I am going to get right to the point and tell you about one of the BEST sprouted granolas we’ve ever enjoyed. These are made in small batches in one of my favorite areas of California, Ojai Valley. Each and every bag of these paleo sprouted granolas and trail mixes tasted as if they were just made and this is all due to the sprouting by Lark Ellen Farm. This is a process which involves soaking the nuts and seeds for a number of select hours and then properly dehydrating them at the appropriate low temperatures. These are not quick and all that easy to prepare.
I opened the first bag, which was the Vanilla Cinnamon. I saw these incredible clusters of various shapes and sizes all ready to be eaten by hand or poured into a bowl with my desired liquid source. I did both! Wow, this was a true taste of subtle vanilla and cinnamon and not one hint of any overbearing flavor source. Absolutely perfect with such crunch and texture. Wow!
I then approached my next bag, the Berrylicious, assuming this would taste somewhat the same since nuts are nuts, right? Boy was I wrong. The name on the bag precisely states what it is, and again the flavors were balanced so perfectly. The textures are out of this world and digest so easily just as any properly sprouted allergy-friendly product would. Lark Ellen Farm has nailed it! Ingredients such as cherries, cherry juice, mixed berries and more are all sourced in the USA, hence no cheap products shipped in from China which so many companies fall prey to these days. Sorry to say this, but it’s true.
Since I am a granola lover I then decided to try the last two flavors plus a trail mix that they offer, the Pumpkin Fig granola, the Cacao Cherry granola and their Sweet and Salty Trail Mix (OMG!). Can life get any better?! Again, not one bag tasted even remotely like the other. Each bag has its own distinct flavor, maintaining that perfected crunch that has a “feel good” and familiar texture in the mouth. This was reminiscing at its finest. Knowing these are all grain-free, sprouted and sweetened with only orange juice or maple syrup and are all non-GMO verified makes the experience all that much more perfect.
Many of you know I have been sprouting my own nuts and seeds for years and when I cannot I try and limit my intake. It can be rough when traveling as nuts are an easy snack on the go. Nuts are sold everywhere and are usually roasted or have BAD oils listed on the package. It is important to understand the reasoning behind sprouting for our health and those we do the shopping for; our partner or hubby and kids for example. Let’s look at why I consider Lark Ellen Farm granola’s better for our bodies and a wonderful addition to anyone’s active lifestyle.
Nuts and seeds can be a wonderful nutrient-dense substitute, but like the grains and legumes they are replacing they also can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and can cause inflammation. Nuts and seeds, like grains have a coating called phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that help keep the nut or seed safe until germination can occur. Think of it as nature’s own body guard. This guard is what causes physical distress. In our bodies these enzyme inhibitors and acids stop nutrients from being absorbed and irritate our digestive tracts contributing to irritable bowel syndrome and a host of other conditions. Over time, large doses of phytic acid will cause nutrient absorption problems, inflammation and a whole host of digestive issues. Soaking the nuts removes a lot of the trouble and this is why I soak and dehydrate mine and why I am so in favor of any company that makes these efforts. As I said, it takes a lot more time do this than the standard approach to making granolas sold in stores. Most other companies are not soaking and then dehydrating at low temperatures preserving the good oils and available nutrients. The low temperature assures the nutrients are intact and the oils are not then rendered rancid.
You know me. I remained curious so I dove in and found out more about this company. The founder, Kelley Colleen told me she jumped into the grain-free diet with mild hopes to help her horrible digestive symptoms. After just a month she dropped 15 pounds and felt better than ever. The lack of a crunchy delicious breakfast was irking her to no end, so she set out to trying to make granolas, then another then another. Her neighbors and friends began raving about them and soon she was selling at the Ojai farmers market and was known as the Ojai Granola Girl, selling out 40 bags her first day. We now ALL have access to her Lark Ellen Farm Granolas, now available in many stores across the United States.
The nuts and seeds are soaked in a brine for a minimum of seven hours and then gently dehydrated to preserve their nutrients and bring back their crunch. Kelley explained, “We believe that being paleo or grain free isn’t just about replacing grain based foods with other harmful or nutrient poor foods. Instead, it is about being educated and fueling our bodies with foods with integrity.”
Well stated Kelley! And thanks for bringing Lark Ellen Farm to our families and homes and offering these incredible granolas and now your trail mixes too. REAL healthy IS on the rise and yes, education is a key step for all ages!