Do you ever feel like mid-afternoon is the toughest part of your day? I know I do! Even the healthiest of us seem to know when 3:00 rolls around without looking at our watches—our bodies weaken, our focus drifts…sure, you ate a full lunch, but oh how quickly that satisfied feeling wears off as you rush to finish up the day. For me, my stomach rumbles, my head feels light, and energy starts to wane. Yes, of course, a latte and a cookie will give a quick boost in energy (and waistline!), but only for a short time. All that caffeine and sugar comes crashing down, and by 4:00 I often feel even worse than I did at 3:00! Then what?
Oats are an ancient cereal that contain a soluble fiber miracle of sorts called beta glucan, which delays the digestion of dietary carbohydrates. This means sugars are absorbed over time instead of all at once, preventing dramatic changes in blood sugar levels like the spike from a cookie or latte, which leads to that never-pretty crash coma.
And, oats don’t just feed our appetites—they're a major brain food too. Brain cells need twice as much energy as other cells in the body. A sugary snack boost quickly raises blood sugar levels, but it's short-lived and causes the pancreas to secrete insulin, which triggers cells to pull excess glucose out of the bloodstream making less glucose available to the brain. For me, that leads to feeling spaced-out, weak, and unfocused (never a good thing when I have deadlines!). Oat carbohydrates are absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly, so the brain uses them progressively and functions at a constant and efficient rate.
So what does all of this mean when that afternoon slump rolls around? A bowl of oatmeal? Perhaps. But I was particularly excited to find this impressive product from a company called Simpli. They manufacture a unique and delicious oat beverage called OatShake, and they sell more than 5 million of them just in Scandinavia each year!
Like soy, coconut, almonds or rice, oats have been made into a versatile grain milk for a long time, and, yes, it is delicious, somewhere in between almond and rice milk, with a natural sweetness you wouldn't expect. Unlike soy or rice milk, which can have a bitter aftertaste, the inherent sweetness in oats also means less sugar is added than some of those other non-dairy milk products. Kids (and writers!) really love the chocolate OatShake. It's even delicious heated up like a hot chocolate. I like adding it to chai tea for a chocolaty-creamy-spicy treat. So good! And the fruit and berry flavors are pretty amazing too, making them a portable afternoon pick-me-up for you and the family while running errands.
Another great use for the OatShake is as a base for a superfood smoothie. Add fresh fruits and powdered greens and you're good to go for hours. If you take yoga classes, I highly recommend an OatShake and hemp protein smoothie about an hour before your class. I'm not saying you'll levitate, but anything's possible when you feel clear and focused!
All of Simpli's OatShakes are free of genetically modified (GM) ingredients and are vegan, soy free and low in gluten. Simpli uses beets instead of cane sugar, which means less damage to the environment than the cane sugar practice of burning cane fields, destroying forestland and polluting the environment (and remember, there's no risk of GM sugar beets in Europe). Unlike most energy or diet drinks and shakes, there are no unnecessary additives like high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, preservatives or flavors. While some of those products may give you an energy boost, there's no telling what damage is being done from the cocktail of chemicals they're filled with. I love OatShake as a tasty snack that keeps me feeling fuller longer than an energy bar, and lighter too. And I find it really helpful that Simpli has articulated their traditional and environmental commitment in a product that's actually healthy and keeps me feeling clear and productive throughout the afternoon…and beyond.
Simpli OatShakes are available at select markets throughout the U.S. and on their web site. Prices range from $1.79 for kid's size, and up to $4.95 for the family size.
This post is sponsored by Simpli.