Cereal and milk is the standard breakfast in many homes, it’s also one of the least nutritious options. This slow cooker overnight oatmeal offers an easier and more nourishing start to your day – especially when paired with plenty of healthy fats.
Cereal and Granola – Unhealthy Choices
Breakfast cereals are made by an extrusion process in which grains are treated at high heat and high pressure to create the o’s, flakes, and other shapes. This process destroys nutrients in the grain, makes the oils rancid and may create toxic proteins. Despite its health food reputation granola isn’t any better. Raw oats are prepared with dry heat which makes them extremely indigestible.
Phytic Acid and Phytase
Cultures throughout the world either soaked, sprouted, and/or fermented all their grains prior to eating. Grains require special treatment because they all contain phytic acid, a storage form of phosphorus in plant tissues.
- found in grains, nuts, seeds, and beans – especially the bran or outer hull
- humans cannot digest it
- binds with other minerals in our digestive tract making minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, unabsorbable by our bodies.
- inhibits enzymes that digest our food like pepsin (breaks down proteins in the stomach), amylase (breaks down starch into sugars) and trypsin (protein digestion in the small intestine)
Consuming high amounts of phytic acid can lead to digestive issues and mineral deficiencies causing bone loss and tooth decay. Proper preparation of high phytate containing foods is essential.
The phytase enzyme neutralizes phytic acid which makes phosphorus bioavailable. It is present in plant foods that contain phytic acid but requires proper preparation to be activated. One method is sprouting. Another way is to soak grains and flour in an acid medium at warm temperatures, like this slow cooker oatmeal.
Overnight Slow Cooker Oatmeal
I usually begin prep the day before to give the oats enough soaking time (for example place all ingredients in your slow cooker on Sunday morning (or Saturday night) for a Monday morning breakfast).
1 cup Irish steel cut oats
2 tablespoons whey, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, lemon juice, or vinegar
4 cups warm water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
butter, coconut oil, and/or cream
optional toppings – natural sweetener, chopped nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut, freshly ground flax seeds
1. Place oats, whey (or other acid medium), and warm water in the insert of your slow cooker and let soak for 12 hours.
2. The night before you want to serve the oatmeal (or 8-12 hours before) turn the slow cooker on to low.
3. Before serving, stir in sea salt and plenty of butter or other healthy fats and serve with optional ingredients.
UPDATE: Many people are asking which slow cooker I use for this; the Proctor Silex 33015 1-1/2-Quart Round Slow Cooker, I’m sure any brand works, though I would recommend sticking to a 1 1/2 quart size. You’ll find other great uses for it too – like chocolate fondue (post on that coming soon)!
For leftover oatmeal, check out Monica’s easy Oatcake Recipe. If you’re still craving a crunchy cold cereal, homemade is the best option, try a Coconut Granola Recipe from Haartke Online or a Homemade Cold Breakfast Cereal at the Healthy Home Economist. For a grain-free variation see my Nutty Granola.
Puffed Grains and Breakfast Cereals. Should We Eat them? Nourished Magazine
Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry Weston Price Foundation
Sprouted Grain: The How and Why Nourished Kitchen
Living with Phytic Acid Ramiel Nagel
Boxed Cereal is Not Food Simply Being Well
Be Kind to Your Grains Sally Fallon