Whenever I take the time to do something now that will benefit me or make my life easier in the future, I know my future self will thank me. I’m a serious procrastinator so thinking ahead is a serious challenge for me. Being mindful in the moment doesn’t mean not planning for a future. It means being present and still looking out for future needs.
Most mornings are a rush. I leave the apartment almost every weekday without breakfast hoping that I get to the cafeteria at work before I get whisked away into my day. Most days I can pick up something to eat at the firm, but if I miss it, I miss out on my favorite meal.
I’ve recently discovered that oatmeal actually helps reduce bad cholesterol in a meaningful way, as well as tasting good. I spoke about life cycles last week hinting at some pangs of grief. I’ve had a little time to process and can probably speak more clearly now. Last week a dear friend of ours passed away at 34 years old. Of a heart attack. I can’t even read those words and believe them. He had no known pre-existing conditions, he didn’t use drugs, he wasn’t overweight. His arteries were just clogged. All of them. It’s truly unbelievable, at least to us. We had plans to go away with him next weekend and instead we sat with his family this past weekend with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts. There’s nothing we can do to make that feel better. It seems so unfair and we miss him in a way that feels like desperately needing to know what time it is without a clock in sight, no matter where you look. Like a cellphone in the subway searching for signal in a zone without a network.
While my husband and I are no strangers to heart disease (family history), knowing that it could strike so violently and so young scared us and has woken us up from the dream that we’ll be young forever, to the fact that our contemporaries will pass away, to the knowledge that there isn’t always an order to things. Every moment and good gesture matters more now.
I’ve seen overnight oats floating around the blogosphere and never really knew what they were. I like oatmeal and I can usually get some really good warm steel cut oatmeal at the firm’s cafeteria. But now I know oatmeal actually lowers cholesterol, markedly if you eat it regularly and thus it has become a thing for us and I suspect will remain a thing forever. Heart healthy oats also have 15 grams of protein so you’re enhancing your workout by eating them. Besides, weekends shouldn’t be the only time you start the day with a homemade breakfast.
Almond milk, makes a creamy, flavorful base to soak the oats here. Chia seeds and ground flax seeds add nutrition, a little crunch, and help them thicken. Then I load this up with blueberries, blackberries and strawberries, which are now just coming into season. It just makes me feel better knowing that in a world where senseless things happen, I can take control of something and leave the rest up to beautiful chance–the same force that brings kind people into your life, unexpected travel, disarming acts of kindness and all the rest of it.
OVERNIGHT OATS W/ ALMOND MILK
For the Oats:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (DIY recipe)
- 3/4 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or sub coconut sugar, half a mushed banana, organic brown sugar, to taste)
- 1/2 cup (45 g) gluten free rolled oats
For the Toppings (optional):
- Extra chia seeds, granola, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, flax seeds, raisins, all kinds of berries, fruits like banana, cherries, apples or pears, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, nut butters, coconut flakes, Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, peanut butter, almond butter, etc.
To a mason jar or small bowl add almond milk, chia seeds and maple syrup (or other sweetener) and stir with a spoon to combine. If you’re adding peanut butter, it doesn’t need to be completely mixed with the almond milk.
Add oats and stir a few more times, then press down with a spoon to ensure all oats have been moistened and are immersed in almond milk.
Cover securely with a lid or plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 6 hours).
The next day, open and enjoy as is, or garnish with desired toppings.
Overnight oats will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, though best within the first 12-24 hours.