Sunday, May 8, 2011

Momma Day Granola

Happy Mothers Day to Mother Earth and all the amazing Mothers, Grandmothers, and Godmothers!  I made this granola today for my own fabulous Mother.  She's working a 12 hour shift today so I delivered it to her along with some other goodies.  I found this recipe in the book Lucid Food by Louisa Shafia.  She calls it "The Best Granola Ever" but I like my name better.  Next time I might substitute dried figs or cranberries for the apricots.  If any of these ingredients are unfamiliar to you, like raw nuts or cacao nibs, take a trip to your nearest health food store!

Momma Day Granola

    2 cups raw nuts, coarsely chopped                6 tablespoons maple syrup                      
    2 cups rolled oats(not quick)                         5 tablespoons olive or canola oil
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon                    1 1/2 cups dried apricots, coarsley chopped
   1/2 teaspoon allspice                                     1/2 cup raw, unsweetened coconut flakes
   1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg                         3 tablespoons cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 250°F
   Combine the nuts, oats, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and a dash of salt in a large bowl and stir.  Add the maple syrup, 4 tablespoons of the oil, and the vanilla extract and stir.
    Spread the granola evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Stir the granola well, rotate the pan, and bake for 15 minutes more.  At this point, the granola should be almost completely dry.  Add the apricots and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the mixture, stir well, and return the pan to the oven for 5 minutes.  Add the coconut and bake for 2 minutes more.  Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the cacao nibs.
    Let the granola cool before serving.

Now I'm off the clean up the gigantic mess I made in my kitchen.  Enjoy the beautiful day!! ;-)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Deconstructing Cravings ~ It's All About Balance

Everybody gets cravings for certain foods.  Much of the time for foods that don't serve our bodies.  Sometimes these cravings can be a fleeting thing and sometimes they can seem to take over and really interfere with our efforts to lose weight and feel comfortable with ourselves.  The most important thing you can do is to be aware that there is usually a reason behind these cravings.  From there you can take the necessary steps to deconstruct the craving and break the cycle.

One of the main reasons for cravings is a lack of nutrients in the body.  Cravings for salty foods usually mean a mineral deficiency.   Start incorporating more vegetables into your diet, especially dark leafy greens and sea veggies.  One reason for sugar cravings could just mean that you need more sweet vegetables(sweet potatoes, carrots, onions) or fruits in your diet.  Cravings for things like caffeine for energy usually signify an overall nutritional deficiency.  Make sure you are eating a balanced diet full of fruits, veggies, lean protein, and whole grains.  Take a multivitamin to supplement.

Another reason for cravings is the need for more primary food.  Primary food includes career, spirituality, relationships, and physical activity.  Are you in a job that you are passionate about?  Do you have a spiritual practice that you truly believe in? Do you have satisfying relationships in your life?  Do you have a regular exercise routine that you enjoy doing?  Sometimes we compensate for for the lack of primary food by reaching for secondary food.  In my experience, these are usually comfort foods(ice cream, pizza, candy).   Pay attention to when you have cravings for these foods.  Is it after a long day at a job you hate or in the evening when you wish you had someone to cuddle up with?  Instead of reaching for the ice cream, drink some water, take a walk, and think about how you will feel when you have your dream job or what that awesome relationship will be like.  

Sometimes cravings can be attributed to the seasons.  In the spring and summer, it's normal to crave light detoxifying foods.  In the fall and winter it's common to crave heavy warming foods.

When deconstructing cravings, it can also be important to think about what texture you are craving.  If you crave things that are dry and crispy, it can mean that you are drinking too many liquids.  If you crave food that is moist, creamy, or liquidy, it can mean that you are eating to many dry foods, like bread and crackers.

De-evolution is also an important concept to be aware of.  It is something that happens when we are becoming very healthy, following our passions and our lives are going extremely well.  This causes us to stand out from people who are set in their unhealthy ways(much of the population). We may get cravings for "bad foods"as a sort of self-sabotage.  I think of this as being our ego mind or fear bringing us down a notch and wanting to fit in.  

Whatever your cravings are,  know that it's ok to give into them but it's important to understand what causes them, so you can make healthy changes in your life.  Try to satisfy your cravings with less extreme, healthier versions of the foods you would normally eat.  If you have any questions or need any extra guidance, please let me know!  Have a great day!