Updated: Jun 4, 2022
Whether you are already a master of making your own granola, or a beginner preparing to make it on your own for the first time, we know that you’ll take something new away from this post. So read on, and tell us what you think in the comment section below. Enjoy!
The History of Granola
Granola, originally known as Granula, found its humble beginnings through Dr. James Caleb Jackson in Dansville, New York in 1863. Dr. Jackson was a firm believer that the quality of an individual's health and well being was linked to their diet. He was a proponent for a vegetarian based diet, mainly consisting of unprocessed grains, fruit, and vegetables.
Dr. Jackson’s Granula consisted of graham flour which was baked in sheets and broken down into smaller pieces shaped like nuggets. Dr. Jackson’s creation was marketed and sold through his company 'Our Home Granula Company' as the world’s first breakfast cereal.
The word Granola came about through the legal dispute that occurred between John Harvey Kellogg (Yes, founder of Kellogg's), and Dr. Jackson. Kellogg developed a similar cereal shortly after Jackson’s Granula, but was forced to change the name of his product in order to avoid legal repercussions. Thus, the word Granola was born.
Fast Forward to the 1960’s
Granola found new light in the 1960’s and experienced a revival through the hippie-movement with the addition of fruits and nuts. Granola then consisted of rolled oats, honey, nuts, seeds, and various other combinations. It was labelled as a 'health food' and boundless varieties were born, evolving into what we know as Granola today.
How Is Granola Made?
Granola, as we know it in the 21st Century, typically consists of rolled oats, a sweetener, and a variety of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. The varieties are endless! Adding chocolate, dehydrated or freeze-dried fruits, and even candy is not unheard of.
Making Granola is a pretty simple affair. Granola is made by mixing your wet ingredients with the dry, smoothing your mixture onto an oven-safe pan, and baking the Granola in an oven at low temperatures until golden. The Granola hardens as it cools, thanks to the oil and sweetener of your choosing, and can be broken up in large chunks or small, depending on personal preference. There are also ways of dehydrating Granola if you want to avoid baking in the oven. The most challenging part of making Granola yourself is waiting for it to cool and harden before diving in with a spoon (or your hands, we won't judge).
The Health Benefits of Granola
Granola is both a nutritious and delicious snack that can be enjoyed anytime of the day. In using typical ingredients such as rolled oats, honey or maple syrup, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and dried-fruits, granola has numerous health benefits for our bodies! Here are just a few:
High in Fiber
Granola is dense in fiber and healthy fats, which aids in weight loss. Fiber has a tendency to absorb water and bulk up food, making us feel fuller, longer. Because of this process, fiber helps to quell our appetite and inhibit our body from producing a hormone which causes us to feel hungry, known as ghrelin.
Lots of Manganese
Most Granolas contain high traces of manganese which is proven to have antioxidant properties. The National Cancer Institute has stated that antioxidants are able to seek out and eliminate free radicals within the body. With the elimination of free radicals, you can greatly reduce your chance of experiencing unhealthy conditions within the body. Manganese is also shown to be a fantastic regulator of blood sugar, and can both stimulate or inhibit the release of insulin into our bloodstream, depending on what our bodies need.
Decreases Cholesterol Levels
Oats are commonly the main component of Granola. Oats contain a compound called beta-glucan, which has been known to reduce levels of LDL, also known as the "bad" cholesterol. LDL cholesterol clogs blood vessels and can lead to heart disease and other health issues.
Granola can be a great source of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), and just a single serving can make up 20% of the recommended daily requirement. Vitamin E is shown to protect skin from sunburns, wrinkles, premature aging, and can improve our overall heart health.
Overall Health Booster
Depending which nuts/seeds you choose to put into your granola, you will most likely end up with a hearty amount of micronutrients, protein, and vitamins/minerals. When you add extra 'oomph' to your granola (like probiotic-rich yogurt), you can create a superfood snack with minimal effort!
On an ending note, we'd like to put out a reminder that eating too much of a good thing can have the opposite effect you desire. Like all things, eat your granola in moderation and pay attention to the unique needs of your body.
Happy eating, everyone!
Vancouver Island’s Own is a family-owned and operated business specializing in gourmet, vegan, and organic granola & trail mix, handmade with love in Victoria, BC. We believe in encouraging others to explore and connect with the environment in order to ensure our collective well-being.
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