeteners.

On the first day, I honestly felt relieved. I started the day after Halloween -- a strategic move to keep me out of my son's trick-or-treat stash. Day two was the day my head decided to split apart from caffeine withdrawl. I was utterly miserable and this is when I decided tea was going to have to be a part of my plan. On the third day I still had a bit of headache but I was a lot better and by day four I was feeling really good.

Now that the cleanse is over, I feel great. My skin looks better, I've been sleeping like a baby, and I lost the three pounds I picked up at ice cream parlors and beer gardens while soaking up the end of summer. I've re-fallen in love with so many of my favorite healthy foods and I plan keep on eating well until Thanksgiving. I would rather look forward to a well deserved pig out than almost dread another heavy meal. Feel inspired? Here is a super filling yummy breakfast recipe to get you started.

Almond Oatmeal with Bananas and Blueberries

1/2 cup gluten free oats
1 cup water
1/2 T almond butter
1/2 T maple syrup
1/2 T ground flax
dash of salt
1/2 fresh or defrosted frozen blueberries
1/2 banana, sliced
1 T sliced almonds, toasted

1. Place the oats, water, almond butter, maple syrup, ground flax and salt into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until soft.
2. While the oats are cooking, slice your banana and toast sliced almonds in a toaster oven. Watch them carefully! They burn quickly.
3. Top cooked oatmeal with blueberries, bananas and toasted almonds. Enjoy!

Nutritional Benefits:

Oats contain a significant amount of soluble fiber, which has been proven to lower cholesterol. This fiber is also digested slowly, which prevents a spike in blood sugars and insulin levels. This helps you to feel full for a longer period of time, making it excellent for weight loss. Oats can also reduce blood pressure, improve bowel function, and increase athletic performance.

Almonds and almond butter are high in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and phytochemicals that protect against cardiovascular disease and even cancer. They are also an excellent source of calcium and magnesium which are essential for strong bones. One ounce of almonds contains 12% of your daily requirement of protein, protecting you from a post-meal spike in blood sugar.

Blueberries contain more cancer-deterring antioxidants than any other fruit. New evidence shows that they may also improve memory. Don't skip them now that they are not in season! Frozen blueberries don't suffer any significant loss of antioxidants.

Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, which fights to prevent high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. In fact, one banana has approximately 467 milligrams! Bananas also have a soothing effect on the stomach and are a natural antacid.

Flax seeds are all sorts of healthy! They are a rich source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids which have been widely praised for their cardiovascular benefits and a phytochemical called lignans that are an antioxidant. Flax seeds also contain a significant amount of fiber -- both soluble and insoluble. Note that they are more easily digested if they are ground. I threw mine into my coffee grinder but you can easily find them packaged already ground.

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