Food for Thought. . .
“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha
For the endurance athlete, or those with a physically demanding job, dates are an excellent power food. Though odd in its appearance, the date (Phoenix dactylifera), is a rich source of fast-acting, easily digestible carbohydrates in the form of natural sugars (66 g per 100g / 3.5 oz. serving). Athletes who train for triathlons, distance running, biking or swimming events can count on dates to provide a nutrient-rich source of sustained energy.
Dates contain vitamins A and K, as well as many of the B vitamins. The fruit is also full of minerals such as copper, selenium, magnesium and manganese, all of which have important health benefits. These specific minerals are essential to the function of our cells, particularly muscle cells, and need to be replaced after strenuous physical activity. Dates also contain antioxidants that help protect cells from oxidative damage. Just one serving provides seven grams of dietary fiber, which supports healthy gut function.
When eating dates, you may want to mix them with raw nuts and seeds for an on-the-go snack. Add chopped dates to yogurt or add them as a topping to brown rice cakes for a yummy, nutritious snack before training.
Pistachio Date Granola
This is a simple, delicious, and versatile recipe. While we love the pistachio-date combination, you can shake up this recipe with your favorite nuts and seeds and dried fruit (such as Goji or Acai Berry). Also, if you prefer, you can use maple syrup instead of honey.
Serves: 12 (2/3 cup) Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes
- 2 1/2 c Oats
- 1/3 c Coconut Oil
- 1/3 c Honey or Maple Syrup
- 1/4 c Pure Maple Syrup
- 1/8-1/4 tsp Maple and/or Almond Extract
- 1 c Pistachios, roasted and chopped
- 1/2 c Almonds, sliced or chopped
- 1/2 c Sunflower Seeds
- 1 c Flaked Coconut (unsweetened, preferably)
- 1 c Pitted Dates, finely chopped
- 1 Tbs each ground flax, chia, and/or hemp seeds (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 300F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, toss pistachios, sunflower seeds, coconut, dates, ground flax/chia/hemp seeds, almonds, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
- Add coconut oil, honey, maple syrup, and extract(s) into saucepan and heat until simmering.
- Add oatmeal to hot mixture; add dry mixture and mix ingredients with spatula until thoroughly combined.
- Divide and spread out the granola between two parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for 30 minutes, stir granola every 10 minutes.
- Let cool to room temperature until dry and crisp. Store in an airtight container.