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Sweet Masala Oatmeal w/ Warm Berry Compote

A breakfast bowl that gets personal.

Oatmeal might be one of the best blank canvases for deliciousness and comfort I can think of, especially this colder time of year. There are so many ways to easily dress it up, that when we dial our personal breakfast bowl to suit our dosha, we elevate our bodies and wellbeing into a thriving state. But, what do I mean?

Well, when I imagine my bowl of warm oats, I see warm digestive spices swirled in with stewed fruit, bits of coconut and seeds, and a dollop of tahini or nut butter if I’m feeling fancy, which is most of the time. This bowl might sound delicious to many.. but this might not be the most nourishing depending on your dosha.

Ayurveda recognizes every substance can be supportive or disruptive depending on the state of your digestion. A substance can be nourishing when its qualities bring your system toward balance. It can become disruptive, or toxic when it impacts your digestion negatively and imbalances your dosha further. Fine-tuning your oatmeal recipe to suit your body's needs is a smart way to give yourself a jumpstart on your day.

Ayurveda and Your Oatmeal

From an Ayurvedic perspective, oats contain a sweet taste and hold qualities of dry, heavy, warm, soft, and slightly oily regardless of their form. The dominant sweet flavor is balancing for vata and pitta dosha. The earthy qualities described in oats are similar to the qualities kapha dosha contains. This means that oats can be aggravating to a kapha (or earthy) digestion, especially when there is a Kapha condition present - unless prepared correctly.

Overnight Your Oats

This is a process we all get. Just place your oats in a jar covered with water and leave overnight. The reason for doing so is to hydrate the drying quality that exists in oats. Secondly, oats, nuts, seeds, and grains contain a protective covering called phytic acid. This toxic covering protects the grain or seed from being eaten by predators. It is difficult to digest in our gut and can create distress in our digestive process. This is why if you continue reading, you will notice I mention soaking nuts and seeds to top your oatmeal.

My other recommendation is to warm up the oats because cold oatmeal already contains the heavy, oily qualities. When we wake up in the morning our digestion is naturally weakened, so adding heavy and cold qualities to the gut weakens and dampens its state further as the day goes on. The good news is because the oats have been soaked overnight, the cooking time takes less than 3 minutes on the stove.

Your Digestion and Adding Oomph to Your Oats

For some of us, we may add in a long list of powders, raw fruits, yogurts, and nut butters. While this may taste nice, Ayurveda may make you question all of your oat additions. Sorry, but not sorry. Before you go to top your oats, pay attention to how your digestion is feeling. Knowing your doshic constitution can be helpful in understanding your type of digestion and what toppings may work best.

For Vata: you tend on the airy and irregular digestion side ( VISHAMA AGNI). Your digestive flame is unpredictable. You experience gas, bloating, belching, colic pain, irregular bowel movements, or constipation, and an irregular appetite (one day you are not hungry, the next you are starving). Having simple combinations will be the most beneficial for your delicate digestion.

For Pitta: you tend on the fiery and sharp digestion side ( TIKSNA AGNI). Your digestive flame is turned up too high. You experience acid indigestion, loose bowel movements, sharp, pungent-smelling gas, and sweat, and you can become “hangry” when you go too long without food. Having cooling foods and spices along with moderate portions will be the most beneficial for your hot and quick digestion.

For Kapha: you tend on the earthy and slow digestion side (MANDA AGNI). Your digestive flame burns too low. You may experience tiredness or sluggishness after eating, feeling like food is sitting in your gut, and you may not have much of an appetite. Having pungent, heating spices and lighter foods will be the most beneficial for your earthy digestion.

Balanced Digestion : (SAMA AGNI) You can generally digest a reasonable quantity of any food in any season without issue, and you can tolerate changes in the weather and the seasons quite gracefully. You have a balanced digestion, absorption, and elimination, and no symptoms after eating or drinking.

If you are unsure about your digestion (Agni) type, this QUIZ is a great place to start, as well as learning your DOSHA to better understanding your unique constitution ( your Prakruti, or the innate nature you are born with, according to Ayurveda.) With that said, our bodies are always under the influence of other doshas throughout our lives. The doshas exist in our food, the experiences we have, the season we live in, and even in the time of day, time of the month, mindset, what we are eating, and how we are moving our bodies. All of this can impact how we become out of balance with our innate nature. This is called Vikruti, or our current state of self. The idea is to pull our current state of imbalance toward our innate state - we want our Vikruti to match our Prakruti when possible. This is why we adjust our nutrition, our routines, and our performance and recovery efforts to suit our doshas. Once you become aware of your doshic imbalances, or tendencies, you can fine-tune so much more than your breakfast bowl.

This sweet masala oatmeal recipe below is suitable for all doshic and digestibility needs, with some extra notes for topping adjustments.

Sweet Masala Oat Breakfast Bowl w/ a Warm Berry Compote

You can find these three recipes in my new 10-day Ayurvedic lifestyle cleanse, The Mindful Body Reset.

Sweet Masala Spice Blend

what you will need:

  • 1/2 Tbsp ground fennel

  • 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp rose powder

  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

  • 1/4 tsp ground clove

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small jar. Stir well. Store sealed away from light.

Warm Berry Compote

It is recommended to cook your fruits when combined with other foods, such as porridge.

what you will need:

  • 1/2 cup mixed fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)

  • 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

  • 3 whole cloves

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 Tbsp water, lime juice, or orange juice

  1. Combine the fruit, spices, salt, and water (or juice) in a small pot. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the mixture is cooked down and the berries have released their juices. If the mixture becomes dry, add a splash of water as needed while cooking. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

  2. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Overnight Oatmeal Bowl (serves 1)

what you will need:

  • 1 tsp ghee or coconut oil

  • 1 tsp sweet masala spice blend

  • 1/2 cup organic rolled oats, soaked in water overnight

  • 1/4 cup water or almond milk

  1. In a small pot, heat the ghee over medium-low heat. Add the sweet masala spice blend for about 1 minute until they release their aroma. Add the soaked oats, stir well, and allow the oats to absorb the ghee.

  2. Add water or almond milk, stir, and heat up until the oats are warm and you have your desired consistency. Top some of your warm berry compote on top.

Topping Notes :

Vata: favor a small amount of coconut flakes, soaked overnight pecans, or soaked overnight almonds with the skins peeled the next morning or pumpkin seeds. Make your oats more porridge/soupy-like.

Pitta: favor cacao nibs, maple syrup, coconut yogurt or flakes, soaked walnuts or almonds. If your Pitta is high, omit the ginger in the compote recipe.

Kapha: favor a small drizzle of honey and/or tahini, soaked and peeled almonds, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds.

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