Vanilla Toffee Cinnamon Superfood Oatmeal

Up your oatmeal game with a plant-based protein boost complete with omega-3s, vitamin D, and stress-fighting nutrients.

Oatmeal provides a simple, nourishing breakfast on its own, but we can easily up our oatmeal game with the help of some superfoods, healing spices, and herbs.

Any type of oats (steel-cut, rolled, or quick) are great, however, steel-cut oats are the least processed and lowest in glycemic load. Oats keep blood sugar levels stable and help us stay energized. They also contain tryptophan which boosts serotonin levels for better sleep and a more stable mood.

Chia, hemp and flax seeds are all plant-based sources of protein, fiber, and polyunsaturated fats. I love tossing these into my oatmeal. Chia seeds are high in omega-3s which can help decrease high testosterone and improve egg quality. Hemp seeds contain all essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6 & 9) which may improve cholesterol profiles and reduce inflammation. Flax seeds contain lignans which may increase sex hormone-binding globulin and lower blood testosterone levels (crucial for many with PCOS). Flax seeds may also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Vanilla Toffee Cinnamon Superfood Oatmeal

I have been loving this vegan protein powder which tastes like a delicious vanilla toffee milkshake. It is made from non-GMO yellow pea, brown rice, and chia seeds. This protein powder is unique for a few reasons. For starters, it has added vitamin D which is crucial for our mental health. It is very challenging for most of us in North America to obtain enough vitamin D from the sun alone.

In addition, this protein contains maitake mushroom and ashwagandha which both increase our resilience to stress. Maitake mushroom has been shown to: improve type 2 diabetes, boost our immune systems, decrease inflammation, improve cholesterol profiles, and increase ovulation rates in PCOS. I discussed the evidence behind ashwagandha in a previous post.

Vanilla Toffee Cinnamon Superfood Oatmeal

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup oats
• 2 cups water (or nut milk)
• 1 scoop vegan protein powder (Biopharma Scientific Vanilla Toffee)
• 1 tbsp hemp seeds
• 1 tbsp chia seeds
• 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• fruit toppings
• nut butter

Warm Version (rolled or quick oats):

1. Bring water to a boil.
2. Add oats to boiled water.
3. Stir in protein powder, hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and cinnamon and whisk well (optional: splash of almond milk).
4. Wait 10 minutes for the liquid to soak up.
5. Top with fruit and a healthy fat, like nut butter.

Cold Version (rolled or quick oats):

1. Add oats and water to a bowl.
2. Stir in protein powder, hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and cinnamon and whisk well.
3. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
4. In the morning, add toppings and dig in!

Vanilla Toffee Cinnamon Superfood Oatmeal

This post was sponsored by Biopharma Scientific. Use code PHRUITFUL for 10% off all their products (non-GMO and organic).

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Vanilla Toffee Cinnamon Superfood Oatmeal

Disclaimer: As the sole author of Phruitful Dish, I have based my posts on my own experiences and personal knowledge regarding nutrition and PCOS; particularly that gained in obtaining my doctorate degree in obstetrics and gynaecology. The information in this blog is not intended as medical advice, and it is not endorsed by my employers or institutions I am affiliated with. Nutritional choices should be made in consultation with your health care provider. This blog is intended to inspire and encourage readers to educate themselves on how nutrition can be one important part of a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, please use the information at your own risk. Occasional links may be provided leading to third party websites. The existence of these links does not infer a responsibility or an endorsement of the linked site, its operator, or its contents.

Apple Cinnamon Oat Smoothie for Digestion

This dairy-free smoothie tastes like apple pie but is high in fiber, antioxidants, and may aid digestion.

As we transition to the cooler fall and winter months, an ice-cold smoothie for breakfast may not be as appealing anymore. Cooler foods may also be more challenging to digest. Avoiding frozen ingredients and adding particular spices to a smoothie, like cinnamon and ginger, and minerals, like magnesium, may assist digestion.

Apple Cinnamon Oat Smoothie for Digestion

Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory and loaded with antioxidants. One study examined the antioxidant activity of 26 spices and determined that cinnamon was one of the most powerful, along with clove and oregano (even more so than garlic!). Following close behind these spices were sage, thyme, and rosemary. In addition, cinnamon has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol while increasing our ‘good’ cholesterol. 

How Magnesium Can Help Digestion

Adding magnesium to smoothies may improve digestion by activating digestive enzymes and relaxing the intestinal wall muscles. Magnesium can also ease constipation by increasing the water content of stools. 

Apple Cinnamon Oat Smoothie for Digestion

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashew milk (or any nut milk)
  • 1 large organic apple or 2 small apples, chopped
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 chunk of fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 scoop Natural Calm magnesium citrate powder

Add all ingredients to a blender and give it a whirl. Enjoy!

In health, Dr. Dylan Cutler, Ph.D.

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Apple Cinnamon Oat Smoothie for Digestion

References

Shan B, Cai YZ, Sun M, Corke H. Antioxidant capacity of 26 spice extracts and characterization of their phenolic constituents. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2005 Oct 5;53(20):7749-59.

Allen RW, Schwartzman E, Baker WL, Coleman CI, Phung OJ. Cinnamon use in type 2 diabetes: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. The Annals of Family Medicine. 2013 Sep 1;11(5):452-9.

Ou JZ, Cottrell JJ, Ha N, Pillai N, Yao CK, Berean KJ, Ward SA, Grando D, Muir JG, Harrison CJ, Wijesiriwardana U. Potential of in vivo real-time gastric gas profiling: a pilot evaluation of heat-stress and modulating dietary cinnamon effect in an animal model. Scientific reports. 2016 Sep 16;6:33387.

Wu KL, Rayner CK, Chuah SK, Changchien CS, Lu SN, Chiu YC, Chiu KW, Lee CM. Effects of ginger on gastric emptying and motility in healthy humans. European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology. 2008 May 1;20(5):436-40.

Hu ML, Rayner CK, Wu KL, Chuah SK, Tai WC, Chou YP, Chiu YC, Chiu KW, Hu TH. Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia. World journal of gastroenterology: WJG. 2011 Jan 7;17(1):105.

This article is sponsored by Natural Calm Canada.

Cinnamon Cashew Blender Muffins (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Low-Glycemic)

Simple, healthy muffins you can make in a blender! They’re free of dairy, refined sugars, oil and gluten.

I consider muffins a pseudo-health food because while they’re often disguised as nutritious, in reality, they can be packed with saturated or trans fats, sugar and sodium. Some other misleading “healthy” snacks that come to mind are store-bought granola (often loaded with sugar and hydrogenated oils!) and protein bars (some contain high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils resembling a candy bar!). The power of making our own meals and snacks is in knowing exactly what we are putting into our bodies. Rolled oats and cinnamon can help balance blood sugar and manage cholesterol levels, while cashews are a great source of heart-healthy fats and antioxidants. To sweeten these muffins I used apple sauce and a small amount of maple syrup (which I talked about in a past dessert recipe).

Cinnamon cashew blender muffins

Now, if baking doesn’t seem to fit in your busy schedule (I hear you!), you’re going to love these muffins because a blender does all the work! So toss everything in, relax while they bake, and have healthy snacks prepared for the whole week.

Cinnamon Cashew Blender Muffins (Low-Glycemic, Gluten-Free)

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups water
  • cinnamon to sprinkle on top
  • optional: very ripe banana, berries
Cinnamon Cashew Blender Muffins (Low-Glycemic, Gluten-Free)
How to:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 deg F.
  2. Combine all ingredients into a blender (if adding berries, stir in after blending). Since my blender isn’t high-powered, I blend a couple ingredients at a time.
  3. Fill muffin liners to the brim with batter. Note: healthy, oil-free muffins like these often stick to the liners. Some tricks are to use silicon liners instead of paper, and to place a cookie sheet with water in it on the rack below the one with your muffins. PS. I would love to hear your tricks!
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon and swirl into the batter.
  5. Cook in oven for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let muffins cool before removing from liners.

Cinnamon Cashew Blender Muffins (Low-Glycemic, Gluten-Free)

PCOS Powers:
  • rolled oats have a low glycemic load and are high in fiber, may help maintain blood sugar levels, and contain tryptophan which boosts serotonin levels for better sleep and a stable mood
  • raw cashews may help lower blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol, and improve insulin and androgen levels in women with PCOS (as a tree nut)
  • cinnamon may help balance glucose levels, lower cholesterol and decrease triglycerides in blood
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Cinnamon cashew blender muffins (gluten-free, vegan, low-glycemic)

What tricks do you have for making non-stick, healthy muffins?