Starting Off Right

I actually started making changes back in November when I got the test results for my cholesterol on November 1st.

Those a pretty scary numbers! They mean I’m at risk for heart disease…on top of the hypothyroidism and diabetes.

I’m a year and a half away from 50. I have three g-babes ages 5 week to three years, and I have a third grader with special needs at home. By my reckoning, I have a minimum of 20 years to go before saying goodbye to my family is an option – as far as it’s within my power to make it happen.

So, after the initial shocked fear dissipated, I exercised one of my superpowers – internet searching.

I decided that nutrition and exercise have to be my solution. I searched for cholesterol reducing foods. There were a lot of them, mostly veggies – which is great. However, I need something other than veggies to eat for breakfast. Especially since I also started going back to water aerobics in the mornings.

Do you know what the ‘Net told me I need to eat for breakfast? Oatmeal.

Yuck.

A) I’ve never been much of a hot cereal kind of gal. To be honest, I’m not big on hot anything. Even in the middle of winter I prefer my coffee cold. Weird, I know.

B) Texture. All the oatmeal I’ve ever had has been rolled, quick, or instant. Mostly instant. Thin and slimy or thick and gooey. No. Thank. You. I never met a bowl of oatmeal that was right.

C) Flavor or lack thereof. Unless it’s the flavored instant, which is overly sweet and usually with extra chunky bits of dehydrated fruit. Then it’s too sweet. Butter & brown sugar are needed just to make it palatable…which kind of defeats the purpose. Yeah? Yeah.

So. Oatmeal. Not what I wanted to discover is one of the number one cholesterol fighting foods. Bonus, it helps regulate blood sugar as well. Ugh.

There was more information the webs gave me, which I found exceedingly helpful. There are other forms besides rolled, quick, and instant. Namely steel cut.

There doesn’t appear to be a significant difference in nutritional values. However, in my opinion, the texture and taste are so much better! I like to crunch and chew when I eat. This gave me something to sink my teeth into. There is a subtle nutty flavor. It’s still pretty bland, especially if it’s cooked with too much water. However, it DOES have some flavor!

Initially, I did the butter and brown sugar bit, but tapered that off and stopped after the first week.

The next problem for me and oatmeal, we’ll, not oatmeal per se, but anything consumed on a repetitive basis, monotony.

I like flavor. I like texture. I like variety.

However, I’ve been in survival mode for so long that creativity and imagination are a bit stagnant, especially when I’m in the kitchen. More about that some other time.

Plain oatmeal, regardless of slightly nutty flavor and chewy texture, gets really old, really fast.

Solution? Facebook crowdsourcing. I wrote a quick post explaining the issue and asking for ideas. Many of them were standard: raisins, apples, cinnamon, and other spices. The two suggestions which stood out for me were peanut butter and bananas.

Two tablespoons of natural (zero additives) crunchy peanut butter and half a banana mixed into a cup of oatmeal is perfect for me!

I can make several servings at once, refrigerate the leftovers, and have breakfast for a week ready to go.

Winning!

What’s your “go to” breakfast? If you eat oatmeal or any other hot cereal, what are your favorite add-ins?

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12 comments

  1. Hi Lillian,
    Thanks for sharing this. I too have a problem with cholesterol and have started using oatmeal for breakfast 🍳. I just have it plain, and I know that I can eat it everyday. I. Love. Oatmeal. Another thing that works is Red Yeast Rice. It’s a natural statin without the side effects.

    Here’s to bringing those numbers down in 2018.

    Dave

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post brought back memories when I was a wee one in grade school. My grandmother would make hot cereal for me on cold days and it was either cream of wheat (YUCK) or oatmeal. I loved and still love oatmeal but I smother it was about a stick of butter and a cup of sugar. (Okay, maybe not quite that much but I do love it that way.) But on a healthy note, how about drizzling a little honey over it? Chopped nuts and every berries are delicious. Okay, off to get an evening snack of oatmeal!

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    1. I’ve never heard of coconut sugar…or maybe I have and my brain is blanking on it right now. I have to be careful with the sugars because of the diabetes. Thank you for your feedback.

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  3. I’m in the same health issue boat. A couple of years ago (three to be exact) my heart decided to do it’s own dance,I was diagnosed with A-fib and CHF,. The one number my doctor was most concerned about was weight. I’m not as brave as you, I’m not posting that number for all the world to see. While I’ve exercised, and eaten healthier, that number hasn’t gone down much. One of my first forays into healthy foods was, ta-da, Oatmeal.One of the few foods I detested, you’ve given most of the reasons. My web find was refrigerator, or overnight oatmeal, add enough yogurt, fruit, and milk, it became palatable, tasty even. The problem is, unlike you, I don’t do cold foods in the winter. At least not for breakfast. A friend suggested cooking it with milk instead of water, that helped. Adding fruit helped. Next up, try the steel cut oats. It may become a favorite yet. Right now I’m searching for a good baked oatmeal that isn’t all sugar. Thanks for the steel cut suggestion

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    1. Thanks Roy! That sounds good. My end nutrition goal is to go to a whole food, plant based way of eating. It’s going to take time, but I think this is a good start.

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  4. Funny…my go to breakfast became oatmeal a few years ago. It did not begin that way…like you I hated it. I eat steel oats and add cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts to it and the taste is fine.

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  5. I’m in the same boat! I tried the statin the doctor gave me for a couple of weeks and the muscle pain was intense so l stopped. As a pharmacist, I know the horrible side effects. My best friend now is Weetabix as l got tired of oatmeal after a year. I haven’t had my levels drawn again but my blood sugar is definitely better with it. Good luck :-).

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    1. Thank you for visiting. It’s always good to know that others can relate to your experiences in the struggle. I haven’t heard of Weetabix…or if I have, it’s been so long I can’t remember for sure. Thanks for the encouragement.

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