Yesterday Vogue released its December cover story, featuring Anne Hathaway, who's starring as Fantine in the much-hyped Les Misérables. While she dished on everything from her career to her wedding gown, there were two words in the profile (written by Adam Green) that had pretty much the entire internet in a tizzy yesterday: Oatmeal paste.
Hathaway revealed that to look properly emaciated and consumptive for her Les Mis role, she ate nothing but two thin squares of dried oatmeal paste a day to shave off that final 15 pounds. Wait. What the hell is oatmeal paste? Why didn't Adam Green delve more into this with the actress?
A quick Google search of the term yields...a recipe for treating flea bites on dogs. Oatmeal is very soothing. There are whole beauty lines--like Aveeno--in which oatmeal is a main ingredient. If you think about, fleas were probably an issue for humans in 19th century France, too. But I digress. Since the internet couldn't help, I went to an expert. Turns out nutritionists don't know what exactly oatmeal paste is, either.
I contacted Keri Gans, RD, who is the author of The Small Change Diet. "I have never heard of oatmeal paste, but it simply could be oats and water. Perhaps to get the 'dried squares' the oats were baked--whether other ingredients were added I can't say," she told me. "Totally not surprised that she would lose weight eating this--but it isn't something I would recommend to others."
Yeah, but you know that someone is now going to write a book on the "Hollywood Oatmeal Paste" diet or something. Just wait. Or maybe "pasting" will become the new juicing. Anyway, to see what all the fuss was about, I decided to whip up a batch of my own.
I used equal parts water and oatmeal and mixed it up in a bowl until it seemed "pasty." The first problem I encountered is that I only had steel cut oats (bit of an oatmeal snob here) and they aren't as flat and crumbly as say, Quaker oats. So I let them sit overnight. In the morning I had a pretty decent--if lumpy--paste going on. I put the bowl in the oven at 225 degrees for about 10 minutes. I'd call what came out more of a crumble than a square, but I dug in.
It was, um, nutty and crunchy. Not horrible. It would definitely have been improved by some jam. Do I want to eat nothing but this for two weeks? I couldn't even do it for a day. (Mmmm, blueberry muffin!)
We find it hard to believe that Hathaway lived on this for more than a few days. Back in March there were reports that she restricted her calorie count to 500/day, eating nothing but apples and protein drinks. We'd recommend just exercising and eating a sensible diet (which would include abstaining from muffins). But we're going to be on the lookout for editors nibbling dry little squares at fashion week this February.