Oatmeal and the High Seas

Oatmeal is my all-time favorite healthy breakfast. My oat of choice is steel cut; thick and a little chewy, they’re easy to make, versatile as hell and the best part — they stick with you all morning long.

Steel cut oats with blueberries, pecans and a sprinkle of brown sugar.
Steel cut oats with blueberries, pecans and a sprinkle of brown sugar.

Complex carbs, like oatmeal, are slow to digest. Of course it depends on how much you eat and how fast your digestion is, but the consensus is that you’ll stay satisfied for three, maybe four hours.

Knowing all this good stuff about oats, naturally, I turned to them for a stick-to-your ribs breakfast the morning before I went deep-sea fishing. Unfortunately, I was on vacation and the only oats in sight were of the McDonald’s variety, so I took a chance. You’d have to work pretty dang hard to screw up oatmeal, right? It’s only water or milk and oats.

And to be honest, although my cup of Fruit and Maple Oatmeal was super sweet, it didn’t taste half bad; plus, it contained a goodly amount of chunky apples and raisins. I scarfed the cereal down, jumped on the boat and headed out for the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

mcdonalds-oatmeal-585
Wholesome meets delicious? Maybe not.

And then disaster struck. Once we got out in the Gulf the wind picked up like crazy. The boat pitched and so did my stomach; the oats were coming back up.

But there were no oats, only bile. Sick and confused, I could only wonder: what in the hell had happened to the oats?

Upon my return, I did a little research and found out some interesting facts. McDonald’s oatmeal contains a whopping 21 ingredients, including but not limited to caramel color, DATEM, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Citrate and Carrageenan. Apparently it is easy to screw up something as simple and wholesome as oatmeal. No wonder fast food doesn’t keep you satisfied — it appears it’s barely food at all.

Next time I hit the high seas (if there is a next time — the jury is still out on that one), I’ll plan ahead and pack a protein bar … or maybe eat nothing at all. I can still hear the first mate chuckling, “What you put in, is what comes out.” Real funny.

Have you ever been seasick? Man, is it awful. In a way, I’m grateful that my breakfast didn’t provide chum for the fish. That may have turned me off all oats for a while! —Karen

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