Sunday, May 13, 2012

Process This

The more I learn about processed foods the less I want to buy and consume them.  I thought I was doing good by avoiding those fast food establishments, but then I took a good look at what I was eating at home and it wasn't much better.  It wasn't that I didn't know better -I just didn't think about it.  I was just so busy and tired and they were so convenient.

Not all processed foods are "bad" for you though some extremists will argue that point.  Take frozen fruits and vegetables - they maintain a lot of their nutrients and have no additives.  At the other end of the scale we have the pizza-type pocket's, which are more or less a processed food product that is made with processed food products.  How much of it is real food?  Do we even know what we're eating anymore?

I strongly believe it's processed food that's making us unhealthy and overweight, and with little energy.  High in unhealthy fats, salt and sugars, there is really little nutrition - just empty calories. If we are what we eat, we need to make sure we're eating whole natural foods and not processed unnatural ones.  Even some so called healthy foods like yogurt can be high in sugar - always check your labels.  (IMO yogurt should contain two ingredients:  milk and  live bacterial cultures).  When you do have to use processed foods look for brands with the fewest ingredients and ingredients that you can easily pronounce!

There are so many processed dinner products out there that one  doesn't have to do any real cooking any more - just pop everything in the oven or microwave from the freezer.  It worries me that the art of actual cooking is becoming lost to future generations and I hope that's not the case.

Every couple weeks I make myself some fresh granola - I like to eat it as a topping on yogurt and fruit, or as a little power snack when I want something sweet and crunchy.   Dried fruit may be added after cooling.  Remember that granola is calorie-dense so keep portions small!


Preheat oven to 275 and spray large roasting pan or 2 - 13 x 10 metal pans with cooking spray.

In large bowl mix together:

4 cups large flake or old fashioned rolled oats ( I like to use 3 c. oats and 1 c. rolled spelt flakes)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

In small saucepan bring to a simmer:

1/2 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons virgin coconut oil (may use canola oil)
2 tablespoons water

Pour the syrup/oil mixture over the oat mixture and stir to coat well.   Pour into prepared pan(s) and with clean hands squeeze to form some clumps.  Bake in center of oven for 30 minutes; stir and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp.  Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


  1. Ohh yummo! That looks good. I'm going to order myself some coconut oil today I think. I can't wait to see how it tastes in granola! We never ate much processed food when we were growing up, except what we used to buy with our allowances at the Hillcrest store. Mom was pretty good that way, well, except for the storebought cookies. And the chips behind the dresser. :-)

  2. It is frightening when you look at the ingredients in some products, half of them I have no clue what they are! I can understand that these foods are convenient, but at what cost to health? I am fortunate that I haven't had to work since having children, so I always made their meals from scratch. Once when I was running late I bought a lasagne from our premier supermarket, and my daughter, all of about nine at the time, kept repeating, but we don't eat ready meals. You would have thought I was trying to poison her!

    1. Tracey, I stayed at home when my kids were growing up too and all their meals were made from scratch! It was a labour of love from me to them! I think they appreciated it too!

  3. Tha Granola recipe looks good. Could be made with less sugar as well therefore making it an even healthier food...
    Hope you are having a good day,
    God bless,
    Sybil UK

    1. Sybil, I was thinking of substituting agave nectar for the maple syrup the next time I make it, to make it lower glycemic. Agave is sweeter so I would be able to use less. I'll have to post the results of my experiment!