Granola fell out of favor for a while, at least with those of us who championed the benefits of a low-carb diet. And for a while—let’s face it—most granola was just candy masquerading as a health food. I even saw some “healthy” granolas in the supermarket that featured high-fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient! But in the past few years, I’ve had a change of heart.
This terrific spiced granola is one reason why. In this version, the only grain is oats—which is gluten-free and rarely a problem for most people, even those who generally avoid grains. There’s a little bit of maple syrup, true, but if you use Grade B, it’s got a few minerals in it, and you always have the option of using inulin for a sugar-free (higher-fiber) version.
A rich dose of coconut oil (see below) helps to insure that the overall glycemic impact of this granola is moderate to low. Unless you’re on an extremely carb-restricted eating plan (such as a keto diet) there’s no reason not to put a granola of this quality back on your menu.
Try it over plain yogurt with fresh summer berries or other seasonal fruit. And it’s perfect to make ahead and eat as an “instant” breakfast for up to two weeks! —Dr. Jonny
Featured ingredient: Coconut Oil
Coconut oil was once damned by health authorities for being a saturated fat. But research over the past decade has discounted the notion that saturated fat causes heart disease, and coconut oil—a textbook example of a healthy saturated fat—is having a second act.
The fat in coconut oil is actually a blend of many different fatty acids, four of which are classified as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Three of these MCTs are processed in the body similarly to carbs—they’re used almost immediately for energy and the body prefers not to store them. These fatty acids can also generate ketones, which are a wonderful source of fuel for the heart, muscles, and brain. The fourth MCT found in coconut oil—lauric acid—is processed more conventionally, but has antiviral and antimicrobial properties. MCTs inhibit bacterial and virus growth, reduce LDL and increase HDL, and increase fat burning. And MCTs are frequently used as a major source of calories in ketogenic diets.
In his seminal book, Medicinal Plants of the World, the dean of American herbalists, James Duke, wrote that coconut and coconut oil are used as folk remedies to treat more than 35 different ailments from abscesses to wounds. And it’s well known that the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and amino acids increases when infants are fed a diet using coconut oil. It also has substantial antioxidant power. Populations that consume coconut as a major part of their diets are rarely troubled by osteoporosis and heart disease. It’s long been observed that people from the Pacific Islands and Asia whose diets are very high in coconut oil are surprisingly free from degenerative diseases.
Notes from The Clean Food Coach
Silpats are inexpensive, French-made baking mats composed of fiberglass and silicone. Use in place of parchment paper to better prevent sticking and bottom-scorching with baked goods such as cookies, nuts, or even roasted vegetables. They are long-lasting, heat resistant to 480ºF, and easy to clean—simply wipe down with a soapy sponge, rinse well, and hang dry. They are absolutely perfect for scorch-sensitive dishes like this granola.
Try our Easy Citrus-Spiked Granola recipe.