Battle Inflammation: {gluten free} Honey Flax Granola

Living with Lyme disease = a constant battle against inflammation.

It’s nothing new, or novel, that eating certain foods and imbibing on tasty cocktails causes many to feel gross. But when you have an inflammatory illness, that “feeling gross” can result in horribly painful joints and enraged digestive systems.

Currently, it seems like everything and their brother causes inflammation in my body; my fingers are swollen, I have to roll out the puffiness in my feet and ankles, and my face get a Cabbage Patch Kid-esque pique to it. Lyme Disease + being in my thirties + adrenal stuff making it really hard to get the green light to exercise as often as I’d like = puff.

Does that mean I never indulge? Hell no. It just means that I’m constantly putting inflammation-fighting foods in my body, and making sure that the clean days far outweigh the indulgent ones.

This granola recipe is one of my favorites. It’s insanely easy, and wonderfully adaptable.

 

Gluten-Free Flax Granola - The Dusty Baker-2

Whole organic flax seeds contribute healthy fatty acids and both soluble and insoluble fiber. Cinnamon is great for inflammation and the blood. Honey–the kind you buy from a local producer, not the kind that’s been mixed and cooked down and bottled in those bears for $4.99 at supermarkets–is great for allergies. Raw nuts and seeds provide protein and vitamins (raw nuts are shown to cause less inflammatory reactions in people then roasted nuts, so they’re generally what I use to avoid a reaction to them). Altogether, this granola fills you up and helps clean you out.

I learned about it through The Plan, a book recommended to me by the writer’s publisher, when she heard I had been off gluten for two decades because of Lyme. The gist of the book is that it’s a twenty-day program targeted to help people figure out the foods that they react to, resulting in painful joints, acne, exhaustion, weight gain, and a plethora of other possible symptoms.

Gluten-Free Flax Granola - The Dusty Baker-3

I mix the granola with more cinnamon, chia seeds, dried cranberries, raw almonds, raw sunflower seeds, goji berries, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and whatever other dried fruit I have on hand. Generally, raw nuts are less likely to cause inflammatory reactions in people, so if you’re trying to target what nuts affect you, start with raw ones and build your nutty arsenal as you go. My serving is 1 cup of granola with 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, and I pour over either unsweetened almond or unsweetened coconut milk (I try to alternate those as well, to make sure I don’t eat one so often that I develop an allergy to it).

It’s really easy, insanely yummy, and feels like a huge treat when in fact it’s SO GOOD FOR YOU.

HIGH FIVE, breakfast!

- Jacqueline

Gluten-Free Flax Granola - The Dusty Baker-1

{gluten free} Honey Flax Granola

  • Servings: About 3 cups flax granola
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This recipe is largely adaptable. Were you to mix two parts flax with one part water, let it sit to gel and bake it, it would cluster easily enough. But this balance of cinnamon, honey and vanilla makes the flax granola a highly addictive, inflammation-fighting powerhouse.

The flax needs to gel in the refrigerator overnight, and I find putting the mix in a long, flat container with a lid the easiest, as you can then just turn the mass out onto a sheet pan and it’s already spread out a bit for you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup organic whole flax seeds
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Nuts, seeds and dried fruit of choice

In a plastic container, stir flax seeds, water, honey, vanilla and cinnamon with a fork until they’re completely mixed together, and the mass looks sort of like a gel already. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat your oven to 200°. Flip flax mixture onto an ungreased sheetpan, and use a plastic spatula to spread it out to about 1/4 inch thick. The seeds will stick to a certain extent on the spatula; it’s not the end of the world. Just continue to press the flax out until it’s relatively thin.

Bake for 30 minutes, then use a metal spatula to gently lift and flip it. Bake another 30 minutes, or until the flax is completely dry and brittle. Depending on your oven, this may take longer. Often when it’s close to being done I just turn off the oven and let it cool inside, drying further.

When cool, crumble the flax granola into chunks, pour into a large plastic bag or container, and add handfuls of nuts, seeds and fruits to your liking.

Enjoy for breakfast with milk and fruit, or stir into yogurt for a healthy dessert.

 

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