Happy (a little belated!) new year!!
There’s been so much in the press this January regarding the sugar content of our cereal. Of particular worry is how much our children are consuming from what most parents see as a healthy meal choice. Public Health England have highlighted this saying many children are consuming over half of their recommended sugar allowance for the day before they reach school. To see more about this argument I would really recommend watching the BBC breakfast interview with one of my favourite experts on functional medicine Dr Chatterjee: http://www.drchatterjee.co.uk/blog/video-kids-eating-too-much-sugar-at-breakfast.cfm
Cereal was a concept first invented by the Kellogg brothers in the C19th who came up with the ‘cornflake’ idea for breakfast. John Harvey Kellogg was a medical doctor with a particular focus on nutrition and favoured a low protein, vegetarian, high carbohydrate diet as a means of promoting health. Although some of his views were extreme, offensive and strange and what we would now consider totally outrageous (especially his views on racial segregation, sexuality and abstinence!) some of the basic nutritional values that he encouraged were similar today in that he promoted the use of whole foods and whole grains. However, alas it is John Harvey Kellogg and his brother we have to thank for their poor legacy - the breakfast cereal. Nowadays, the concept has been bastardised even beyond the first flawed concept with many children eating chocolate, marshmallows and copious amounts of sugar in their cereal - very little nutritional value and not a good way to start the day for anyone.
So lecture and history lesson over! Here's a quick and simple recipe if you're trying to improve your breakfasts. Ditch the sugary, shop-bought granola's and concentrate on something homemade and wholesome with less of the sweet stuff but still glorious and warming for breakfast. I especially enjoy this with warm coconut or almond milk on a cold morning for a real wholesome treat. As well as containing some nice protein sources with the seeds and nuts, it also contains cinnamon which is great for reducing the glycaemic index of foods especially beneficial for diabetics and those with high cholesterol. (** you need to make sure you are using true / ceylon cinnamon rather than cassia cinnamon which doesn't possess the same health benefits)
400g of jumbo or rolled oats
80g of coconut oil
2-3 teaspoons of ceylon cinnamon (to taste)
4 tablespoons of chia seeds
60g desiccated coconut
50g of raisins
50g of pumpkin seeds (or other seeds / nuts of your choice e.g. sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, macadamia, pecan, brazil nuts - be creative!)
150ml of maple syrup
Pre-heat the oven to 160C or 140C (fan assisted).
Mix all of the ingredients (except raisins and coconut oil) in a mixing bowl. Heat the coconut oil in a pan until melted then add to the mixing bowl. Spread the granola mixture evenly on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove the tray from oven and leave to cool, then mix in the raisins. Store in a glass, sealed jar - this should keep for 2-3 weeks. Enjoy!