Chocolate and Macadamia Granola!
Chocolate and Macadamia Granola!
I'm very into desserts. Ever since I was little, I've had a massive sweet tooth.
However, in my teens, I started looking around for healthier ways of getting a chocolate fix. I went through a bit of a phase where I was vegan\a wannabe raw foodist. So it was during that time that I discovered raw desserts. I was amazed. I couldn't believe you could make a cake without cooking it, or you just used nuts for the crust! Unfortunately, all of these recipes I used relied heavily on "healthy" sweeteners like maple syrup, honey or agave.
Now I'm not saying these things are terrible and should be avoided - they are a much, much better alternative than sugar, and I often put a bit of honey in a warm drink when it's cold or if I'm fighting something - but I am saying that (like anything) in copious amounts these things do more damage than good. They're pretty much liquid carbs, and I was putting amounts like 1\4 to 1 cup of these sweeteners in my desserts.
The thing that I have discovered is that you don't really need these sweeteners 90% of the time, because there are often other elements that give the recipe the sweetness you need. I started to look into this when I began Crossfit, and my eyes were opened to eating healthily with healthy foods. For example, you might have a banana, an apple, and an orange every day, and consider that really healthy. Sure, these foods are great - packed with vitamins and minerals, and all sorts of lurgy- fighting stuff. However, they are really dense in fructose, and too much of this can spike your insulin big time and can be quite detrimental. So it's good to keep an eye on how much fruit you eat.
This was big news to me. Beforehand I figured if I ate typically considered healthy foods, my diet was fine. However it's important to take into account the sort of foods you are eating, and what sort of macronutrients they have in them (e.g protein, carbohydrates, fats). You can be eating sweet potato all day long, but you aren't going to get enough protein or good fats out of that. Keep in mind working out what works for your body is a journey. I think I'll probably be tweaking what I eat for many years to come.
Anyway, when I heard my coaches hadn't had raw desserts before I quickly went about correcting this and did something along the lines of a chocolate and raspberry cake. It was from there and as I discovered new approaches to diet, that I started to think about ways to reduce the amount of honey, maple syrup or agave, as well as other sweet elements (like banana) I put in things. I was trying to get away with a great tasting recipe with minimal call for sweet stuff.
That's when I figured out dates. I reckon dates are totally underrated. They give sweetness (and yes are very carbohydrate dense, but I believe it is a better alternative, plus they aren't in pure liquid form) and are so versatile. They are often in recipes with honey etc, so I wondered if I could just stick with the dates and omit the liquid sweetener. So from then experimenting with flavours and different recipes was underway. It's been lots of fun!
Moving on, here is the recipe for a granola I threw together today...
- 2 cups dates
- 375 grams macadamias
- 3/4 - 1 cup cashews
- 2 spoons chia seeds
- 2 generous spoons coconut oil (to be melted)
- 2 heaped spoons raw cocoa powder
- Blend the dates until well chopped.
- Add in macadamias and melted coconut oil.
- Blend until mixed together well.
- Add cashews, chia seeds and cocoa powder *.
- Blend until desired consistency is achieved.
- Serve with coconut milk or, like I did this afternoon, with some mixed berry coconut yoghurt. Enjoy!
Note: If mixture is too dry, add in a touch of water or more melted coconut oil.
© 2017 Sacha Elms