After overindulging during the Christmas season: January is the month for health. It is also the time for New Years Resolutions. According to Statistic Brain (http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/) 38% of Americans' New Year Resolutions are to do with 'weight related issues'. Not surprisingly, the number one New Years Resolution is to 'loose weight'. Like everyone else one of my New Years Resolutions is to do with 'weight related issues'. Although it's not 'loose weight', it's healthy and nutritious eating, which should help me to maintain and even loose a little Christmas weight. What's different about this year for me, is that I want to be part of the mere 39% of people (http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/) who actually keep their New Years Resolution!
It is no wonder that the number one New Years Resolution is to 'loose weight' as everywhere you look there are advertisements, promotions, articles, stories encouraging people to loose weight, especially in January. It seems, it is more the media creating the image that January is the month to loose weight and create your ideal body image in doing so, then people actually deciding. But then you get in to the chicken and egg dilemma: was it the media or people who first created this January phenomenon. I firmly believe it was the media. The media uses so much airbrushing and people with perceived perfect bodies, that it rubs off on the public and means many people strive to have the perfect bodies and therefore go on crazy diets. This is especially heightened in January. However, it should be more about improving your health with a healthy eating and exercise then going on radical 2/3/4/5/6 or however many week diets.
So to undertake my New Years Resolution, I'm going to train to run 5km. This will help improve my general health and hopefully burn some excess calories. They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and beneficial to prevent you snacking throughout the day on sugary things. So to start my New Year I'm going to improve my breakfasts. No more Italian breakfasts of hot chocolate, cookies or croissants (well accept for weekends ;) ), instead it's time for granola (homemade of course!).
I understand that there's mixed feelings about whether granola is actually healthy or not. Some prefere muesli as a healthier option, as it isn't covered in sugar. But I assure you that my granola is still healthy! Instead of coating it in sugar or honey, I've used maple syrup (a natural sugar) and olive oil to help create the crispness. Besides from that there is no added sugar.
The basic recipe is so simple that you can add whatever nuts, seeds or fruits you want to, to make it to your taste. Be creative and experiment with different flavour combinations such as cranberry and pecan, or almonds and pineapple. I've created a granola which is high in iron adding pumpkin seeds, almonds and apricots. The beauty of this breakfast is that you can tailor it to your health needs.
The base is oats, flaxseed, sesame seeds and desiccated coconut and then add whatever else you desire. My favourite way to eat it is over yogurt with fresh fruit (see picture).
NUALA'S LOW FAT AND HIGH IN IRON GRANOLA
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 desiccated coconut
1/2 sesame seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup flaked almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 apricots, cut into small chunks
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1) Preheat oven to 180C.
2) In a large bowl mix the oats, coconut, flaxseed, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flaked almonds and cinnamon. Next add the maple syrup and mix well until all ingredients are coated in it.
3) On a large baking tray, brush olive oil. Pour mixture onto the baking tray and spread evenly.
4) Cook for 30 minutes until golden. Every 10 minutes turn the mixture, so it is evenly cooked.
5) Remove from oven and cool for 10-20 minutes.