A lot of people eat instant oatmeal – it’s quick, cheap, pre-flavored (usually), and fills the shelves in the breakfast aisle of your local mega-mart. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of nutrition in those thin flakes. Here’s a great story from the famous ultra-light backpacker, Ray Jardine, in his classic backpacking book Beyond Backpacking:

I remember my first week-long climbing trip into an area of sandstone towers in the deserts of Utah. This was in the days of heavy steel pitons, and my pack was loaded with about 70 pounds of these and other types of hardware.  My partner and I could not lighten our gear, so we decided to lighten our food. For one continuous week ate packaged instant oatmeal. During the first few days all went well, but soon the rigors of climbing sapped what little energy the oatmeal could impart. Nearing the trip’s end, we were reduced to lying listlessly in our tents. We failed to climb our chosen tower for want of strength; in fact we probably could have done better by fasting. And that was my last experience with lightweight instant oatmeal.

I couldn’t agree more. Why not eat a complete whole grain vs. some denuded pre-cooked and artificially flavored substitute?

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