My Mornings of Productivity

I’m a morning person. Kind of.

I’m also a night owl. Kind of.

The kind of stems from the fact that I’m really both. I like staying up really late and pondering the universe. I like getting up early and getting shit done. I don’t like the time between noon and 7 p.m. I hate that time. I have next-to-no energy, and I’m just going through the motions.

Now unfortunately, I work a grown-up job. I have to be productive in the morning and the afternoons, so I’ve been forced to live out my morning-person tendencies.

It’s not all bad. On the weekends, I’ll go to the grocery store early enough that it’s me, the old folks, and parents of the young children who refuse to sleep in.

During the week, I’m not late getting into the office. Of course, I don’t hop out of bed ready to take on the world (though I can if need to, so watch out world).

My usual routine consists of waking up, going to the restroom, screwing around on my phone (did you see the Justin Trudeau interview on Vox.com?), and then eating a breakfast that can be made quickly (think Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich). I’ve always had these quick breakfasts so that I didn’t have to worry about convenience.

Until a couple of months ago.

A couple of months ago, I decided to try something new. I decided to start making steel cut oats with berries dropped in.

I can’t say what fully made me go through this. I knew I needed to eat healthy, and this is certainly healthy, but why not regular rolled oats? Well, I mentally have it in my head that steel cut oats are healthier. Unfortunately, there’s not much in the way of evidence to support this, but I still like to think steel cut oats are healthier (it does appear that glycemic index is at least lower for steel cut oats, so there’s that).

And so I bought a big-ass canister of steel cut oats and saw that it would take 25-30 minutes of simmering.

“Great,” I thought. “I can do a quick yoga session while it cooks.”

The next morning when I went to cook them, I noticed something I hadn’t before. I had to stir them occasionally. And it turns out when you use milk (I split the milk and the water), you’d better stir more or you get that skin stuff like you see from brown gravy.

There went the yoga.

But it’s not all bad. Really, it’s been a net win. I’ve got a good system. I bring 1 cup of my water/milk mixture to boil, tump in 1/4 cup of the oats, and slowly stir in my frozen berries, leaving a few behind in the bowl to cool down the whole mixture so I don’t have to wait to eat (who says the internet doesn’t have useful information?). And of course, my ubiquitous glass of OJ (fortified with with calcium and vitamin D; did I mention I’m actually allergic to milk? Yep, but I’ve always been able to cook with it without problems).

There is one downside. I get hungry midmorning. That’s something I’ve had to get used to. It’s led to me eating an earlier lunch, but it works. That earlier lunch makes post-work runs better because I’ve had more time to digest my lunch.

And there’s one REALLY big upside to this breakfast. It… How do I say this…? I want to put it delicately. Runners, you understand this type of thing. I just… How…

It helps me poop.

Yep. I said it. This new morning system has been a boon for my GI tract. These oats are a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber, not to mention the additional fiber from the berries. Things stay on a better schedule with the oats.

So there’s that, but we’re not done. I know what you’re thinking: “But if it helps you poop, what else could it possibly do?”

Remember when I said it takes 25-30 minutes to cook? While the stirring nixed the yoga idea, I still had 25 minutes to kill in between stirs.

While I can’t do yoga, I can still stretch. I deal with back pain, not to mention general tightness of the lower part of my body thanks to running and working a desk job. My inability to move belies my actual age. So I’ve got a good routine of stretching down while the oats cook. But that only takes about 5 or so minutes.

I’ve also started taking care of my dishes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not doing dishes in the morning (usually), but I have a habit of leaving dishes in the sink or leaving clean dishes in the dishwasher. Now I have nothing better to do, so I take care of that. I also usually soak my pan over night after cooking the oats, so I’ve got a good pot-in, pot-out system going. And of course, there’s just the general tidying up that I can do. I’m currently staring at a pile of dirty laundry that needs to leave a walkway. I have a sneaking suspicion that pile will survive the night. But those oats won’t cook themselves in the morning, so I think that pile has a shelf life.

Weird post, am I right?

Really, you should try the steel cut oats for a few days. They’re VERY different from rolled and instant oats. It takes some finessing to get them right, but I’ve really enjoyed it for multiple reasons.

Party on, Wayne.

-Q

P.S. I REALLY wanted to make poop one of the tags, but I was just a little too afraid of the weirdoes who might be following that particular tag.

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