If you are dealing with one or more of several auto immune disorders, there’s a lot you can do with food to improve your symptoms. Note: None of this should be or is intended to be a replacement for medical care – seek the care that you can and believe in. Having said that, it could be enlightening to research the role that excess inflammation may have in creating autoimmune symptoms. For example, avoiding nightshades is recommended if you have gout/arthritis and going gluten-free is touted to help Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. As for myself, I have kept some annoying symptoms under control by eating anti-inflammatory foods and by doing an elimination diet to identify food sensitivities. This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, allergen-friendly, and can be made nut-free and low(er) fat.
Confession: I have been avoiding making granola for years. There is one good reason and one not so good. First, there are so many good, local brands for the not-too-frequent times I want a handful of granola or get into a crunching habit. HINT: if you'r avoiding snacks like chips and popcorn at the movies, bringing in a little baggie of granola can help you feel like you're keeping up with the crowd. And yes, I sneak my own food and drinks into movie theaters - every time - but my husband buys himself a giant popcorn every time, so I think we're paying our dues. Anyway, the second reason I never made granola until recently was because I learned what being called “crunchy granola “meant when I was so-called by a roommate's boyfriend who definitely didn't mean it as a compliment. So, as Young Me harrumphed and turned around with my long flowery skirt floating on the air behind me, I decided that, hippyish as I was, I wasn’t going to give anyone who claims that organic farming is a scam the satisfaction of – well, of being right (ONLY about the crunchy granola part, though.)
That part of my life is over in so many ways. Now, Not-as-young Me is free to make granola to my heart's content, and I will never go back to bags or bins. The difference in the toasty fresh taste of homemade simply does not compare with even the best granola that is uber-local, in bulk, store-bought, bland, boring, not-quite-right . . . you get the picture.
I can't speak for all granola, but I can say that THIS granola is so easy. There are some ingredients that, when combined, sing like baby angels. Almond butter is expensive, but you'll probably find the cheapest brand at Trader Joe's, if you have one near you. Almonds are often tolerated better than its compadre, peanut butter, but they do both make the "Big 8" list of common food allergies (wheat, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, fish, shellfish, and soy). Okay, on to coconut: Trader Joe's is also where I found the large flake coconut pictured here. If you haven't been living in a tree stand or lost in a national park for the last 1-2 years, you'll already have heard that coconut and all of its various forms have a lot of nutritious and helpful qualities. But they are also very high in saturated fat, so use sparingly if you're concerned. Finally, to finish the trifecta: tart cherries. While TJ's does have small bags of Montmorency cherries for under $5, if you have the fortune of a Costco membership or know someone who does, you might find a much larger bag there, and for a phenomenal price of $8-9. These cherries and tart cherry juice have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body and specifically to improve symptoms of gout. So, let's just get on with the how-to:
CHERRY NUT GRANOLA
2 c. (generous) old-fashioned rolled oats - make sure they're gluten-free, like Bob's Red Mill
1 c. large flake coconut flakes
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. almond butter - substitute seed butter or apple sauce for nut-free or less-fat versions
1/4 c. maple syrup
optional 1 tsp - 1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. slivered almonds or chopped walnuts or pecans
1 c. dried Montmorency cherries, or more or less, to your taste
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees and oil or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) Combine dry (first three) ingredients in a medium bowl and mix to combine.
3) On stovetop over low-med heat in small saucepan, combine wet (next three) ingredients, including the coconut oil if using, heating and mixing only until smooth and adding the vanilla last.
4) Pour over dry ingredients, mix, and spread on baking sheet into one layer.
5) Bake for 10 minutes, remove, mix/stir/jostle and ADD NUTS. Return and bake 10-15 minutes longer
6) When a toasty golden color, remove, cool for 1-5 minutes, and add cherries.
When completely cool, store in a mason jar and enjoy within about 3 weeks - if it lasts that long.
This page is for some of my original or favorite recipes that I have used to promote health and healing. I assume that most people know that eating vegetables is healthy, so I focus on healthy treats and alternatives to grain, gluten, sugar, and dairy.
Brownie Batter for Moi
2-Ingredient Buckwheat Bread
Gluten-free Pumpkin Bundt, Hempseed Brownies, and Orange-scented Date Bars
Cherry Nut Granola
Blueberry Coffee Cake
Fluffy Pancakes (GF & DF)