Monday 31 August 2015

12 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency (and How to Get More)

Vitamin D is super important for our overall health. It regulates calcium and phosphorous absorption, boosts immune system, and is important to build strong muscles, teeth, and bones.
Some studies suggest that vitamin D plays an important role in reducing the risk of many diseases such as multiple sclerosis, heart diseases, and bacterial or viral infections.
Many people however are vitamin D deficient and they don’t even know it. So if you notice any of these signs, get your levels checked to be sure its Vitamin D you’re lacking.

12 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

1. Muscle and Bone Weakness:

Vitamin D is important for bones, muscles and teeth. Weakened bones, teeth, or muscles may be a sign that you are not getting enough of it.

2. Feeling Blue Or Sad: 

Researchers have found that woman with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to be depressed or struggle with deep feelings of sadness

3. Great Pain Sensitivity:

People who struggle with chronic pains often have inadequate vitamin D levels.

4. Chronic Gum Disease:

People with lower levels of vitamin D are more vulnerable for swelling, reddening, and bleeding of gums.

5. High Blood Pressure:

Vitamin D is important for your heart too. When you don’t get enough of it, you’re blood pressure may rise.

6. Fatigue and Sleepiness:

People with lower levels of vitamin D lack the energy during the day and may have a constant feeling of fatigue.

7. Mood Swings:

Vitamin D plays a role in serotonin production. This “feel good hormone” has a major impact on our mood.

8. Decreased Endurance:

Studies have shown that athletes with lower vitamin D levels preform less and have lower energy levels compared to other athletes.

9. Overweight:

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, stored in our fat cells. People who are overweight or obese therefore need more vitamin D.

10. Gut Issues: 

People who struggle with fat absorption (ex. Crohn’s, celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and inflammatory bowel disease), may have lower vitamin D levels as well.

11. Head Sweater:

Excessive head sweating is a common, early sign of vitamin D deficiency.

12. Allergies:

Adequate vitamin D can reduce allergies. A study done on 6000 individuals showed that people with low vitamin D levels are more susceptible to allergies.

Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin

The best way to get enough vitamin D is through sun exposure. How much sun you need a day depends on many factors such as age, skin color, time of the day, season, and the use of sunscreen.
Vitamin D production only happens when your skin is unprotected. So try and go out in the sun for at least 10 to 15 minutes before putting on your sunscreen to make sure you get your dose of sunshine vitamin. If you know you can go longer than 10 minutes without burning your skin, soak up some healing beams for about 20-30 minutes each day.

Foods That Contain Vitamin D

Only a few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Because vitamin D is becoming a major problem more and more foods are fortified with it.

Natural sources

Fortified sources

  • Milk
  • Cereals
  • Yogurt
  • Orange juice
FYI: when you boost your vitamin D intake it is also important to get enough vitamin K through your diet.
So if you feel any of the above signs, get your vitamin D levels checked and talk to your doctor. Try to up your intake through the sun or foods you eat, or take quality supplements if needed. There are many supplements out there and many of these contain harmful substances. So make sure to read the labels and opt for quality supplements if needed.

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Sunday 30 August 2015

Breaking habits before they start

Our daily routines can become so ingrained that we perform them automatically, such as taking the same route to work every day. Some behaviors, such as smoking or biting your fingernails, become so habitual that we can't stop even if we want to.

The MIT researchers, led by Institute Professor Ann Graybiel, used a technique called optogenetics to block activity in the IL cortex. This allowed them to control cells of the IL cortex using light. When the cells were turned off during every maze training run, the rats still learned to run the maze correctly, but when the reward was made to taste bad, they stopped, showing that a habit had not formed. If it had, they would keep going back by habit.
Although breaking habits can be hard, MIT neuroscientists have now shown that they can prevent them from taking root in the first place, in rats learning to run a maze to earn a reward. The researchers first demonstrated that activity in two distinct brain regions is necessary in order for habits to crystallize. Then, they were able to block habits from forming by interfering with activity in one of the brain regions—the infralimbic (IL) cortex, which is located in the prefrontal cortex.
"It's usually so difficult to break a habit," Graybiel says. "It's also difficult to have a habit not form when you get a reward for what you're doing. But with this manipulation, it's absolutely easy. You just turn the light on, and bingo."
Graybiel, a member of MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research, is the senior author of a paper describing the findings in the June 27 issue of the journal Neuron. Kyle Smith, a former MIT postdoc who is now an assistant professor at Dartmouth College, is the paper's lead author.
Patterns of habitual behavior
Previous studies of how habits are formed and controlled have implicated the IL cortex as well as the striatum, a part of the brain related to addiction and repetitive behavioral problems, as well as normal functions such as decision-making, planning and response to reward. It is believed that the motor patterns needed to execute a habitual behavior are stored in the striatum and its circuits.
Recent studies from Graybiel's lab have shown that disrupting activity in the IL cortex can block the expression of habits that have already been learned and stored in the striatum. Last year, Smith and Graybiel found that the IL cortex appears to decide which of two previously learned habits will be expressed.
"We have evidence that these two areas are important for habits, but they're not connected at all, and no one has much of an idea of what the cells are doing as a habit is formed, as the habit is lost, and as a new habit takes over," Smith says.
To investigate that, Smith recorded activity in cells of the IL cortex as rats learned to run a maze. He found activity patterns very similar to those that appear in the striatum during habit formation. Several years ago, Graybiel found that a distinctive "task-bracketing" pattern develops when habits are formed. This means that the cells are very active when the animal begins its run through the maze, are quiet during the run, and then fire up again when the task is finished.
This kind of pattern "chunks" habits into a large unit that the brain can simply turn on when the habitual behavior is triggered, without having to think about each individual action that goes into the habitual behavior.
The researchers found that this pattern took longer to appear in the IL cortex than in the striatum, and it was also less permanent. Unlike the pattern in the striatum, which remains stored even when a habit is broken, the IL cortex pattern appears and disappears as habits are formed and broken. This was the clue that the IL cortex, not the striatum, was tracking the development of the habit.
Multiple layers of control
The researchers' ability to optogenetically block the formation of new habits suggests that the IL cortex not only exerts real-time control over habits and compulsions, but is also needed for habits to form in the first place.
"The previous idea was that the habits were stored in the sensorimotor system and this cortical area was just selecting the habit to be expressed. Now we think it's a more fundamental contribution to habits, that the IL cortex is more actively making this happen," Smith says.
This arrangement offers multiple layers of control over habitual behavior, which could be advantageous in reining in automatic behavior, Graybiel says. It is also possible that the IL cortex is contributing specific pieces of the habitual behavior, in addition to exerting control over whether it occurs, according to the researchers. They are now trying to determine whether the IL cortex and the striatum are communicating with and influencing each other, or simply acting in parallel.
The study suggests a new way to look for abnormal activity that might cause disorders of repetitive behavior, Smith says. Now that the researchers have identified the neural signature of a normal habit, they can look for signs of habitual behavior that is learned too quickly or becomes too rigid. Finding such a signature could allow scientists to develop new ways to treat disorders of repetitive behavior by using deep brain stimulation, which uses electronic impulses delivered by a pacemaker to suppress abnormal brain activity.

Saturday 29 August 2015

Live Longer: The One Anti-Aging Trick That Works

by Robert Roy Britt

Anti-aging researchers have figured out how to add about 5 years to the human lifespan, but the technique is unlikely to be widely adopted. Meanwhile, research underway promises simple drugs and therapies that could eventually add 10 to 15 extra years to the average life and promise better health late in life. Charles Shapiro,

While the quest for the proverbial Fountain of Youth is endless and typically fruitless, one method known to extend the human lifespan by up to five years has quietly become accepted among leading researchers.
The formula is simple: Eat less. It could add years to your life, several experts now say. And done in moderation, it could at least help you live a more healthy life.
The only question is: Will the average person do it?

While little short of a nip-and-tuck will make you look younger, calorie restriction, as it is called, is as close to a real Fountain of Youth as any known technique comes. Even scientists who are cautious about anti-aging hype say it works, both by cutting risks for some diseases and by allowing all body cells, somehow, to hang in there longer.
"There is plenty of evidence that calorie restriction can reduce your risks for many common diseases including cancer, diabetes and heart disease," says Saint Louis University researcher Edward Weiss, who last week announced a new study that brings fresh understanding to how it works. "And you may live to be substantially older."

The numbers
Here's a rough rule of thumb that many experts generally agree on now: Eat 15 percent less starting at age 25 and you might add 4.5 years to your life, says Eric Ravussin, who studies human health and performance at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana.
One important caveat: Ravussin's estimate is based mostly on studies of other animals and only preliminary research in humans. But the work by Weiss and others is unlocking the mysteries of aging and suggesting the animal studies apply to humans.
"There is absolutely no reason to think it won't work," Ravussin toldLiveScience.
Perhaps even more promising, though in early stages of research, are drugs designed on the basis of what's been learned from calorie-restriction studies. Those drugs would target human cells to deliver the same benefits, turning off bad things and turning on good things to extend cell life in general, or offer new therapies and cures to vexing diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer.
If you can hang in there until these promising new drug therapies are developed, you may live in a world where lifespan increases by 10 to 15 years, researchers say.
Don’t plan on living to be 200, Ravussin said, "but I think we're going to gain quite a few years."

Mysteries remain

Scientists aren't sure exactly why calorie restriction slows aging. But they're on the verge of a firm understanding. In a nutshell, it is thought to lower metabolic rate and cause the body to generate fewer damaging "free radicals."
One hypothesis is that it decreases a thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine (T3), which then slows metabolism and tissue aging.
Weiss and colleagues studied men and women, aged 50 to 60, who did not smoke, were not obese and were in good health. The volunteers were split into three groups — a calorie-restriction group, an exercise group, or a control group — and followed for one year. The calorie-restriction group cut back by 300 to 500 calories per day. (A typical healthy adult diet should include about 2,000 calories.) Volunteers in the exercise group maintained their regular diet and exercised regularly.
While both the calorie-restriction and exercise groups experienced similar changes of body fat mass, only those in the calorie restriction group also experienced lower levels of the thyroid hormone. A longer-term study is still needed to pin down whether reducing T3 levels through calorie restriction indeed slows the aging process as suspected, the scientists say.
The results were published in the June issue of the journal Rejuvenation Research.


Weiss' work advances the body of anti-aging knowledge, said Christy Carter, an aging researcher and assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine.
"The more that scientists can demonstrate similar biological profiles between rodents and humans with regards to calorie restriction, the greater the possibility that lifespan extension will translate to human as well," Carter said.
Weiss figured it's sensible to take steps now. You can cut 300 to 500 calories by simply skipping dessert or substituting a turkey sandwich for fast food. A nutritional diet and exercise are important to any weight-loss effort, Weiss and others caution.
"Our research provides evidence that calorie restriction does work in humans like it has been shown to work in animals," Weiss said. "The next step is to determine if this in fact slows age-related tissue deterioration. The only way to be certain, though, is to do a long-term study."
Others agree: more research is needed.
"I think that they've documented a real and interesting effect of caloric restriction in humans," said UCLA evolutionary biologist Jay Phelan. "But they are still a long way from demonstrating that it changes human lifespan at all."
Proven in animals
Evidence that calorie restriction boosts lifespans in rodents is solid. Christiaan Leeuwenburgh of the University of Florida's Institute on Aging showed in 2006 that eating just 8 percent less and exercising a little more over a lifespan can reduce or even reverse aging-related cell and organ damage in rats.
Various studies have shown that cutting calories by 20 to 40 percent significantly both extends life and, with a little exercise, leaves old animals in better shape.
Eating fewer calories  also reduces age-related chronic diseases such as cancers, heart disease, and stroke in rodents. That's important because it suggests ways to not just make us live longer, but to allow us to age more gracefully, healthwise.
Research last year found that rats on a restricted diet are more physically fit in old age, apparently slowing the typical onset of physical disability. The rodents also looked and probably felt better: "Rats that ate a normal diet lost a significant amount of lean muscle mass and acquired more fat, while calorie-restricted rats maintained lean muscle mass as they aged," said lead researcher Tongjian You from the University of Buffalo. The finding was published in the October issue of the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.
Rodents are thought to be good analogues to humans. Dogs are even better.
A 14-year study of 48 Labrador Retrievers found restricting their diets by 25 percent starting at 8 weeks of age extended their lives by an average of 1.8 years. For a creature that typically never gets beyond its early teens, that's a big number. The findings were published back in 2002 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
"The study also showed that lean body conformation forestalls some chronic illnesses, most notably osteoarthritis," said University of Pennsylvania researcher Gail K. Smith, who worked on the dog study. Ailments typically struck the lean dogs 2.1 years later than the others.

Probably works in humans

Convincing humans to eat less, and then studying the effects over a lifetime, is considerably more challenging. But mounting research suggests that what works for rats and dogs seems to apply to people.
Studies are under way with monkeys, which have lifespans of around 25 to 30 years, and early indications are promising, Ravussin said.
A study of humans last year found that cutting calories in human test subjects reduced oxidative damage in muscle cells. In the journal PLoS Medicine, the researchers speculated that the effect might translate into longer life.
Researchers caution, however, that longer lifespans does not mean immortality. The vast majority of mainstream researchers envision lifespans extending a few years.
"My estimate would be that 40 years of caloric restriction would give a 3 to 7 percent increase in longevity, so an optimistic estimate would be an additional four years or so," said Phelan, the UCLA researcher.
But researchers are quick to point out that human nature is not  conducive to life-long calorie-restriction diets. "It's going to be limited to a few people who are going to try to do that," Ravussin said.

Seeking balance

"Suffering years of misery to remain super-skinny is not going to have a big payoff in terms of a longer life," Phelan said back in 2005 when the idea of "living forever" was particularly hyped in the media. "I once heard someone say caloric restriction may not make you live forever, but it sure would seem like it. Try to maintain a healthy body weight, but don't deprive yourself of all pleasure. Moderation appears to be a more sensible solution."
Phelan uses rodents as an example of why caution is warranted:
Mice will live longer if their diet is restricted by 10 percent, he said in 2005. "If you restrict their intake by 20 percent, they live even longer, and restrict them to 50 percent, they live longer still. But restrict their intake by 60 percent and they starve to death."
In an email interview the other day, Phelan said he stands by this assessment.
And Phelan now thinks there is "nothing" on the research horizon "that would extend lifespan in a significant amount, on the order of 10 or more years."

Big promise?

Other experts are optimistic that research into calorie restriction will lead to greater things.
Scientists are investigating what they call CR mimetics, or compounds that mimic the effects of calorie restriction. "This includes naturally occurring compounds and pharmaceuticals," explained Carter, the University of Florida researcher. "One that has received much attention lately is a compound called resveratrol, found in red wine."
Researchers have long pondered the French paradox: The French eat high-fat diets but live relatively long lives. Resveratrol and other compounds in red wine are thought by many to contribute to that good life. But testing any anti-aging drug or therapy sets up another tricky paradox: Nobody wants to invest in a 70-year test, and the Food and Drug Administration won't approve a chemical's use without thorough testing. There's a potential shortcut: Researchers are testing compounds thought to thwart aging on Alzheimer's patients to see if they slow the degradation of neurons. And similar human trials will begin soon on diabetes patients.
"However, many of these studies are still in the development phase, still being tested in rodent models," Carter said. "I expect that this field will begin to explode in the next few years. Caution is still merited given the need for extensive study of these compounds as to their efficacy and long-term safety."
Eventually, Ravussin thinks the combined efforts of all these research angles could extend lifespans by 15 years later this century.
In a society where lifespan has already increased significantly in recent decades, many people are at least as concerned with aging well as they are with living long.
"Many researchers are focusing on the effects of CR on health-span as opposed lifespan," Carter said. "We know that small reductions in caloric intake, even as little as 8 percent, result in improvements in health related outcomes."

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Man Has Polio Virus Living in Gut for 30 Years

by Rachael Rettner

A man in the United Kingdom experienced a very rare complication of the polio vaccine he received in childhood — he never cleared the virus from his body. As a result, the virus has been circulating in his gut for nearly 30 years, and is still being excreted in his stool today, according to a new report of the case.
Although it was known that some people could shed the virus from their bodies for long periods, the new case is by far the longest that the virus has stuck around in a person, the researchers said.

trivalent oral polio vaccine

Cases like these could potentially spread polio, and interfere with efforts to eradicate the virus, the researchers said.

The new findings "raise questions about how the population may best be protected from" these particular polio viruses, the researchers said. [7 Devastating Infectious Diseases]
Poliovirus has been eradicated nearly everywhere except for a few countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, although the virus has seen a re-emergence in countries such as Syria in recent years.
There are two types of polio vaccine used to prevent the disease: one type contains dead strains of the virus and must be injected, whereas the other type, the oral polio vaccine, contains a live but weakened virus.

The oral vaccine has a few advantages, including that it is easy to administer, and can more quickly stop the virus from replicating in a person's gut, if that person is exposed to the virus. However, there is a very small risk that the vaccine can cause the illness itself.
In addition, there is risk that the virus can linger in the gut of people who are given the oral vaccine. The vaccine works by prompting immunity to develop in the gut because the weakened virus briefly replicates there. People usually clear the virus from their gut in six to eight weeks after vaccination, but in very rare cases, people with immune system disorders cannot clear the virus, and it continues to replicate in their gut.
That's what happened to the patient in the new report, a 29-year-old white man who was given the vaccine as an infant. (The man has never developed the disease itself.)

The researchers analyzed more than 100 stool samples from the patient, which were collected between 1995 and 2015. They found high levels of the polio virus in the samples. What's more, tests showed that the polio viruses in the patient's gut were different from those in the vaccine, meaning that mutations had developed in the virus over time.
The viruses in the patient's gut were able to cause paralysis in a mouse model, suggesting that these strains are very virulent. However, tests with human blood from people who were vaccinated against polio showed that the antibodies in the people's blood were able to kill the viruses from the patient.
"These results are reassuring in that they indicate that vaccinated humans are well protected against infection" with these virus strains, the researchers said.
But the researchers noted that they used blood from people who had been vaccinated with the oral vaccine, and it's not clear if people vaccinated solely with the inactivated vaccine would show the same level of protection. In the U.S., children have been given the inactivated vaccine since the year 2000; prior to that, the oral vaccine was used.

There have been only 73 documented cases of people with immune problems who had the polio virus replicate in their intestines for prolonged periods. But it's possible that some cases were missed — strains of polio that differ from those in the vaccine have been found in sewage samples from Slovakia, Finland, Estonia and Israel, the researchers said. These findings suggest that "an unknown number of these chronic excreters exist elsewhere," the researchers said.
Surveillance of sewage and stool samples should be done to search for polio strains, the researchers said.

In addition, there is a need to develop antiviral treatments for patients like the one in the current study, because there is currently no effective way to stop the replication of the polio virus.
"These measures are needed to be able to identify and manage the possible risks of [divergent] strains spreading and causing disease in patients and the general population," the researchers said. Finally, new polio vaccines may be needed to fully eradicate the illness, they said.

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Friday 28 August 2015

Raw Almond Joy Bars

Rawmazing Raw Almond Joy

The “crust” for this recipe is a wonderful layer of almond butter and cacao powder. I used raw, organic coconut crystals for sweetening as I am really trying to keep my sweeteners as close to the source as possible. Plus they have a wonderful deep flavor. Not unlike molasses or brown sugar.
This is a pretty easy make….have at it and have fun! As with all desserts, these recipes are very calorie dense. I am not the person who is going to tell you that you can eat a raw dessert for breakfast. But as a tasty, sweet treat, raw desserts are full of healthy nutrients that typical desserts just don’t have.
Raw Almond Joy Bars
First Layer:
1. Whisk all ingredients together and pour into oiled, parchment lined 8 x 8-inch glass pan. Set in refrigerator aside making topping. The bottom layer should be set up (but not completely hard) before adding the next layer.
Second Layer
  • 2 cups of dried, unsweetened, raw coconut
  • 2/3 cup coconut butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons raw agave nectar (or liquid sweetener of choice)
  • 1-2 teaspoons organic almond flavoring (not raw)
1. Place coconut in medium bowl.
2. Whisk coconut butter (not the same as coconut oil), agave and almond flavor. Pour over coconut and mix well.
3. Pat over first layer, top with chopped almonds and ganache. 
4. Refrigerate to set.
Third Layer
1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
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Vegan Company Turns Down Google’s $300 Million Buy-Out Offer

The company Google recently bid to buy out 'Impossible Foods,' the creator of the "Impossible Cheeseburger" which looks, cooks, and tastes like 'real' meat.

Forget the hype that vegan food tastes like cardboard, it must be good if the company Google is seeking to buy out a faux cheeseburger company.
As reported by The Information, an unconfirmed report has it that Google recently tried to purchase Impossible Foods, a startup founded by Stanford University professor Patrick Brown. The offer, reported to be around $200 to $300 million, was turned down, however.
The company is the mastermind behind ‘The Impossible Cheeseburger’, a “garden burger” that takes meat alternatives to the next level. In fact, this faux meat offering is designed to look, smell, taste and cook like it came from an animal.
According to the website: 
We looked at animal products at the molecular level, then selected specific proteins and nutrients from greens, seeds, and grains to recreate the wonderfully complex experience of meats and dairy products. For thousands of years we’ve relied on animals as our technology to transform plants into meat, milk, and eggs. Impossible Foods has found a better way.
For good reason, Impossible Foods was listed on CNBC’s Disruptor 50 List in 2015, which features private companies “whose innovations are revolutionizing the business landscape” and “have potential to become billion-dollar businesses.” 
With growing interest in plant-based, sustainable, and more cruelty-free food options, it definitely seems an intelligent business to invest in. Even the UN says that the world needs to shift towards a plant-based, vegan diet to prevent worsening climate change. And now it may be easier, thanks to options produced by companies like Impossible Foods.
Now consumers have access to everything from eggless Mayonnaise to plant-based chicken strips, and the ‘deliciousness’ factor seems to only be improving with time.
It is the intention of Impossible Foods to have its cheeseburgers for sale in stores by next year. The company also wants to make other meat substitutions. Click Here For More Articles

Quinoa Granola

Maple quinoa granola with yogurt |

Quinoa Flakes |

For most meals, I like a bit of unpredictability. My lunches are usually off the cuff with whatever I have in the house while my dinners are a bit more planned, but are still usually a trial run or test of a recipe I’m working on. Breakfast, however, is my constant. 95% of the time, it’s oatmeal, eggs, or granola + yogurt with the other 5% reserved for waffles, pancakes, and other rich breakfast foods. Breakfast is very predictable.
I do, however, like to mix things up a bit. My oatmeal toppings vary depending on what’s in season and eggs could take the form of an omelette or egg skillet. My granola is rarely made from just oats and more likely to contain an mix of grains. Or, it may be made entirely from something else, like this quinoa granola.
I have a different quinoa granola on the blog made from whole quinoa but this particular recipe utilizes quinoa flakes. I’ve used my favorite base granola recipe that contains minimal ingredients but provides enough glue to hold everything together. This quinoa granola isn’t overly powerful in flavor but instead, is a nice boost to a morning parfait or granola bowl.

Uses for Quinoa Granola

Instead of doing pairings, I thought I’d give a few seasonal or meal ideas for using this quinoa granola. I’ve stopped looking at granola as one-off topping for yogurt and looked to it a bit more for savory dishes as well.
Sweet uses for Granola
Spring: Both A Couple Cooks and Beard and Bonnet have a rendition of my spring variation, roasted strawberry yogurt parfaits from The Easy Vegetarian Cookbook. Roasted berries are a great companion for this granola.
Summer: During the summer I’m looking for simple desserts. Try grilling peaches and topping with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of granola.
Fall: Stew some pears with a bit of butter and maple syrup then top yogurt (or ice cream) with the pears and this quinoa granola.
Winter: Yogurt with Lemon Curd and Granola- one of my breakfast during the winter and a great way to use up citrus. I can’t wait for my lemon tree to produce lemons just to make this curd!
Savory uses for Granola
For these savory dishes, try adding some herbs or spices to the granola mix after cooking. I like to toss granola with a rosemary and thyme or sometimes bake it tossed with a bit of curry powder.
Spring: Use almost as you would bread crumbs. Toss granola with a bit of garlic powder and smoked paprika before baking then top a dish like this asparagus with eggs.
Summer: Swap out the croutons on your summer salad for a some granola. Gives the crunch you’re looking for with a bit of extra nutrition.
Fall: Butternut Squash Soup is usually a weekly staple. Try tossing the granola with fresh minced rosemary and sprinkling on top of the soup before serving.
Winter: Pan fry Brussel Sprouts and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, a bit of crumbly cheese (maybe even some blue cheese), and some granola for crunch.
Quinoa Granola

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1½ cups
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 300˚ and cover a baking tray with parchment (or silpat.)
  2. Combine quinoa flakes, almond slices and salt, then stir together oil and syrup. Pour over the flakes and continue to stir until everything is well coated.
  3. Place mixture on the baking tray and press down with the spoon or your hand, making sure the mixture is compact and tight together. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, checking once or twice to make sure the granola isn't browning too quickly (I've found different ovens handle this lower temperature a bit differently). After thirty minutes, check every 5 minutes or so until the granola is a nice golden color and there are no wet spots. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  4. Once cool, break the granola into pieces (if you don't wait, the granola won't be as clumpy). Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
+ Swap in your favorite nuts or add in some seeds. I'll sometimes toss swap out some of the almonds for sunflower seeds.

+Recipe is pretty much from my favorite granola recipe.
quinoa granola with yogurt

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