Everyone knows that you're "supposed to" eat oatmeal to lower your cholesterol, but not everybody knows why. Many believe, as I once did, that anything with fiber is great for heart health. Well... sort of. Obviously fiber has many health benefits. But only soluble fiber has actually been shown to reduce cholesterol. Please see my post "Tips & Tricks" for more info on this.
Sadly, soluble fiber is not easy to come by. Only two cereals on the market are allowed to claim it on their nutrition info: Oatmeal and Kashi. As for veggies, you'll be stuck with okra, zucchini, and egg plant. It's that "gooey"ness in all of these foods that does the trick. Luckily, most beans are great sources... so if you're serious about heart health, bring on the chili, hummus, and delicious black bean burritos.
But back to breakfast. I've heard so many people say oatmeal is boring. No!!! It doesn't have to be! Whether you do oatmeal or oat bran, or a mixture of the two (my personal fave), it's all about the toppings.
- Make oatmeal, oat bran, or Irish steel cut oatmeal as directed but add *milk* instead of water. Do NOT use instant oatmeal (use "old fashioned" or Steel Cut). You won't get the heart benefits.
- Add a tiny sliver of Smart Balance and a sprinkling of sea salt in each bowl. Stir.
- Top with fruit. If you're only going to try this recipe once, please wait until August and use fresh ripe peaches. The combination of peach and cardamom simply cannot be beat.
- Sprinkle with dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. The cardamom is very important! Cardamom is a spice (so found in the spice aisle by the baking section). It's used in a lot of Swedish baked goods... I discovered it by marrying a half-Swede. It's great in coffee, just sprinkle some on... it's also used in Indian food; try it with yogurt, mango, and honey for a "mango lassi." Add it to ANY smoothie for a greatly enhanced experience.
So, "oatmeal" is a pretty simple recipe but a great way to have a "special breakfast" that's still healthy.
Bonus: You can dice up the fruit nice and small for a baby. Ours was IN LOVE with this breakfast, dancing a little as he ate it and grunting intensely as he reached out for more. And now he's had whole grains, fresh fruit, and cardamom in a meal shared with Mommy and Daddy. What a great morning!