When I was a kid, my younger brother disliked two things: school and oatmeal. In a brilliant use of reverse psychology, dear old Dad told him: “If you don’t eat your oatmeal, you’re not going to school.” It worked.
It turns out Little Brother was not the only human to scoff at consuming what is generally regarded as an essential food only for our equine companions. Romans thought it a lowly repast as well.
But the fact is, humans have been eating this ancient grain longer than any other. If you’re into the Paleo diet, you’re in luck, because oats have been on the menu for the past 32,000 years. That literally takes us back to our cave-dwelling days.
And lots of studies have proven the health benefits of oatmeal. It can lower you cholesterol level, regulate your blood-sugar levels. It’s loaded with nutrition and antioxidants, among other things.
Nowadays, of course, we’re not cultivating the plants, husking them and pulverizing the grain with a mortise and pestle (or, better yet, a couple of rocks). In fact, most of us don’t have time to even cook it on a stovetop. We resort to the instant variety, which we throw into a microwave for a minute or two.
The problem with the instant stuff is twofold: the flour is ground very fine, depleting much of the nutritional value (which is further reduced via cooking). And the little packets come loaded with refined sugar. It can be up to 12 grams per serving.
But here’s an easy hack that doesn’t even involve pots, stoves or even a microwave. And you can whip up a batch using the more healthful varieties, such as whole grain rolled oats or steel cut versions.
Take a bowl or mason jar and fill it with one portion of oats (say a cupful), and cover it with 2 parts (in this case, 2 cups) of either water or milk (we use almond milk). You can sprinkle a little flavoring in if you like: cinnamon, nutmeg. You can add a little sweetener (perhaps a tablespoon of maple syrup). We add some berries or fruit instead.
Cover it and let it sit overnight on the counter. * Voila! You have instant oatmeal in the morning. If you like to warm it up, just zap it for a bit. We eat it at room temperature. It is flavorful, has a creamy, smooth texture, and is quite filling.
Give it a try.
(Perhaps if you’re using cow’s milk, you should refrigerate).