By Jan de Vries, date unknown
When lecturing I always stress the value of cereals, so I am pleased to have this opportunity to write about them. Cereals are of great nutritional value if used correctly. Unfortunately the traditional breakfast porridge has largely disappeared from our tables. If we think that Scottish oats are considered the best in the world, I can only be grateful that there are still some wise people who give their family’s porridge oats for breakfast.
A.Vogel’s popular AvenaCalm stress remedy, harnesses the calming effect of oats. Jan de Vries and Alfred Vogel were close friends for many years!Not only are the oats a wonderful food, they are of tremendous nutritional value to the nerves. Oats, or Avena Sativa, have over the years been of great value to those who experience stress and anxiety. It is a pity that the use of oats as a natural remedy was lost on recent generations. Avena sativa as a homeopathic remedy is recommended for hyperactive or highly strung children, while oatmeal gruel or porridge can help a nervous stomach.
During its growth when it is tall, it has some remarkable healing powers. When the stalks of the oats are green the Avenen content is at its highest level. Avenen is a marvellous nutrient for the cells of the nervous system. It is no wonder that horses that receive their strength and their health from eating oats thrive on it. It is just as important for horses as it is for human beings to have a well-balanced diet.
Scottish porridge oats are a good start to the day for their digestive and muscle-building properties. Oats contain iron, copper, trace elements and even more calcium than is found in wheat or rice. Oats may certainly be used in many forms and should not be absent from our breakfast table
In olden days it was said that when the shepherds cooked their porridge, they made a quantity sufficient to last them a few days. After they had had their breakfast, the remainder of the porridge would be poured into a drawer. When cold and set it was easily cut into squares and these portions could be takes into the hills to sustain them on their long vigils looking after their sheep.
From the Jan de Vries archives
Ayesha's Top Tips for Tasty Porridge
After reading Jan’s words, it’s hard to deny that oats are a fantastic way to start the day. I think that one of the reasons why porridge is not as popular as it used to be is because of the common belief that it’s a bit boring. But this doesn’t have to be true! I love porridge in the morning, and there are so many ways to make it more exciting. Try out my tips next time you make porridge and see how much of a difference it makes!
Fruit – try adding your favourite fruit to porridge for a burst of fresh flavour that blends wonderfully with the smooth, creamy flavour of the oats. I love raspberries and blueberries, but you could also try banana, strawberries or a squeeze of orange juice.
Nut butter – stir in a spoonful of your favourite nut butter for extra flavour, extra protein and extra minerals.
Chia seeds – sprinkle these on top for an extra crunch. Chia seeds are packed full of fibre, protein, and omegas, and they can be a great energy boost.
Nuts – these are great for adding extra crunch too! I love almond flakes, but hazelnuts are really tasty too.
Cinnamon – I just LOVE cinnamon on porridge! It adds a lovely spicy, warming flavour and a little sweetness too
Chocolate – that’s right, a little bit of chocolate can be really tasty with porridge! You only need a square or two, but just make sure it isn’t too sugary – I recommend Ombar for a vegan, low sugar but super creamy alternative. You can even stir in some cacao powder for an extra chocolatey flavour.
Even something as simple as your choice of milk can have a huge effect on the taste of your porridge! Try almond milk for something a little sweeter, or maybe hazelnut milk for an extra nutty flavour.