At some point, around the time of the ancient Greeks & Romans, gruel got a bad name. Associate with poverty, not being delicious in general, and Oliver Twist’s famous words – “Please sir, may I have some more?”, gruel doesn’t seem to have much to redeem it.
But when you call it something else – let’s say, “Oatmeal” – ok, well, it doesn’t really get much better sounding. However, despite a long and pitiful history, oatmeal can actually taste good. More importantly, there are a myriad of reasons why you should, in fact, ask for more.
It’s full of vitamins and minerals. In addition to which, a serving of oatmeal has about 6g of fiber, 11g of protein (the same as a couple eggs, if you’re into counting protein), and only about 380 calories per serving. You can boost the protein count with some added nuts or nut milk, or throw some oats in an almond milk based smoothie after a workout.
Simmered on the stove, it’s warm and comforting for cooler mornings, helps keep your blood sugar down and keep you full longer. It’s also the Mayo Clinic’s #1 food to lower your cholesterol and reduce your chance of heart disease.
It is super easy to make and extremely, famously, cheap. Even if you buy the fancy organic kind that I do, it still only works out to a few cents per serving. Oatmeal doubles as an excellent bath addition for itchy skin or to make a soothing & moisturizing facemask with.
Oatmeal is also gluten-free. The confusion around the gluten status of oatmeal is that it can become contaminated with wheat – there is no actual gluten in oats. Either the fields grow next to each other, or during the processing at the factory. Depending on your tolerance level, it may or may not affect you. However, if you are one of those people that have a strong reaction to a small amount, it would be a good idea to look for the brands that are marked as gluten-free. They will have been isolated in in the growing & packaging process so as to avoid getting mixed up with that meddlesome wheat.
Here’s the nutritional rundown for about a cup.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – 0.75mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – 0.14mg
Niacin – 1mg
Pantothenic Acid – 1.4mg
Vitamin B6 – 0.12mg
Folate – 56mg
Potassim – 430mg
Phosphorus – 525mg
Calcium – 55mg
Magnesium – 175mg
Zinc – 4mg
Copper – 0.60mg