I hate that name. Porridge. It’s a word from story books, synonymous with caged up princesses, old fashioned, bland, and gruel (an even less alluring name). A whiny voiced, face screwed up you’re feeding me what, mum?
It’s an underwhelming name for one of the sexiest things you can eat for breakfast. Dressed up, dressed down, having a porridge-based breakfast can literally sustain a fun filled, action packed, socially-crammed life.
I was having this conversation just the other day; I got asked “If I want to improve my health and diet, does that mean my life is now restricted/boring/lacklustre/I want to gouge my eyes out?”
I can say with utter confidence, no. I went down that path, you don’t have to. I needed to go down that path as a trial, to see what really works, not just what works in theory, in textbooks, or for people with no passion for culinary spontaneity.
What I found – as a food lover, a flighty, social butterfly, cram-too-much-into-my-day kind of person – is that setting up my day with a calm, nutritious, thoughtful meal means it’s like I’ve done my homework for the day. It’s a cheat’s way, nay short-cut, to nutritional health, and feeling pretty good. Then go on to eat your hearts desires.
However, what I found is that having a fulfilling porridge breakfast improves the likelihood of making better eating choices throughout the day.
I don’t know why, possibly all the glucose levels are balanced and the physical and emotional body is satisfied…I kinda just naturally want to keep a good thing going, ya know?
By the same token, you can go on to have a morning coffee knowing that the gut flora is more protected from it’s damaging effects. I certainly wouldn’t suggest giving it up, hells no! What’s a morning without coffee? I love it, and by eating porridge first, I have found a way that I can enjoy a coffee, and keep the good bugs flourishing.
Then if you are doing it right (and by right I mean getting creative with toppings and flavourings) there’s a big nutrient boost right there, giving the body what it needs to help feel awake, more alert, reduce stress, to simply work better, and things start to move.
See, oats are high in fiber as all the marketing hype tells us. More than that, oats have a sweet nature as recognised in Chinese Medicine. This gentle, sweetness tonifies the earth element organs (Spleen and Stomach), stimulating the digestion so that things move freely through the gastro-intestinal tract as they should: in, digest, extract, poop.
So, that said, I’ve eaten a lot of porridge in my time. But I’m not sick of it. In fact years later, I’m still discovering different ways to mix things up. And I’ve perfected the art of making porridge. Here’s my tips:
- Soak oats before cooking. If you cook the porridge the night before, soak during the day. If you cook oats fresh in the morning, soak overnight. The ratio is 1:2 (1 part oats, 2 parts water, maybe a dash more).
- Add a pinch of celtic sea salt. It’s full of minerals, and makes porridge taste better.
- To cook, bring oats and water to the boil, reduce heat and simmer on low with lid partially on for ~8 minutes (about 10 minutes if you are using steel cut oats), stirring frequently. The consistency should be a thickish mush. If it’s too watery, cook longer with lid off. Too dry, add a dash of water as you go.
- Use a stick blender and blend the oats for a creamier consistency.
- Add a dessert spoon amount of linseeds for texture, Omega 3′s and to promote cleaning of bowels.
- Once cooked, put the lid fully on the pot and let steam for a minute or two. I don’t know the mechanics behind this, but I found it just tastes better.
- Stir through a large teaspoon of virgin coconut oil at the end of cooking and steaming.
And most of all, get creative with toppings and flavourings. I made the discovery of chai spiced porridge (pictured) just the other day, and it was deeelish! Here’s how to make it:
- Using a quality chai tea blend, brew about 1.5 cups of strong chai tea (I used Gewurtzhaus Velvety Vanilla Chai)
- Use the tea to soak oats.
- Proceed with cooking.
- Stir through a teaspoon of honey at the end.
- Serve with a dash of quality soy milk (I prefer Bon Soy) and sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
Tell me all about how you make your porridge interesting. And share your tips below on how you make an ah-mazing porridge.
Look after yourself, Becki x