We’re all aware of the health benefits of oatmeal: it’s a whole grain which is full of vitamins and minerals, high in fiber, and it binds and removes cholesterol from your bloodstream. My Italian heritage has everyone in my family concerned about that last bit… everyone’s cholesterol is on the high side, including mine. Twenty years ago it was over 300. And I was only 17 years old.
At the time, despite my arguments that I was, well, 17, and shouldn’t have to worry about this kind of stuff yet, my parents and doctor pushed for me to get on some sort of medication to help manage my cholesterol. I was a kid and therefore rebellious. Thankfully there was something else going on in my life at the time: I was having a spiritual awakening to the world of sustainable food. My best friend in high school was very strange– his family ate kale. They introduced me to oatmeal and let me know that it was something that could help my cholesterol without having to go on prescription drugs. And they managed to make it so delicious that it became a habit…. for the next 20 years.
So what happened to my cholesterol? I’ll get to that in a minute….but first things first! How about my oatmeal recipe… a recipe so great that I have been making it every morning for two decades, and never get bored of it.
the world’s best oatmeal
1 cup organic rolled oats
¼ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
¼ cup raisins
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseeds
2 Tablespoons hulled sunflower seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon (more to taste)
pinch of salt
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon raw cacao nibs
2 Tablespoons nut butter (almond or peanut work best)
Optional toppings: Diced fruit of choice, almond or other milk, and/or yogurt
- Add all dry ingredients except the cacao nibs into a bowl together, as illustrated above (to avoid getting steam into your bulk bins, pre-mix these ingredients on the side instead of pouring them directly out of your bulk bins).
- Bring water to a boil, then add dry ingredients, stir, and reduce to low simmer.
- Cook for five minutes on low heat, then add cacao nibs. Stir and remove from heat.
- Stir in your nut butter to ensure even blending.
- Top with your choice of fruit, yogurt, or milk, if desired.
- Share and Enjoy!
The nut butter is a sure-fire winner with kids of all ages, giving the oatmeal a creamy texture and delicious flavor. The other key to the recipe is that it’s really adaptable. Oatmeal is a blank canvas, as far as I’m concerned; sometimes just coconut, peanut butter, and raisins are enough. Sometimes just cinnamon and some apples.
So how about that cholesterol? Currently it’s down into the upper to mid-100’s. Taking Lipitor for 20 years would have cost me thousands of dollars, and who knows what sort of side-effects I would have experienced by now. But instead I have put that money to good use by supported organic farmers and producers. By letting food be my medicine, I not only achieved a cholesterol reduction that puts me firmly into a healthy range, but also ate deliciously for 20 years. Friends and family who grew up on flavorless and processed corn flakes have asked me to show them how to break free…so here you go folks! Enjoy, and best of health to you all!