Peach Basil Oatmeal

I think I have solved the mystery of how to keep a basil plant alive! So to celebrate, allow me to introduce you to this beauty:

Peach Basil Oatmeal by the #OatmealArtist

I tried watering more and watering less. I tried direct sunlight and indirect sunlight. I tried keeping it in the pot it came in and I tried repotting it in something bigger. No matter what, I slaughtered plant after plant within two weeks of buying it. I could actually fill a graveyard with all the basil plants I have killed–and not because I wasn’t trying! Continue reading


Cherry Nana Oatmeal with Chocolate Nut Butter

Truthfully, the base of this oatmeal is good enough on its own, and it can be made with just a handful of ingredients. However, given my fundamental need to have nut butter in my stomach on a daily basis, I added the chocolate nut butter. I have no regrets. Obviously, Dark Chocolate Dreams or Nutella or my Faux-reo Cookie PB2 would work great, but I had almond butter on hand, so that’s what I used.

You can make any (nonflavored) nut butter chocolatey by following the instructions from my Mango & Chocolate PB Oatmeal.

Cherry Nana Oatmeal with Chocolate Nut Butter by the #OatmealArtist #Vegan

I never expected cherries and bananas to complement each other so well, but they really do. The sweetness from the bananas brings out the flavor of the cherries, and that cherry infusion adds enough wow-factor that no cinnamon is necessary–and I rarely make a banana oatmeal with just fruit and vanilla extract! Continue reading

This Week in Oatmeal 07/23/2016

Every Saturday, I gather oatmeal recipes from around the web from the previous 1-3 weeks, as well as outstanding Instagram photos. These posts may grow or evolve as time passes. Please feel free to give your feedback in the comments section!

This week’s theme is overnight oats!



Choc Chili Beet Zoats 👻 Follow me on Snapchat: healthyeatingjo 👻 to see the video of them and the rainy view out my window today, where all the photography action happens! 📸 How much do you hate hearing your own voice, and why can’t I talk with a my normal voice when I’m filming!? 😬 I’m sure I’ll get used to it ❤️ Anyway these hot oats are a lead-in to a string of Beetroot related posts coming your way, and another Choc Chili recipe too. I do love spicy food, so had to try a chocolate recipe with some kick. The baked Beetroot and coconut water from @naturalrawc add some natural sweetness to the dish too 😋🍫🔥 Pow! 👊 Topped with fruit, some cherry Choc @squareorganics bar, and deluxe buckinis from @loving_earth ❤️ and ok, as well as Beetroot there’s some grated zucchini in there to make up the ‘Zoats’ element of the dish. Get hiding those veggies everyone 💜💖💚🌿 and have a great day 😘 the recipe will be in the comments and on the blog (link in profile)

A photo posted by 🌺 Jo 🌺 (@healthyeating_jo) on

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Cherry-Berry Breakfast Cobbler

It’s been a while since my last cobbler recipe! Over a full year, in fact. I found inspiration to return to this format when I found myself with an abundance of fresh cherries, blueberries, and strawberries, all dying (quite literally) to be consumed within 48 hours.

Cherry-Berry Breakfast Cobbler #OatmealArtist #vegan

The secret to this recipe is waiting until the berry mixture is bubbling. Don’t take it out any sooner. It’s kind of like when you bake a casserole and you have to wait until the creamy or cheesy mixture starts bubbling before it’s truly done (and I was never patient enough to let that happen, which is why I never make casseroles).  Continue reading

Cherry Kiwi Oatmeal

I guess it’s kiwi(fruit) week! Probably because I was at my parents’ house and I convinced my mom to buy me some kiwi, and I figured I should probably finish it all before I flew back to New York. 🙂

I also convinced her to buy me these cherries. Notice a theme?

Cherry Kiwi Oatmeal by the Oatmeal Artist #Vegan

My recipe calls for dried orange peel, which is my latest discovery. It adds such a natural and subtle brightness to foods (and is much less potent than, say, lemon or orange extract). I think it’s a great way to add flavor instead of resorting to sweeteners. Continue reading

Mango-Kiwi Oatmeal with Strawberry-Kiwi-Coconut Relish

Okay, I’m relish-obsessed. I definitely go through phases with my food. There was 2012’s baked oatmeal phase. 2013’s overnight oats phase. 2014’s breakfast cobbler phase. 2015’s zucchini phase and flavored PB2 phase. Apparently, this is my relish phase.

Mango-Kiwi Oatmeal with Strawberry-Kiwi-Coconut Relish #vegan #oatmealartist

If you haven’t experienced the relish merriment yet, let me try to convince you: the small pieces of fruit make it easy to eat because you can scoop up a little bit of fresh and flavorful relish for each bite of porridge. Relish also adds a unique and interesting twist to a simple porridge, or it can amp up the flavor if the fruit you’re using loses its punch when cooked into oatmeal (e.g. kiwi, peach, melon). Continue reading

This Week in Oatmeal 07/16/2016

Every Saturday, I gather oatmeal recipes from around the web from the previous 1-3 weeks, as well as outstanding Instagram photos. These posts may grow or evolve as time passes. Please feel free to give your feedback in the comments section!



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Weekend Musings: Be a Nutrition Skeptic

My personal nutrition journey began in 2009 when I saw Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Food, Inc. I suddenly learned the value of an apple and the implications of high-fructose corn syrup. I became obsessed, and I loved the adventure. I enjoyed reading more about how the body processes food, the politics behind agriculture, and the historical evolution of America’s food culture. And most of all, I loved trying new foods and learning to cook and prepare from-scratch dishes.

But along the way, I encountered many “charismatic” nutritionists (to put it nicely). It seems every nutritionist in the media holds the elusive key to how to be THE healthiest human, or how to CURE all your illnesses, or how to FINALLY lose that weight. Some of them seemed a bit too crazy for me, and I scoffed immediately and moved on. Others, however, enticed me with their messages and lured me into worshiping their advice like scripture.

Why is this problematic?

Traditionally, nutritionists work with clients individually and create an action plan that responds to the client’s needs, wants, and limitations. It’s not a place for “THIS IS THE ANSWER YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR” advice. Instead, working with a nutritionist is more of a dialogue. A “this is working, this isn’t.” A place to set goals and reflect on how they are going. A “how could I do this better?” A place free from shaming, but also a place to learn about the impact of your choices.

Nobody could write a book for a mass audience that could handle the dietary nuances of each reader. Thus, nutritional advice is simplified and made palatable to readers desperate to try something new for their health and wellness. And, to outsell the competition in a capitalist market, these nutritionists package their books (and themselves) with some “simple” diet plan, usually marketed as a “Don’t.”

Don’t eat fat. Don’t eat bread. Don’t eat refined flour. Don’t eat sugar. Don’t eat dairy. Don’t eat starch. Don’t drink alcohol. Don’t eat empty calories. Don’t eat egg yolks. Don’t eat fruit. Don’t eat processed food. Don’t eat meat. Don’t drink soda.

And boom, just like that, they’ve created an easy action plan that thousands of readers can easily adopt. Imagine if all you had to do to be healthier was to stop eating egg yolks. Simple!

The food we eat involves so much: what is accesible to us (consider food deserts), our food cultures, our budget, and even our likes and dislikes. It should strike you as suspicious that someone wants to tell you what to eat (and make you feel ashamed, scared, or in danger for not following their advice) despite not knowing anything about you.

That applies to all of us. How many times have you heard a classmate, coworker, aunt, or random stranger recommend that you “drink more milk” or “use low-fat dressing” or “eat more protein”? I am not immune to this tendency, either. While I try not to dish out nutritional advice on my blog, I’m sure I have slipped up from time to time as well (especially in my older posts). So yes, be skeptical of me. There is no single truth when it comes to nutrition. But you should critique that sentence, too. 😇

Let’s consider this: many book-selling nutritionists are currently (and understandably) catering to people affected by Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and other lifestyle-related illnesses. It’s the biggest (and most dangerous) problem in the health industry, so many people are eager to “solve the crisis.” Everyone dreams of curing cancer, but what if you could be the person that figured out how to prevent it from ever happening? (If you want to be pessimistic, you could also make the case that they are exploiting the fear and desperation of this audience, or simply taking advantage of the fact that it’s a large target audience.)

Do you think nutritionists give the same advice to someone who is underweight as they do to someone who is obese and dealing with diabetes? No. Definitely not.

Do you think they would give the same advice to a “healthy,” non-picky eater with a comfortable budget as they would to someone recovering from their second heart attack in a food desert? No. No way.

One size does not fit all. Especially when that “size” has been measured to fit the needs of a health crisis. 

Let’s discuss a specific example. There is a certain semi-famous food blogger and cookbook author whom I have previously worshipped. I will not name her specifically because I respect her too much to publicly slander her, so let’s call her Broccoli. However, no matter how much I respected her and appreciated her quick, easy, and tasty recipes, I remained skeptical. Broccoli is very vocal against oil, and she even avoids “too much” nut butters, nuts, and avocado.

Look, I’m not saying you should fry all your food or douse everything in truffle oil, but doesn’t this seem a little strange to you? Avocado is a whole food. Nuts are a whole food. Yes, they are high in fat and calories–but those are both nutrients we need! And when you’re on a whole foods, plant-based diet, getting enough calories can be tough if you cut out foods like that. In fact, I became pretty obsessed with Broccoli’s advice for a while and stopped buying oil and ate as little peanut butter as possible, and I wasn’t getting anywhere near enough calories (and my stomach isn’t big enough to eat bigger portions of such fiber-packed food). That’s what actually led me to seeing a nutritionist in the first place–to undo that physical and mental damage.

When I analyze Broccoli’s message, it usually has a foundation in curing diabetes and heart-related illnesses (a la Forks Over Knives). That’s super–the same diet that can cure such an illness can also prevent one. But once again, one size does not fit all. (Imagine if everyone adopted Michael Phelps’ 10 billion-calories-a-day diet!!!)

Recently, Broccoli publicly announced her daily calorie allotment (spoiler: it’s freakishly low) and published before/after photos of herself. Naturally, people commented with horror and concern, but she defended herself staunchly and acted as though the nay-sayers were simply ignorant of real nutrition. She acted as though she possessed the truth–that all we had to do was buy into (literally) her message via meal plans and cookbooks, and we could possess the truth as well.

Her actions had little regard for the specific needs of the individuals in her mass audience, and worse, could have dangerously affected readers vulnerable to disordered eating habits. This made me completely question any authority I had previously granted her. I’m glad I had been always skeptical of her, and I wish my skepticism had been stronger to prevent me from getting too wrapped up in the “lifestyle” she was marketing.

But guess what? I still use her recipes. Why? Because Broccoli makes some dang good recipes, and unlike many plant-based cookbook authors, Broccoli uses ingredients that are simple and easy to find in most stores. I can make most of her meals in 15-30 minutes, and many of them are easy enough to be memorized and incorporated into my regular recipe cycle. But I top them with avocado or cook the veggies in coconut oil when I want to. Because guess what? Lauren walks lots of stairs in NYC and needs plenty of calories to do it.

Give me all the peanut butter.

Pineapple Kiwi Oatmeal with Coconut-Peanut Butter

The sad part is, I could list a dozen more examples of “nutritionists” whom I’ve had this experience with. But this should suffice.

Am I Still Vegan?

YES! And I’m 99.999999% sure that will never change.

I love eating a vegan diet, and it loves me back. I chose to eat this way for my health and for the environment, and I believe strongly that it benefits those two causes. While there are plenty “charismatic nutritionists” out there touting vegan diets as the “cure-all,” I am confident and comfortable in my decision to eschew meat, eggs, and dairy based on the very real fact that my digestive system problems, acne, and PCOS greatly subsided and/or disappeared after making the switch. And, just as importantly, the environmental impact of animal agriculture is enough reason for me to live a healthful life sans bacon and gouda.

Latergram from the #PeoplesClimate march. Certified #vegan. #nyc

A photo posted by Lauren Smith (@oatmealartist) on

That being said, there are plant-based nutritionists out there trying to generalize dietary advice for the masses to sell their books, so be careful. Look out for people who mock others for having differing opinions. Look out for people who ridicule commenters who disagree with their posts. Look out for people who pretend that THEIR way is the ONLY way. Look out for people who are regularly marketing their books, their speeches, etc.

It doesn’t mean you can’t read them or follow them. It means you should approach them with caution because they are marketing. You have money, and they have a business that likes to earn money. Go ahead and read the book. I’ve read tons, and I love them all. But don’t treat it like your own dietary bible. Read critically. Ask questions.

Be a skeptic.

Matcha-Lime Overnight Oatmeal with Strawberries

Mi novio recently told me the smartest thing ever. He claims cha in Japanese is “tea.” Think about it: kombuCHA. MatCHA. It’s also not a far cry from chai, which means “tea” in languages such as Arabic and Hindu (based on my very quick research). Brilliant.

Matcha-Lime Overnight Oatmeal with Strawberries

I am becoming more comfortable with matcha as I learn how to combine it with other flavors. Initially, it seems like it wouldn’t pair well with anything else, but after trying Matcha Marketplace oatmeal packets, I see that it’s far more cooperative than I realized. As matcha becomes more popular here in the USA, I think we will see it incorporated into increasingly unexpected products. Are Matcha Skittles in our future?? 😜 Continue reading

Lychee Berry Oatmeal

I love lychees (and more specifically, lycheetinis🍸), but I had never purchased one, cut into it, and eaten it fresh–until this month. I’m not sure why, but I found it incredibly intimidating.

Lychee Berry Oatmeal #OatmealArtist #Vegan

Speaking of lychees, if you’re ever in Boston, go to the My Thai Vegan Cafe in Chinatown. It’s on the second floor (up a rather creepy staircase). Order the lychee bubble tea. You’ll thank me. ¡De nada! (It’s actually what inspired my Lychee Coconut Overnight Oatmeal.) Continue reading