Today is world Mental Health day. It is also world porridge day. Coincidence? I think not!
But what does porridge have to do with mental health? Well, for most- not much. But for me, a LOT. Here are my top five flavours and just how, bowl by bowl, I found hope -to warm your heart and work to better your wellbeing.
Have you ever left your oats in the microwave for too long? Well, back in 2013 my whole life began to boil over just like that. I couldn't cope and my mental a physical health took a huge dip.
With a lot of support from friends and family I gradually began to manage again and for that I am so grateful.
One thing I learned in this is that you must appreciate the little things in life.
When you're in recovery, everyday is a new battle. a new fight to motivate yourself and so with the help of my family I began my steps to recovery. So how did I get that extra boost of motivation every day?
Each day, breakfast was served. A new flavour to wake up to! Over a year of this. Think of a flavour- we probably had it and with each new flavour, a new experience of life was had.
When I had nothing else in the world I felt I could live for, at least my day would bring me a new breakfast adventure. I had a whole Instagram account dedicated to it (Sad but it kept me somewhat sane). Bowl by bowl, flavour by flavour. I was recovering.
So when I saw that is was World Mental Health Day AND world porridge day, I almost cried. It reminded me of all the strength myself and my family had. I reflected on how far I've come and just how important it really is to find meaning and adventure in the smallest of joys, embrace the support around you and nourish your soul with every bowl.
I still have my struggles but I still look forward to having my porridge everyday- even if the flavours are a lot less elaborate.
Oats, I owe you a lot!
Anyway, in celebration, I thought I'd reminisce (and slightly update) my top 5 porridge flavours including my everyday go-to-oats, that effectively contribrted to saving my life.
I hope you enjoy (and try for yourselves)...
5. Creme egg porridge
And as a special occasion we did not slack on presentation!
Chocolatey flavoured oats around the edge, sweet yolky-yellow vanilla oats in the centre to cradle that holy creme egg, cracked in a resurrecting 'hatching chick' fashion so the viscous fondant centre could ooze out and spread it's love around the whole bowl and give that distinctive sweet creme egg flavour.
A very unique, festive, distinctive, unforgettable flavour that is a head turner and stomach pleaser.
The Lady Gaga of all the oats and the current runner up in the 'likes' department lands this sweet handsome bowl in at number 5.
4. Espresso Bean porridge
WAKE UP! we're at porridge number four and i tell you, it's an eye opener!
If you are in need of that morning caffeine boost then there are a few options from our porridge list, however this one leads the way to be the coffee BOSS!
Oats cooked with strong, freshly brewed coffee and cocoa powder to create that sexy, sweet yet sophisticated mocha flavour that beckons in any coffee lover with its husky voice sensual smell.
However, like the chocolate sprinkles that finish off the head of any good cup of coffee, this bowl also required a crowning element in order for its status to be truly recognised, and in this case we opted for some rather pretentious chocolate! For weeks I had been swooning at the MADÉCASSE bars and as a aesthetic packaging addict, it was only a matter of time before the rich, dark chocolate encased within was to grace us with it's presence at the breakfast table. Within the 44% Cocoa chocolate were pieces of coffee bean, that added both a kick of flavour and texture and a subtle sweetness of caramel-y notes. When the dark decadence melted into the oats i could practically hear the low, slow, lustful saxophone music playing then BAM coffee hit to get that mind in gear and set for the day!
Caution, this flavour may not be suitable for children, expectant mothers or those with low levels of sophistication.
I'm sorry but how could this NOT feature in the a-list of oats?
The good ole' Oreo. A biscuit so self assured and confident in it's own unique flavour, structure and purpose that it has all the other biscuits questioning their own existence!
However here is my dilemma: Oreo biscuit oats, or Oreo Cadbury chocolate oats?! yes we have had both, no it was not a flavour repeat, thank you very much more of a loop hole in the porridge contract that allowed us to sneak this fella into our bowl once again. We first had the biscuit version way back at the beginning (January 31st 2014) so making the comparison to this one is hard to judge, HOWEVER i distinctly remember both versions being an absolute PLEASURE to consume and therefore a clear celebrity in the oat world! The biscuit version offered more chunky wholesome pieces of Oreo however the Cadbury's one had a creamier chocolately-ness to it!
On both occasions they were paired with choco-oats so it's all down to texture preference and their is only one way to decide your winner...give them a try! HECK, try them both TOGETHER! Chocolate AND biscuits! YoOo (you only oreo once)
All I know is that where Oreo and porridge combine the world becomes a better place!
2. Biscoff porridge
Porridge number two on the chart.
I couldn't quite believe my eyes on first seeing this jar of magic when scrolling through Instagram.....biscuits....in a SPREAD form?! Do the laws of physics allow for this? Having pondered over it's existence (and my own) for some time we concluded that, When in doubt: STOP, DROP and BOWL! So we scooped up a jar ASAP. Little did we know what an impression this little guy would make on our lives. It's like a caramel-y jar of smooth silky liquid gold! One small spoonful and I was hooked.
To creamy oats we stirred in a GENEROUS helping of the god-of-all-spreads until the mixture turned a golden brown hue. Then (obviously) our commitment to a flavour meant that we couldn't miss out the textured element so we topped it with the classic Lotus biscuits! Despite having faith in both elements individually, I was dubious about the 'carb-on-carb-on-carb' relationship, but my worries were soon put to rest when the first spoonful met my lips.....
There is no other flavour like it, my tastebuds say "caramelised biscuit" but my brain says "smooth porridge texture?" and my stomach says "PRAISE THE LORD!" This bowl is deserved of a top spot due to it's unique and outstanding flavour, texture, AND visual qualities. It really is the complete package.
If you are sure to be generous with the spread in the oats then I can tell you it is WORTH it and yes this is a MUST TRY!
1. Go-to Oats
Porridge is a classic. An Essential. A staple. We all have our own way to do it.
As much as the other 4 flavours are DELICIOUS, one might hope for a more subtle breakfast vibe for an early morning. Thus, my classic oat combo includes banana, frozen berries, nut butter, seeds, toasted coconut and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
So, Porridge. Thank you for being there for me everyday without fail. Through the thick and lumpy and the light and dark times, you remind me each morning to be kind, creative and compassionate to myself and others. Start your day how you mean to go on.
Who would have thought so much could be said for a simple bowl of oats?
Take a sip from the cup of my mind, and let the thoughts brew...