One of the questions I’m asked most is, “What do you have for breakfast?” The answer never changes, I have the same breakfast every day of the year no matter what the season, or where I am – porridge oats and wholemeal toast.
“Isn’t that boring?”
“Don’t you get tired of having the same thing every day?”
The simple answer is no, it’s not boring and I never get tired of it.
Because I mix it up with different wholemeal breads, different spreads, and different additions to the porridge.
Why do I eat the same breakfast every day? Because I enjoy it, plus it’s packed with nutrients that are brilliant for me.
Here are the 5 Reasons Why I Eat My Oats Everyday
I love the creaminess of oats first thing in the morning. They’re a great comfort food and super simple to make. I make my oats with water and nothing else.
They’re naturally sweet, but if I’m looking for a sweeter kick, then I add fruit – stewed rhubarb, or apples with cinnamon and raisins, sliced bananas with crushed nuts and seeds, fresh strawberries, peaches or raspberries.
Sometimes I add honey or maple syrup, but most days I have them on their own. I don’t even add salt, which some people do.
I used to add a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseed, they’re a great source of omega 3, but, in my opinion, they altered the flavour of the porridge so I still eat the flaxseed, just not in my porridge.
2. They keep me feeling full until lunchtime.
Why is this? It all comes down to the dietary fibre, and a specific type of fibre found in oats called beta-glucan which is found in the outer layers of the grain.
This beta glucan is a soluble form of fibre that dissolves inside our digestive tract where it forms a thick gel, it’s a bit like wallpaper paste, this delays the stomach from emptying, making you feel fuller for longer.
Researchers lead by Candida Rebello of the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre discovered that having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast “enhanced satiety and feelings of fullness, reduced the desire to eat and may even lead to a lower caloric intake at lunch”.
“The satiety benefits of instant oatmeal alone were important findings,” remarked lead author Candida Rebello, MS, RD, of Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University. “When we took it a step further and evaluated the intake four hours post-breakfast, we found that after consuming instant oatmeal, the participants chose to eat significantly less at lunch compared to those who ate the oat-based, cold cereal.”
3. They’re great for my skin.
I have eczema, that horrible weeping skin condition. I found out, totally by accident, that oats are great for my eczema. I now have it pretty much under control by following a whole food, plant-based diet that cuts out all dairy products, but when I have a rare flare up, or when my skin becomes very dry, I use oats in the bath (just fill a sock with porridge oats and put it in the water for 20 minutes while you’re bathing) and I make an oat mask (oats and water mixed to a paste) that nourishes by skin.
I also use a well known oat moisturizer on my skin that makes it incredibly soft and smooth.
Oatmeal has also been shown to clear up some of the ravages of chemotherapy when applied to the skin. You can find out more information here.
4. They’re great for my health
Oats are packed with essential nutrients such as B vitamins, phosphorus, iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc, copper, protein and off course, fibre. In general, whole-grain intake is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight gain. All of the cohort studies on type 2 diabetes and heart disease show whole grain intake is associated with lower risk. They observed the same for obesity—consistently less weight gain for those who consumed a few servings of whole grains every day.
As Dr Greger says:
“Oats in particular are reported to possess varied drug-like activities like lowering of blood cholesterol and blood sugar, boosting our immune system, anti-cancer, anti-atherosclerosis in addition to being a topical anti-inflammatory, and may also be useful in controlling childhood asthma and body weight.”
5. They help to control my weight
Yes I know! Eating your oats every day can help you from gaining weight.
A team led by Dr. Pauline Koh-Banerjee studied the diet and health records of 72,000 men. They found that those who ate 40 grams of whole grains per day cut middle-age weight gain by up to 3.5 pounds.
Just one cup of cooked oatmeal or two slices of whole-wheat bread is enough.
In other recent research, half the people were given oatmeal, and the other half fake placebo oatmeal that looks and tastes like oatmeal.
This double-blinded randomized trial of overweight and obese men and women showed that almost 90% of the real oatmeal-treated subjects had reduced body weight – compared to no weight loss in the control group – a slimmer waist on average, a 20 point drop in cholesterol, and an improvement in liver function.
This is closely related to number 2, because they keep me feeling fuller for longer, I’m less likely to snack mid morning.
What are oats?
Oats are a whole grain that almost never have their bran and germ removed in processing. Plus, for those looking for a gluten-free breakfast, oats are naturally gluten-free, just remember to look for oats that are certified gluten-free if you are sensitive to gluten.
Their distinctive flavour comes partly from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned.
Oats are then processed in different ways to produce all the different types of oat products, for instance
- Oat groats, are the whole oat grain, with only the hard unpalatable outer hull removed, but with the kernel’s outer bran layer remaining intact. They’re used as a breakfast cereal or for stuffing
- Steel-cut oats, also known as pinhead oats and coarse oatmeal, are the whole oat groats that have been chopped into two or three pieces. They have a slightly dense and chewy texture and take longer to cook than instant, ground or rolled oats, usually 15-20 minutes for porridge.
- Jumbo rolled oats/flakes are whole oats that have been softened with steam then flattened between rollers to produce the flakes
- Rolled oats are steel cut oats that are made by steaming and flattening them with a roller, similar to jumbo oats, but they’re smaller and quicker to cook than the steel cut, pinhead or coarse oatmeal oats.
- Instant oatmeal is produced by partially cooking the grains and then rolling them very thin. Sugar, salt and other ingredients are often added to them
- Oat bran is found in rolled oats and steel-cut oats. You can buy it to add to your recipes or use it as a hot cereal.
- Oat flour is used in baking. It’s sometimes combined with wheat or other gluten-containing flours when making leavened bread.
How much do you need?
Studies show that eating whole grains instead of refined grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases. While benefits are most pronounced for those consuming at least three servings daily, some studies show reduced risks from as little as one serving daily.
To find out more about the power of fibre, check out my blog posts here and here.
5 Ways To Get Your Oats If You Don’t Like Oatmeal
- Eat oatcakes! Just two oatcakes provide a portion of beta glucans
- Add one or two tablespoons of oats to your soup
- Toast a tablespoon of eats and add to your fresh fruit, such as raspberries
- Add one or two tablespoons of oats to your green smoothie
- Add oats to your plant-based burger, haggis or ‘meat’ loaf
I’ll leave you with a quote by Samuel Johnson from a 1755 dictionary:
“A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland appears to support the people.” Samuel Johnson.
This often quoted remark invariably gets the response “that’s why England has good horses, and Scotland – good people!”.
I’d love to hear how you get you get your oats. Let me know in the comments section below. Thank you! Oh, and don’t forget to share it with your friends and family using the buttons top left on this page.
If you’re just starting out on your plant-based journey then the following articles will help you.
How to get started on your plant-based journey to learn about the power plate. It was developed by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and provides optimal health for you and your family and is brilliantly flexible so you can eat in a way that suits your taste and lifestyle whilst getting all the nutrients you need.
If you’re struggling to eat more whole grains everyday, check out my five tips to help you here: How to easily eat more whole grains everyday
And if you’d like to read more about the power of fibre and why it’s so good for you, then read my 5 fabulous reasons fill fibre You should also check out the information on page 10 in this PDF.
A typical food plan for the day may look like this:
Oatmeal/porridge for breakfast made with water or plant-based milks such as rice milk. Topped with fresh fruit such as sliced banana. Two slices of wholemeal toast, spread with 100% fruit jams. Read about my 7 of the best ever plant-based breakfasts
Water and/or tea or coffee, black or made with plant-based milks.
Mid morning snack of fruit, or read my post on 11 simple plant based snacks to enjoy at work
For lunch, how about a baked potato topped with veggie chilli, or soup and a salad. For ideas on sandwich fillings read my blog post on 7 inspiring plant based sandwich fillings for your lunch
For an afternoon snack remember to check out my suggestions here: 11 simple plant based snacks to enjoy at work
Now it comes to dinner. What’s quick to make, nourishing and doesn’t cost the earth? Try some of my delicious dinner recipes.
Let me know in the comments section below if you’ve found my post: 5 Reasons Why I Eat My Oats Everyday useful. I always love hearing from you!