One of the reasons for the big break I took from posting was feeling exhausted after spending a month and a half flying back and forth between Israel and the US. The constant jetlag, the lack of adequate food, and the stress of travel, took their toll, and the doctor has officially pronounced me exhausted.

In Chinese medicine, exhaustion can be the manifestation of several different conditions, depending on the person involved and the symptoms he or she experiences. But in many of these variations, the issue has to do with a depletion of the body’s reserve of qi, the energy of life. In my case, the exhaustion manifests itself in (of course!) various annoying digestive issues, headaches, tiredness and moodiness, muddled thinking, and a very strained set of back muscles.

One of the doctor’s recommendations for this situation was a bowl of oatmeal every day. Oatmeal is a pleasantly warming and healthy grain, that provides energy, vitamins (particularly B vitamins), minerals (particularly manganese) and an abundance of fiber. Apparently, there are many people who are allergic to wheat but not to oats, despite the fact that both grains contain gluten. Oatmeal with cinnamon and dried prunes and raisins is truly excellent; cinnamon is a very warming spice in Chinese medicine, and if you add a vanilla pod of a drop of natural vanilla extract, your oatmeal will truly rise to unprecedented levels of yumminess.

Now, please give this a try: I know you’re all busy in the morning, but I find that making oatmeal out of steel-cut oats (as opposed to the quick-cooking rolled oats) doesn’t take up a large chunk of time, especially if you lower the heat after a while and let it happily simmer while you take your morning shower. So, here ’tis, and it’s really worth it.

Oatmeal – 1 serving (more can be made by simply multiplying the amounts!).

1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp vanilla
20 organic raisins
3 organic dried prunes, chopped up into raisin-size pieces
a drop of vanilla extract, or 1/2 vanilla pod

Place all ingredients in a small pot and heat up. Do not wait for it to boil – when things start getting warm, lower the heat. Go about your business, stopping by the stove to mix up your oatmeal every 5 minutes or so, so it doesn’t stick. At some point, the oats will change their consistency and the whole thing will be a lot more porridge-like. Spoon into bowl and enjoy.

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  1. I like your blog and food suggestions…could you also include some translations for us who don’t know how to find what we need?

    For example…what is steel-cut that Kvaker or is it something else?


  2. Hi, Safranit! Thanks for visiting!

    Oatmeal is Shibolet Shu’al, but the usual Kvaker that comes in tins is processed and rolled and doesn’t make for a very good meal. I suggest you stop by the local health food store and ask them to point you to the Harduf or Adama varieties – they usually know what you mean when you say you want the “whole”, “not quick”, “not instant” oats.

    Good luck! This is my favorite breakfast these days, and I hope you like it too.

  3. Hi Hadar,

    I hope you read comments to older posts. I am an Israeli currently living in the US, and I fell in love with hot cereals, such as steel cut oats. From my memory of Israel, the only type of oats available there are rolled oats. Since I am moving back to Israel soon, I was wondering if indeed steel cut oats are available in Israel. If so, where might one find them?


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