The big man stood with his back against the steel door, glaring at us. He blocked the only way out. My friend Eric and I were trapped in the kitchen. His ham-like hand pointed to the table, and in a demanding tone he commanded, “Nyt syoda!” Eric didn’t understand my grandfather’s order. His face paled. However, this wasn’t the first time my grandfather had insisted we sit down and eat the oatmeal he had prepared. Eric and I were not children. We were grown men, yet we ate the oats.
Whenever my grandfather became excited, he seemed to forget his English. There was a lot of emotion attached to those simple bowls of oats. Often, he relived his parents surviving the great Finnish famine of 1866–1868 and the lean years that followed. He told me once that in his childhood, when he and another boy saw a wagon sloshing along a muddy track and suddenly a bag of oats spilled some of its contents, the two blond-haired youths dropped to their bellies and lapped the oats out of the mud puddle like dogs. “Like dogs!” he would emphasize.
I didn’t truly appreciate the life-giving power of oats at the time, other than as something that had the power to avert starvation. My grandfather insisted that oats gave him physical strength and vigor. From a skinny child he grew into a well-muscled man. He always impressed me with his strength. And in my younger years, he would take me to Coney Island, where many famous strongmen trained.
What was it about oats that I didn’t know or appreciate then?
It wasn’t until I really became interested in herbal remedies in my late teens and early twenties that I read about oats in Jethro Kloss’s classic, Back to Eden. Kloss wrote about when the Great Northern Railroad was laying track across America and men worked up to 14 hours a day at backbreaking labor. According to the records, not a single man got sick. The secret? They were given oatmeal water to drink every day. You could say that the men felt their oats. The term “feeling your oats” comes from the vitalizing effect horses experience from eating oats. In humans, it’s been discovered that one component of oats, avenacosides, causes an increase in free testosterone in the body. The bottom line is that, whether you’re male or female, your muscles love testosterone. Muscle growth is encouraged by eating oats, and additionally, so is sex drive.
Oats also protect against harmful cholesterol buildup, while at the same time regulating blood sugar by controlling insulin sensitivity. Oats are very high in magnesium, a natural antispasmodic and muscle relaxer. Oats are also high in phosphorus, which has to do with brain and bone health. The potassium in oats keeps the body in an alkalized state, which improves physical agility, and the silicon in oats keeps the joints more elastic and the skin glowing and healthy. Additionally, oats are over 16 percent protein, which provides building materials for lean muscle mass.
It has been said the only difference between an old person and a young person is simply hormonal. Oats help maintain that balance, resulting in youthful appearance and performance. My personal hormone levels are those of a young man in his twenties. Much of this I attribute to a little trick I learned some years ago: I mix a tablespoon of pine pollen in with my morning oats. Pine pollen helps keep estrogen balanced while boosting free testosterone. One concern many men have is that when testosterone is produced in the body, the enzyme aromatase converts some testosterone into estrogen. The benefit of pine pollen is that it regulates and decreases aromatase. For women, mixing in a little bit of pine pollen and/or adding the herbs dong quai and shatavari helps to restore and maintain hormonal health. I’ve found that these herbs combined with organic oats make a perfect complement to a great breakfast.
Well, over half a century has fled by since my grandfather’s “encouragement” to eat the oatmeal. He was right. I still feel my oats! And I also miss his lovable, but demanding insistence that I grow strong and healthy. If he were only alive to see me today…
If you want a healthy heart and youthful hormones, oats are the way to go. In no time you’ll be “feeling your oats,” the real breakfast of champions! You’ll be frisky as a horse and just as strong! Just eat your oats!
Reflections from Turtle Lake,
p.s. To obtain pine pollen and the othe herbs I’ve mentioned, just CLICK HERE.