The more I am learning about nutrition and healthy food, the more I am developing the tic of turning every package, that I intend to buy, around in order to read the list of ingredients. Fatal mistake.
From my point of view, it is not possible to buy exclusively fresh and unprocessed food, i.e. fresh, regional and seasonal vegetable and fruit, organic meat from my trusted butcher, fresh cheese from the cheese dairy, no (industrial) sweets, no convenience food, no frozen food, no bread from industrial bakeries… and if you can finally find a well-assorted health-food shop, the next question is, how to afford all this stuff.
At least, I can proudly say, that I don’t buy: Smacks, honey pops, chocolate crisps, fruit loops and all those colourful cereals which especially children love a lot because of the high amount of sugar – I can tell that my choice is always the whole meal granola with nuts and dry fruits with “no added sugar”. But lately I did it: I took the pack and turned it around and I discovered, that the list of ingredients is quite long. And after having read it (and having looked up the foreign words), I know that my choice is hardly better!!
Ingredients: Oatmeal, raisins, dry fruits, wheat flour: That sounds good so far. Furthermore: malt extract – often called malt syrup, which is nothing else than sugar, produced of malt. When getting hot, it caramelizes, leading to a stronger taste, colour and aroma of the food to which it is added (like cereals, but also pastry, ..) That’s why it is used as a flavour enhancer. And I have to go more into detail: 55% of the malt extract is maltose. Useful to know: Every substance ending with “ose” is probably a sort of sugar.
But there are more ingredients that, at first glance, don`t seem to have something to do with muesli: For example Maltodextrin. I can tell that it is a genuinely crooked substance. Not as sweet as sugar, but with a likewise high amount of energy (i.e. calories), it is added to alleged healthy food, fooling the buyer who thinks: “oh well, this is not sweet, fewer calories.. no sugar..fine.” Besides, Maltodextrin is also used as a filling medium and a thickening agent. Finally: Citric acid. This is a fruit acid, a natural substance, an intermediate catabolic product of organisms. But not the citric acid in your food – this is produced industrially by fermentation. It is used in cleaning agents because of its decalcifying effect – and in our food as a preservative agent. The “problem” about this is, that citric acid is an acid substance, attacking the dental enamel, leading to so-called erosion. No sugar, right, but actually worse: In combination with sugar and enjoyed regularly, it can ruin the teeth. (Besides, citric acid is suspected of increasing Alzheimer`s desease.)
I have the impression that it is a real challenge to lead a healthy life regarding nutritional aspects. Maybe it is even impossible doing so with the ultimate perfection. Concerning myself, I am trying to take a more relaxed view while doing my best, but enjoying everything I eat. Yesterday, I started with a small step in order to turn into a better person:-) And I want to share it with you: My self-made granola with dry fruits and nuts. I discovered this recipe in the internet, originally coming from a TV cooking show called “Hell’ s Kitchen”. And I am quite enthusiastic about the result.
Recipe for Granola with dry fruits and nuts
Ingredients for about 900 g
- 350 g whole rolled porridge oats
- 50 g walnuts
- 50 g hazelnuts (both chopped, if you like)
- 50 g pine nuts
- 100 g shaped almonds
- 30 g coco flakes
- 30 g sesame seeds
- 175 g liquid honey
- 6 tbsp oil
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 100 g dry fruits (I chose sultanas, apricots and cranberries)
You also need a baking tray and baking paper
- Preheat the baking oven to 180°C upper and lower heat
- Mix well all ingredients except the dry fruits and spread it on the baking paper on a baking tray
- Put the baking tray in the baking oven and roast it for about 25 minutes. You should stir it (and spread it again) every 5 minutes. You can state very quickly that it gets a nice gold-brown colour.
- Afterwards let it cool down and dry well before adding the dry fruits.
- You can preserve it for a while closed airtight for example in a tin can
I love the muesli because of its discreet taste of cinnamon and the honey sweetness, pure with milk or with fresh fruit and yoghurt.