"She's so.....granola"

I heard someone described as "granola" recently...and I loved it! It's so accurately descriptive! Well, not of me...but hippies. Ya know..the earthy, with nature, hemp-wearing, granola-y type. Fits in perfectly! I'm going to use it all the time. Exciting, right?

Anyway, the subject is somewhat relative to my main New Year's Resolution: get healthy. You just fell out of your chair due to shock...I know. About ten years ago(ish), my dad had a mini-mid-life crisis. Losing some weight was an objective but it was about more than that. It was about completely changing his lifestyle. As he started riding 40 miles a day on his bike, he also became very aware of his eating habits. And while he was reading and learning all this new stuff, my family and I were hearing about it regularly. At the beginning, it was a lot about exercise and being active and burning calories. Then there were the foods that would make you uber healthy, superfoods, which included blueberries, broccoli, spinach, raspberries, etc. (basically any food with very bright coloring). Ten years later, after 3 Ironman competitions, two 100-mile bike races in the mountains of Colorado, a few new bike purchases, losing a few pounds and packing on some muscle, it was really just about living a long, healthy life. What does that entail? It doesn't mean being skinny and eating fat free, carb free, sugar free foods! It means being fit, flexible, having a strong core, eating foods that make you live longer, understanding how and why you should eat those foods, and just feeling good. My dad has become somewhat of a preacher when it comes to this stuff. He could write this much better than I could! I would love to convince him to teach a class.

I have been preached to many a times! I am built just like my dad...unfortunately. My older brother, of course, was built just like my mother! (My younger brother might as well have been adopted because I am unsure how he fits in! He's about 6'1" and 200lbs of muscle.) Life is so unfair...jk...jk...my dad hates when I say that! But seriously, I am built just like him. I could blow up at any point. Scary thought! Luckily, I have had him building and maintaining my motivation for years. This Christmas he bought me the book he just read called UltraMetabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss .

So far, I love the book. It starts by informing you that our country's obesity levels have tripled in about thirty years. You would think we were getting smarter, instead, we're just getting fatter. It goes on to explain how different foods effect your body and metabolism. It touches on obesity, the food industry and government policy, which is a really great aspect to the book, despite the hostility you might feel towards the USDA. Bottom line, we are in control of our metabolisms and we can make it run more quickly and smoothly if we want. You do that by eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Eating food that is processed, which is our country's forte, ruins you. It slows down your metabolism, makes you fat, gives you heart disease, and all of that other bad stuff. We have actually processed foods that are barely what you could consider food, i.e. shortening/trans fat! It's almost like a form of soft plastic. Gross.

Are you seeing how "granola" made its way into this post yet? Before I give you the wrong impression, I am in no way perfect. When it comes to eating, I am no saint. I love cheeseburgers. I love french fries. I love pasta. I love bread of all types. I love butter. I love Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich combo meal! Truthfully, I love high fructose corn syrup because, lets face it, everything that it's in tastes good! BUT...yes, but...over the years, I have learned a little about high fructose corn syrup, and I understand what it is and what it does to you. I tend to be the person in the grocery store that takes 2 hours to buy a few things because I read labels religiously. Sadly, I am not amazing at implementing my knowledge into my daily lifestyle, hence my New Year's Resolution. I may read the labels, but, disappointingly, restaurants don't have labels, and I really enjoy eating out. I can say that I try though! If you have noticed, the recipes I have posted thus far are for the most part healthy and use whole, raw foods. I am very passionate about making food healthy/making healthy foods, even if I completely butcher something to the point where your dog won't eat it. (That hasn't happened yet. I don't own a dog.) It's like a challenge to me. How many bad ingredients can you remove and how many good ingredients can you substitute? On that note, future warning: I will most likely only provide healthy recipes. When I say healthy, I don't mean strictly fruits and veggies. There will be some butter, sugar, bad carbs and probably a decent amount of cheese. Also, if it's disgusting, I'm sorry. Don't make it again? What can I say? I like to experiment.

Here's to eating better in 2010!

Homemade Granola (surprised???):

2 cups Rolled Oats
1 handful of Almonds
1 handful of Pumpkin Seeds
1 tbsp. Sunflower Seeds
1/4 cup Raisins
3 tbsp. Canola Oil
1/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

-Toss the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil, honey and brown sugar in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan.

-Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.

-Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the raisins. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container. You can use the container your rolled oats came in.

-Pour it over some Greek yogurt and Enjoy!

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