School has started, and so far so good! The first couple of days of this masters program have been pretty mellow, mostly just introductions, ice breakers, and team building kind of things. There are just 15 people in my program. The group is diverse; there are students from Sweden, Canada, Germany, Yugoslavia, Greece, Thailand, Korea, and India with backgrounds ranging from clinical dieticians to nutritionists to fresh out of undergrad nutrition students.
The Swedish school system is quite different from that which I’ve experienced in Canada: rather than taking several classes at one time, we’ll be doing one class at a time, full time, completing all of the content, projects, exams, papers, etc, then moving on to the next one. This term we’re doing three courses: Science Communication and Learning for Nutritionists (5 weeks), Public Health Nutrition II (5 weeks), and Molecular Nutrition II (10 weeks).
I’ve been on a major smoothie kick lately, and since school has started I’ve been packing one along with me to drink on the commute or in class. I vary my smoothies a fair bit depending on what sort of fruit I’ve got kicking around, but there are a couple of things that almost always go in; a handful of greens (usually spinach), and, lately, oats.
Oats in your smoothie might sound weird, but hear me out. I tend to prefer non dairy milk in my smoothies, but I find that most non dairy milks are a) expensive, and b) full of junk (read the ingredients on that carton of soy or almond milk). Some non dairy milks, like nut milks and oat milk, are actually quite easy to make at home if you have a good blender. I do not have a good enough blender to tackle most nut milks (I just use my hand blender for smoothies and deal with a bit of chunkiness), but oat milk is just rolled oats soaked for a while (overnight if you plan ahead), blended well, then strained.
You could make up a big batch of oat milk (or nut milk) to keep in the fridge (with no preservatives it’ll last only a few days) and figure out something to do with the pulp you’ve strained out (don’t throw it out, it’s food!), or if you’re like me (lazy, a big fan of dietary fiber, and like thick smoothies) you could skip the straining part and just blend the oats into your smoothie. As long as they’ve had a bit of a soak before hand (15 – 20 minutes) you probably won’t even notice your smoothie is oaty.
This smoothie is one of my favourite combinations. A little home made oat milk blended up with banana, frozen blueberries, a handful of spinach, and some raw cocoa powder. It’s a deep, dark, chocolately antioxidant bomb of a smoothie. I also like to blend in hemp seeds for some extra protein, and if I’m in the mood for dairy, a splash of low-fat organic yoghurt. Bonus points if you can get your yoghurt splash to look like a bunny rabbit.
One year ago: Who knows what the heck I was up to…
Two years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Loaf with Quinoa
Chocolate Blueberry Oat Smoothie Recipe:
If you can think of it, set your oats and water in a container in the fridge the night before. If not, a brief soak before you make your smoothie is just fine. Or, don’t soak at all, just blend like crazy – your smoothie will have a more grassy, oaty taste in this case, but that isn’t a bad thing. Use frozen or fresh banana and blueberries.
2 Tbsp rolled oats
1 cup cold water
1 packed cup spinach leaves
1/2 cup blueberries
1 Tbsp raw cocoa powder
1 Tbsp hemp seeds
1/2 cup plain yoghurt (optional – leave it out for a vegan smoothie)
Combine oats and water in a glass jar, or directly into your blender. Soak for 20 minutes, up to overnight. Combine oats and soaking water, banana, blueberries, spinach, cocoa, and hemp seeds in a blender. Blend until smooth. Stir in yoghurt if you like. Enjoy!
Blueberries are ranked as having one of the highest antioxidant contents among all fruits and vegetables. Additionally, they’re a great source of vitamins K and C, manganese, and dietary fiber. Spinach is an excellent source vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, and calcium (good for your bones), folate, potassium, and vitamin B6 (good for your heart), iron, vitamin B2, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. And, spinach is a great source of dietary fiber. Bananas are a great source of concentrated energy and potassium. They are also a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese. Oats are rich in indigestible carbohydrates called beta-glutens which help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Oats are also host to a number of phenolic compounds which have antioxidant properties, are helpful in stabilizing blood sugar, and are a good source of dietary fiber and protein. Hemp seeds are a good source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and are a good source of protein. Raw Cocoa is antioxidant rich, and the flavanoid content appears to be helpful in protecting blood vessel linings and thus preventing high blood pressure. Low fat yoghurt is a great source of calcium, vitamin B12, and protein, to name a few. The live bacterial culture is very beneficial for digestive health.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012