Is Your Granola Making You Fat? Try this Homemade Blueberry Flax Granola

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I have a huge crush on granola. I absolutely love the taste, crunch and satisfaction it brings on a dull weekday afternoon. However, I do not love the nutritional content in many store-bought varieties.

While you may be tempted to buy the brands that claim they’re “low fat” or “sugar free” or “zero grams trans fat!” I highly encourage you to read the ingredients and nutritional value on the back of the box. If you look carefully, you’ll see that many contain unnecessary added ingredients, artificial sweeteners, a heaping amount of sugar, and ultimately a huge disappointment.

Take Kellogg’s Lowfat Granola with Raisins for example, which contains whole grain rolled oats, whole grain wheat, sugar, rice, corn syrup, raisins, almonds, glycerin, palm oil, molasses, modified corn starch, salt, cinnamon, nonfat milk, malt flavoring, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, BHT for freshness, and guar gum. A 2/3 c. serving will tally up to 230 calories, and 17 grams of sugar.

When you look above, you can see that sugar is the third ingredient listed (after oats and wheat) making it one of the main ingredients in this granola. Not to mention the added corn syrup (a relative of high fructose corn syrup with similar initial processing), molasses, modified corn starch (physically or chemically treated starch) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene), a potentially dangerous, hard-to-digest additive to lengthen shelf life of food and even makeup.

After being appalled by some of these findings, I decided to take matters into my own hands (and my own kitchen) by making homemade granola. I control the ingredients, nutritional content, and essentially what’s going inside my body. It’s a win-win-win situation!

Homemade Blueberry Flax Granola*

*Makes about 7 cups granola

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups oats
  • 1 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup coconut water (I used Original Vita Coco)
  • 1/3 cup raw agave syrup
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup pure vanilla
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup dried blueberries (natural, without any added sugar) You can also use fresh blueberries, or add any other fruit of choice

~makes about 7 cups

1 Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In large mixing bowl, stir together oats, nuts, flaxseed, salt and spices.

2. Slowly add in olive oil, agave, water, coconut water and vanilla, mixing in evenly.
Toss until well combined.

3. Spread the mixture evenly on a lined baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent sticking or burning.

4. Let the granola cool and mix in the dried fruit.
Store in an airtight container for snacking the entire week for yourself, your family or your friends!

Enjoy as a snack, or add to your yogurt, milk or fruit for a delicious treat.

On My Lunch Plate: Nutritious Turkey Artichoke Wrap

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Good afternoon ladies.  I hope you all had the chance to get outside today for your lunch break, as it’s absolutely beautiful outside. High 60s/low 70s is my ideal springtime weather; it’s not so hot that all your makeup drips off but it’s just warm enough to get a lil sunshine and keep you feeling happy.

Speaking of happiness, I’m in a much better mood today regarding my skin dilemma. I think whatever I’m doing has been working so far, including focusing on my dietary choices, sipping Yogi Skin Detox Tea to help purify and rid my body (and skin) of toxins, as well as being gentle with my skin-care routine. The lovely lady at Whole Foods actually gave me a few samples to take home last night that help reduce redness/inflammation while calming the skin. I’ll let you know how that goes! I also bought a gentle On-The-Spot treatment called Pure & Clean Acne Treatment Gel which has tea tree oil in it to aid natural recovery.

Anyway, this afternoon I whipped up a delicious Turkey & Artichoke wrap for lunch which I wanted to share with my readers. I usually don’t eat tons artichokes, but as I mentioned in yesterday’s post my esthetician friend had recommended them for skin health so I’m giving them a go. I can’t believe all these times I’ve been missing out – artichokes are an absolutely delicious vegetable that I’m hoping to continue as a regular part of my diet.

Turkey & Artichoke Wrap

In the Mix:

  • 1 100% whole grain or brown rice wrap (found at your local health food store)
  • 2 medium slices natural turkey breast; I used oven roasted from Whole Foods
  • 2 artichoke hearts, diced
  • Feta cheese to your liking; I used a little less than 1 TB
  • drizzle of Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 TB each extra virgin olive oil and hempseed oil  (may substitute flax oil) Omega-3 fatty acids are great for skin, hair and nails!
  • Thin layer of hummus
  • 6 super-thin slices of cucumber
  • 1 romaine leaf, chopped
  • season with herbs of choice, particularly parsley for extra cleansing benefits

~Spread whole grain wrap with hummus mixed with Dijon mustard. Add turkey, romaine, and cucumber then top with feta cheese crumbles, herbs, and olive oil mixture. Roll wrap & enjoy paired with some fresh fruit or a side of veggies and hummus.

I enjoyed my wrap with a Peach & Mango Vita Coco, which I recieved a delivery of today. As you know, I’m a huge fan of coconut water, and really enjoy Vita Coco’s Peach & Mango and Original flavor (with a naturally sweet flavor without any added sugars), and am also a sucker for ZICO’s Chocolate.

Coconut water is a great way to stay hydrated during the day, and works especially well for those of you who dislike the taste of water. Water is still SUPER important to stay hydrated and naturally cleanse the body, but coconut water is a good option in addition as it’slow in calories, has wonderful hydrating benefits and is packed with electrolytes & nutrients. Stay tuned for a post coming soon on the benefits of drinking coconut water, especially for athletes.

Disclosure: While I did receive a complimentary delivery of Vita Coco coconut water to sample, I was not asked to write this post/promote them in any way, and of course ALWAYS share my honest opinion with my readers.

Hope you all have a lovely Tuesday afternoon,

 
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