Warm apple oatmeal and mindfulness

Oatmeal is a fabulous comfort food with a very low carbon footprint (it was mentioned twice in the Washington Post article about carbon footprint of food choices).  Once you start adding seeds, fruits, and nuts, the possibilities are endless and it becomes a nutritional powerhouse.


This is my current favorite way to make it:


  • 1 apple, chopped
  • ½ cup rolled oats (I like old fashioned much better than quick)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Cinnamon and salt to taste
  • 1 T peanut butter (optional, but delicious!)
  • Flax and chia seeds (optional)
  • a bit of almond or soy milk for the top

You can do this in a saucepan if you’d like, but for one bowl, you can just mix everything through the cinnamon and salt in a bowl and microwave for two minutes.  Top with peanut butter, flax seeds, chia seeds, and some almond or soy milk.  With the warm pieces of apple throughout, you may find you don’t need sugar, even if you usually add it to oatmeal.



Carbon Footprint

(g CO2-equivalents per amount)


1 small


Rolled oats

½ cup dry



4 halves


Peanut butter

1 T



¼ cup





For comparison, a ¼ cup of 2% milk adds 81 g CO2-equivalents, so switching out even such a small amount of milk for non-dairy milk makes a difference of 38 g CO2-equivalents. Also, a serving of an English muffin with one egg and 1 oz. cheese has a total footprint of 472 g CO2-equivalents.  Each ounce of pork adds 220 g CO2-equivalents.

What does this have to do with mindfulness?

There is a saying, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”1 I interpret this to mean that if you are someone who tends to rush through much of life, you can always slow down, take a deep breath, and mindfully focus on whatever you are doing.  This will have a spillover effect–being in the moment is always available to you as a way to increase the mindfulness of your life in general.

Applying this to your food choices means that three or more times throughout each day you have an opportunity to joyfully take actions that are in support of values you hold.

We know gratitude is a game changer—the more of it we bring into our lives, the better.  Remembering how thankful we are for our food is a way to draw out and bolster our feelings of gratitude and contentment.

Supporting businesses and brands that are in alignment with your values means that each dollar you spend will be a vote for the kind of world you want to create.  Shopping at your local farmer’s market or requesting a veggie burger at your favorite burger place sends your dollars into the world in a way that nudges it in a direction you like.

Choices that result in less animal suffering create a more humane world and are good for our own psyche as well.

And what about small actions you can take that use less energy, like only boiling a cup of water when that’s all you need2,  and choosing a simple bowl of oatmeal rather than a breakfast with a higher carbon footprint?  I believe they are meaningful in several ways. First, they really do result in a lower carbon footprint, and any step in the right direction for the planet is helpful.  Second, they have a ripple effect (your friend who sees you do this will also now consider it).  Third, if you are mindful about the planet in the morning when you make have your breakfast, it may increase your chances of making mindful choices all day.  And most importantly, thoughtful food choices will increase your overall wellness—through both the nourishing food and the increased mindfulness you are promoting.

Enjoy your oatmeal and your journey!

Please comment below on ways you increase your mindfulness in general or through your food choices.  I would love to hear from you!

You can post your creations on the FB page, or on instagram with the hashtag #easymealsfortheplanet so we can see what you are up to!

And please follow the blog for more recipes!


1Cheri Huber has a book titled, “How you do anything is how you do everything: A Workbook.”

2Berners-Lee, Mike. How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything. Greystone Books.  Find it here.

Most conversion factors come from:

Heller, M.C. and G.A. Keoleian, G.A. (2014) Greenhouse gas emission estimates of U.S. dietary choices and food loss. Journal of Industrial Ecology.

The soymilk conversion factor (not available from Heller and Keoleian) comes from:

Meier, T., and O. Christen. 2013.  Environmental Impacts of Dietary Recommendations and Dietary Styles: Germany As an Example. Environmental Science and Technology, 47, 877−888.

3 thoughts on “Warm apple oatmeal and mindfulness

Add yours

  1. Every bowl of oatmeal is a creation with this recipe. It’s wonderful — and I appreciate the thoughts on mindfulness. Make it a sidebar and put it on the website!!

    Liked by 1 person

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