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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Link to proposed class action settlement in VW TDI fiasco

I've have a 2011 VW Jetta TDI. I loved the car until diesel-gate hit the fan and then the fun stopped. The value of my car dropped like the proverbial rock. As a fellow who tries to be green, driving a car famous for its polluting ways was aggravating.

Today the proposed settlement to the class action fought in a California court was released. Volkswagen Canada has indicated that it may follow the guidelines detailed in the American ruling. Gosh, I do hope the Canadian arm of VW does just that. According to the settlement, my 2011 Jetta TDI could have a buyback value as high as $18,347 U.S.

If you'd like to read the settlement, here is a LINK. There is a table showing the proposed buyback values for the affected vehicles. And if you would like to read what exactly Volkswagen Canada is saying, and it is not a lot now that the Yanks have shown their cards, here is a link to the Canadian site: We're working to make things right.

Eat healthy while having fun

I've talked about this in the past but tonight's pizza was just so good that I must share. It was healthy, lots of vegetables, and delicious with bits of hot pepperoni spicing up the presentation. Plus, it was not expensive. Perfect for two seniors on fixed incomes.

Watch the Thursday food flyers. When Dr. Otker pizza is on sale at less than $3.00, buy a few. We used to buy just the four cheese kind but my wife and I have found many of the others from the good doctor also make good bases on which to build great pizzas.

Usually, we add gently fried pepperoni, fried mushrooms, bottled artichokes, a mix of sweet peppers (green, orange and red) and black olives. I may add some minced garlic to the mushrooms while frying. The frying removes excess moisture from the mushrooms. I always wrap the fried pepperoni in a paper towel to absorb any oil released by the frying.

These pizzas cost less than $3 a slice but taste like a million dollars. They are low in fat and low in cholesterol but high in fibre and all the other good stuff contained in the rich mix of vegetables.

The pizza looks big in the picture but it is actually just large enough for two. We enjoy our weekly pizza with a glass of boxed wine. Our favourites are either the merlot or shiraz from Jackson-Triggs. Again, watch for the sales. Don't pay more than $40. We usually pay about $1.50 a glass for these wines. We have a budget and we stick to it.

Being retired and on a fixed income does not have to translate into eating poorly. Life's got to be fun. And with that, I think I'll have another sip of merlot. Cheers!

Monday, June 27, 2016

My obit picture has been taken

My granddaughters all love to shoot pictures. I think this is just part of discovering the world and the stuff we find in it. Cameras are not just something to discover but they are also tools of discovery. It just doesn't get much better than this for little kids.

Isla wanted take my picture. I gave he my small, point and shoot Canon S90. I love the image that resulted. It's me. Old but not too wrinkled and tired. She has captured my sparkle. I hope I have sparkle. I certainly do when I'm watching a cute, little three-year-old take my picture with love and affection.

And how happy I look. Maybe even content. And, in truth, I am both happy and content. She's nailed it. I've told my wife I want this image as my obit picture in the local paper. (Maybe they can lighten the mid-tones just a little before publishing. Open the shadow end of the scale.)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Media spread myth

Isla, 3, sprinkles coarsely chopped cashews onto her peanut butter sandwich.

I thought it was a cute picture. It shows my granddaughter Isla, 3, making "the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the world." The claim might be a little overstated but I was somewhat surprised by one response. I was sent a link to a Post Media story claiming "Butter is alright, but margarine just might kill you, massive Canadian study finds." And yes, that was the headline.

I was sent the link by a fellow I respect. He often posts interesting stuff. For that reason, I follow him on Facebook. Does he believe the Post Media story? I don't know. If he does, he would not be alone. The confusion surrounding the health dangers of margarine has taken on the patina of what Stephen Colbert calls "truthiness."

Simply stated, in the past margarine contained a lot of partially hydrogenated oils. These fats contain lots of trans fats. Trans fats are bad. How bad? According to the American Heart Association, "Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes."

But, and it's a huge 'but', today's soft margarine is not hydrogenated. Hydrogenation makes margarine solid so it can be sold in sticks like butter.

Becel is soft and sold in tubs. It is a non-hydrogenated margarine, made with 68% canola oil, 6% olive oil and 6% modified palm and palm kernel oils. The palm oils mildly solidify the margarine without creating trans fats. Unfortunately, the palm oils add a little saturated fat to the final margarine mix.

Why the media cannot get the hydrogenated oil story right with any consistency is a puzzle. I could take a guess but it would be just thata guess. And taking guesses, rather than spending the time finding answers, is what drives the media into promoting "truthiness" and "urban legends."

The media loves to form organizations which award member for all the great stories published or broadcast over the past year. Maybe one of these organizations could add another award to their long list: The Truthiness Award, given the media outlet or group that did the most to spread the urban myth that inflicted the most damage on its readers or viewers.

Recipe for Isla's "World's Best Peanut Butter Sandwich"

2 slices of whole wheat bread (bread cannot be made with refined flour)
1 Tbs of pure peanut butter (This stuff separates. No added sugar allowed.)
1 Tsp of pure strawberry/peach jelly (This can be tough to find.)
2 thinly sliced large, fresh strawberries (These are in season in SW Ontario in June.)
2 coarsely chopped, roasted cashews

If the cook is three, like Isla, one adult to supervise, or lend a helping hand should an emergency arise, is not optional.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Egg Creations make a very good omelette

Omelette made with Egg Creations from Burnbrae Farms with salsa sprinkled on top.

As I've stated in the past, I'm not allowed whole eggs. No egg yolks in my diet. It's the cholesterol. Just two egg yolks can deliver ten times the cholesterol I aim to consume over the course of a whole day. Yet, I still enjoy omelettes. I leave the cheese out but I can still make a mean omelette.

I do this by using Egg Creations, a cholesterol and fat free whole egg replacement. My wife has found that Egg Creations Original can be used anywhere whole beaten eggs are used. I didn't find it surprising when these eggs in a carton made great scrambled eggs and fine omelettes. But I was surprised when my wife had great success using them in her baking.

Why do Egg Creations taste like eggs? Because they are made from eggs, from egg whites. They are eggs but minus the yolks. And best of all, they are pasteurized. So they can be used uncooked in Caesar salad and mayonnaise.

If you can't eat whole eggs because of the cholesterol, try Egg Creations. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Folks threw out less trash 60 years ago

The figures change from source to source and country to country but one thing seems certain, there was less trash 60 years ago. I began googling the question of trash because London, Ontario, city council is debating whether or not to lower the waste collection day trash bag limit. It may drop from four to three.

Three bags still seems like a lot. Today was collection day and I only put out one bag and it wasn't full. When I was a young boy in the early '50s I cannot recall my mother ever putting out three cans of filled with trash on collection day. I don't think we even owned three of those big, old steel containers with heavy lids. And we never put out our waste out in a green, plastic bag. Never.

When I was born, the green, trash bag had not yet been invented. The creation of the bin bag or trash bag is often credited to Canadians Harry Wasylyk, Larry Hansen, who worked on the project together. Frank Plomp, working on his own, also developed a plastic trash bag but he was not as successful at marketing. Hansen had an in, he worked for Union Carbide in Lindsay, Ontario. Working with Hansen and Wasylyk, Union Carbide began manufacturing green Glad Garbage bags for the home in the '60s.

Without inexpensive green garbage bags what happened to trash in the dark ages of waste removal? The simple answer is the we didn't generate as much of it and so removal was not as big a problem. The solutions from the '50s may hold promise for folks today. Here are five things commonly done when I was a boy.

  • We bought durable goods and repaired them.
  • We bought beverages in refillable, or recyclable, containers.
  • We bought  items with minimal, or even no, packaging.
  • We composted yard waste and often simply ignored the grass clippings.
  • We reused more often than we do today.

Today, I still try to do all of the above but it is tough. We have become a bag it and toss it society. Heck, we even bag yard waste like the leaves that fall from our trees. We place 'em in huge paper bags beside the road to be trucked away. That's nuts. I just run my electric lawnmower over the leaves and mulch them with my lawn clippings. All just disappears.

Spare coffee carafes and more.
Today, when we buy small appliances like coffee makers, bread machines and the like and then the coffee pot breaks or the bread pan paddles cease to turn, we immediately toss the appliance into the garbage. That's nuts but have you ever tried to buy a replacement coffee pot or bread pan? It can be damn difficult. And that's nuts, too.

I've been known to break glass coffee carafes. When I found a source for replacement carafes, Rowland's Appliance Sales, I bought a couple of extra carafes. I'm confident that they will eventually see use.

Rowland's also sells replacement bread-maker pans for my now out of production WestBend machine. I've gone through two pans and I have one replacement pan still sitting in my basement. It's a good bread-maker. No sense parting with it over a broken paddle.

If you look closely at the picture on the right, you will see that the replacement carafes are sitting on a waffle maker. It was a gift. If I had my druthers, I'd simply make pancakes. But, I have a waffle maker and when the plastic knob broke, it was difficult to control the heat. I went online and found a replacement knob for sale.

You are getting the idea. We should all be repairing stuff rather than simply chucking broken stuff out and buying new. My computer monitor and keyboard are holdovers from a Dell computer I once owned. I now get my computers from a fellow who makes computers in his basement. He reuses the old computer cases and whatever else does not need to be replaced.

I'd post a picture of the lovely watch that my wife bought me some years ago but I can't. I took the watch to the nearby Young's Jewelers and it is away being fixed. I hope to keep that watch going indefinitely.

Refinished used table.
The table in our front hallway came from Goodwill Industries. I didn't buy it. My dad did. And he bought it some sixty years ago. Back then Goodwill took donated old furniture, like the table, refinished it and re-glued it and resold it in their shop. The operation created employment while keeping stuff, like the table, out of the dump.

Although Goodwill Industries no longer does furniture restoration, there are businesses that will do it for a fee. I've had both our sofas reupholstered by Finns Upholstery on Oxford St. E. And our dining room set, my parents bought it used many years ago, was refinished, reupholstered and re-glued. That set will soon be 100 years old.

We have to find ways to keep stuff out of the dump. We have to be creative. Tossing stuff out should be our last option.

The lamp shade is an old beer glass.

Forty years ago I bought two bedside lamps from a Nordel's Furniture, I believe that was the name, on Wellington Road near Baseline Road.

When I broke the glass lamp shade, I could not find a replacement. My wife determined that the base of the shade was the same diameter as that of some old beer glasses we had and rarely used. I took the glasses to London Glass and Mirror and had them cut to fit the lamp base. I got a couple of spare shades made and those aluminum base lamps should be in use for many, many years to come.

I'd go on but you get my point. Changing the three bag limit misses the point, although that's not to say it's a bad idea. But what really needs to change is our attitude. It is society that must be changed.

We need to learn to repair, reuse, recycle.

For instance, glass is almost infinitely recyclable. But, we make so many different types of glass. Take colour alone. There's a ridiculous number of colours. Why doesn't society settle on a set number of colours and on  set number of formulations for glass, and maybe we could up the percentage of glass that is recycled to something approaching 100 percent.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Heart healthy meals need not be boring

"No red meat" was what the stroke specialist ordered. Stick mostly to fish, chicken and turkey -- the white meat, not the dark. Smoked salmon is on the approved list.

So for tonight's dinner, I served smoked salmon on a Montreal-style bagel. My wife hates fish, or so she claims, but she loved tonight's dinner. The secret: high quality fish.

The bagel came from Farm Boy on Beaverbrook Avenue just off Wonderland Road North. This grocery brings Kettleman's wood-fired bagels in from Ottawa. These bagels are made in the traditional Montreal bagel manner and they are delicious. These are not just puffy, doughnut-shaped hunks of bread. These  bagels are slightly sweet, dense and chewy.

The smoked salmon came from Remark on Hyde Park just south of Oxford St. W. Although it was frozen, I thawed it carefully in cold water. There was too much fish for two simple sandwiches, so I cut the salmon in half while still frozen and placed half in a zip-lock plastic lunch bag to thaw. The rest I returned to the fridge for later. When thawed, I squeezed a little fresh lemon juice over the salmon.

The fresh dill also came from Remark. I mixed a tablespoon of finely chopped dill into 60 grams of light cream cheese. I also mixed in some finely chopped red onion.

To assemble, I spread a quarter of the cheese mixture on each bagel half. Next, I placed a very thin slice of red onion on each half bagel and placed half the salmon, about 50 grams, on two of the bagel halves. I sprinkled the capers over the salmon, dusted all with a little coarse pepper (optional) and finished by placing the remaining bagel halves over the salmon.

Since asparagus is still in season, I served fresh, steamed asparagus as the vegetable. You can use butter on your vegetables if you like, I must use non-hydrogenated margarine. I choose Becel with olive oil. As there was still juice in the lemon, I squeezed some lemon juice onto both my wife's and my asparagus.

I should mention the restaurant that inspired this meal: Little Red's in St. Marys. Little Red's Pub and Eatery is the latest restaurant from the team of chef Chris Woolf and his wife Mary. Chris is simply an amazing chef and his wife is a delightful hostess. Everything they serve  is made from seasonal, and mostly local, ingredients. The pub is a little gem, a real delight. We'll be going there again for lunch before the summer is over. Click on the link and check out their Web page.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Lorrie Goldstein: Think Monty Python, not Tobe Hooper

I'm not a fan of Lorrie Goldstein. His opinions do not mesh with my opinions. And it's no wonder as his take on the world doesn't mesh with mine. For instance, where he sees a "scare" tactic, I see a famous example of a failed attempt at extreme humour. The failure of the little promo, which turned out to be an anti-promo, is something we can all learn from.

In a recent opinion piece, Goldstein mentions an ad created by an environmental group in the U.K. that he claims used the tactic of fear to promote the group's stand on climate change. He claims the film showed school children having their heads blown off for refusing to take part in a climate change initiative suggested by their teacher.

The resisting student explodes, completely annihilated.
Not true. It's worse. The students are completely annihilated in the explosions. They are obliterated.  It is all very messy.

The short, No Pressure, was written by one of Britain's most respected comedy writers, Richard Curtis. The writer of Blackadder, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and more. The short was suppose to be funny. Some thought it was. Many didn't.

The film was removed from the 10:10 group's website just hours after its release and the 10:10 group found itself forced to issue a statement saying:

We wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue (climate change) back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. . . .
At 10:10 we're all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark.

When I worked in the newspaper industry, there were editors who were amazing. The amount of stuff with which they were familiar was a source of constant amazement. I can think of a couple of editors who would probably have known immediately the film to which Goldstein was alluding and would have known Goldstein's take on the film was open to question. They'd have removed the reference to the film from opinion piece.

If Goldstein had made an issue of being edited, these editors might have told Goldstein that his attack left hardly a scratch on them and if he wanted to continue his attack they would bite his legs off. Why might they say such things? Because making reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail might be the perfect response in such a situation.

I do have to thank Goldstein for one thing: He made me think about the 10:10 group. The film cratered but it did not take the group with it. If you care about the world, if you consider yourself green, you might find their Website interesting. When I posted this link, the 10:10 site was proclaiming there were "real signs of a brighter future. . . . We're collecting signs of the shift to a low carbon world."

In the group's own words, the stories the group is posting are about "things going right." Whatever one believes about the tactics the group used in the past, scare tactics are certainly not the tactics the group is using today on their Website.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Independent cheese producers are a dying breed

My wife and I have been buying locally produced Bright Brand cheese.

Recently, a local journalist surprised me by tweeting: "Really wish @LoblawsON would stop displacing quality Canadian products like Armstrong Cheese from its shelves with yet more PC brands."

I was surprised for three reasons: One, I've never been all that fond of Armstrong Cheese. Two, I'd assumed  Armstrong Cheese was what I call an industrial cheese made by either Saputo or Parmalat. And three I would not be surprised to learn that both the PC cheese and the Armstrong cheese are from the same cheese producer. (I'm not saying they are. I'm only saying that it would not surprise me.)

As a boy, my parents used to vacation in eastern Ontario. My father was raised there and after he married my mom they had a farm so near Alexandria that the town railway station could be seen from my parent's farmhouse. One of my uncles stayed in the area and my parents still had lots of friends living there and so we visited regularly.

One of my parent's friend was a cheesemaker. I loved going to his cheese factory and sampling the still warm cheese curds floating in the remaining whey. I was a kid who understood well what Miss Muffet was enjoying when surprised by the spider. She was eating squeaky cheese.

Today, that cheese factory is gone. It was bought and closed by Kraft Foods, I was told. My dad's friend made out O.K. Kraft paid him a fair price but the factory and the local jobs it provided disappeared. It was a loss for the community and for the area.

The story of Kraft Foods is a whole other story. Follow the link. It's an interesting tale. Kraft is credited with inventing processed cheese. I had a friend who worked for Kraft in Montreal and he was amazed at the magic the company could perform with cheese. It was good cheese in and Velveeta out. An amazing, if somewhat backward, process.

Today the three big names in the cheese industry are Saputo, Agropur and Parmalat. When I think of Saputo it may not be fair but I think of cheese plant closures and loss of solid, long-time, community jobs. Saputo bought the Armstrong cheese company some years ago, moved production to Abbottsford, BC, and closed the century-plus operation in Armstrong, BC. 73 local jobs were lost.

The closure in Armstrong was not the only Western Canada closure announced at the time. A total of 254 workers were affected, the CBC reported. Recently, Saputo has been busy closing dairy operations in Eastern Canada. In March the Cape Breton Post reported the closure of the Scotsburn Dairy in Sydney. "It was such a sudden announcement that people are mostly in shock . . . . " 100 workers were affected.

Along with the Sydney closure, other closures were announced in Princeton, Quebec, and Ottawa. In all, 230 workers will be laid off. According to the company, it will realize a savings of approximately $23 million annually after all the closure expenses are covered.

So do you buy Saputo products? Think: Alexis de Portneuf, Armstrong, Baxter, Dairyland, Danscorella, De Lucia, Dragone, DuVillage 1860, Frigo, Kingsey, La Paulina, Neilson Dairy, Nutrilait, Ricrem, Saputo, Stella, Treasure Cave, HOP&GO!, Rondeau and Vachon. Is that the whole list? Not at all. For instance, late last year, Saputo acquired Woolwich Dairy, famous for its goat's milk cheese and Saputo may by the cheesemaker behind many private label products.

If you, like me, thought Black Diamond had the earmarks of an industrial cheese, you may have been surprised to see Black Diamond missing from the above list. Don't be. Black Diamond appears on the Parmalat list of holdings: Astro, Balderson, Beatrice, Black Diamond, Lactantia are all Parmlat-controlled brands.

From the long list of cheese brands all being produced by only two giant cheesemakers, it is clear that quality cheese can be made by the big outfits. So, it is not the quality that is the issue for me. It's the jobs. It's the way of life that is being loss.

So, what does one do? Me, I try and buy from a smaller, independent producer. I like Bright. This is cheese  made by a co-op located in the Bright, Ontario, area near Woodstock. The Bright plant has been in the same location since 1874.

I've even introduced my granddaughters to the fine flavour of a grilled cheese sandwich made with Bright extra old cheddar. I don't make a big fuss about the flavour, I don't draw attention to the fact that this cheese is different, and the two little girls respond by loudly proclaiming their cheese sandwiches are "delish." Of course, it also helps that the Bright cheese I use is a reassuring orange.

The Springs Restaurant: a good luncheon choice in London

My wife and I went to The Springs Restaurant for lunch. I've been wanting to sample their fish and chips lunch. Judy went along and even order the same. We both had a plate full of calories for lunch.

The fish portion was large, the beer batter flavourful, the french fries crispy and the pickle just the right degree of sour. All in all it was exactly as anticipated. Now the ale, that was a pleasant surprise. I had a bottle of Ransack the Universe IPA from the Collective Arts craft brewery in Hamilton. It was just as advertised; It was crisp, but not bitter, with overtones of citrus. The citrus flavour was clearly evident but not overpowering. Loved it.

But the best part of the lunch was our waitress. She was a delight. We'll be returning next month for another lunch. There are two items on the menu that caught our hungry eye: Teriyaki Prawn Penne (Jumbo prawns and forest mushrooms sautéed with a julienne of peppers and sweet onions tossed with a spicy sweet teriyaki cream sauce. Served mild, medium or yeow.) and Grilled ‘Northern Harvest’ Cilantro ‘Tzaziki’ Salmon (Served with a tomato/cucumber quinoa salad with sautéed kale.)

One of the sandwiches also caught our attention: Grilled Avocado Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich (a sumac scented chicken breast with a creamy fresh avocado & buttermilk dressing, onion sprouts, greens and sliced beefsteak tomato on grilled sunflower bread.)

Like I said, we'll be back.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Dr. Oetker pizza dressed for dinner

Tuesday night is pizza night for my wife and me. It has become a bit of a tradition. Whenever Dr. Oetker pizzas go on sale for less than three bucks, we buy four or five. With a Dr. Oetker 4-Cheese pizza as the base, we add our own toppings

The pizza tonight had diced hot turkey pepperettes from Oegema's on highway 4 near Talbotville plus red, green and orange sweet peppers, mushrooms, black olives from Remark off Hyde Park south of Oxford St. W. The artichoke came from Costco and the rings of hot peppers are Loblaw's President Choice brand.

I try to keep my cholesterol below 50 mg/dL for the day. According to the nutritional info on the box, two slices of this pizza contain only 40 mg/dL of cholesterol. The stuff we added is mostly plant stuff and plant stuff doesn't contain any cholesterol. The turkey sticks are incredibly low in cholesterol. That's why we buy them. This is a heart healthy dinner.

And why the Dr. Oetker pizza. It's made in London.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The true breakfast of champions

Before getting into today's post, let's make a few things clear. One: I am not a doctor. Two: I do not have, and never have had, a serious diverticulitis event. And three: If you a senior, do not make big changes to your diet without consulting your doctor. Increasing the fibre in one's diet is generally not recommended for those presently suffering a severe diverticulitis event. Whether fibre is good or bad for those attempting to fend off another event is an open question.

Yesterday I had a fierce chest pain. It doubled me up and left me somewhat dizzy and out of breath. I told my wife: Mistake number one. At her insistence, I called our family doctor: Mistake number two. When I mentioned the pain started in the front of my chest and moved to my back, I was ordered to go to the hospital. It was recommended I call an ambulance. I was ordered not to drive myself. I had my wife drive me.

On entering the hospital, blood was taken almost immediately and rushed to the lab for analysis. With the blood sample taken I was off for a CAT scan. A dye was injected into my arm making me feel hot and flushed. For a moment I forgot the chest pain that was now a nagging ache.

It wasn't long before the emerg team knew I was not facing my immediate demise and they lost interest in my medical problems. There were others who needed immediate care and so I was wheeled into a screened off area and left to age like a fine cheese. It would take some time to get the complete report from my CAT scan and blood test. Until the report was ready, I was pushed to the side. I didn't mind. I was relieved.

It was after five when I got the report. It was an extensive, three page document. I will give a copy to my family doctor and to the lead doctors on the medical teams that keeps me alive. I'm not an easy case. I have an ICD/pacemaker in my chest for my arrhythmia and bradycardia, I have micro-bleeding in the brain, I often have TIAs, commonly called mini-strokes, and those are just the three most obvious medical problems I face.

On page three of the report I read: "Very mild sigmoid and descending colon diverticulosis." Diverticulosis means one has small, bulging pouches forming in the digestive tract. These pockets are called diverticula. The greatest number of diverticula develop where the colon is the narrowest, in the sigmoid.

According to the Harvard Medical School, diverticulosis is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. Two-thirds of Americans have it by age 85. This wasn't always the case. A hundred years ago diverticulosis was rare and it is still uncommon in the developing world. Why? Diet. The typical American diet lacks sufficient fibre. In other words, North Americans eat too many refined carbohydrates.

According to Harvard:

 "dietary fiber is a mix of complex carbohydrates found in the bran of whole grains and in nuts, seeds, fruits, legumes, and vegetables . . . dietary fiber has little caloric value — but it has plenty of health value." 

Dietary fibre keeps the colon healthy by drawing "water into the feces, making the stools bulkier, softer, and easier to pass. Dietary fiber speeds the process of elimination, greatly reducing the likelihood of constipation." The Harvard medical folk couldn't say enough good things about fibre.

Steel cut oats go well with fruit and chopped nuts.
Which brings me to my breakfast. It's healthy, packed with fibre, delicious and inexpensive. Meals like this keep diverticulosis from developing and if it does the fibre may prevent the progression to diverticulitis and irritated, inflamed, possibly infected pouches.


  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 peeled, cored, and coarsely diced apple
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 20 grams dried blueberries
  • 2 Brazil nuts
  • 5 or 6 cashews
  • 1 mashed banana
  • dusting of cinnamon



I boil the water in my microwave at high for 2 minutes 10 seconds. When boiling, I add the steel cut oats, swirl the oats in the steaming hot water and put the mixture in the microwave to cook  for five minutes at 40% power.

While the oats are cooking, I measure 1 tablespoon of Qi'a (a chia, buckwheat and hemp dry cereal) into a small bowl. I add two tablespoons of 1% milk to soften the Qi'a. While the dry cereal softens, I turn my attention to peeling, coring and coarsely dicing an apple. I add the apple chunks to the bowl of Qi'a and dribble one tablespoon of maple syrup over the apple.

At this point the microwave is beeping. I stir my oats and hot water and put the mixture aside for a minute to cook the Qi'a topped with apple chunks and maple syrup for a minute on high. After the apples have softened with the slight cooking,  I return the oat mixture to the microwave for another four minutes at 40% power.

With the oats again gently cooking, I coarsely chop 20 grams of dried blueberries plus a couple (2) Brazil nuts and five or six salted cashews and I mash a banana.

If the oats need more cooking, I give them from 45 seconds to a minute on high in the microwave. At the end of this time all the water should be absorbed with the oats looking very moist, almost soggy. I add the Qi'a, milk, apple and maple syrup mixture, the blue berries and nuts, and finally I add the mashed bananas and stir. If the mixture isn't hot enough, I heat all on high for an extra 45 seconds. It's done, I stir it to get rid of any hot spots the microwave may have created and it is ready to eat.

My doctors tell me a breakfast like this fights diverticulosis. As my problem is still in the early stages with the diverticulosis described as very mild, I may be able to avoid progressing to the more serious diverticulitis with inflammation and possibly infected pockets. It's a pity I didn't eat like this all my life.

Sadly, when I was younger I used to eat stuff like "the breakfast of champions." Humbug.

(According to the Website Fooducate, Wheaties is low in fibre. The cereal still earns a rating of B+ overall but in the fiber category it is a dismisal D+.)