The Sweet Beast and Morning Decadence

It’s been a while since we specifically talked about sugar. But really it’s a discussion you just kind of keep having.  I have it with myself all the time.  I’m having it right now, in fact, because I’m sitting here wondering why I don’t keep more dessert in the house.  The fact that I’ve been thinking about this for an hour explains why I don’t keep more dessert in the house…  So, maybe it’s time to talk about sugar again.  For those of you who were lured in by the Morning Decadence part of the title – it’s there, recipe included, waiting for you below.

Before we dig into that decadence, I want to address sugar that’s hidden by marketing genius.  The folks who make the food at the store are crazy smart and they’ve got you pegged – whatever your eating type, they know all about you, and they’ve got a packaged goodie just for you.  I know I’m making it all sound kind of sinister, but after reading Salt, Sugar, Fat, it’s hard not to see it that way.  Okay maybe they’re not out to get ME, but they sure aren’t out to help me.

I was reminded of the importance of reading labels when I saw this story come across my feed.  The long and short of it is a sort of exposé on foods that are packaged and sold as “healthier” options that have just as much (or more) sugar (and oftentimes salt and fat as well) as their notoriously (and obviously) unhealthy counter parts.

The eye catching comparison is between Quaker apple walnut oatmeal and a S’mores Pop Tart. Want to guess which one has more sugar? If you didn’t know me so well, you’d surely guess the Pop Tart, just like I would have, even knowing about what’s in that flavored oatmeal bowl. The flavored oatmeal has 22g of sugar and the Pop Tart has 19g.  Wow. That’s startling.  The article reveals that many “healthier” options are really not that healthy at all if we look at the sugar and fat content of the food inside.

What startled me more than the number of items that had more sugar than obviously sugar-y breakfast foods, was how much sugar almost all these options had.  The article reveals these marketing snow jobs and then stops.  I’m thinking – but WAIT, are you telling me I should be eating a S’mores Pop Tart?! 😉  No, they are not, but they do stop short of a couple of obvious reminders that are super relevant to the Baby Steps to Better Health that we’ve been talking about.

1) None of the information on a package of food will tell you as much about how nutritious that product is as the list of ingredients and the nutrition data label.  Don’t trust the picture. Don’t trust the name. Don’t trust the name of the manufacturer and don’t trust the description on the front.  Read the stuff the marketing guys didn’t get quite as much say in.

2) Making your own whatever it is you want to eat will allow you to get flavor and nutrition, will let you decide how much sugar and fat belong in your bowl, AND will, more often than not, save you money.  Little packets of Snicker bar sweet oatmeal cost a WHOLE lot more than a container of rolled oats.

3) Some convenience foods will save you a grand total of 1-5 minutes over a real food alternative that is just not that difficult to make and that is infinitely healthier than that very well-marketed candy bar breakfast.

Just to prove to you that decadence, convenience, and total yum are possible, I want to share with you a little experiment we did last night…

Know what that is?  That’s chocolate oatmeal.  Yes, I said chocolate oatmeal.  Set aside those Pop Tarts AND the pre-packaged flavored oatmeal.  Morning decadence is an 8 hour slow cooker cycle away.  I adapted this recipe from Kathy Hester’s The Vegan Slow Cooker, which I’ve been having a lot of fun with.  We woke up this morning to a hot breakfast that smelled, and tasted, like a warm bar of dark chocolate.  Need I say more?

Dark Chocolate Steel Cut Oats – feeds 8 till they’re really full

  • 2 cups steel cut oatsIMG_9142
  • 8 cups water (or nut milk, or moo)
  • 6 Tbs cocoa powder (you can adjust to your own preference)
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 4 Tbs maple syrup

Oil the crock of your slow cooker (I used coconut oil and wow is that always good with chocolate), add all the ingredients.

Yep, that's healthy chocolate breakfast.

Yep, that’s healthy chocolate breakfast.

Give a little stir.  Turn it on low and cook for 6-8 hours.  Stir before you try to tempt anyone with it – it doesn’t look particularly appealing at first sight.  A good stir will make it look like, well, dark chocolate steel cut oats.

The kids ate theirs plain. My husband and I had ours with nuts and I threw in a few raisins and a little almond milk.  I was out of shredded coconut, but am out no longer and am planning a Mounds bar kind of brekkie tomorrow.  Oh yes.  I don’t need no stinkin’ Pop Tart.  I have a Crock Pot and a pantry.  My decadent breakfast waits for me when I come down the stairs.  And I know EXACTLY what’s in it. Delish!

Want more easy homemade breakfasts? Try these even simpler crock pot oats.  Or if find it too warm for a big bowl of hot oatmeal, try a big bowl that will come together quickly and get you through your day.

Interested in a hot breakfast, but done with oatmeal (what?!), try this fantastic quinoa-based porridge.

Think you might like to try Crock Pot cooking, but not convinced?  You don’t need anything fancy.  Mine is crazy simple and very close to this model.  It has worked for eons and when I need to time something, I plug it into a wall timer – one less part to break.

Want to know more about improving your diet in little tiny achievable steps? C’Mon, you know you want to…

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49 responses

  1. Sugar and I have a long and complicated relationship…I also think about it, oh, pretty much all day long. I like to believe I’ve kicked most of my habit (most? is that possible?) but then it sneaks back in each weekend. So I’ve tamed it. However, reading about the shenanigans of the food (“food”) companies makes me very glad indeed that I’ve without a doubt kicked the prepared, processed foods habit.

    • We lower our standards on the weekend and I’m finding it harder to get back on board lately… especially if there’s chocolate involved, even if it’s very good chocolate… okay, maybe especially if it’s very good chocolate.

    • Honestly I’d only indulged in chocolate for brekkie when eating something totally sinful, so this was really an eye opener for me. And I tried it with the coconut this morning, and it was heavenly.

  2. I love oatmeal and what could be better than chocolate oatmeal? Maple syrup is one of my favorite sweeteners. Luckily we know somebody who makes it every year and I have a nice supply stashed away already.

  3. My 4 year old would be asking for this for breakfast everyday if I made it for her…yet…I want to so very badly. Actually, I am going to make this . I just cant help it.

  4. THIS recipe could actually get me to use my slow cooker (currently residing on a high and dusty shelf). Love the idea of chocolate oatmeal!
    -Dana (who has been known to eat her kid’s – and husband’s – cocoa pebbles and feel crappy afterwards)

  5. OMG! I think after 62 years of hating oatmeal that I could eat this! It looks like a cocoa oatmeal cookie dough recipe I make.And if I don’t still like it hot, I can always chill it! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Okay now I am in desperate need for some steel cut oats…..cause this sounds super duper yummy. I struggle to find things in the morning that even remotely sound good and I have a feeling that this might sound good no matter what!

    Thanks for sharing on our Healthy Tuesdays Blog Hop- I can’t wait to try.
    Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

  7. YUM, you pretty much had me at chocolate! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    Be sure to stop by to see who the winner of our So Lucky GF Basket is! We are ALSO having a fantastic giveaway this week to kick off Celiac Awareness month! 🙂

    Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

  8. “Dark Chocolate Steel Cut Oats”……………You had me at dark chocolate! I have been trying to get use to steel cut oats this may just do the trick. Thanks, Kat

  9. A thought provoking, informative post. I would have guessed the Pop Tart, too. Your chocolate oatmeal will be going on our menu! Thanks for adding it to Foodie Friday.

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