This post is obviously for the ladies.
Once a month, after a few days of chocolate cravings and mood swings, some of us ladies have a few…
less than desirable HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD cramps. Then there are others of us who are apparently lucky and have none.
Good for you.
For the rest of us who *might* have to deal with pesky cramps, sometimes Midol isn’t always available or the best option, so a natural remedy might have to do. I personally think making smart choices about nutrition can be better than solving issues with medicine, but both have their benefits.
So when you wake up with that stabbing pain in your lower abdomen, what foods should you prepare? According to healwithfood.org, the top 12 are bananas, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, parsley, pineapple, fenugreek seeds (no idea), ginger, walnuts, sesame seeds, spinach, oats and kale. This list leads me to two of my favorite breakfasts to make: old-fashioned oatmeal and smoothies.
My Instagram followers are no stranger to my obsession with smoothies–my feed is sprinkled with smoothies I drink, including: fresh fruit smoothies, protein smoothies, and just other nutritional goodies.
Let’s start with old fashioned oatmeal, made from steel-cut oats. I’m not talking about the instant oatmeal you buy in a pack and heat up in less than two minutes in the microwave. Those packets contain 12g of sugar and are extremely processed as opposed to 1g or less in the same serving of steel-cut oats. The problem: they just don’t taste the same…unless you know how to cook them.
I took Alton Brown’s recipe from Food Network and simplified it a bit. The good news: You don’t have to soak the oats overnight, though the benefits of soaking oats are great! The catch? It takes a lot longer than two minutes.
All you need is:
1/4 cup of steel-cut oats
1 cup water
1/4 cup milk (if you like it more creamy)
1 tbs brown sugar
cinnamon to taste
In a small pot, add 1 cup of water until it boils. While that’s warming up, in a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and toast the oats for a few minutes. Alton says two, but I usually toast mine a little bit more. Reduce the heat in the pot to a simmer and add the oats to the water. Here’s the hard part: let it sit for 20-25 minutes without stirring it. When you see that the oats have soaked up most of the water, that’s when you add the milk. In about 10 minutes, the oatmeal will be a little bit more sticky. It’s ready!
To make it taste like the maple/brown sugar oatmeal (my favorite), add 1 tbs of brown sugar and sprinkle cinnamon on top to your desire. I always add in a little bit of hazelnut syrup. The kind we buy is organic, agave-sweetened and low on the glycemic index. Voila! It takes a while, but is a lot more nutritional.
How does it help with cramps? “Oats are loaded with the anti-cramping mineral magnesium. They are also one of the best sources of dietary zinc for women who suffer from painful periods.” –healwithfood.org
Plus, you can finish getting ready while your oatmeal is cooking for 25+minutes. Win-win!
Smoothies are easy to make and you can add whatever ingredients you want. So, what should you put in a smoothie to help with cramps? Take two foods out of the list above– banana and pineapple and you have a great start! I like to add in some more fresh or frozen fruits, and then use coconut water as a base.