Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Festive Antioxidant Holiday Granola Recipe

Staying true to my last post, I’m following up with my promise to share my favourite way to have granola.  For me, this all stemmed from back in the day when I could tolerate goat milk yogurt (I miss those days!), but nevertheless, non-dairy yogurt or simply almond/coconut milk will do just fine.  Two of my favourite non-dairy yogurts are So Delicious Cultured Almond Milk Yogurt and So Delicious Coconut Yogurt.  More recently I also discovered a local brand of organic almond milk yogurt called 'Almond Yoga' from the company Crave Conscious in North Vancouver.  I suggest you experiment and see which you like best!  If you are fine with dairy products, just look for an organic yogurt made with whole milk.

An exciting new discovery - locally made almond milk yogurt

Just in time for the holidays, this recipe features a beautiful medley of Christmas-coloured fruits – mango, kiwi, and pomegranate, the true star (you'll see why later).  While I chose these fruits for their festive colours, they also carry incredible health benefits.  Let's review those first before we get to the recipe!

Don't these colours just irresistibly put you in the Christmas spirit?

Aside from being completely delicious, mangos are a rich source of vitamin A and C, fibre, and a variety of minerals and phytochemicals.  In addition, a study at Oklahoma State University suggested that mango could help reduce body fat and have positive effects on blood glucose and cholesterol levels, demonstrating a similar effect to the drug rosiglitazone (used to lower blood glucose levels).

Tommy Atkins mango, freshly diced.  Ataúlfo mangos are also delicious, 
and both are readily available at most supermarkets.

Kiwis are an incredible source of vitamin C.  With one kiwi containing 120% the recommended daily intake, they contain a higher concentration of vitamin C than oranges!  Kiwis are also an impressive source of fibre and potassium, as well as a variety of flavonoids and carotenoids that offer antioxidant protection.  As a tip, to get the most fibre from your kiwi, leave the peel on.  It might take some getting used to, but if you can get past the fuzzy peel, all the better for meeting your daily fibre requirement!

The kiwi is truly a stunning fruit.  I suggest you get acquainted!

As a side note, a good rule of thumb is to not peel any fruit or vegetable that you can easily pierce with your fingernail (other examples: apples, cucumbers, potatoes).  On the contrary, do remove the peel of those fruits and vegetables that are not easily penetrable (bananas and oranges are the most common examples here).

Aside from being rich in potassium, fibre, folic acid and other B vitamins, pomegranates are an outstanding source of antioxidants.  In fact, one study found that pomegranate juice was superior to grape juice and red wine in providing antioxidant protection against free radicals.  Pomegranates offer great cardiovascular benefit, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, preventing abnormal clot formation (which can cause heart attacks and stroke), and promoting reversal of atherosclerotic plaque deposition; they are also well-known for their anti-cancer properties.  

The only downside to pomegranates is that they are known for being difficult to de-seed.  Fear no more!  Pomegranates are the true star of this post because I've discovered the most amazing video to share with you:  How to De-Seed a Pomegranate in 10 Seconds Using a Wooden Spoon.  I’ve done it and trust me, it works!  Prepare to be amazed at 3:07.  You won’t be picking apart pomegranates anymore if you follow the simple instructions in the video.  And it’s fun, too!

From left to right: Pomegranate half, pomegranate seeds successfully removed, 
and the empty pomegranate shell!

Alright, I bet you're salivating by now, knowing what a nutritious & antioxidant-rich treat you're in for!  I won't keep you in suspense any longer.  Here's the simple recipe:

Festive Antioxidant Holiday Granola

Ingredients (serves 1):

1/2 mango, diced
1 kiwifruit, diced
3-4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
1/4-1/3 cup Healthy Maple Granola
Almond or coconut milk (or yogurt, if a thicker consistency is desired)

If using yogurt, put a few large spoonfuls in the bottom of a single-serving sized bowl.  If not using yogurt, skip this step and layer mango and kiwi chunks evenly, then sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top.  It'll be looking beautiful already!  The finishing touch is definitely the granola - sprinkle granola as the final layer, and if you didn't use yogurt, add almond/coconut milk as desired.  Eat the whole thing with a spoon and enjoy!

A close-up view - it makes me happy, just looking at the bright medley of colours!

Next time:  My dad's birthday is coming up this week, and I'm happy to be in the same city as him so I can make him a birthday dessert!  My next post will be a Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Grain-Free Apple Pie.  It's a surprise, so don't tell him... Mmmm, I'm excited already!

Ignarro LJ, Byrns RE, Sumi D, de NF, Napoli C. Pomegranate juice protects nitric oxide against oxidative destruction and enhances the biological actions of nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide. 2006 Sep;15(2):93-102.

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