By Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3
Sometimes, and it’s not very often, I get convinced to go to the gym by someone. I’ve never really been a “gym person,” rather finding solace in a good paddle, a swim, a good session of surfing, skateboarding or god forbid, running. I truly loathe running – and we’re talking with every fiber of my being – but I know that it will help me to get my lungs back. However, every man has his breaking point, and I finally reached mine. Knowing that I’m just sitting on my duff after working the multiple jobs that I get myself into, I came to the realization – through the goading of my buddy Bob – that I have no one to blame, but myself. “But I love my excuses, Bob!” I would emphatically reply to his non-stop prodding. “You better be there tomorrow” was his response. Fine, I’ll go to the damn gym; I mean, what can it hurt, except for my joints, muscles and back? But I digress. I have been going since Friday and I’m not going to lie; it feels great. Luckily, it’s a group workout so I don’t have to walk around cluelessly, trying to look cool. Somehow, I became that skinny guy with a potbelly, just like my father, rest his soul. That never bodes well in the wellness arena, and no matter what you do, you just can’t look cool walking around the gym, so here I am. Knowing that exercise is only half of the equation, I also took a good, hard look at my diet and realized that there just might be a few things that I could change about the way I feast. But does this really mean that I can’t have Ho-Hos anymore? Salt and vinegar chips? Mac ‘n cheese? Hmmm, what about Red Bull? I love that garbage, although I know that it will likely make my heart explode one day. I got hooked on it in the many travels to New York, Baltimore and DC over the past decade. I’m pretty sure it kept me and my passengers on the highway and in between the lines on more than one occasion. But to continue with my mucking through the mire that is my diet, I had the epiphany that I can’t do one without the other; change my activity without changing diet or vice versa. And as soon as I shared this awakening with a couple of my students, I was greeted the next class with a gift of eight Red Bulls. Not cool, Tyler. Not cool, at all. That’s alright, I still hold all the power. The Red Bulls now adorn the bookshelf in my office as a trophy of sorts, and shall remain there for at least another 25 days alongside the steak and kidney pie that a student brought back from London last year. Have no fear, though, the pie is canned. He brought me two, but I ate the other one already, and it was divine. Thank you Fray-Bentos. Well done. Now I, for one, am not the biggest breakfast fan in the world, with the exception of brunch at Evolution on Sundays. But I understand that some fitness experts believe that breakfast is an important meal. I won’t get into the dribble of many “experts,” as their opinions vary as much as their height, weight, short length and hair color. They all believe certain things. So, I’m just going to go into this treading lightly, foregoing the Cap’n Crunch and other sugar bombs that used to adorn the pantry so readily but as-of-late are dwindling down. At a loss for quick breakfasts that might help me on nonworkout days (those will be heavy in protein and carbs), I decided to make some granola. It is quite easy to make and keeps long enough to make it worth the effort. And as I pour unsweetened almond milk over it (attempting to control my gag reflex) I at least know the granola will be delicious. It’s all for the cause.
1 quart Bob’s Red Mill Oats Flax seeds TT (optional)
2 cups Assorted nuts, unsalted
1 cup Shredded coconut*
1/2 cup Grape seed or other neutral oil
1/2 cup Local honey OR
1/4 cup honey and 1/2 cup Agave nectar
2 cups Dried fruit**
1. Preheat a conventional oven to 350 degrees. Personally, when baking anything I go conventional as convection tends to not be so kind on baked goods 2. Combine the oats, flaxseed, nuts and coconut in a bowl large enough to accommodate 3. Whisk together the honey, agave and oil until well-combined 4. Pour over the oat mixture and coat well 5. Bake in the oven, stirring every few minutes to ensure even cooking, until it is a nice, golden brown 6. Remove and cool completely before adding the dried fruit (see note below) 7. Kept in an airtight container, this will last at least a week. I can’t give you an exact time, since it never lasts that long
*If you can only find sweetened coconut flakes at the local market, simply rinse them completely in a fine sieve and then place them in a 200F oven to dry off before using
**For dried fruit, I personally adore dried Michigan cherries, but they can be very expensive. Think about using dried cranberries in plain, with blueberry juice, pomegranate, etc. Play around!