I am fortunate to live where I do because I love to hike. I also spend several hours on horseback in the forests and hills near my home. On weekends, my husband and I enjoy packing up and heading for a day long hike in the lowlands of the Olympic Mountain Ranges. For these days especially, I developed my unique special recipe that I refer to as Renee’s High Energy Blueberry and Flaxseed Oatmeal.
A long day hiking is exhausting, and proper nutritional fueling is important. I’ve been eating oatmeal much of my life, and I’ve always liked it. When I was a bodybuilder, I used oatmeal as my main source of carbohydrates and I ate it plain. When I wasn’t dieting for a competition or photo shoot, I learned how to blend many different ingredients together to make many different oatmeal concoctions. Before a hike or other endurance activity, I prefer an Old Fashioned Oatmeal blend that includes berries, flaxseed, and almond or organic peanut butter. Proper blending of these main ingredient sources is a superb way to ensure that you maintain the energy levels you require all day, on the trail.
- ¾ cup of Old Fashioned Oats.
- ½ cup Natural Granola with Almonds.
- 1 hand full of Raw Flaxseeds.
- ¾ Cup of Fresh or Frozen Blueberries, Raspberries, or Strawberries.
- 1 big tablespoon of Almond or Peanut Butter.
I prefer not to use milk on my oatmeal, but feel free to indulge a little in your mixture if you prefer. All berries are acceptable, and Chia seeds can also be substituted if you like! If you’d like a slightly sweeter version, you may add natural Stevia or fresh raw honey or Agave to the mixture.
Bring one cup of water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Add old fashioned oats, granola, flaxseeds and berries. Stir consistently and lower the heat while the water is absorbed into the oats. Once it’s cooked and has achieved a slightly creamy but thick texture, add the almond butter and stir until fully absorbed by the oats. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool before eating. The mixture should have a thick and hearty consistency.
Oatmeal is considered a “clean” carb but make sure you choose the right kind. Always choose the “old fashioned” version of oats versus the “instant” or “quick” oats since they have a little higher glycemic index due to being more refined. Avoid any flavored oatmeal in the little packets since they contain high amounts of sugar-laden mix-ins to create the different sweet flavors (maple and brown sugar, apples and cinnamon, etc). Quaker old fashioned oats are the most popular oatmeal in most grocery stores but also look for high quality oatmeal from a company called “Bob’s Red Mill”. Another great option is to try steel cut oats which are the healthiest version of oats you can eat. The only downside is that they take a little longer to cook (30-40 minutes) but they are well worth the wait!
Regular rolled oats are steamed, rolled, steamed again, and toasted. Steel cut oats are just coarsely chopped, that’s it! This makes them a very low glycemic food, which is the measurement of how food affects a person’s blood sugar after eating it. A high glycemic food will spike blood sugar big time which is not a good thing since it causes insulin to be released in order to bring the blood sugar back to normal. The more insulin you release, the more the body is primed to store fat. So, it’s always important to choose clean carbs that are lower on the glycemic index (GI) in order to provide a slow and steady form of nutrients that provides tons of energy all day long.
This morning meal will keep you satisfied for several hours. It’s a great way to start the day before a long hike or ride. When I hit the trail, I prefer to carry as little extra weight as possible, so water is the only resource I take with me. Making sure you have proper nourishment is essential when energy requirements are high!