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January 03, 2012



Can this oatmeal be made in any sized crock pot? I have a larger one and am always afraid to make oats in it - even though it would save me a TON of time!



Waiting to hear about the slow cooker recommendations! I need one! I just do my oats on the stove, but this would be easier.

The Healthy Librarian

I'm going to email Kathy Hester--the slow cooker maven! She's tried them all.

The Healthy Librarian

Kathy Hester rocks!

I emailed her for advice on the best slow cooker for my needs.

I want something that I can keep "cooking" all night--or all day.

Here's what she recommends.

Hi Debby,

Thank you so much for your compliments and passing on the word about my book.

I do like the 3.5 quart Cuisinart. It has 4 settings warm simmer low high and is programmable. That means you can set it to automatically switch to warm at a certain amount of time. Simmer cooks at a lower temp than low so that might help you too.

Have a great 2012!

Kathy Hester

Check out Kathy's more detailed recommendations for slow-cookers:

And check out here blog, here:

Author of:
The Vegan Slow Cooker (cookbook) and Healthy Slow Cooking (blog)

Kathleen Keating Schloessinger

I love your site and information BUT was just checking your list of recommended books and when I looked at the description of "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and I am shocked that you would suggest his book as he recommends:

Good Calories
These foods can be eaten without restraint.
Meat, fish, fowl, cheese, eggs, butter, and non-starchy vegetables.

Bad Calories
....(So apple juice or even green vegetable juices are not necessarily any healthier than soda.)
Bread and other baked goods, potatoes, yams, rice, pasta, cereal grains .....

The 11 Critical Conclusions of Good Calories, Bad Calories:

1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, does not cause heart disease.
2. Carbohydrates do ....
5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating and not sedentary behavior.
7. Exercise does not make us lose excess fat; it makes us hungry.
10. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.
11. The fewer carbohydrates we eat, the leaner we will be.

The Healthy Librarian


Oops, it's just on there as I book I found interesting to read--and read 4 years ago when I began this blog. I disagree with most of his conclusions--except that refined carbs, sugar, & processed foods have been very damaging to our health--and a tremendous driver of obesity.

I certainly do not ascribe to his conclusions on fat, sat fat in particular, or exercise-but, that said, I do believe in reading all the interpretations of health & nutrition research--and reading widely! How else can one learn?

But, you're certainly right--some people might misinterpret that the book is on the list because I advocate its conclusions.

That list of books went up at the start of this blog--and I unfortunately haven't added much to it--nor weeded it.

Thanks for "reminding" me that it's time to do a little housekeeping.


Hi Healthy Librarian (whom I have become a very devoted fan of...and recommended to many others),

I came across your blog when I googled "Caldwell Esselstyn" after I read about and started the Esselstyn Diet. And I know that he has a long association with the Cleveland Clinic. I just received the Cleveland Clinics Heart and Vascular Newsletter this morning and it's leading article was a short Q&A piece on cholesterol...below lies an excerpt from it:

"Have your cholesterol checked. And, understand how cholesterol works, recommends Cleveland Clinic heart surgeon Marc Gillinov, MD, and cardiologist Steven Nissen, MD. Can you tell fact from fiction?

1. Diet is the most important factor in determining your cholesterol level.

False. Eighty percent of the body’s cholesterol is made by the liver. That means, only 20 percent comes from your diet. That’s why it is so hard to lower cholesterol through diet alone. By banning nearly all cholesterol from your diet, you might be able to reduce your total cholesterol level by about 20 percent.

Understanding this can often make the choice to take cholesterol-lowering drugs easier. If you need to reduce your cholesterol by 50 percent, you cannot accomplish this through diet alone. You’ll need a good diet and the right medication."

I have no intention - or at least I don't think so - of veering from my Esselstyn fare but am wondering what sense you make of the above... I feel like this flies in the face of claims made by others who have followed the Esselstyn diet and seen significant decreases in their LDL...and yes, the cynic in me also feels like it reads a little bit like a statin commercial.

Do you have any thoughts on the above? No offense - would you prefer that I go to Dr. Esselstyn's website with this question?

Thanks --- and again, thanks for your blog...this is the first blog that I truly relish and look forward to reading...Ann


All I can say is.....I want to be Margaret Bennet-Alder when I grow up. What a wonderful testimonial! And for an 84 year old to be writing letters to the editor (on her computer yet!) is just amazing. And also for an 81 year old to take in the new information and be willing and energetic enough to make serious changes.....I'm so impressed. (I hope all the 80 somethings won't jump on me, but the ones I know are not generally quite that pro-active!)

Health Librarian


That's exactly what I thought when I read Margaret Bennet-Alder's comment in the New York Times.

She recently emailed me, and her signature says, "from my iPAD"!!

Margaret Bennet-Alder rocks! Don't you think?


Your blog is a life-saver. My husband is going 100% plant-based this year and your suggestions have saved us lots of time in experimenting with new ingredients and combinations. In the past, we felt we were eating a bunch of side dishes. Now we have the tools to make seriously delicious vegan main courses.

Healthy Librarian


Yay!! I'm so excited for your husband--and for you. It's so great that he also likes to cook--b/c once he sees how many amazing cookbooks & recipes are out there--the skies the limit.

Please share any recipes that he gives 2 thumbs up to!

Hey, any way I can help, or suggestions, products, or recipes that I can pass on--just let me know. Really!

Funny thing is--we eat very few side dishes--it's mostly one-dish meals, with enough left-over for lunch or maybe dinner the next day.


Quick question re oats... I eat them raw (regular, not quick), muesli style (w/ prunes, since reading their bone building benefits here, banana, a few hazelnuts, soy milk and anything else I think to add) ever since a trip to Scandinavian countries. Just prefer the texture. Does raw provide the same benefits as cooked? Thanks again for a wonderful site!

Alysson Hartmann

Wow! I knew oatmeal was good but it just keeps getting better and better. Funny thing- I had a craving for an oatmeal dessert last night! Although I ended up making a smoothie with almond milk, PB, banana, dates, and cocoa, now I see I could have done a chocolate style oatmeal dessert. Oats aren't just for breakfast anymore, huh?
The smoothie was good, too. It sure beats the heck out of many alternatives on the market...
I swear by oatmeal with berries and walnuts for breakfast and that is often what I and my littles eat- so glad to know it is a nutrition powerhouse! Thanks!

Wendy (Healthy GIrl's Kitchen)

I made this and it was so good, but I have to say that it was the berries and walnuts that did it for me. The combination was outstanding! Now I think I am going to have to experiment with all sorts of slow cooker oatmeal. Look what you have done!

Wendy (Healthy GIrl's Kitchen)

Ann (from comment above)-I followed the Esselstyn/Fuhrman recommendations and my cholesterol went from 231 to 147. What percent is that? No drugs. Just diet change and exercise. Those other doctors just want to sell you drugs and stents!

The Healthy Librarian

@Andrea, Dr. Esselstyn prefers to eat his oats raw. That says something. I don't know of any research that disputes this--but--I haven't looked into it--so honestly, I'm just "making up" my answer. People have been eating muesli forever--I say if you like that texture--go with it.

I like hot cereal--other people like their cereals cold.

@Ann--the info on that newletter isn't new--have heard that "story" for years--I'm guessing because there are no mega-sized research studies, other than Esselstyn's, Ornish's, McDougalls, Barnard's, Dr. David Jenkin's & Pritikin's smaller studies that have looked at the effect of no-oil diets combined with whole grain, no sugar, high fiber, & high micro-nutrient diets on cholesterol.

Many docs just assume that no one would stick with such a diet. I was encouraged to go on statins--my husband, too. there was no suggestion to go on lifestyle-changing diet.

Refined carbs & sugar are also cholesterol drivers. (Look again at my post on Dr. Robert Lustig, to see how sugar & refined carbs affect cholesterol) Note: I'm just reporting here--and putting in my non-medical two cents.

The heart disease story is far more complex than just cholesterol numbers--inflammation is a big driver of cardiovascular disease--and the effect of diet on inflammation needs to be addressed.

Wendy's response says it all! Look at the numbers of people who follow this diet.

Watch for a reply next week from a plant-based cardiologist.

@Wendy--thanks for the oatmeal review! I agree--the nuts & berries make it! I'm with you--I'm ready to "go wild" with all kinds of slow-cooker oatmeal experiments. That carrot cake/zucchini bread variation has serious possibilities.

@Wendy again! Great reply to Ann's question. Getting people to change their diets takes lots of support & involves a lot of teaching time--no docs have that kind of time these days--and there's no reimbursement for it, sadly!!

@Alysson: Let me know how you like the chocolate (or chocolate banana & PB) oatmeal--& what the "littles" think about it.

Gael in Vermont

...and people think a plant-based diet is boring and tasteless? Think again, my friends! You're spoiling us, Deb!


I am in AZ for 2 months and didn't bring my crock pot! But I have my pressure cooker and tried the chocolate oatmeal. It worked great. The oatmeal was delish and another great recipe. Thanks.

The Healthy Librarian

@ Penny, Yay!! You are such a reliable recipe-tester. Glad you liked it. Want to hear more about how to use a pressure cooker when you have time. Lucky you to spend 2 months in AZ. Jealous!

Marilou Garon

Hello! I love the very expensive (!) All-Clad slow cooker, for the simple reason that the insert goes on the stove-top as well. This allows me to sauté/brown food before starting the sloow-cooking process...without needing to clean an extra skillet! Crazy, but I just adore that! Browning food first really does make a difference when slow-cooking savory foods, in my opinion. It adds alot of flavor that you won't get otherwise. And All-Clad is so darn well made! I know I sound like an AC representative but I promise, I'm not! Just a Montrealer who's trying to make the switch to a plant-based diet! Many thanks for your blog, I've already printed many recipes that I really look forward to try.

The Healthy Librarian

Darn it, Marilou! I sure wish I knew about the All-Clad version before I went out & bought the Cuisinart programmable version last week! Where were you when I needed you? Oh well. Live & learn. I do love my new Cuisinart, though. It's got a simmer version, which really works well for long slow cooking--and I can set the cooking time--and when it's done, it automatically lowers down to warm.

Thanks for the advice. Hopefully, others will learn from your advice.

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