Don’t the cooler temps and falling leaves just make you want to curl up with a cozy bowl of warm cinnamon oats? Same. Except there’s only one problem here – oats.
There is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with oats. They are delicious, warming, comforting, and easy. I eat oats for breakfast every once in a while, especially when I am traveling, and I love every minute of it. But am I eating oats for breakfast every day? Personally, no.
There are a number of different reasons you may not want to eat oats (or any grains, for that matter) for breakfast, and I’ll mention a few of them here.
I think you all know that I am a big fan of squeezing as many micronutrients as possible into our days. Grains (including oats) do generally have some nutrients, but plant and animal foods trump almost every other category of foods when it comes to volume of nutrients you can get per serving. Vegetables will almost always deliver more nutrients than grains, so I opt for veggies over grains when possible. Check out this article for more information on nutrient density.
Hippocrates got it right when he said, “all disease begins in the gut.” Research is showing now more clearly than ever that ailments from acne to autoimmune disease are rooted in the health status of our stomach and intestines. If you struggle with digestive or hormonal issues, have a diagnosed autoimmune disease or allergies, have taken antibiotics repeatedly, or have symptoms like joint pain, fatigue, energy crashes, insomnia, etc., you may have leaky gut. Grains unfortunately contribute to leaky gut by increasing intestinal permeability, which means that they may cause your symptoms to worsen if you have any of these issues.
Blood Sugar Balance
Grains like oats are very carbohydrate-rich foods. Carbohydrates are NOT bad (I actually had a bad experience when I accidentally went too low-carb), but eating a large amount of carbohydrates in one sitting can cause blood sugar problems for many people. If you struggle with energy crashes, irritability, shakiness, or mood fluctuations, you may be struggling with blood sugar imbalances. If so, a breakfast packed with lots of carbs may not be the best option for you.
Enter my favorite alternative to oatmeal: n’oatmeal. I wanted to create a dish that felt the same as oats – warming, mushy, delicious, fall-y – but was vegetable-based rather than grain-based. It took me a few tries, but I have to say I totally nailed it.
I have been eating this fall n’oatmeal for breakfast every day for the past few weeks and I am far from sick of it. It is a great dish to meal prep at the beginning of the week and heat up every morning for a quick breakfast. It is also ridiculously cost-effective given that a medium spaghetti squash costs less than $2 at my farmer’s market.
If you’re looking for a grain-free version of your favorite fall breakfast, look no further. Try out this recipe and let me know what you think!
Fall N'Oatmeal (Paleo, Vegan*, Whole30)
The perfect grain-free alternative to your favorite fall breakfast.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 medium Japanese sweet potato (or sub another variety of sweet potato)
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 medjool date
- 2 heaping tablespoons organic almond butter (or sub another nut butter)
- 4 scoops collagen peptides or other protein powder (optional)
- 2 tsp organic ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp organic ground ginger (optional)
- 1/2 tsp organic ground cardamom (optional)
- 1/2 tsp organic ground nutmeg (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven is heating up, cut your spaghetti squash in half, remove the seeds, and place face down on a baking sheet (either lined with parchment paper or rubbed with coconut oil). Wash your sweet potato, use a fork to poke a few holes in it, and place it on the same baking sheet as the spaghetti squash.
- Bake the spaghetti squash and sweet potato for about 45 minutes.
- When the squash and sweet potato are finished baking (they should both be soft to the touch), remove from the oven and let them cool for at least 5 minutes.
- When the sweet potato has cooled enough to touch it, separate the skin from the flesh and add the flesh to a blender along with all remaining ingredients (coconut milk, nut butter, date, and spices). Blend until smooth.
- Use a fork to separate the flesh of the spaghetti squash from the hard skin. Add the flesh (the “spaghetti”) to a large mixing bowl, and pour the blended mixture on top. Mix until spaghetti is evenly coated with the blended mixture.
- Pour all ingredients into an 8×8 (or other size, this is not exact) baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. When the dish is hot and has reduced a bit, remove from the oven and allow it to cool.
- Garnish with chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or more nut butter, if desired. Enjoy!