Uh oh – time is going by so fast! Can’t believe I’m writing a report about week 8 of my marathon preparation. Another eight weeks, and my race will be here!
I know, I know – I might sound kind of stressed saying this, but actually I’m kind of excited! Yes, setting any big goal (including running a decent marathon on a vegan diet) will bring plenty of stress and excitement, but it’s important to stay focused and celebrate every milestone while on the way to that bigger goal. And whenever we go through a confidence-building experience, let’s celebrate it even more!
On Sunday, I got another boost of confidence after completing my 18-mile long run. Yaaay! This has been the longest run I’ve done during this marathon preparation. My second longest run so far has been a 14-miler a couple weeks ago (you can read about it in this post, along with some tips on nutrition for vegan athletes). So what made me so confident after this run? At least these four things:
- I was able to gradually speed up during the 18 miles of this run, doing the last third of the distance almost a minute faster per mile than the first third of the run;
- My stomach didn’t bother me, which means that I’ve been doing something right with my nutritional strategy;
- Comparing this run with a similar long run on the same route during last year’s marathon training, I was able to power up the same hills that nearly drained me the previous time (it felt great to run strong through places where I had to walk last year!);
- I was able to recover much better after this long run than last year, and I’m sure this has A LOT to do with my plant-based diet! All those antioxidants did a great job tackling on inflammation and oxidative stress of my 3-hour-long sidewalk pounding, and my Swamp Monster Smoothie was a great post-run start to that process!
Today’s the rest day for this gal! And how could I relax better than by eating lots of plant-strong foods loaded with complex carbs and fiber? By starting off with a simple and delicious breakfast like this steel-cut oatmeal loaded with blueberries!
The beauty of this recipe: besides tasting delicious and being easy to make, this oatmeal is very hearty and filling! Trust me: my metabolism is so fast that I get hungry half an hour after eating any type of carb-heavy breakfast, but after a bowl of this oatmeal, my stomach is full and happy all the way until lunch!
Steel-cut oats (also known as Irish oats) are the least processed among all types of oats available in grocery stores. To make them, toasted oat grains are simply chopped into chunks the size of a sesame seed. Steel-cut oats are rich in fiber, B vitamins, protein, unsaturated fat, and calcium. They have a nuttier, more chewy texture than rolled oats, and because all of the fiber remains intact during processing, they fill us up better than the more processed types of cereals.
Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants! I like adding a handful or two of frozen blueberries to the pot of this oatmeal as soon as I take it off the heat; this way the berries get instantly defrosted by the heat of the cooked oatmeal, but don’t get overcooked, and the oatmeal cools off a bit, so I’m not going to burn my mouth eating it right away. You’ll love how each blueberry bursts in your mouth when you’re chewing this oatmeal!
You can also use fresh blueberries if they are in season, or add any other berries or fruit to your oatmeal as you please.
I suggest adding some ground flaxseed and cinnamon to your bowl to make your breakfast even more nutritionally rich (here’s my post on health benefits of ground flax and other vegan essentials).
As with other fiber-rich foods, it’s best to eat them after strenuous physical activity, not before, to avoid gastrointestinal trouble.
This delicious and easy-to-make oatmeal is a nutritious start to a good day! To make it even healthier, use organic wild blueberries.
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 1/2 cup water (or use another 1 1/2 cup almond milk for an even richer flavor)
- 1 cup steel-cut oats (also see notes below)
- 1-2 Tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup (more/less to taste)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- pinch cinnamon
- Combine almond milk and water in a tall heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil; be careful as the liquid can overflow as soon as it starts boiling!
- Once the liquid is boiling, add oats. Reduce heat to medium-low, cook uncovered for 10-15 min, stirring often to prevent the oatmeal from burning to the bottom of the pot. Add more water if it starts looking too thick. The oatmeal is ready when each grain becomes soft and not too chewy as you taste it.
- Just before taking the oatmeal off the heat, add brown sugar/maple syrup. Stir well to let them dissolve. Take the pot off the heat.
- Immediately stir in frozen blueberries. Let stand 2-3 min before serving.
- To serve: ladle the oatmeal into each bowl, sprinkle with ground flaxseed and cinnamon. Stir them in and enjoy!
I like using steel-cut oats for this recipe; however, you can substitute them with old-fashioned rolled oats and reduce cooking time to 8-10 min for equally delicious results.
What’s your favorite plant-strong breakfast? Do you know any other recipe versions of vegan oatmeal? Share your thoughts!