Last weekend I snuck away to New York to attend a conference for my holistic health coach training. It was an energetic and inspiring two days worth of learning from some of the top leaders in the health and wellness field. A few of the highlights were Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Lissa Rankin, Marie Forleo, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Dr. Daphne Miller, among many others. I wish I could share with you everything they spoke about, but the one thing they all have in common in their life's work is,in their own way, they each operate from a mindset that wellness is achieved through the dynamic interplay of all facets of life; of course our diet and exercise but also our relationships, careers, emotional well-being, thoughts and attitudes, and spirituality. This is the model from which we are also trained at IIN. I love the way Lissa Rankin presents this idea.
The other highlight of the weekend was being surrounded by like-minded individuals on the same mission: to share our passion as wellness warriors for helping others create small, positive, and sustainable changes for more health and happiness in their diet and lifestyle. On that note, I must briefly put in a plug for the movie Fed Up, released in the U.S. earlier this month. It's a documentary exposing the truth about the food and sugar industries in America. Check out the article and trailer.
Now onto this snack mix. I have several work and play trips coming up in the next few months, and this mix is one of several options I choose between to take when I am traveling. Yes, it is basically a glorified trail mix, but here's the backstory. When I make granola I find myself picking out the roasted nuts, coconut flakes, and dried fruit pieces, the good stuff. I cherry pick (quite literally, if dried cherries are in the mix), and that's how Snacking Granola came about. "Just the Goods" was coined by Milena, for her all-natural skin care line name, and it is fitting for this as well.
But if I'm going to go to the trouble of making my own trail mix, I might as well make it special and interesting. I know it's not always practical, but why don't we take more time with our food, time to contemplate what we really like and really want to have? It makes the whole experience of preparing and eating it that much more enjoyable. Plus when we engage more with our food and use all of our senses, including our desires to guide our decision and the anticipation of it all coming together, don't you think we will feel content with less because we are satiated on a deeper level? This to me is what mindful eating is all about.
I have been making versions of this mix for a while, but after reading this post I decided to add some spice. If you don’t have five-spice just use cinnamon, or no spice at all is fine too. The key is to decide what flavors, dried fruits, and nuts you really enjoy. Or if you're up for an adventure, play around with some unusual combinations, or new-to-you ingredients. What about brazil nuts or dried strawberries, pineapple, or nectarine? Get creative, treat yourself to the bulk bins at a natural food store and find something exciting to you. It's the intentions we carry into our days and the small moments and pleasures that bring joy to our life.
Just the Goods Snacking Granola
Notes: Nut allergies? No problem, pumpkin and sunflower seeds would be great. No five-spice? Just use cinnamon, or no spice at all.
- 1 scant Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil
- 1 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
- 2 tsp. maple syrup or honey (optional)
- Small pinch salt
- 1 1/2 cups (200 gr) almonds
- Several large handfuls flaked coconut
- Several large handfuls dried mango, chopped
- Quality dark chocolate bar (70% cacao or higher), cut into chunks (~50 gr)
- Turn oven on to 350 F (176 C). Place coconut oil on a small baking sheet and place in oven while oven is preheating. Remove baking sheet once coconut oil has melted. Skip this step if your coconut oil is liquid at room temperature.
- Pour maple syrup over oil on baking sheet, if using. Sprinkle five spice powder and salt evenly over oil, and add almonds. Toss with a wooden spoon until almonds are fully coated in oil and spices. Return to oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until almonds smell nutty and are golden brown. Toss half-way through and stir in coconut at this point, if you'd prefer it to be toasted also.
- Remove from oven, and let cool completely. Add coconut (if it wasn't added earlier), mango, and chocolate. Toss to combine and store in airtight jars or plastic bags.