S1E47. A Granola Ritual

Breakfast has become my favorite time of day since I started making my own granola. I traveled that path because I couldn’t find any granola in stores or online that didn’t have added sweeteners (I’m pretty fussy here as I don’t even accept honey or maple syrup as ‘good’ sugar).

A quick google search told me that it was easy to make and that you could customize it to suit your taste. Here’s what I wound up with:

1 cup each of chopped walnuts, pecans and almonds

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

½ cup each of chia and flax seeds

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon each of turmeric, cumin and ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup olive oil

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then drizzle in the olive oil and vanilla and toss until the nuts are coated and the seeds stick to them. Spread the mixture out on a cookie sheet (no need for parchment since there is no sugar to stick to the bottom) and bake for 25 minutes at 300 degrees. Voila…granola!

(Disclaimer: There is nothing magical about this recipe other than every ingredient providing some nutrient that is protective of brain health. Feel free to add rolled oats, as every other granola recipe includes them.*** I leave them out because I’m on a pretty extreme diet that eliminates all grains, but you don’t have to do that. There’s nothing wrong with adding sunflower or pumpkin seeds, either, but they’re just not my cup of tea.)

What’s with the spices you say? To be honest, I don’t think I can taste them at all, except maybe for the cinnamon. The other three are all listed as top spices for fostering brain health. By adding them to the granola, I guarantee myself a small daily dose.

The ritual part comes when I prepare breakfast each morning, I start with ½ cup of granola (at this rate, the above recipe lasts for about 3 weeks) and then add dried and fresh fruit. Once again, everything I add is brain-healthy and the fruits provide plenty of sweetness:

1 dried fig, chopped

1 prune, chopped

¼ apple, chopped

15 red grapes, halved

6 raspberries or blackberries

A handful of blueberries

Enough flax milk to fill the bowl

(Disclaimer #2: There’s nothing magical about these proportions, either. Why 6 raspberries? I’ll be damned if I know!)

There is just something about chopping a sun-dried fig that makes the entire experience feel religious. You have to do it slowly and purposefully. There’s almost a zen to it. As I add the fresh fruit, the event takes on the aura of preparing an offering to the gods as it’s been detailed in some ancient sacred scripture. Intensifying the spirituality of the moment is the situation: this takes place at around 9:30 every morning as I break my 14-hour fast from the night before. All that’s missing is a prayer or mantra!

Once assembled, I thoroughly mix everything to make sure that the fig and prune bits don’t stick together and their sweetness is distributed throughout the bowl.

And then comes the eating. I remember when breakfasts were so hum-drum that I read the newspaper or a book or the back of the cereal box while mindlessly shoveled the food into my mouth, barely tasting it. No way I can do that with this feast!

Every bite is different. I want to luxuriate in and linger over every spoonful. Each taste begins with teeth crashing down on the chopped nuts while waiting for the tart explosions of the berries. The crunch of the apples is omnipresent, but it’s the always surprising sweet burst of the fig and prune bits that is the piece de resistance.

I savor every chew. I think of nothing else while I’m eating. It’s too good to miss a nanosecond of it!

And best of all—I know this will sound silly—but I feel healthy while I’m eating it. I know I’m doing something good for my brain. Each swallow reminds me that I am ‘feeding my head’ in the best way possible. It’s quite the ritual!

*** In fact, the definition of ‘granola’ is rolled oats mixed with a variety of other ingredients. Technically, then, this recipe isn’t even granola!

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10 Comments

  1. Kathy Napurano says:

    Looks and sounds delicious! I love preparing good food. Your description was wonderful! I am going to make some “granola”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. Let me know how yours turns out. Feel free to customize!

      Like

  2. tencat9511771 says:

    Well now, I felt like I was at a Buddhist retreat practicing mindfulness at Blue Cliff Monastery (Pine Bush, NY).
    So just going to say that while there are studies regarding health benefits of turmeric, ginger, etc. a teaspoon divided by 21 is such a small dose it doesn’t come close to the amounts used in the various studies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On the other hand: “Various studies and research[9,10] results indicate a lower incidence and prevalence of AD in India. The prevalence of AD among adults aged 70-79 years in India is 4.4 times less than that of adults aged 70-79 years in the United States.[9] Researchers investigated the association between the curry consumption and cognitive level in 1010 Asians between 60 and 93 years of age. The study found that those who occasionally ate curry (less than once a month) and often (more than once a month) performed better on a standard test (MMSE) of cognitive function than those who ate curry never or rarely.”

      Like

  3. Robin Miller says:

    I’m going to try this! Thanks, Wayne.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let me know how you like it…and don’t hesitate to throw the oats back in if you want ‘real’ granola!

      Like

  4. bill haaf says:

    you might consider Red Mill Muesli: whole grain wheat; dates; sunflower seeds; raisins; whole grain rye; whole grain oats; whole grain triticale; almonds; flax, walnuts. key metrics : fiber= 4 gr/ 35 gr serving; protein = 4g/ serving; sugar= 5 gr all from dates; protein = 4 gr.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are many roads up the mountain!

      Like

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