Foodie: Heart healthy oatmeal made palatable

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By Denise Dunbar

When I was diagnosed with coronary artery disease a few years ago, my cardiologist put me on a statin to control cholesterol. In an effort to keep the statin dosage as low as possible, I decided to seek out additional ways to manage the disease.

After Internet research and consultations with a nutritionist and a homeopathic doctor, I settled on the following regimen: fish oil supplements to increase the good HDL cholesterol; daily Co-Q-10 supplements to offset statin side effects; more exercise; a pomegranate-based, all-fruit juice to provide resveratrol and increase levels of inflammation-fighting PON 1, and a daily bowl of oatmeal to flush out the bad LDL cholesterol.

This routine was fine — except for the oatmeal part. I soon found myself gagging over my breakfast, even after trying to vary it with different fruits and spices. So, I started experimenting with versions of baked oatmeal and granola bars.

After a lot of trial and error, I settled on this oatmeal bar recipe. I make it with as little sugar as palatable — it’s a breakfast health food, not a dessert — and vary it by season. Instead of berries, I use peaches in the summer, apples and cinnamon or pears, nutmeg and cloves in the fall, a tropical version with papaya and banana, and so on. The possibilities are endless. Just be sure and cut the fruit into pea-sized bits and grind nuts if you add them.

I find this is much easier to eat day in and day out than a bowl of oatmeal, and it has the added benefit of being a grab-and-go breakfast.

Recipe:

Oatmeal breakfast bars with blueberries

Ingredients

3 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 3/4 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon canola oil

3/4 cup blueberries and raspberry pieces

Instructions:

  1. Stir together the oats, flour, baking power and salt in a large mixing bowl. Spread brown sugar on top and pour boiling water over it. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Stir in the oil and chopped fruit. Pour into a greased 9×9-inch pan and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. You may vary the bake time slightly to get the consistency you like.
  3. Let cool slightly and cut into 16 pieces. Two bars make a good breakfast. If refrigerated, they will last a week, just microwave for 20 seconds before eating.
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