What do you think of when you hear the word “oatmeal?”
The sunny smiling face of a Quaker man with long tresses usually flashes through my mind. And then I think about cereal and cookies. But oatmeal is such a healthy and handy grain it’s worth taking a moment to explore a few other uses for it. And with January being National Oatmeal Month, I decided to look into what else we can do with our oats.
Oatmeal is a natural soothing agent and works well on the outside of your body, too. It can be helpful in combatting skin problems, including acne since natural chemicals called saponins—the same ones found in some shampoos—allow it to soak up oils and bacteria. It’s also good for exfoliating old skin, which helps clear out pores.
If you don’t suffer from acne, but like to use a natural mask to exfoliate and give your skin a healthy glow, try our Soothing Oatmeal Mask.
The grain is also good for soothing poison ivy, sunburn, and even chicken pox. Make a paste by pounding the oats with a mortar and pestle, or grind them up in a small food processor or chopping machine. Mix the powdery grain with a little warm water to make a paste. Spread it on the affected skin and let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water.
Itchy dogs can benefit from soothing oatmeal baths. I give them to my 3 dogs. Or, I should say, my groomer does so. Dry skin and flea bites may leave your canines in continual discomfort. Even after pests have been eradicated by over-the-counter treatment products, itching can persist. Give your dogs relief by adding some ground oats to a gentle dog shampoo, or buy a premade oatmeal one. Pet Smart carries a few options, but I’ve found that Organic Oscar brand Organic Oatmeal Shampoo from Target’s pet aisle works well and costs about half as much as the pet store brands.
I usually use flour as a thickening agent in gravies and sauces. But gluten-free ground oats and oatmeal flour can fill the same bill. This may come as good news for those with food sensitivities.
I also use ground or whole oats in place of breadcrumbs when making gluten-free meatballs and meatloaves. And I’ve used them as external breading on chicken cutlets, too. They impart a wonderful flavor to these dishes!
Lots of people use baking soda to absorb refrigerator odors. Oatmeal is like a sponge, soaking up facial dirt and oils. It soaks up water or milk in the cooking process. So it makes sense that a small package of rolled oats can be used in the fridge to soak up odors. They work well in rooms with a faint mildew odor, too!