My amazing sister-in-law asked me two really important questions about making oatmeal the way I do. #1 was why use full-fat yogurt and #2 was why take the time to soak and cook the oats when you can microwave them in a few minutes?
Before we answer the first question we have to toss out the notion that a low-fat diet is a healthy diet. In this day and age low-fat foods are all around us and we are bombarded daily with the message that low-fat is the way to go. This is simply not true. Our ancestors valued fats for their nourishing properties. Most of these fats were saturated fats. Saturated fats come to us naturally without having to be processed. I highly recommend reading Sally Fallon's books, Nourishing Traditions and Eat Fat, Loose Fat for a detailed lesson on the truth about fats.
Getting back to the yogurt question, look at the ingredients on the back of a low-fat carton of yogurt. You will find high fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, and a few things you can't pronounce very well. If you look at the ingredients on a carton of plain, full-fat yogurt you find one thing - cultured milk. It's not hard to pick which one is REAL FOOD.
To answer the question about preparing oats we really need to address two things - the benefits of soaking grains and the idea of tossing out your microwave. First, in the bran of grains there is something called phytic acid. Our bodies have a hard time breaking down this acid making it hard for our bodies to digest and use all the nutrients in grains. Soaking your oats and other grains in a cultured product like buttermilk, yogurt and also whey for 12 - 24 hours breaks down the phytic acid. It also makes the nutrients in the grains easy for your body to use as well as breaking down starches and upping the vitamin content. Wow!
Second, everyone should stop using their microwave ASAP! We gave ours up for good in March of this year. I got a toaster-oven for my birthday and between that and the good old fashioned stove-top I have found I don't miss my microwave at all. Now it takes me 3 minutes to melt my butter for popcorn instead of 30 seconds. I can wait an extra 2.5 minutes to ensure that I'm not dumping chemically altered butter on the food I'm about to serve to my kids. I know, I know, add this to the list of things that make Tara a nut! Google "microwave oven safety" and read the articles that come up with an open mind. What it comes down to is that microwaves alter the protein molecules of the food we cook. I don't really want any altered proteins in me. I've got enough to worry about as is is!
All of this really comes down to preparing foods in ways that our bodies can best use the good stuff in them. Soaking grains ensures that you will get the most nourishment out of them. NOT microwaving foods ensures that your food stays in its proper form.
p.s. I can just see some of you rolling your eyes and saying cooking like this takes too much time and aforethought. It kinda does. I guess it all depends on your attitude. I must confess that for many years I was a cold cereal addict. I could eat Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A huge chunk of my grocery money when to cold cereal each month. (Me, my hubby, and 6 kids chowing down every morning! Can you imagine?) I got heavy into couponing for a while and I had about 50 boxes of cold cereal in my basement! When the number of cereal boxes dipped below 20 I started to panic! What will we eat for breakfast!? Mornings with 6 homeschooling children need to get started quickly and easily. Nothing is easier than opening a box of Shredded Wheat! When I really got serious about no processed food and stopped buying cold cereal I had a major mental shift. I started planning my meals out ahead of time and preparing the night before. It was like a whole new world opened up before me. THERE WERE OTHER THINGS TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST BESIDES COLD CEREAL! Now our breakfasts are nourishing and made of REAL FOODS. Yes it does take a little extra time, but it is SO WORTH IT!