The Oatmeal Project: 28 Days of Oatmeal for National Heart Health Month

Steel Cut Oats, cooked[The Oatmeal Project, Day 1: Plain Oatmeal]

We’ve never been regular oatmeal eaters.

Well, there was that one period of time back when we worked in a corporate cubicle farm when we were pulling consecutive all-nighters. A pack of instant oatmeal, rehydrated with the hot side of a Sparkletts water cooler and eaten with a pair of disposable chopsticks from some company-catered lunch three years before, was our dinner every night. And sadly, breakfast the next morning. And lunch, too.

At least the oatmeal packs were different flavors! *sigh*

Anyway.

So except for that one six-week stint, we haven’t really “done” oatmeal. In fact, it was probably that instant oatmeal series that slammed the door shut to oatmeal in our current life. Runny. But congealed. Plastic-y. And at the same time, cardboard dust. You know what we mean.

A Grain-y Lightbulb

In the last few weeks though, we’ve become utterly fascinated by oats. Sure, we’ve been hearing, seeing and reading about oats’ health benefits for years, but sometimes, like so many things, the message doesn’t sink in until, well, it just sinks in.

This just (sinks) in! Oats are really good for our health!

We should eat oats!

So we’re going to (try to) eat oatmeal every day for the 28 days of February.

Heart to Heart

We know there’s no such thing as “making up for lost (health) time,” by cramming an entire lifetime’s worth of oatmeal into a single month, but there is such a thing as “better late than never.” Of course, there’s also “never look a gift horse in the mouth,” but that has nothing to do with anything.

Besides, we’re food bloggers and this is the kind of foodobsessive stuff we do.

Coincidentally, February is the perfect month for this little Oatmeal Project of ours. We’d like to ignore Valentine’s Day completely, but obviously, we can’t. But instead of focusing on the love-y romance aspects of Valentine’s Day, we’re focusing on the heart. And fiber. (You’ll see.)

February is National Heart Health Month and National Fiber Focus Month, both of which coincide with oats’ strongest health claim. Oats contain fiber, and more specifically, a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which has been shown to lower total cholesterol for heart health.

February is also the shortest month of the year, so just in case we end up hating this “Every Day for a Month” project before we finish, at least it’ll be over sooner.

To Top it All Off

We don’t expect that we’ll find ourselves dreading that bowl of oatmeal each day, though. So many of you have already been eating oatmeal almost daily for your entire solid foods life, so it can’t be all that bad. And, what will make it exciting for us will actually be trying to top our oatmeal with something different (and healthy) every day. Sure, there will be the standards like apple + cinnamon, maple + brown sugar and banana + walnut, but we’re looking forward to those days about halfway though when we’ve exhausted every fresh fruit and have to go savory. Tuna salad oatmeal, anyone?

We’re starting the project today with a plain bowl of steel cut oats. No sugar, no honey, nothing. We want to start simply and build. We have a short list of toppings for the next few days, but would love your ideas.

What are your favorite ways to add to oatmeal?

by Sarah J. Gim on February 1, 2011 · 96 comments

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