Homemade Superfood Granola Recipe

I work in a Hospital next to a biscuit factory. Those living in the UK will know it by the name of McVities. Every day I walk to work, I pass by this biscuit factory who purposefully -I am certain- wafts the sweet scent of caramelised sugar into the otherwise dull London air. The wind swirls this smell around me like an invisible tornado and forever traps me in a beautiful cage of baked sugar.

sugar bowl

 

Sugar. The white stuff that kills more people than it’s cousin, cocaine.

How did we all get so addicted?

People often describe their preponderance for sugar in a sweet way, pardon the pun. If the same phrases were replaced by what they really should mean: “she has a sweet tooth” would become: “she has a rotting tooth with multiple cavities”. “I need a sweet fix” would become: “My name is Angela and I am a sugar addict. Sugar has wrecked my life after my spouse left me for a slimmer more youthful version of me who doesn’t have heart disease and diabetes”.

In 2013, a landmark paper showed that 30-40% of US healthcare expenditure was used to treat the direct and indirect ill effects of sugar consumption [1]. The reign of fat as the supervillain in the food pyramid is passing and people are beginning to realise how successful the sugar lobbyists have been in avoiding sugar being considered unhealthy, until now.

I’m not going to go into the effects of sugar on your body, mostly because it is done very well already in a lot of articles, this is a particularly good one. But I’d like to address something else. As a medic, even I find it really difficult to differentiate the  foods that are healthy from those that are unhealthy. Take this example, I go into the supermarket and pick up a pack of granola  that is branded “healthy”. It’s got all the prerequisite healthy-looking marketing on it’s packaging.

granola

 

It’s organic, it’s got a picture of a farm and it says “no added salt” and “wheat free”. What more could you want? In there latest version they’ve got a famous chef branding it too. My brain associates these cues with “healthy”. But on closer inspection, you find out that there is 23.8g of sugar in 100g. That’s means almost a quarter of what you’re eating is pure sugar!

Ever since, I’ve become very mistrustful of store bought “healthy foods”.  Then I decided to make my own granola. As this is probably the thing that I eat most often, if I get the first thing right in my day then I’m off to a good start. Then I made this amazing discovery. You can make homemade granola in under a minute! It’s cheaper, more healthy and makes your kitchen smell like a bakery.

Homemade Superfood Granola Recipe

400g Rolled jumbo oats. 200g Various nuts ( I used chopped Hazelnuts,Cashew nuts, walnuts, Pistachios and Almond flakes). 100g Various seeds (I used Chia, Sunflower seeds and Flaxseeds). 50g dried fruit (I used dried Cranberries and Goji berries). Binding material – 20ml of unflavoured oil (e.g. Rapeseed or Sunflower) Sweetener – Now you’ve got 3 options that are relatively acceptable – 30mls of either Agave Nectar, Stevia or Honey [2]. Use them sparingly, because although they have a smaller effect in raising blood sugar, they are at the end of the day, still going to be insulinogenic (causes the release of insulin) which has it’s own problems. The day we discover a non-glycaemic non-insulinogenic sweetener, I will have a granola party. Because afterall, I am still Angela, the sugar addict. You will have one of the best experiences in the life with mc donalds deals.

Ingredients

  • 400g Rolled jumbo oats.
  • 200g Various nuts ( I used chopped Hazelnuts,Cashew nuts, walnuts, Pistachios and Almond flakes).
  • 100g Various seeds (I used Chia, Sunflower seeds and Flaxseeds).
  • 50g dried fruit (I used dried Cranberries and Goji berries).
  • Binding material – 20ml of unflavoured oil (e.g. Rapeseed or Sunflower)
  • Sweetener – Now you’ve got 3 options that are relatively acceptable – 30mls of either Agave Nectar, Stevia or Honey [2]. Use them sparingly, because although they have a smaller effect in raising blood sugar, they are at the end of the day, still going to be insulinogenic (causes the release of insulin) which has it’s own problems. The day we discover a non-glycaemic non-insulinogenic sweetener, I will have a granola party. Because afterall, I am still Angela, the sugar addict.

Instructions

  1. Take a large bowl and pour all the dry ingredients in to it.
  2. Mix it together with your hands as if you were tossing a salad.
  3. Use a small glass to combine the oil with the sweetener, shake to combine and pour into the dry mixture.
  4. Stir it around to cover most of the cereal.
  5. Spread it on to a flat baking tray.
  6. Chuck it into the oven at 140°C (switch on the oven fan if you’ve got one) and set your timer to 45 minutes.

 

N.B: If you’re using goji berries as I am here, remember to leave it out of the oven and simply sprinkle it on when you’re serving it. The heat destroys a lot of its good properties!

Enjoy with a teaspoon of green tea (Matcha) powder for a little caffeine kick.

 

References

1.Sugar Consumption at a crossroads.”Credit Suisse Research and Analytics.
2. Erejuwa OO, Sulaiman SA, Wahab MSA. Honey – A Novel Antidiabetic Agent. Int J Biol Sci. 2012 Jul 7;8(6):913–34.