Tag Archives: Oats

Eating right and feeling calmer…

Can you tell that managing stress is really up there for me at the moment?

stressed comic

I know it seems like I keep harping on about it, but I am really aware that January is a stressful month for many people.  In my life at the moment, I am desperately attempting to get organised so I can cope if I go back to work, plus I am preparing for a job interview and I am painting the hallway in the new house.  I need as much help as I can get in managing those stress levels right now.

Getting stressed and anxious is less about what is happening outside, but more about the reaction inside.  But managing the stress levels and anxiety is not just regulating your reaction; what you eat can have a major impact on how you feel when confronted with those ARGH moments that we all get from time to time.

no sugar

The bad news is that the things you might think would work a treat (sugar, chocolate, chips) are precisely the things you should avoid.  They actually stress your nervous system and therefore should be avoided at all costs.  The good stuff though, the stuff which supports your nervous system, is the stuff you know you should be eating.  Ideally you should be eating alkalizing foods like fresh sprouts, high quality protein, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, root vegetables and cultured milk products such as yogurt, kefir or buttermilk.  Lemons are good as well as grapefruit, nuts and seeds.  If you want to have a healthy nervous system, then you need energy, and these foods will provide that.

The other things you need to do is to add calcium to your diet.  You need calcium to have healthy nerve function, and this is what we are aiming for.  If you have too little calcium in your blood, then you might be nervous, irritable, get muscle spasms, get muscle cramping, be hyperactive and probably not sleep very well.  Thankfully getting calcium in the diet is fairly simple.

green leafies

Obviously dairy products helps.  It helps more if they are cultured.  Plain milk has surprisingly little calcium in it, so choose yoghurt instead.  You can also eat lots of green leafy vegetables such as spinach. chard, broccoli, turnips greens, kale, beet greens and parsley.  Surprisingly large amounts of dietary calcium can be found in seaweed as well.  To be honest, taking in calcium rich foods is going to have very little effect unless you also have adequate levels of Vitamin D.  Either get out into the sunshine, no matter how cold or watery it is at this time of year, or take a supplement.  I take a supplement with added calcium in it.

If you are feeling like things are all getting on top of you and you are struggling to cope, then you might want to consider making a high quality calcium tea.  You take 1 part horsetail, 1 part nettle and 1 part oats.  Combine the herbs, pour boiling water over them and leave to steep for 5-15 minutes, depending on how strong you like it.  Strain the herbs and add honey to taste and then drink it all up.  If that doesn’t sound appetising (and to me, it really doesn’t!) consider taking some herbs with high quality calcium in them.  Chickweed, Amaranth and Dandelion Greens are good sources, must so are Mustard Greens, Horsetail, Nettle, Oats and watercress.  A lot of those will be easier to get hold of come the spring!

Still, there are a lot of lovely foods to choose from.

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What can Oats do for us?

For the first time in nearly 5 weeks, this morning I was struck down by a case of writers block.  I HATE that feeling of looking despairingly at a blank screen thinking “what on EARTH am I going to write”.

writers block

So, I took off to the kitchen, did some dishes, made some breakfast, poured myself a coffee and thought about a good topic.  I am clearly having one of those indecisive kinds of days, because I was looking around for breakfast possibilities and I was going through the usual list.  Cereal, Toast, Eggs.  Nothing really lit my fire.  So, I thought “Oats.  That will do”.

Aha!  My neurons began firing and I thought “I wonder what oats can do for us?” Off to do some online research.  (Isn’t Google utterly fabulous?!)

oats 1

We all know that Oats are a great source of fibre.  Apparently, because it is a source of soluble fibre it promotes heart health, but it is also a source of insoluble fibre and that helps the old digestive system.  These things can seriously pack a punch!

Oats are carbohydrates with a low Glycaemic Index which means they provide a source of slow burning energy.  You basically get more bang for your calories.  As they fill you up, it can really help with weight control.  They are also wholegrains.  Wholegrains are AWESOME for the body.  Great for anti-cancer and anti-heart disease diets, and the best thing is, it doesn’t matter how you eat them.  Just eat them.  Quick oats, pin oats, instant oats, rolled oats, they are ALL oats.

rolled oats

Oats have been proven to reduce blood cholesterol, they contain loads of vitamins and minerals (including being a fabulous source of manganese) and to boot they are convenient and quick.  What is there not to love!

Oats are frugal and a great way of adding texture to food; they work in meat dishes, pancakes, muffins, breads, all kinds of things to make the expensive ingredients go that bit further.

tablespoon of oats

Oats can also make an appearance in your beauty routine.   It is a gentle exfoliant, so if you put a teaspoon of oats in some facewash all those dead skin cells which make your skin look a little dull will come sloughing off and you will look radiant!  Also, if you or your children are suffering with a rash or itchy skin (like eczema, chicken pox, nappy rash, all of the above – poor kid!) you can make a bath bag using a muslin cloth.  In the middle of the cloth, put a tablespoon of oats, gather the cloth up and secure it with string or an elastic band, and then put it under the taps so the oats gets wet.  The bath water will get a little milky, and it is that substance which will help the itches go away.  After the bath has been run, put the parcel in the water, and even dab the bag on the itchy bits to get the most out of it.

I am quite pleased with that for a day with writers block!  Off to plan the rest of the weeks blogs!