Porridge is filling, nourishing, and warm and comforting on a cold winter morning. Or a cold winter evening for that matter. Who says it can’t be served for dinner. Porridge has been eaten in one form or another for millennia.
Almost every culture on earth has a version of porridge. It is a basic, fundamental food that is easily prepared from readily available ingredients. The porridge recipe I have provided her is a version of Irish porridge. It is loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fat.
There are countless versions of porridge, which include some combination of:
- A variety of grains: as oats, barley, wheat, rye or rice
- Dried fruit: raisins, golden raisins, currants, figs, dates, apricots, plums
- Fresh fruit: firm fruits like apples or pears are best, though bananas are also popular.
- Nuts or seeds: walnuts, hazelnuts, hemp seeds or chia seed
- Milk or cream
- Warm spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, coriander, or cardamom
- Fat: butter, flax seed oil, walnut oil, or peanut butter
To make a delicious, warm, filling porridge, you will need…
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 cup Oatmeal
- 1 tbsp. Oat bran
- 1 tbsp. Corn meal
- 1 tbsp. Wheat germ
- Handful of Raisins
- Splash of Milk or cream
- Pat of Butter
- 1 tbsp. Honey
- Dash of Celtic sea salt
Put two cups of cold water in a soup pot and bring water to a boil:
Stir in two cups of oats:
Sprinkle in the tablespoons of cornmeal, wheat germ, and oat bran, stirring constantly so it doesn’t clump and you wind up with lumps in the porridge. This especially applies to the cornmeal as it clumps the most easily of the three.
Photos above: oat bran, corn meal, and wheat germ
Next, add raisins:
Lower heat and simmer until the oats are cooked through, the raisins are soft, and the water is mostly absorbed. This will only take about three minutes or so. Serve in a warmed bowl with a pat of butter, a drizzle of honey, cold milk or cream, and a pinch of Celtic sea salt.
Carbs are not your enemy
As of late, grains have been villianified by many. Carbohydrates are also been identified as a dietary evil. The paleo diet, aka the caveman diet does not allow grains. The paleo diet does not stand up to scientific scrutiny, as early man ate not just meat and fish, and berries and roots, but also grains.
Early man must have also had dairy before the age of agriculture. I read in some source that I cannot recall or locate that large mammals can be milked post-mortem. You killed something, or found another predator’s kill; you ate every part of it. You didn’t waste food in those days. It’s not that the paleo diet is not healthy; it is just overly rigid.
A modified Paleo eating plan incorporating milk, cream, yogurt, kefir, cheese, butter, and unprocessed whole grains will be even healthier, by adding more nutrients. It will also increase the variety of available foods, making compliance with this eating plan easier.
Simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates are different. The low carb diets offer largely misguided and uniformed guidelines to nutrition. Simple carbohydrates are easily digested sugars. Commercial baked goods, cookies, and desserts are mostly made of white flour, which is a simple carbohydrate.
White flour is made from the starchy endosperm of a grain. The nutritious germ and bran have been stripped away, and then the flour is fortified with the vitamins that have been removed in processing.
White flour makes white bread, which is soft and chewy. This makes soft fluffy cakes. There is a huge market for it. Simple carbohydrates are not filling, and are quickly digested, so you can eat a lot of them. Along for the ride are sodium and saturated, fat. Your body will use what it needs for energy, and the rest will be stored for future use in adipose cells, also known as fat.
Complex carbohydrates are more complex chains of sugars. An example of a complex carbohydrate is a whole grain. This is the germ, endosperm and bran all ground together. Our bodies have to work harder to break them down. Complex carbs are also loaded with fiber. Water-soluble fiber dissolves in water, and is digestible. It is good for lowering LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein), or bad cholesterol.
Non-soluble fiber is indigestible, and is good for maintain intestinal health and regularity. Fiber absorbs water, and swells, making you feel full. Complex carbohydrates provide energy. They also tend to be loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Whole oats, wheat, barley, rye, rice, and other grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates. They are not your dietary enemy. I have been rather bemused to see low carb recipes loaded with vegetables. Ummm… vegetables are full of complex carbohydrates. They are good for you. So are complex carbs. The bottom line: eat unprocessed, whole grains.