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.


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.


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