Breakfast is a meal that can often be skimped on. People are racing out the door to get to work and the only thing that seems feasible at that time is a slap-dash piece of toast with some peanut butter or jam on it. Because breakfast can be inconvenient, especially if you're life depends on the extra 10 minutes of sleep you can have instead of having a good, solid breakfast.
Funnily enough, the extra 10 minutes of sleep almost becomes null and void when you don't choose to nourish yourself at breakfast. This is because without a good meal first thing in the morning your body has little to no fuel to get it going. This leads to your body pulling out it's own weapon - cortisol. Cortisol, the hallmark stress hormone, gets secreted into your body to carry you through until lunch time.
Cortisol is required for normal physiological function however when it is used too much and at the wrong times it can impact our health in a negative way. The secretion of cortisol is responsible for the following things:
- Increased blood pressure
- Blood vessel constriction leading to less blood flow to some areas of the body
- Fluid retention via it's anti-diuretic function
These are all things that are necessary to handle stress such as being chased by a lion or saving your cat from a burning house. However, when cortisol is secreted in the absence of a real, physical stress then you just end up with high blood pressure which places extra pressure on your heart muscle, decreased blood flow to your peripherals and your brain which can lead to foggy thinking and an absent mind and a feeling of fullness as your body retains fluid mainly around your middle and your legs. All signs of poor health. As our list of stressors grows and the dedication to stress management continues to be the least of many people's priorities, adjusting behaviours to ensure you help your body the most you can is important. So maybe it's time to consider a better breakfast.
Plus, just like getting your exercise in first thing in the morning, getting more nutrition in first thing means if you fall off the bandwagon a little later in the day you can rest assured you at least got some goodness in for the day. Eating a serving of this granola with a cup of natural greek yoghurt and a cup of blueberries gives you a third of your daily fibre needs, around a quarter of your iron requirements, a good hit of vitamin C from the berries, healthy fats in the nuts, seeds and coconut and plenty of protein in the greek yoghurt. Two pieces of sourdough with jam and butter gives you nearly no added nutrients such as vitamin C or iron, no protein, around 4 teaspoons of sugar and a fifth of the fibre the granola breakfast gives you. Both are comparable in calories, one just nourishes you a whole lot more than the other.
The added benefit of the spices in this granola make it warming and gently stimulating on your digestive system and also stimulates blood flow around your body. Ginger and cardamom are also well known to decrease feelings of nausea and stomach discomfort, two common symptoms of people who don't like breakfast. The cinnamon in the granola promotes blood sugar control, something that should begin first thing in the morning to keep you on the straight and narrow throughout the day.
Have I convinced you to try something new for breakfast yet? This granola is one of the easiest to make and won't let you down in the flavour department. If you insist on not being able to eat breakfast prior to leaving for work then make a jar up with yoghurt, berries and granola and eat it as soon as your bum hits the office chair.
makes one big batch
3 cups coconut flakes
2 cups mixed raw nuts
1 cup raw seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, buckwheat)
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp flaxseeds
2 tbsp maple syrup or brown rice syrup
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tspn ground ginger
1 tspn ground cardamom
a pinch of salt
- Heat your oven to 160 degrees celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper
- Place all the ingredients of the granola into a mixing bowl and toss well until everything is well coated
- Spread the mixture evenly out onto the baking tray and place in the oven for 15 minutes, turning midway through
- Remove from the oven and let it cool before transferring it to a container to store
- If you are aiming for a low FODMAP version of this recipe, make sure you choose nuts that are suitable for your dietary requirements. You can also consider increasing the amount of seeds and decreasing the amount of nuts to ensure you do not exceed the tolerable intake level of nuts. Also ensure you use brown rice syrup instead of maple syrup for this recipe.
- If you like your granola crunchy and dark then you can continue cooking the granola until it's at the colour you like.
- If you are missing some ingredients then substitute by adding extra of other ingredients you've got in your pantry. Once you've figured out just how you like it you will not need to go by the recipe anymore.
- I'm currently enjoying this granola with fresh cut mango and a big serving of fresh greek yoghurt. I highly recommend.