OATS FOR ONE RECIPE / by Nora Logan

Ever since I started to recover from my transplant, breakfast has been an extremely important part of my day. I used to get up, leave the house in a hurry and eat when I’d get into work - usually a green smoothie, or eggs from the cafeteria or a croissant or toast with almond butter and banana (or whatever I felt like stuffing my face with). My life is very different now, and breakfast has really become a necessary ritual. It took me so long to want to eat breakfast again, much less anything else. My friends dubbed me baby bird for the first year post-transplant because I’d eat three bites of something, and the chances of spitting it all back out were, well, high. But breakfast in particular was an important one to get right, because I take my first round of medication in the morning (and the second at night). I really have to be mindful about what I eat first thing - if it’s not right, I could (and often do) feel sick the rest of the day. My psychotic charming attachment to breakfast stems from a memory of not being able to actually keep food down, and so once I did get my appetite back in the morning, breakfast took on a new dimension - it was joyful. Not a given.

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I make my porridge with gluten free oats - in a variety of combinations using different toppings and ingredients depending on the season. I’ve become extremely attached, and sometimes if I don’t have a chance to eat it for breakfast I have it for lunch. I travel with oats: even if I just go away for a weekend I bring them with me. People can’t believe the lengths I will go to to get some good oats in. After much trial and error, they’re one of the only things that work for me in the morning and don’t leave me with that sickly feeling. Like a nice lil oaty safety blanket.

Porridge oats are full of fiber which helps your liver function optimally, and there are reports that they could help lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. If possible, try to soak them overnight. I know time constraints can make this an unrealistic request for many, but even if it’s just for 30 minutes when you wake up, try to get it in. Doing so helps with digestion and increases your nutritional intake. Oats (like all grains, legumes and seeds) contain phytic acid, which make them more difficult to digest and harder to absorb some of their mineral content like zinc and iron. I soak my nuts and seeds as well, to make them easier to digest. Added plus: it speeds up cooking time in the morning.

THE CLASSIC

1/4 cup rolled porridge oats (I buy these or these)

2 tbs omega-3 mix (a combination of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds)

Pinch of salt

1 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 cup water

1/2 a banana (optional to sweeten)

1/4 cup blueberries

1 tbs coconut oil

1-2 tbs hemp seeds

Place oats, water, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Stir to combine. Let cook for approx. 3-4 minutes on its own (until the water starts to absorb), then add sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds and the 1/2 banana. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the porridge has thickened. Right at the end, before you take the porridge off the heat, add in the coconut oil and the blueberries. Mix in the hemp seeds and serve.

Ingredient Information:

Sunflower seeds: Loaded with B-complex vitamins (great for your nervous system), also good source of vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and protein. Source of good fat. Pumpkin seeds: Loaded with amino acids (alanin, glycene and glutamic acid). Excellent source of zinc and omega-3 essential fatty acids, protein, iron and phosphorus. Flax seeds: Excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, dietary fibre and manganese, folate, vitamin B6 and minerals magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Cinnamon: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting and potential cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities. Coconut Oil: Fat added to your breakfast can help kickstart your metabolism in the morning. Hemp Seeds: Excellent source of protein: 10g to every 3 tablespoons. Also contains vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.