A Bowl a Day…

I was a volunteer at the elementary school library when I first learned of the cholesterol- lowering affects of oatmeal. On the recommendation of her doctor, the librarian was working on bringing her numbers down by eating a bowl of oatmeal every morning. Trouble was, she hated the stuff. When she described the unpleasantness of her daily task, holding her nose while she downed her quota, I pitied her – especially since I so love a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
“I make mine thin enough so I can sort of drink it,” she explained. It sounded worse than Scrooge’s gruel.
“Don’t you put brown sugar and milk on it?” I wondered, picturing a steaming bowl the way I fix it, thick lumps of oats plumped from being brought to a boil with just enough water so it all cooks away. “Ughh, no!” she complained. No need to waste any salt or sugar on it; I just want to get it down.”
What a sad thought, compared to my picture of brown sugar stirred through my oatmeal with warm milk poured over the little islands of oatmeal clumps (sometimes a handful of raisins thrown in for good measure). Ahh, delightful! Too bad I hadn’t discovered the oatmeal soup recipe, yet; she might have tried it.
There are many other ways to work oatmeal into your diet. I’ve been making meatloaf with oatmeal since I found the recipe on an oats box. Some of my husband’s favorite cookies are Peanut Butter Crisscrosses (another recipe from an oats box). In fact, he requested them this Christmas. I finally presented him with a batch after the holiday when I found time to make him a bucketful (one of those 5 quart plastic ice cream pails; we save them to use for all kinds of things).
According to whfoods.org, “Oats can add extra nutrition to a variety of healthy dishes. Oats gain part of their distinctive flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and germ, allowing them to retain a concentrated source of their fiber and nutrients.
“A steaming bowl of fresh-cooked oatmeal is the perfect way to start off your day, especially if you are trying to prevent or are currently dealing with heart disease or diabetes. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber (known as beta-glucan). Since 1963, study after study has proven the beneficial effects of this special fiber on cholesterol levels.”
Other studies confirm that eating high fiber foods, such as oats, helps prevent heart disease, reduces the risk of high blood pressure, enhances immune response to infection, stabilizes blood sugar, lowers diabetes risk and provides antioxidant benefits.
Enjoy a hearty breakfast with the benefits of both oats and dairy by serving hot oatmeal, seasoned and spiced as you like (topped with a handful of nuts or dried fruit?) and low-fat milk. It might really pay “to feel our oats.”

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