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


• 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). I do not receive an affiliate commission on any purchases of Biopharma Scientific products.


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.

5 Tips to Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, can give many of us the winter blues. Here are Dr. Cutler’s top 5 tips to combat SAD.

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, impacts around 17% of Canadians each year with varying levels of intensity. SAD usually begins around the months of fall and continues through the winter months. The symptoms are the same as major depression, with the only difference being the time of year of onset.

1. Sunshine

Get outside (if/when you can)! Even if only for a short while, sunshine on our skin may help increase serotonin production. Depression is often linked with low serotonin levels. Decreased serotonin can also affect our energy, appetite, and sex drive. I’ve experienced, many times, how a short walk in my neighborhood can shift my mood and perception of the day.

Morning Tip: Open your blinds and let the light in as soon as you wake up. This can support our circadian rhythms, as well.

SAD Tip #1: Dr Dylan Cutler Outside Getting Sunshine

2. Sweat

Exercise has various health benefits, one of which is boosting our mood.

Studies have shown that exercise can be an effective anti-depressant for mild to moderate levels of depression. It doesn’t take much either! Researchers have estimated that 35 minutes of physical activity is enough to reduce the risk of depression. One study found that walking for 60 minutes a day (or running for 15 minutes) can reduce the risk of depression by 26%.

Exercise works by increasing blood flow to the brain, supporting neural growth, reducing inflammation in the brain, and releasing “feel good” endorphins.

Physical activity at a moderate intensity level seems to have the best effect on mental well-being (as opposed to intense levels).

Dr Dylan Cutler hiking the Sea to Sky Summit

3. Sleep

Sleep is vital all-year-round. However, during the holiday season it may be extra necessary to prioritize sleep. Schedules often get busier, responsibilities mount, and stress levels can rise.

Sufficient sleep (around 7-9 hours a night) can help stabilize our mood. People who are sleep deprived are at 10x greater risk of developing depression! Sleep is our time for restoration. If falling asleep or staying asleep is an issue, prioritizing a regular bedtime routine, along with daily activity and time outside, can be helpful.

4. Supplement

Evidence suggests that the removal and decline of magnesium from foods has resulted in various mood disorders in the Western world. Up to 75% of Americans are not obtaining the recommended amount of daily magnesium.

A randomized controlled trial from 2008 found that 450 mg of magnesium supplementation was as effective as Imipramine (an antidepressant) for treating major depression. This study was conducted in a group of elderly patients with type 2 diabetes and depression.

I enjoy popping a couple of Natural Calm magnesium gummies throughout the day (they feel like a chewy, sweet treat). Then, before bed, I mix Natural Calm magnesium powder in water and sip for a sound sleep. Both these products are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and made with less than 1 gram of sugar.

SAD Tip #4: Natural Calm Magnesium Citrate Powder

5. Support Network

Studies have shown that having a solid support network is an important determinant of health. Adults with flourishing support networks are more likely to be happier, have high life satisfaction, and more likely to report “very good” or “excellent” mental health.

2021 update: While the ways we connect with our support network have changed, we have many tools to work with. Technology is our friend right now when it comes to maintaining social connections; phone a friend, arrange a virtual movie night or games night, follow the same workout while Zooming together, the possibilities are endless.

SAD Tip #5: Dr Dylan Cutler and her social support in Whistler, B.C.
Photo from Dec. 2019, pre-pandemic.

SAD Recap

So pop a magnesium gummy, call a friend, get some sleep, and go for a hike in the beautiful outdoors!

In health,

Dr Dylan Cutler

This article is sponsored by Natural Calm Canada.