Get outta bed oats!

When I’m feeling down and out, a good meal has the power to lift my spirits. Good food made with love is a precious gift that can be easily taken for granted. Made with a good mind, it is medicine for the mind, body and soul.

This past weekend I was feeling pretty down due to the untimely death of my dear pet cat, Henry. My sweet, beloved grey tabby was hit by a car on Thursday. With my heart feeling like it had been run over on my new street, my girlfriend’s Dad prepared a delicious roast beef Sunday dinner for his family and me. With all of us exclaiming just how much we needed the warmth and richness of a rump roast dinner, he explained that in his opinion, food made with passion simply tastes better. Her father shared that he comes from a Jamaican family that really cares about food, as they were farmers and like spice – and you can taste their passion for food when they cook.

Food is a powerful thing. It has the ability to comfort us by transporting us back in time through its look, aromas and flavours. It also has the ability to dredge up negative emotions attached to experiences. I like to focus on positive food memories and the power it has to heal. The good food we eat when we’re scattered, disheartened, grieving has a powerful impact on our mental, physical and spiritual state of being. A hot bowl of soup on a cold winter’s day can warm us up and help us carry on no matter the weather.

Food used as a mechanism of control through deprivation of the love and nutrients it provides is a very real thing, and there are many threats to our food systems that are resulting in illness and food-related diseases.

There are many comfort foods that I immediately think of when my body needs nourishing, my mind and spirit a lift. Hot cereal is one that I eat all year, it fills me up and sticks to my bones as I get ready for a hard day’s work. It also gets me into a good mindset for my day.

These cereals take many shapes and forms. Any grain – from corn to wheat – can be made into a hearty, healthy meal eaten any time of the day.

A staple in my home is eating quick oats with apple, maple syrup, cinnamon and butter. When I have it available, I will cook rolled oats, steel cut oats or a mixture of ancient grains. A luxury is adding hemp hearts or chia seeds for added protein. My girlfriend has lately been adding roasted pumpkin puree and chai tea spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg to her oatmeal with a protein boost of walnuts or pumpkin seeds.

Here are some basic guidelines to making creamy and hearty oatmeal. My girlfriend has not-so-great childhood memories of bland, lumpy cream of wheat or Red River Oats forced on her before Sunday school by her grandma. I assure you: with some passion, love and creativity, you can make your hot breakfast cereal a dining experience that both you and the children in your life will jump out of bed for. Be creative and play with fun breakfast cereal toppings, and please share at

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