The power of porridge!

I totally and utterly love porridge. I eat it for my breakfast every morning and strongly believe that it wonderous properties help to keep me slim and healthy. What? I hear you shout. How can a bowl of oats do anything to help keep you slim and healthy? I will tell you. Be ready I am passionate about porridge.

First of all some oaty facts!!

1. Oats contain the soluble fibre, beta glucan, which slows down the digestion of carbs to keep blood sugar levels steady. In turn it stops the urge for mid-morning snacking! A definite bonus as far as I can see.

2. Beta glucan has also been shown to help reduce blood-cholesterol levels, which can lower the risk of heart disease and strokes.

3. Oats provide good amounts of the B vitamins, thiamine, riboflavin and B6, plus minerals, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, and small amounts of vitamin E and potassium. I told you they were good!!

4. Eating 3g of soluble oat fibre or a bowl of porridge as day is thought to be a great way to reduce cholesterol levels. I spoke in a previous post about soluble fibre. We need around 15g per day so 3g in the morning is a great way to work towards that target.

5. Although oats contain a little gluten, they’re suitable for those on a wheat-free diet, and many people with coeliac disease can find that oats don’t cause the problems other cereals do.

In my opinion oats are a win-win ingredient in anyones’ store cupboard. I am a great advocate of keeping the cost of food down and oats are certainly cheaper than the shop bought cereals. The prominence of cereals is a fairly modern phenomenon which started in the early 80’s. Our good friend Mr Kellogg’s brought the sugar and salt-laden breakfast option to our tables which in turn said goodbye to the eggs and bacon many of the British population were enjoying. Ironically, following World War 2 we were a healthy nation, growing our own fruit and vegetables. We shopped at the local shops, butchers and bakers and cooked from scratch. Today is certainly a different story. (and I think this whole debate about supermarkets needs to be saved for a different post!)

So, as I was saying oats are cheap. They are quick to cook taking around 10 minutes. They are hot, which is partly why I love them and with the addition of all manner of toppings they are delicious. I eat mine cooked with full fat milk then top them with a drizzle of honey and some flaxseed containing gojo berries, flax, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds. (I buy this in a packet from the health food shop). But there really are no limits as to what you can put on your porridge. Here are a few suggestions –

The basic recipe –

I always use Mornflake jumbo oats, but if you prefer use your porridge oats of choice. To serve 2 fill 1 mug with oats, then cover with water and  good glug of milk. Turn the heat up high, and stir regularly until they begin to bubble. Then turn the heat down and keep stirring as the oats gently absorb all the liquid and puff up into gorgeousness! Add extra milk if they are thickening too much and cook in total for 10 minutes. The longer you leave them the better they get but they will need extra milk. It is a bit like making a risotto.

Naked – just milk (any milk for that matter, almond milk, goats, soya or even sheep’s milk for those with skin allergies)

If you have a sweet tooth then date and pecan would fit the bill. Destone and chop some Medjool dates, adding half to the pan, with salt and a large pinch of mixed spice or nutmeg. Cook with 300ml of whole milk and 100ml cold water as per the basic recipe. Meanwhile, toast 25g pecans in a dry non stick pan, then roughly chop. Serve the porridge topped with the pecans and dates and if you like a drizzle of maple syrup. Delicious and it is making me very hungry.

Another option is to add some fresh fruit as a topping, especially in Summer when strawberries are around. Blueberries are good too as are raspberries.

If you want pure indulgence and roots are of a Scottish variety then cream and whisky would be a super treat to warm you up on a cold winters morning.

My husband and I have been known to make a bowl of porridge in the evening!! I would always advocate buying the real deal oats from a packet but I suppose super oats in pots are second best, but still oats.

I am totally convinced that by eating a hearty breakfast it prevents me from craving other foods during the day. I also rarely feel hungry in the evening when I am sat reading cook books or writing my blog. I feel satisfied because I started the day off on the right note. In my view it is absolutely counter-productive to miss the first meal of the day. It WILL catch up on you there is no doubt about it. My advice is keep you body satisfied and the rest will do the work on its own.

More posts on health and keeping a regular weight later in the week………

Thanks for reading and make my day by making some porridge!!!




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