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Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson serves up the best info and tips on Northwest food, cooking, dining and restaurants.

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March 25, 2009 11:05 AM

Who needs oatmeal? Uh, me. And that's no Jamba jive

Posted by Nancy Leson

In my last post, I posed the query "Who needs oatmeal?": an interesting question for someone like me, who famously doesn't "do" breakfast. Yesterday, after a visit to Swedish Medical Center ("Perfect!" said the happy radiologist, after looking at my x-rays), I realized something. "Perfect," despite what she said, far from describes my body. Granted, as illness and disease strikes closer to home among family and friends, I recognize that I've been blessed with (relative) good health. That being said, I can't help but ask: What's this business with my left knee? -- which has started doing some strange outta-whack-joint thing that has me yelping momentarily then screaming, "Get me a glucosomine-cocktail, stat!"

It could be middle age. But it's more likely the fact that I'm toting around a body that's bearing-up under many years of hefty caloric intake and a predisposition for high-fat cheeses. I need to eat better. And if there's one thing I've heard over and over again when it comes to eating "right" it's this: eat a good breakfast. And by "good breakfast" I don't think they're talking about leftover Chinese food. Oatmeal, on the other hand, is a nutritious choice. What's more, it's filling, so I'm far less likely to reach for leftover moo shu pork or imported triple-cream cheese come 10 a.m. -- four or five hours after I've awakened, gotten down to work and had nothing but coffee to keep my body going.

So, given the many ways in which I can try to eat better (something that Mark Bittman's new book "Food Matters" explores in great detail, leaving me impressed with what he has to say regarding people like him and me who not only live to eat, but eat for a living), I've decided to make a conscious effort to eat a solid breakfast. And what made me decided to do it was this:



Yesterday's breakfast, after my doctor's visit on Pill Hill


That's organic steel-cut oatmeal ($3.25), slow-cooked in soy milk, topped with brown-sugar crumbles and (my choice) fresh bananas: it was delicious. And apparently, I'm not the only one who loves the stuff. Plus, it had me full-up for the better part of the day and, calorically speaking, clocked in at approximately 300 good-for-me calories -- those brown sugar-crumbles notwithstanding. Yesterday, by the way, was my first visit to Jamba Juice, which recently joined in the fast-food-fray, going head-to-head with Starbucks on the oatmeal front -- which was news to me since, as I mentioned, I don't (or at least didn't) do breakfast.

So, any pointers for me as I try to treat my body better? And when it comes to oatmeal -- fast or slow, eaten at home or out on the town -- what say you?

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Food for Thought | Nancy Leson on KPLU

Listen to Nancy at 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. during Morning Edition, at 4:40 p.m. during All Things Considered and again the following Saturday at 8:30 a.m. during Weekend Edition on KPLU 88.5.

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