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The Oat Approach

By Cathy Christensen April 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

It is difficult to think of a more wholesome food than oats. Even when you pour oats from a container you purchase at the grocery store, it looks so amazingly healthy and unadulterated—as if there was no processing plant between you and the food at all. And unlike many things, in this instance, you can judge a book by its cover.


       Oats are considered a cereal grain and are commonly used to feed livestock. Known for their cholesterol-lowering properties, they are often touted commercially for being nutritious, and oat bran—the outer casing of the oat—and its consumption is believed to reduce LDL cholesterol, possibly lowering the risk of heart disease. Also, the soluble fiber in whole oats is a class of polysaccharides known as beta-d-glucan.1


In the kitchen


       Oats are used in a variety of culinary ways, and usually are known for being rolled and crushed as oatmeal or ground into oat flour. Oatmeal is, of course, commonly eaten as hot cereal, but it is also used in goodies like oat bread, granola or as oatmeal cookies. Oats also can be used for brewing beer.1


       At the Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie, Washington, the Bircher-Brenner Muësli can be enjoyed, combining rolled oats, grains and cereals with nuts and fruit. For a main course, enjoy the Santa Fe Chicken Rolls from Cal-A-Vie in Vista, California, which are rolled in oats before baking for a crunchy coating, and dessert at Tennessee Fitness Spa in Waynesboro, Tennessee, is a must, especially when it includes the delectable and healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. At the Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa in Teton Village, Wyoming, the Cascade Granola combines rolled oats, seeds, nuts and honey, and see Ludlow, Vermont’s Green Mountain at Fox Run’s signature Green Mountain Granola recipe from Executive Chef Jon Gatewood for an easy, tasty treat.


In the spa


       Oats have been a skin care staple since ancient Egyptian times, where whole or rolled varieties were used in soothing baths. The mess this made led to the development of colloidal oatmeal, which is prepared from dehulled oats and ground into a fine powder. It retains the moisturizing effects of the whole oat, but disperses more easily in water and can be added to creams and lotions for use in topical skin care products.2


       The moisturizing benefits of oats are no secret to leading spas and skin care brands, as well, and although recent research suggests children with skin allergies may be allergic to oat proteins, children older than two years old should be able to enjoy the benefits of oat-based skin care products.3


       At Sonoma Coast Villa’s Courtyard Spa in Bodega, California, the Sonoma Scrub and Wrap combines polenta, oats and shredded coconut for a unique experience, while the Oats Wrap at Stepping Stone Spa & Wellness Center in Lyndonville, Vermont, soothes itching and is an anti-inflammatory, as well as a moisturizing, service. At Danville, California’s Valeria Clinical Skin Care & Spa, the Sensitive Treatment is an algae-based service infused with soothing oats and violets.


       Skin care products also utilize the power of oats, including Alchimie Forever’s Kantic Mask, which soothes, protects and brightens dull skin. Dermalogica’s Clinical Colloidal Oatmeal recently was reformulated as a silky powder, resulting in more effective penetration of the beneficial ingredients, and Bioelements’ His Volcanic Mud Soap features ground oatmeal to slough off dead skin. Used in makeup products as well, Colorescience’s Finishing Brush contains oat protein to absorb oil and nourish the skin.


Delicious and satisfying


       Whether on the breakfast table, in your favorite cookie or in the bath, oats can result in better health. This delicious, nutritious and satisfying cereal can be enjoyed by your clients in many different ways, each one beneficial for the body and skin. 












(All accessed Feb 1, 2008)

Green Mountain Granola


From Executive Chef Jon Gatewood at Green Mountain at Fox Run in Ludlow, Vermont


Makes 12 1/4-cup servings


1 1/2 cups rolled oats


1 cup chopped pecans


1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds


1/4 cup coconut (optional)


3 tablespoons brown sugar


3 tablespoons maple syrup


2 tablespoons canola oil


1/4 teaspoon salt


3/4 cup raisins


1.    Preheat oven to 250°F.


2.    In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, nuts, sunflower seeds, coconut and brown sugar. You can substitute other nuts for pecans.


3.    In a separate bowl, mix maple syrup, oil and salt; stir into the dry ingredients.


4.    Spread mixture out on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes.


5.    Remove from the oven and mix in raisins. Other dried fruits can be substituted for raisins.

Recent Spa Cuisine columns:
Spa Cuisine: Green Tea Party by Cathy Christensen
Spa Cuisine: Blue Love by Cathy Christensen


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