I am not an oats hater, as many of my friends & family are, so it is easy for me to enjoy the benefits of this grain.
The first time I encountered oats was when I was about 12. I stayed over with my Maternal Grandpa and he made me instant Quaker oatmeal with a handful of raisins for breakfast. It took a few mouthfuls to get past the sticky & the gooey, but it wasn’t long before I was scraping the bowl clean!
Having said this, oats was not a food served in my mother’s household. So, the next significant brush I had with this grain was many years later as a young adult in Inverness, Scotland.
Our Bed & Breakfast hostess served us a complete Scottish Breakfast, starting with a huge bowl of Scottish porridge before the hearty Scottish fry-up. Our previous experience was driving through England, where breakfast was just an English fry-up. As I was already a vegetarian then, I was looking forward to the egg, tomato, baked beans & toast – Loving Husband (he was the Loving Boyfriend back then) was the beneficiary of the sausages, bacon & other meaty things. I was very excited to be served this new addition to our breakfast experience! I relished this very different bowl from the Quaker oats I had tried before – much finer in texture and creamy, more like the Asian porridge I was used to. I ate all of mine and valiantly ate through half of Loving Husband’s before I gave up!
My discovery in recent years is steel cut oats. Nutritionally, it is not much different from whole grain rolled oats. But in terms of texture, they are worlds apart. They do take longer to cook, though, so I was very glad to find that Bob’s Red Mill has an instant version for days when I am in a hurry. It still does take 5 minutes to cook, so it is not as instant as instant oatmeal, but so worth the extra time. Steel cut oats are chewy and nutty, and a whole lot less gooey than rolled oats.
Although the weather in Singapore is very hot, I am quite happy to have a hot breakfast. But if you don’t, an option is overnight oats. I bumped into a friend while on a run a few months back, and we started talking about the breakfast oat bowls that I post on Instagram & Facebook. She said that she can’t cope with a hot bowl of oats so she soaks the oats overnight. In them morning, she tops her cold oats with fruit and nuts and that’s breakfast ready!
There are lots of benefits to having oats for breakfast or any time of day for that matter: heart health, cholesterol reduction, cancer prevention, blood sugar regulation, and the list goes on. But for me, it is very simple: I just cannot imagine my life without it.
What do you like with your oats?