Every other blog post or news article that I read at the moment is about some sort of January cleanse whether it’s a month without booze, a new “healthy” eating plan or some juice-based diet. Twitter and pinterest are awash with salads and slightly anemic-looking bowls of soup.
I don’t really think there’s anything wrong with indulging over the holidays and so I never really see the need to start January off in a particularly austere fashion. A month of feasting in December and then a month of fasting in January doesn’t seem like the kind of balanced diet that I want anything much to do with – the idea of being trapped in an endless binge/purge cycle seems utterly demoralising. Not to mention that the idea of starting any kind of abstemious regime in January – surely the most depressing month of the year – seems to me to be rather foolhardy.
I have no resolutions this year. I’m not even jumping on the dry January bandwagon (we did it last year, I didn’t really see the point). I like to think that we have a fairly well-balanced diet these days and, honestly, I don’t really like people telling me what I should be eating (or doing in general).
That said, there’s something quite comforting in returning to our routines in January. I’ve always done best when I have some kind of regular pattern – I find that the structure of the working week can be as liberating as it is confining. I often find myself trying to impose a routine where there isn’t one and the fact that I can’t do that over the holidays so easily is a little disarming.
One area of my life where I really need structures is the mornings. If I’m not careful, I can easily find the days when I’m not working slipping away of their own accord. By the time I’m ready to face the world, it’s already mid-afternoon and I’m wondering whether a meal is still technically breakfast if it’s eaten at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
Clearly, working in an office affords no such luxury but still, the only way I ever make it out of the flat on time in the mornings is because I’m on auto-pilot. Wake up, make a cup of tea, have a shower, straighten my hair, get dressed, eat breakfast, leave. It’s the same every day – sometimes I’m vaguely surprised to find myself walking to the tube station because I could have sworn I was still padding around in my pyjamas.
Yoghurt + granola is my go-to in the mornings. Not because it’s “healthy” or because anyone told me I should eat it but because it’s quick, easy and is just about the only thing that keeps me vaguely full until a respectable time. After a couple of weeks of breakfasting on the daily offering from my advent calendar and a handful of chocolate coins, it was good to get back to normal.
I don't know why I've said that the cocoa nibs are optional - they're really not. Quite apart from the bitter notes of chocolate which is more than enough to brighten my January mornings, I love the crunch that they bring. This granola is very much seed-focused but you could add some nuts in there too. If you must, you can stir in some dried fruit at the end.
- 300g (3 cups) oats
- 125g (1 cup) mixed seeds - I used a mix of pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, linseed and golden linseet
- 80ml (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 120ml (1/2 cup) honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract in a pinch)
- 30g (1/4 cup) cocoa nibs (optional, but not really)
- Preheat the oven to 150C/300F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients with a wooden spoon making sure that everything is well coated and sticking together nicely.
- Spread the granola out on the baking tray and bake for about 35 minutes, stirring every now and then. I like to pat it together with my (asbestos) hands as well to encourage good clump-formation. When the oats are browned, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before transferring to a container. I may be weird but I like to store my granola in the fridge; it will be fine in in a cupboard though.