Oats are another amazing food that can be used medicinally for many purposes. As a lactation consultant, I have always understood oatmeal to be the perfect breakfast for boosting milk supply. Quaker Oats ladies, not the instant oatmeal.
Learning to properly prepare whole oats (or other whole grains) as a nutritious and frugal breakfast is key to enjoying these wholesome foods. Whole grain rolled oats or steel cut oats are packed full of nutrition, including protein, fiber and many vitamins and minerals. The trick though is to soak your grains for 12 to 24 hours to neutralize their phytic acid, which then makes the nutrients more accessible and digestible.
Since most of us eat oatmeal at breakfast time, the most obvious time to soak oatmeal is overnight. After dinner cleanup, pull out the pot you plan to cook your oatmeal in, add the necessary water for cooking which is typically equal to the oatmeal used or somewhat more depending on your taste, and then to this, add about a tablespoon of an acidic liquid. This might be yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk, whey, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. No need to drain before cooking. If the oats taste a bit sour (potentially from the yogurt) then rinse and drain before cooking.
Rolled oats can typically be brought to a boiling and then turned on low to simmer with the lid on another five minutes and steel cut oats (requiring a bit more water as well, two to three times water to oats) would also be brought to a boil and then simmered for about ten minutes.
Oats have all sorts of uses though, and as a mother I’ve learned that oatmeal baths are fabulous for various skin ailments, like chickenpox, poison ivy, psoriasis or even dry skin during the winter months.
Simply grab a clean sock, fill it with oatmeal, and toss it into the bath. After a good soak, oatmeal milk will start to seep from the sock and this is where the magic begins. The water itself will become quite relaxing and soothing, but the sock can be used to rub on the itchier areas of the body, allowing the milk to bath and comfort.
Believe Midwifery Services has the book, Nourishing Traditions, in its library and the chapters on grains and cereals are particularly wonderful with many recipes on different types of hot cereals from around the world.