Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
28 Nov

No Oat Oatmeal… It’s No-atmeal!

When you’re looking for a protein-packed breakfast, eggs and meat seem like the most obvious choice. But if you go for the most obvious choice every single morning, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. So on those mornings when meat and eggs aren’t what you’re craving and you wake up feeling less like a hunter and more like a gatherer, try Mark’s Daily Apple reader Doug Descant’s ingenious recipe for No-atmeal.

Pronounced “note-meal” (as in, no oatmeal) Doug’s recipe, that he submitted for the Primal Cookbook Challenge, is for all you ex-cereal lovers out there and for anyone who needs a warm bowl of comforting goodness on a cold winter morning. As Doug says, “it’s a hot meal full of essential proteins and fats, not to mention the necessary vitamins and minerals, in order to stay energized for the cold weeks ahead.”

In Doug’s recipe a blend of pecans, walnuts and a dash of flaxseed is warmed up with almond milk custard, mashed banana and almond butter to create a wholly satisfying hot cereal. The texture is rich and so is the flavor, especially when you add warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and a topping of fresh berries and almond milk. Just thinking about eating No-atmeal for breakfast is guaranteed to coax you out of bed in the morning.


  • 1 small handful of walnuts
  • 1 small handful of pecans
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (add more if you prefer it a little runny)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 handful of goji berries or fresh berries


Add walnuts, pecans, flax seed and spices to a food processor and pulse it down to a course grain, making sure to stop before it’s totally ground into a powder. Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and almond milk (Doug uses a Blender Bottle) until the consistency thickens a little bit into a loose custard. Thoroughly blend together the mashed banana and almond butter and add it to the custard, mixing well.

Stir in the nut mixture. Microwave or gently warm on the stove until the “no-atmeal” reaches your desired consistency; this should only take a few minutes. In both cases, stir the mixture frequently as it cooks.

Sprinkle pumpkin seeds and berries on top. Add more almond milk if you want. Lick the bowl clean!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Oh my gosh this is exactly what I would have liked this morning! Totally doing this tomorrow. I think I’ll skip the banana, add applesauce, and sub coconut milk for almond milk. THANK YOU!!!

    JamieBelle wrote on November 28th, 2009
    • That’s such a great idea! Since i’m allergic to banana, i was wondering what some substitutions might be. Thanks

      Alyson wrote on October 28th, 2013
  2. So cool. I’ve been enjoying a similar morning meal on occasion:

    Handful of Walnuts, Pecans, and Almonds. A few berries, sprinkle on some shredded coconut and then pour on some coconut milk. It’s kind of like eating cold cereal, it’s quick and easy too. I’m definitely going to try this recipe because I used to love a nice bowl of steel cut oats on a cold winter morning!

    Dean wrote on November 28th, 2009
  3. I have similar (but simpler) recipe as well. I do this when I feel like oatmeal and cereal.

    I mush 2 bananas,
    mix in some protein powder
    walnuts, flax, coconut shred and frozen blueberries

    When you microwave for 1.5 min, the blueberries thaw, but stay cool, where everything else warms. It’s delightful.

    Trevor wrote on November 28th, 2009
  4. OMG I’m making this

    Raphael S. wrote on November 28th, 2009
  5. Thanks for the great recipe! I’ve also been making something similar, but simpler. I like that this has eggs in it, though I’ll nix the banana.

    Sid wrote on November 28th, 2009
  6. Doug, this is a WIN.

    Anders wrote on November 28th, 2009
  7. WOW. Is all I have to say.

    Ok not really, so when is this collective Primal cookbook on its way to the publisher?! 😉

    CJ4400 wrote on November 28th, 2009
  8. I love the granola from Elana’s Pantry! I have made it with a number of dried fruits and eat it dry as a snack or with milk (whatever type) for “cereal”.

    Onelastime wrote on November 28th, 2009
  9. Woah, that sounds pretty frackin’ good. I suspect it would be a treat for most folks due to the insanely high calorie count?

    Geoff Aucoin wrote on November 28th, 2009
  10. I’m a newbie here and I think people eat raw eggs on PB but I haven’t gotten to that quite yet. Are the eggs in this just barely cooked?

    Del Mar Mel wrote on November 28th, 2009
    • no, they’re cooked. well, they’re cooked when i make it.

      from what i understand, you can eat raw pasteurized eggs, but not raw unpasteurized. MDA community correct me if i’m wrong please.

      Doug wrote on December 2nd, 2009
      • Pasteurizing is easy, and it allows the body to absorb more of the protein and nutrients in the eggs. Raw unpasteurized carry minimal risk of salmonella from what I’ve read. I pasteurize the eggs if I use them in shakes. For a recipe like this, you’re lightly cooking the eggs, so it should be fine.

        Doug Kent wrote on April 4th, 2010
      • It also depends on your source. Eggs from a small home-raised flock have very little risk of salmonella. If you have a local farmer nearby who sells eggs from a small, pastured or free-range, healthy flock, you have little to be concerned about.

        Bethann wrote on November 24th, 2012
  11. Looks good, but also it’s quite high in PUFAs and sugar.

    A single banana will have more carbs and sugars than a packet of instant oatmeal.

    Mosh wrote on November 28th, 2009
    • dude, if you are worried about the carbs and sugars in a single banana then you might need to take a step back, take a big breath, and relax. Bananas, yes they are relatively high in carbs, are a great source of energy and micronutrients, and good for the digestive system.

      Andy wrote on November 28th, 2009
      • well some of us keep our carbs under 125 grams per day and at 25 grams a banana eats up an awful lot of the budget

        DThalman wrote on November 28th, 2009
      • This was supposed to a low carb site, well duhhhh….let’s skip the banana!

        dee1213 wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Thing is the sugar in a packet of oatmeal is not the same as the sugar in a banana. The sugar in the packet of oatmeal is refined cane sugar that is SUCROSE and the bananas sugars are FRUCTOSE. The banana is better than the oatmeal packet. I wouldn’t worry about the sugars in the banana.

      The polyunsaturated fats found in the nuts and seeds are not to be feared. These PUFAS aren’t bad for you. I would focus more on the MUFAS, but PUFAS are unavoidable.

      MEATHEAD wrote on January 25th, 2015
  12. Will try this or a version of it for the kids who get a little tired of eggs every morning.

    mustangsally wrote on November 28th, 2009
  13. According to fitday, here is the breakdown for the recipe as listed, using a medium banana:

    744 calories
    57 g fat
    41 g carbs
    24 g protein

    That’s a bigger breakfast than I can handle. I need to think how I can modify it.

    Jamie wrote on November 28th, 2009
    • it really depends on how much of everything you add. i used this on days when i know there is going to be a significant gap b/t meals. eat to live, don’t live to eat and you should be fine. please let me know how you modified it. nothing is beyond improvement. thanks for the comment

      Doug wrote on December 2nd, 2009
    • Really? I eat a breakfast often twice that size.

      paleo_piper wrote on December 2nd, 2009
    • Eat half of the recipe….

      Sonja wrote on March 2nd, 2011
    • Cut the recipe in half. 1 cup gets reduced to 1/2 cup for example. Come on cavewoman lol.

      MEATHEAD wrote on January 25th, 2015
  14. Primal eating is for rich folk o_O

    C2H5OH wrote on November 28th, 2009
    • agreed. I’m a broke college student and there is no way i can afford this kind of eating. oh well.
      I’m still cleaning out my new roomate’s pantry from all his old roomates. eating anything and everything he’s got left over so i dont need to buy anything.
      hopefully someday i can eat primal.

      Paul Von Tersch wrote on November 29th, 2009
      • For rich folk? Yeah why not implement the ideas of the paleo but still eat beans/tofu/meat alternatives to cut down on the budget. Milk is a super cheap nutrient dense food as well. Don’t overlook that, even though milk isn’t paleo. You will be ok I promise unless you are lactose intolerant. .

        MEATHEAD wrote on January 25th, 2015
    • Is that why my food bill went down 10-14x when I went primal?

      Grok wrote on November 29th, 2009
      • mine went down, too. processed foods and boxed cereals, cartons of juice…that stuff’s all spendy.

        DThalman wrote on November 29th, 2009
        • but it’s also true that a person buying rice, beans, pasta and ramen bulk would be feeding themselves much more cheaply than I was at the time I switched. this diet is much more spendy than my college diet but cheaper than my suburban middle class diet was. so i guess it depends on what you’re changing from.

          DThalman wrote on November 29th, 2009
        • I was coming off whole foods. Mainly tons of oats, rice, beans, fruits. Primal still way cheaper if you know how to shop.

          The Ramen days were when I was really paying through the teeth. Those foods didn’t fill me up. This also doesn’t count the pile of money I was spending on meds/supps to be able to function while eating them.

          Grok wrote on November 29th, 2009
        • agreed! my bill went from over $200 – $160 depending on who i’m feeding.

          over consumption affects our bank accounts as well as our stomachs.

          buy what you need to survive for a week and won’t spend as much. i think people tend to go the g.s. hungry and/or buy more than what they need. if you eat one apple a day, don’t buy 10.

          Doug wrote on December 2nd, 2009
        • Exactly your paying for the high cost of advertising/marketing and the excess packaging and overhead costs.

          MEATHEAD wrote on January 25th, 2015
      • Ours too… my boyfriend and I are both in our early 20s and ‘broke’ – I’m a SAH and he isn’t making a killing at his job. Our food bill went down considerably once we figured out how much crap we were eating and stopped!

        jen wrote on January 12th, 2013
        • Our family has been mostly free of “boxed” meals for several years, and in the beginning that did cut down on our bill significantly. But we were using beans as a meat supplement at least once a week, and eating a lot of potatoes, pasta and (homemade) bread. Now that we’re trying to introduce a lot more real meat and fresh produce, it is getting more expensive again.

          Heather wrote on November 6th, 2013
  15. Or Jamie, maybe the no-oatmeal could be good on days when you are fasting and having only 1 or 2 meals.
    I like your idea to use apple sauce.

    Sue wrote on November 28th, 2009
  16. No offense, but what a high carb, high sugar disaster. I’ll stick to zero carb, where I don’t have to have breakfast and can go 15-16 hours without food by eating just meat. I’ll stay lean and strong on that.

    Mosh, at least you are sane.

    Katelyn wrote on November 28th, 2009
    • Most people here do just fine eating more than just meat, Katelyn. Not everyone over at ZIOH is in perfect health, so it may work for you, but not everyone.

      J wrote on November 29th, 2009
    • none taken. peace to each belief.

      Doug wrote on December 2nd, 2009
  17. I, too, wouldn’t want such a high-sugar/carb breakfast every day, but it would certainly make a lovely occasional treat. My partner, however, “can’t function” without a hefty boost of carbohydrate for breakfast, and lives for his cereal and milk. I’ve creted the next best thing, so that at least grains and refined sugars are eliminated from his morning ingestion:

    I use whatever nuts and seeds are on special – everything works once it’s toasted – and I suspect the same would be true for this No-atmeal recipe…

    I’ve had a small bowl as a treat once or twice, topped with cream rather than milk, and some defrosted blueberries. It’s a dessert for me, and absolutely occasional while I work on leaning out!

    Girl Gone Primal wrote on November 28th, 2009
    • first of all, awesome blog.

      second, i didn’t intend for this to be eaten every day. once a week at most, if you’re using a banana.

      Doug wrote on December 2nd, 2009
  18. 15 hours without eating anything and then just eating meat? Yeah, that sounds balanced…
    It’s a point of view with the notemeal – And, to add a bit of science to the opinions here; a meal like this every 4 to 5 days helps reset your leptin receptors and will actually accelerate fat loss.
    Lo carb eaters do very well eating something medium glycemic index wise once/twice a week. There’s nothing in this that is going to hurt you eating in that frequency. Give the idea a try.

    Molly wrote on November 28th, 2009
  19. Looks yummy, even if sadly too high carb for me.

    For those of you who are immunocompromised (or would rather not risk salmonella poisoning), you could substitute plain pasteurized egg whites in the carton (NOT liquid whole eggs — full of nasty additives). I make my own mayo with them as well.

    Susan :)

    Susan wrote on November 28th, 2009
    • i used free range eggs from a local farmer and they are cooked well enough when i make it.

      i totally agree about using “All Whites” instead of whole eggs from the grocery store.

      Doug wrote on December 2nd, 2009
    • Sure, if you like running out of biotin. Egg white is avidin city (look it up) and this recipe doesn’t cook the egg white enough to inactivate it all.

      I am choking on my words as I write this but for crying out loud, the recipe is full of seeds anyway–use flaxseed as a binder if you just can’t do the egg.

      Or leave the egg out and don’t worry about binders. Mark has a much simpler version of this recipe in one of his cookbooks (the quick recipes one) and there’s not a single egg in the entire recipe. And it works. I just made it this morning.

      Dana wrote on December 20th, 2011
  20. A friend of mine sent me the link to this recipe and it looks fantastic! Would you happen to know the nutritional info? Thanks so much!

    Hayley wrote on November 28th, 2009
  21. Super! Thanks for the idea!

    iisierra wrote on November 28th, 2009
  22. Thank you! Oatmeal is something I’ve really been missing. Even when I did eat it regularly, I added almond meal and flaxseed to feel better about it. But THIS…wow. Tomorrow morning, for sure.

    Theresa wrote on November 28th, 2009
  23. I make something simular to oatmeal regularly for breakfast but its a bit simpler yet simular. Just grab

    – Half can of Libby’s canned pumpkin
    – Flaxseed milled
    – Frozen Berries
    – 1 Egg + some Egg whites
    – Dash of Coconut Milk

    Mix it all up in a hot saucer heating it through lightly (add coconut milk first) once heated add some berries and pecans plus cinnamon. Delicious!

    Chris - Zen to Fitness wrote on November 29th, 2009
    • dude that sounds freakishly good. getting pumpkin when i go to the store today.

      Doug wrote on December 2nd, 2009
    • Yeay! I have about 15 pie pumpkins from my garden and I wasn’t sure what to do with them all now that I shant be making pies and breads. This sounds perfect!!

      JuiIe wrote on September 29th, 2011
  24. The tragedy is that this looks like a really nice breakfast, yet I am far too lazy to make it and far to content with eating the same thing over and over again (scrambled eggs and fruit with coconut cream)…

    Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later wrote on November 29th, 2009
    • I don’t see how that’s a tragedy.

      My breakfasts are usually poached eggs with cheese and a glass of milk. Weekends are either smoked salmon wrapped around cream cheese (yummy, but expensive) or big omelets made with egg yolks and whole eggs in a 1:1 ratio.

      That’s right, people. I throw out the whites and keep the yolks. And I eat dairy, gasp!

      Icarus wrote on November 29th, 2009
      • A very smart approach to eating eggs. If you just cannot eat a whole egg, the white is junk compared to the yolk. Get your protein somewhere else that won’t eat up your biotin reserves. (Do we have biotin reserves? Probably. We seem to store quite a few of our vitamins for later use.)

        Dana wrote on December 20th, 2011
    • For sure! Look delicious, but I’m also perfectly content with my cheaper, 30 second preparation, lower-carb coconut flakes. They never seem to get old.

      Grok wrote on November 29th, 2009
    • i agree dude. that’s not a tragedy. you do what works for you and anyone who tells you different can go…well use your imagination.

      scrambled eggs and fruit with coconut cream are far better choices than the IHOP endless stack of pancakes…mmm pancakes!

      Doug wrote on December 2nd, 2009
  25. I’m pretty content with 4 hard boiled eggs, spinach, and almonds for brekky.

    Although this looks good for a weekend.


    Chris wrote on November 29th, 2009
  26. I tried this this morning…I heated it up on the stove and honestly, it tasted like eating raw pancake batter with nuts mixed in. So then I tried to actually make pancakes out of it, and when that didn’t work, I just made a spinach and cheese omelet. lol

    Jamie wrote on November 29th, 2009
    • Did you sub applesauce? I’m curious, I used half a banana, and it turned out great! Plenty think, I also cooked it longer…

      MZav wrote on August 17th, 2016
  27. There are lots of ” granola” recipes on raw food sites for those who miss it. They tend to use nuts and seeds. They can be time consuming to make but if you make enough you’ll have it for a long time. I like to eat “graw”nola as a snack sometimes. Got a few recipes I can share in the forums.

    marci wrote on November 29th, 2009
  28. Sorry! But the idea of making primal “oatmeal” is like being a vegetarian and eating tofu hot dogs in order to “fit in”. It just doesn’t work for me.

    p14175 wrote on November 29th, 2009
    • I’m sorry it doesn’t work for you. It’s really hard going against conventional wisdom, yet trying to “fit in” w/ conventional wisdom. My creativity has doomed me to never really being a “Krog.”


      Doug wrote on December 2nd, 2009
  29. “Sorry! But the idea of making primal “oatmeal” is like being a vegetarian and eating tofu hot dogs in order to “fit in”. It just doesn’t work for me.”

    Its got nothing to do with fitting in and I wouldn’t compare it to eating tofu hot dogs.
    Some of the comments have been really rude. If it doesn’t suit you, that’s fine.

    Sue wrote on November 29th, 2009
  30. Blech. Oatmeal, or any variation, should be outlawed.

    JAMES HOWELL wrote on November 29th, 2009
  31. Yesss, I always find that when I start trying to replicate non-primal dishes in primal form, that they are often just as carb Efficient. They are also very very calorie dense. Makes sense though since the base is always a nut meal.


    pk wrote on November 29th, 2009
  32. I agree with Sue. If it doesn’t suit you you don’t have to put everyone else down. Did anyone read that “Diet as Dogma” post? If you didn’t, check it out! If you did, maybe take a look over it again and let it sink in.

    KQ wrote on November 30th, 2009
  33. a bowl of GF oatmeal would be less carbs,lower tannins,maybe lower anti-nutrients and probably easier to digest for many people.

    I have to agree with others though…for me it’s either meat/eggs and veg/fruit or I’m not hungry enough to eat yet.

    Chris wrote on November 30th, 2009
  34. I am so going to try this.

    I use in-shell pasteurized eggs. Since they’ve been carefully heated in warm water (not cooked) the nutrients are more bio-available. I’ve experience salmonella poisoning once too often.

    (And, no, organic eggs are not safer.)

    Brendan wrote on November 30th, 2009
  35. Weighing in that I just made this according to spec and it was pretty tasty. Odd, due to the consistency of the eggs, and the cooked banana, but still tasty.

    Beyond the taste, I knew it was a healthy and nutritious meal going down, and it filled me up nicely. Great way to follow up my morning workout.

    Not to mention it was fun to make. If you know how to work quickly in a kitchen and not dilly dally, it shouldn’t take any more than 15 or so minutes. Well worth the time for something that seems to me more of a treat, than a daily staple.

    I suspect that it would behoove some of you commenters to get off your high horses, and not be too rigidly fixated on one idea (‘no carbs whatsoever’) that you can’t even branch out and try new things.

    I mean seriously, I’m all about primal, low carb living, etc. but I seriously doubt that when Grok came across a banana (or whatever plantain-like predecessor it resembled in his day) he would freak out and run away for fear of gaining love-handles.

    Joe wrote on November 30th, 2009
    • I echo Joe and Sue’s comments. The PB provides a framework and principles for living a healthy life. A big part of that is being flexible. Even I wouldn’t eat this on a daily basis, but there is room for it in the context of the PB. Yes, it’s a little carb heavy, but if your eating in the 100-150 maintenance range and your consuming 2500 calories a day this meal is reasonable. Too many calories or carbs for you? Adjust the recipe to fit your needs. Again, the point is that it’s the principles that matter. Once you Grok the PB you can alter recipes and workouts and certain lifestyle behaviors to suit you personally.

      p14157 – I usually get this sort of response from at least one person when we publish a Primal variation on non-Primal food. I get it. That said, in my experience this type of recipe really does help the newbie, the person that needs help transitioning to the PB. And heck, it’s kind of fun seeing what healthy Primal creations we can whip up in the kitchen.

      Thanks for all your comments, everyone. I love the feedback. Grok on!

      Mark Sisson wrote on December 1st, 2009
      • Mark,

        Thank you for throwing the initial wrench at conventional wisdom and giving us a place to throw our own wrenches.

        Doug wrote on December 2nd, 2009
      • I think it’d be a great breakfast just before a race. yeah yeah I read about over training, but I dont. I just like to run.

        kiowarose wrote on December 31st, 2009
    • if he did run away from the prehistoric plantain, he might have logged it as a “sprint” on his weekly workout journal, which was probably a flat rock.

      i agree. a banana once a week isn’t going to kill you, unless you try to swallow it whole.

      Doug wrote on December 2nd, 2009
      • Thanks for this recipe Doug I actually loved it, I’m just looking for some interesting healthy options in the morning so this is perfect. Some peoples comments make me feel like the least fussy eater in the whole ha! Had no idea people did so many crazy cut outs over a banana? a egg? Thats a crazy world I’m not part of, I LOVE all food but I’m a professional dancer so just looking for what you gave so thanks! Some of the people commenting need to live a little!

        Suzannah R wrote on April 10th, 2015
  36. ohhhh my god this made for a wonderful breakfast =) I have a systemic inflammatory disorder and so can’t eat ANY starches, and porridge in the morning is one of the things i’ve really been missing…

    James wrote on December 1st, 2009
    • that’s awesome. glad it worked for you.

      Doug wrote on December 2nd, 2009

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