Well, it’s February in New York City. Two weeks ago we had a blizzard that left us with 25 inches of snow, a few days ago the high was 62°F, now it’s snowing again…
The groundhog didn’t see his shadow, which means early spring, however knowing the erratic and increasingly frightening weather patterns of NY (and the planet), I can only imagine what the weather will look like from now until the first day of spring. I’m forecasting another snow storm on March 20. Just wait, global warming at it’s finest.
In other urgent news, I’m in higher spirits for January is finally over! Hip-hip-hooray! The month of discipline, reset, and focus, may always feel good for the first few weeks, but come Martin Luther King Day, I’m ready for things to be “back to normal”. Back to being social, enjoying a glass (or 3) of wine, accepting that New Year goals will indeed evolve over the remaining 11 months, and that’s ok.
It’s not that we should all let loose now, and be reckless with our habits, but I often find people (me) attempting feats in January that may be a bit overwhelming or down right not fun…
I decided to stay alcohol-free all of January. I wanted to see how my body would react. I assumed that I would loose weight, drop my body fat percentage, sleep better, feel overall more energized, etc. Now that I’m on the other side of this challenge, I’m honestly not sure that the boredom and frustrations were worth it. I don’t need alcohol to relax or have a good time, but there’s a reason that Blue Zone communities consume a modest amount of alcohol on a daily level.
I saw little to no change in my body composition, and after two weeks I found myself looking to other ‘villains’ to feed my vice. HELLO SUGAR! (Perhaps this is why I saw no change in body composition, oy…) While attempting to keep myself busy, and keep my pantry filled with sweet snacks that would curb my cravings, but not be completely nutritionally void, I whipped up a batch of this favorite granola. I ate it over yogurt, I ate it like cereal with almond milk, I ate it out of the jar, it’s that good.
Note: This recipe is adapted from Anna Brones of Foodie Underground, it was sent to me from an old client and dear friend of mine, Jessica, the same sweetie that gave me the cat cereal bowl featured in my last post.
Hazelnut Granola with Toasted Quinoa
-2 C. old-fashioned rolled oats
-1 C. unsweetened shredded coconut
-1 C. raw hazlenuts, coarsley chopped
-1 C. dried figs, chopped or cut into small pieces with kitchen shears
-1/4 C. uncooked white quinoa
-2 tsp. cinnamon
-1 tsp. ground cardamom
-1 tsp. sea salt
-3 Tbsp. olive oil
-2 Tbsp. honey
-In a medium bowl, combine oats, coconut, hazlenuts, figs, salt, and spices.
-Place the quinoa in a small frying pan and toast over medium heat, constantly stirring to prevent burning. When you start hearing popping and the quinoa is turning golden, this means the quinoa is toasted, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add toasted quinoa to the oat mixture. Stir the ingredients together until combined.
-Pour olive oil and honey into a small saucepan, slowly warm on low heat. As it warms, whisk or stir with a fork until the oil and honey are thoroughly blended together, about 1-2 minutes. Pour over the oat mixture, fold everything together until the oats and other ingredients are evenly coated.
-Spread out the oat mixture on a baking tray and bake at 325°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Granola is ready when it has a golden brown color to it.
-Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, place into a glass jar with a lid to store. Enjoy!
As I look onward at the remaining 2016, it’s not that I feel setting goals is unnecessary, or that we should be drinking and indulging everyday. I’m moreso realizing that success and achievement doesn’t necessarily have to come from a point of deprivation or extreme. In fact, maybe it’s quite the opposite.
Sure it’s incredibly useful and in some cases mandatory for your health and well-being, to be rid of toxic things in your life: ‘unhealthy’ food, jobs, people, relationships, the list goes on, but the more we tell ourselves “no” and consider all the things we “can’t” do, have, enjoy, etc. we find other means of getting around these boundaries. This can be an informative, frustrating, and eye-opening discovery of self and how human we really all just are. In 2016, perhaps we can figure out a way other than deprivation to get to that primal discovery.
Perhaps thoughtful moderation, planning, and management are means to a better approach. Perhaps more compassion for yourself and your vices. Perhaps self-acceptance. Maybe that’s what we’re all just after when we take on these tasks or challenges…Can we accept the person that we are? Can we accept what we’re trying to change? Can we still accept ourselves if we don’t achieve these great changes?
As I continue to mull over these constantly occurring yet shifting thoughts in my head, I do know that I will do so with a glass of wine and probably some more granola.