It’s Granola Week!

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That’s right, it’s Granola Week!!  That does not mean we are going to be making cereal all week.  Although there will be a granola recipe on Friday, as promised.  So what does “Granola Week” mean?

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“Granola” is a term often used for folks who embrace things like wheat germ, flax seeds, spirulina, and omega 3 fatty acids.  “Granola” people search out the organic, grass fed, and hormone free foods, make their own laundry soap and weave shoes out of hemp.  There are varying degrees of “going granola” but with the popularity of stores like Trader Joes & Whole Foods, Dr. Oz getting the message out and celebrities touting all sorts of alternative eating lifestyles, “going granola” is very chic these days.

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But let me tell you something, my mamma was “granola” long before it was cool and I grew up eating some weird stuff.  When I was little, every morning I had to take a big spoonful of cod liver oil (and not the cool flavored kind they have now!), I ate peanut butter that was freshly ground in front of my eyes and you could literally peel it off the bread it was so dense.  That is, when I was allowed to eat bread.  There was a whole era that I was only allowed to eat my peel-off-peanut-butter on rice cakes, no bread.  I ate homemade fruit leather (which was convenient since I lived on a fruit farm), puffed millet cereal, 12 vitamin supplements a day and so much more.

Fortunately, my mom also believed in balance so although we did eat really healthy 90% of the time, she also made desserts made with real sugar and butter and pork sausage was always in our fridge.

When I got older, I found myself craving the healthy foods I had grown up with and at the New Year when people are making all sorts of resolutions to eat better, treat their bodies better, I think it’s a good time to give a little nod to “going granola”.  It’s the best time to purge the junk out of our systems and maybe adopt some healthier habits for 2012.

So for today, I want to issue a really simple challenge:  as you eat this week, be mindful of how much packaged, processed food you are consuming.  This was my New Year’s resolution 2 years ago and it really made a difference in my energy and overall health.  I hadn’t realized how reliant I had become on quick, processed food.  Me, the girl who grew up eating fresh, home cooked meals 3 times a day! 

The problem with most packaged, over-processed foods is that they are usually laden with sugar, sodium, preservatives and some other devious ingredients like partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and corn syrup.  In moderation, just about any food is ok, but when these things become a major part of your food intake it can cause trouble.  No, not canWill. 

So I’m asking you to just pay attention.  You don’t have to go through all your cupboards and throw out all your food, unless you want to, that is.  Just be mindful of what your eating, what you are cooking.  Is it a raw, whole ingredient or is it from a box?  Does it have more than 3 ingredients you cannot pronounce or don’t know what they are?  How much sugar and sodium is in it?  How much fat?  Is it good fat or bad fat?  Are there any vegetables or fruits involved in your daily eating?

When I started looking at what I was consuming, I started to change.  I began relying less on the pre-packaged lunches and started making my own quick lunches using whole foods and veggies.  If I did buy a packaged food, I made sure I recognized every ingredient and I wouldn’t buy anything with partially hydrogenated oil in it.

It made a difference.  I started having a bit more energy.  I started craving good-for-me foods instead of junk.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m no angel.  I don’t consider any food “banned”, just limited.  But my ratio of good to not-so-good food went way up and my body thanked me for it.

Just try it!

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