I love the holiday festivities, but I’d be lying if I said that the high highs weren’t balanced out with some pretty low lows. The truth is, this is one of the most stressful times of the year for me, and I know it’s the same for a lot of other folks, too. There’s so many social gatherings to attend, people to host, shopping to do, decorating, cleaning the house in preparation for guests, dealing with the harsh winter weather and short dark days, traveling at the busiest time of the year…it can be a lot to handle. All these little stressors end up having an impact on your health—with your cortisol levels rising you can end up feeling exhausted and depleted, but end up having trouble sleeping at night. When I’m most stressed, I am completely worn out but spend hours staring at the ceiling above my bed at night unable to sleep because all the worries I have are keeping me from being able to completely wind down. Then I wake up the next day exhausted, and start the cycle over again. It can be hard to break out of a cycle of stress once it is in place, (trust me, I know), but with so much going on this time of year it’s especially important to pay attention to your health, and one of the easiest ways to support stress management is by aiding your body’s natural stress response systems (like the adrenal and endocrine systems) with good foods. I started paying closer attention to specifically eating things that would support my adrenal system, like avocados, olives, coconut, chicken, nuts, and seeds, and paired that with a little herbalism in the form of Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health Daily Support. Since most people are feeling a little burnt out by the time the holidays actually roll around, I recommend making a restorative DIY gift set for your friends and family, starting with this *insanely good* granola.
This granola is full of delicious and adrenal-boosting ingredients like flax seeds, avocado oil, coconut flakes, pecans, cashews, Gaia Herbs Maca Powder, and pumpkin seeds. If you’re unfamiliar with maca, it’s a root vegetable that looks kind of like a white beet and is a member of the mustard seed family. It’s an adaptogen, meaning that it helps your body promote and maintain a healthy stress response system*, and in its powdered form I found it to taste oddly similar to a really concentrated version of sunflower seed butter. It adds a little extra bit of nutty flavor to the granola and helps round out all the delicious fats and proteins that help your body’s stress response system keep doing its job. Delicious and good for you! And this granola looks reallllly cute in an assortment of different shaped glass jars and containers. I tied yarn around the top of each one with a little bit of fresh juniper so that the gift would smell soothing (and also because the yarn kind of looked like each bottle was wearing a tiny scarf. ADORABLE.) I recommend pairing the granola with some other fun calming goodies like a homemade massage oil, Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health Daily Support, and/or homemade bath salts for a little relaxation gift set. And don’t forget to get/make a little extra for yourself, too!
Coconut Maca Pecan Granola
Coconut Maca Pecan Granola
- 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 cup crushed pecans
- 1/2 cup crushed cashews
- 1/2 cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon avocado oil or coconut oil (warmed to liquid state if using coconut oil)
- 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Gaia Herbs Maca Powder
- 1 teaspoon flake sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix together the flaked coconut, oats, pecans, cashews, pepitas, flax seeds, and dark brown sugar. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the avocado oil, honey, Gaia Herbs Maca Powder, salt, and cinnamon until smooth. Empty the oil mixture into the coconut mixture and stir until the coconut mixture is evenly coated in the oil mixture.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then spread out the granola in one even layer on the paper. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the granola is golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before crumbling into small pieces with your hands and storing the granola in an airtight container. Will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Store in a cool dark place.
For giving as gifts, I recommend tying the top of the glass container with a bit of yarn and using a fragrant cutting like juniper or eucalyptus tied in for decoration and for a soothing scent.
This post was brought to you in partnership with Gaia Herbs, but all opinions within the post are my own, as usual!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.