Every morning I like to break my fast with a hot bowl of homemade oatmeal. I find my body enjoys the nourishing and grounding quality of this Ayurvedic detox oatmeal after morning meditation and yoga.
Below is the recipe I adapted based on several recipes I've learned from expert Ayurvedic practitioners over the years. This unconventional method of toasting the oats and spices is a process I learned from Divya Alter from her book What to Eat for How You Feel. This book is my kitchen bible.
Please enjoy, and let me know what you think!
Ayurvedic Detox Oatmeal
1/2 cup of organic oat flakes
*To make your oatmeal with steel-cut oats, add at least 1/2 cup more water in Step 4. It will take 10-15 minutes longer to cook. To speed up the cook time, soak steel-cut oats overnight and drain them before cooking.
1/2 cup of organic barley flakes - Shiloh Farms Barley offers great quality
*Barley has a cooling quality and acts as a binder of toxins in the colon and blood, it regulate blood sugar for 10 hours after eating, it lowers cholesterol, and is abundant in fiber.
1/4 cup tapioca pearls (aka cassava root)
*Tapioca binds toxins so that they leave the body through the digestive tract (instead of the skin, which causes breakouts).
1 tablespoon of ghee - Ancient Organics Ghee is my favorite
1 tablespoon of Sweet Masala
*See recipe below.
1 or 2 medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped (I like to refrigerate them for easier chopping).
*1/4 cup of Thompson raisins can be used instead
*Spring water is ideal because it’s pure, vibrant, and energizing. Tap water comes with additives, chemicals and heavy metals, which are not only toxic, but can also make us feel sluggish. We can filter out most of these toxins, but the vibrant energy (known as prana) is lost due to the toxins.
Not all water is created equal, so try spring water and see how your body may respond to it differently. I’ll explain more about our relationship with water in a new post soon.
Also, avoid plastic bottles as much as possible. The recommended spring water above comes in glass. If you can’t get your hands on spring water, then filtered tap water is a-okay.
Sometimes as a pre-breakfast, I will peal and slice a pear or apple and boil it in spring water before starting the oatmeal. Then I eat the warm, soft pear/apple slices and use the boiled pear water for the oatmeal. This is an Ayurvedic practice that properly stimulates digestion first thing in the morning.
1 cup of fresh, organic, grass-fed, un-homogenized (cream-top) whole cow’s milk*
*You can use fresh almond milk as a dairy alternative.
Like water, not all milk is created equal either. Fresh, raw milk from a local organic dairy with a grass-fed Jersey cow herd (or similar A2 breed) is ideal, but not easy to come by these days. I’ll explain the benefits of proper cow’s milk in another post soon.
The best sources of cow’s milk I can find at grocery stores is Saint Benoit in the Bay Area and Sky Top Farms in NYC, or even better there’s a raw dairy source I can connect you with in New York (message me for more info).
Makes about 1/2 cup
These spices help to break down the carbs, sugars, and milk in the oatmeal.
Put all ingredients in an electric grinder or spice mill and grind into a fine powder. Store in a dry, airtight jar away from light.
2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
Fennel regulates digestive fire by increasing weak fire and decreasing overly strong fire. It also promotes breast milk flow.
2 tablespoons of coriander seeds
Coriander improves digestion, offsets spicy foods, relieves gas, is diuretic, calms the mind, binds toxins in the blood, and protects the gut from acidity.
2 tablespoons of dried rose petals or rose buds
Rose soothes the heart, balances the mind, slows down aging, rejuvenates the digestive tract, liver, and colon, and promotes glowing skin.
3 teaspoons of crushed cinnamon bark (Ceylon is excellent)
Cinnamon improve circulation, relives coughs and colds, helps with glucose and carbohydrate metabolism.
1 1/2 teaspoons of green cardamom seeds (without the pods)
Green cardamom calms nerves, aids digestion, freshens mouth, helps with protein metabolism and chronic cough.
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract powder - Kiva Vanilla is a great source
Vanilla is a natural aphrodisiac, and improves appetite.
Optional: 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
Turmeric cleanses the liver, breaks down fat in the liver, improves digestion and immunity, is an anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, and adds luster to the skin.
Turmeric is a powerful herb that is very heating and only needs to be taken in small amounts. It’s best taken in it’s dry form and cooked with water, fat and protein in order to bind the turmeric for a steady delivery to the cellular system. Otherwise it can overwhelm the liver and cause the liver to release too many toxins at once creating a “detox crisis,” which if not taken care of properly can result in autoimmune conditions. Therefore, it’s recommended to avoid using raw turmeric root, juicing with turmeric, or taking curcumin capsules.
Optional: 1 teaspoon of Ashwaganda powder
Ashwaganda has similar adaptogenic properties as Korean ginseng. It provides one with the stamina of a horse—physically, mentally and sexually, by making the nervous system more resilient to stress.
Optional: 1 teaspoon of Shatavari powder
Shatavari provides mental and emotional strength by balancing hormones for both men and women, but especially for women. It supports fertility and libido, cools down an overheated, fiery mind and body, and is said to give the eyes a long healthy life. It also helps the brain by improving learning, retention and assimilation of knowledge, and recall.
Pre-soak the tapioca pearls in 1/2 cup of spring water
In a small saucepan or pot, heat the ghee over medium-low heat. Add the sweet masala and toast until the ground spices release their aromas within the first 20 seconds or so. (Do not let the spices burn. If they burn, start over).
Add the barley and/or oat flakes, stir well, and toast for another minute, allowing the flakes to absorb the ghee.
Add 1/2 cup of water, then the milk (adding milk first might curdle it), soaked tapioca, and dates.
Stir and bring to a full boil.
Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the grains are cooked and creamy. Stir occasionally as the tapioca may stick to the pot as it thickens. You may need to add more water or milk if it becomes too thick to your liking.
Turn off the heat and serve hot.
If the weather is hot or your body is running hot, use more barley flakes and less oat flakes.
If the weather is cold or your body is running cold, use more oat flakes and less barley flakes.
If the weather is cold and muggy or your body is feeling sluggish, use more barley flakes and less oat flakes, and use more water, less milk, and less ghee.
If you have IBS or celiac, use only certified gluten free oats. Do not use barley, as it naturally has trace amounts of gluten. Barley has many healthy benefits and typically doesn’t affect digestion negatively when you have a health micro-biome.