YOU helped my family. Thank you.

by simplylife on January 4, 2012

I’m proud of my mom.  For the past youthful 50ish years of her life she avoided foods like bananas, whole grains and oatmeal.  Every time I would come home for a visit, these foods would appear in our house, but I’d be the only one sitting down to a big bowl of oats while everyone else ate steak, pancakes and buttered white toast for breakfast (yes, I wonder if this is the family I came from as well).

Then my mom went through a couple scary years of health problems.  There were emergency room visits, multiple tests, diets and new medications.

During this terrifying time she was willing to try anything to make her feel better.   Although she didn’t enjoy the taste at first, she started to eat things that were once foreign to her body, knowing the nutrients would help her feel better.  I remember talking to her one day over the phone as she munched on raw spinach straight from the bag, knowing it’s a power food.  I was pretty sure there was someone else on the end of the line who sounded like my mom but couldn’t be.

Slowly, the white sandwich bread stopped making appearances and the whole grains were there even after my weekend visit.  Fried foods became baked, and my mom actually realized she likes bananas.

One of the most drastic changes was starting to eat oatmeal, that gross mushy food that somehow I craved every time I went home.  My mom found out that her cholesterol was reaching a borderline number and that an upcoming test would determine if she needed to start taking medication, possibly for the rest of her life.  She was determined to lower that score before the fateful test.  In addition to consulting medical professionals, getting back into her daily walking routine, and making other healthy changes, YOU helped her to that.  I put a question out to  Simply Life readers for advice and she read, researched and re-read your answers.  Among helpful websites and well wishes, you encouraged her to eat oatmeal, flaxseed, walnuts and almonds, cinnamon.

Well guess what?  She tried oatmeal.

She hated it.

I let her into the food bloggers world of adding everything and anything to your bowl of oats.

She tried it again with sweet and savory combinations.

She hated it.

She still grudgingly ate every bite of the bowl, hoping the bad taste would be working magic on her body.  She tried different combinations and started to notice how much more full she felt after eating oats rather than a slice of toast.

After several attempts my mom started looking forward to her morning bowl of oats and when I was recently home for Christmas I was shocked to hear her say the words “I miss oatmeal the days I don’t have it for breakfast.”  Every morning she has exactly the same breakfast filled with all the healthy foods you suggested: oatmeal with ground flaxseed, walnuts and almonds and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Oh, even better than that, her cholesterol was drastically decreased and no medication has been needed.   She’s also made several other healthy diet and exercise changes.  I’m a proud daughter and appreciate YOUR help in keeping my family healthy 🙂

So while these photos may seem like an ordinary breakfast to you, when I woke-up Christmas Eve to an “oatmeal bar” made by my mom, it pretty much put me in shock and was definitely one of my favorite Christmas gifts. (Disclaimer: I’m not trying to play nutritionist here; just letting you know the story).

~Don’t forget to enter to win a Starbucks Gift Card!  All you have to do is something kind and the entries are limitless!

~How are your eating habits similar and/or different than your family members?

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  • Belinda

    Wow. This is awesome for your mom – she is a rock star!! =) I’m really, REALLY happy to hear. Interestingly, my article tomorrow is about my mom…but unlike yours, my mom seems to have decided she wants to prematurely die from diabetes as long as she can continue to eat how she wants.

    • Simply Life

      Thanks for the positive words- I appreciate them and I’m sure my mom will even more! Sorry to hear about your mom- will this article be posted tomorrow?

  • Hillary

    This is so awesome—what great news for your mom and your entire family!

  • decocinasytacones

    I´m happy with the news about your mom, and to hear no medications needed anymore.
    Well, I should follow your directions. I quit smoking exactly a year ago tomorrow, and now I plan to follow a diet to lose what I´ve put on during this past year, doctor told me quitting smoking makes your system to slow down a bit, so let´s see if this year is going to be THE YEAR!!!.
    Í don´t take oats at all and I should begin.
    Love from Spain

    • Simply Life

      CONGRATULATIONS!!! I’m SO proud of you for quitting smoking! That is HUUUUUGE for your health (I’m sure there really wasn’t a better change you could’ve made)!

  • Heather

    My family of origin all eat like crap. I have been vegetarian for four years and my mom thinks all I eat is salad. And salad to her is iceberg lettuce and carrot shreds. We mostly ate meat and starches and dairy growing up.

    She is in terrible health but doesn’t think her diet has anything to do with it. She has been taking large cocktails of meds for decades and despite the fact that she doesn’t actually feel better, she will be the first to tell you that drugs are what fixes you and that anything else (diet, exercise, meditation, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc.) is all BS.

    I’ve been eating differently for just over 10 years now and live across the country from them, so it’s not often an issue. (Mom’s “vegetarian” meal for me was spaghetti in meat sauce.)

  • Jolene (Everydayfoodie)

    Thanks for sharing this with us, and what great news about your mom!!! I remember giving my non-nutritionist advice on that post, and I am happy to hear that she was able to be helped by food bloggers!! That is awesome! I too used to HATE oatmeal until I discovered toppings. I always add a scoop of chia seeds to mine when I cook them. They don’t have a taste and add antioxidants, fiber, etc..

    My family has started to eat a lot more similar to me in the past few years, the only real difference is that no one in my family drinks smoothies/green monsters.

  • Heather

    What a great story!

  • Deepa

    By no means these preparations are ordinary breakfast. You have motivated me to prepare these meal much more often from hence forth. Also very happy to hear about your Mom’s condition now. Both of you have a great 2012.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  • Mom

    Okay, now that I’ve read this twice and blown my nose from crying even more, I would like to give my very personal and immensely sincere “thank you” to all of you who took the time to write what you knew, thought, heard and shared what you or someone you knew had an experience with!!! I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was when I read my test numbers after my blood work 6 months ago. I do have to say that I could not have done it without my God who gave me the grace to take one day at a time, people who cared…my daughter, my employer and you, knowing my daughter would ask me if I had walked whenever I talked to her and then knowing I would hear her excitement if I said yes along with an “I’m so proud of you mom”, even if it was the 1st time that week and walking while I repeatedly said my goal to myself “no medicine”!!!

    I hope this can be an encouraging story to someone else, anyone else because I am the last person who would have ever believed I would eat oatmeal. I hated the look of it so much, that even seeing the pan my husband would leave if he made it would instantly have to be covered with a tight lid with record speed!

    Although I have not been as faithful or I should say good to myself as I should have been these past few months with slowing down on my exercise, I’m still on my oatmeal and hope to get the same good news in a few days as I just went for a re-check! Again, thank you and you never know how a few words can impact a person. May my two words now impact you to continue to share your care and encourage others whenever you get an opportunity: “THANK YOU” from one less med Mom.

    Final note: I was so thrilled to have this breakfast for my daughter and her husband that it was really my gift to myself !!!

  • Lena @Fit on the Rocks

    Wow, that’s so awesome! Congrats to mom 🙂 It’s crazy what small changes here and there can do for your health and longevity.

  • Emily @ A Cambridge Story

    Aw, so great that your mom is getting fit and healthy! My parents – who are actually in great shape – made some major lifestyle changes to lower their cholesterol (no cheese, a lot less dairy, etc) and it worked wonders. They were so glad that they made those changes and didn’t just hop on the Lipitor bandwagon. Anyway, wishing your mom continued success!

  • Allison’s Delicious Life

    This is such an amazing post to read. So uplifting. I am proud of your mom for taking control of her health and her LIFE! This is an incredible story because it shows the power that a network of bloggers can have and what an impact we can make.

  • Colleen

    How wonderful! Thanks for sharing this story, and congrats to your mom!!! Once healthy eating becomes habit, it feels so great and you don’t want to go back to the “bad” stuff! Hooray for oatmeal and small changes that make a big difference!

  • meri

    This is very similar to my own family’s story. I’ve always been a vegetarian, but it wasn’t until my dad had some heart disease 5-7 years ago that they started eating super healthy, salmon and greens and the like. Now its like a different family. I love it! P.S. I”m glad to know I’m not the only weirdo who gobbles raw spinach from the bag 🙂

  • Joanne

    That is SO great! My eating habits are vastly different my family’s…I subsist almost entirely on vegetables and they subsist almost entirely on meat. I wish my dad would start to make more positive dietary changes in his life, as your mom did!

  • Lauren

    how cool! My eating habits are pretty similar to my family 🙂

  • Priya

    Thats really great, my eating habits changed a lot and definitely different from my family..

  • Mari @ Mari’s Cakes

    I am not a breakfast person, I skip it most of the time, but I am trying to change that. An oatmeal bowl prepared like this would be great! Happy 2012!

  • Hilliary Wolfe

    This is amazing! Such great news for your mom and your family!

  • Juniakk

    whoohoo! yay for oatmeal. i remember first starting with packaged oatmeal with all this added sugar and toppings in high school/college, but eating the rolled oats variety with fresh toppings like nuts, fruit and cinnamon grew on my palate. now i crave it! so glad to hear your mom is making a move towards healthy eating :).

  • Rebecca

    It’s so amazing how simple changes can effect someone’s health in huge ways! Kudos to your mom for making the changes and avoiding having to take medicine daily. You are proud and she should be too!

  • Shannon ~ My Place In The Race

    Yay! Go Mommy!!! 🙂

  • Emily (Edible Psychology)

    What a wonderful story – I am so glad to hear your mom is doing so well. That is awesome! I really do believe in the power of food. Good work to both of you (and the bloggers who chipped in)!


  • Anonymous

    We are in the same boat at our house. Im tempted to throw all of the junk food away.

  • hannah @ dishesanddishes

    This is such an inspiring story! I’m so glad that your mom was able to make some positive changes and eventually enjoyed them, too. I have to admit that my boyfriend won’t eat most things that I make and post on my blog. I’ve learned not to push it and to allow him to make changes at his own pace. Even though his pace might seem agonizingly slow to me. Reading your story makes me feel like there could be hope! Best to you and your family!

  • Kiran @

    What a great life changing story of your mom — she is an inspirational 🙂 Oatmeal sure does change a person mind, no? 😀 the selection of toppings do help!

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