What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us! Ambrosial Organic Granola & Muesli Celebrate Non-GMO Month

Ambrosial Granola is crafting award winning, healthy whole grain cereals.  Made with 100% organic ingredients, our muesli and granola products proudly carry the USDA Organic seal, the warranty that our offerings are free of pesticides and genetically modified organisms or GMOs.

We are eagerly waiting for California to be the first “Right to Know” state by passing Proposition 37! If passed, it would require the labeling of products like granola or muesli containing genetically modified ingredients. Californians would be able to know for example, if the DNA of the delicious summer corn and corn products 254x300 What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us! Ambrosial Organic Granola & Muesli Celebrate Non GMO Monthcorn (among many other foods) has been genetically modified with genes from the bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This is only one case where scientists have removed one or more genes from the DNA of one organism (a bacterium) and inserted it into the DNA of corn. Their expectation is for the plant to produce its own pesticide.

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Mediterranean Diet Is Definitively Linked to Quality of Life

ScienceDaily (May 29, 2012) — For years the Mediterranean diet has been associated with a lesser chance of illness and increased well-being. A new study has now linked it to mental and physical health too.

A new study headed by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Navarra took the next step and analyzed the influence of the Mediterranean diet on the quality of life of a sample of more than 11,000 university students over a period of four years. Continue reading

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We Celebrate Mother’s Day Sharing Love and a Mediterranean Breakfast

Back then, we used to make small bouquets of wild flowers gathered from the nearby country side and cheerfully present them to all mothers in our family; a ritual celebrating life itself!

I’ll be honoring in distance my mother in Greece this year by sharing a very special breakfast with family and friends and my elderly neighbor whose son leaves far away and will not be with her on Mother’s Day. Motherly love, selfless and nurturing, brings joy to our lives all year long. Mother Day’s celebrations let us share with each other.

Here is a very simple, but delicious heart-healthy menu we’ll be preparing for our leisurely paced and joyful Mediterranean Mother’s Day breakfast:

Fresh Orange Juice with a Twist
Simply pour sparkling water to fresh orange juice to make it bubbly; garnish with orange slices.

Yogurt with Honey and walnuts
Spoon plain Greek yogurt into the bottom of a 3/4 cup decorative glass; top with raw honey and walnuts.

Ambrosial Granola Whole Grain Muffins
Ingredients:
• 1 egg
• 1 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup yogurt
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/3 cup melted butter or oil
• 1 1/4 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups Grecian Grove Organic Granola
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°
2. Oil a 12 count muffin pan
3. Beat egg slightly; add buttermilk, sugar and butter
4. In a separate bowl, pre-mix all dry ingredients
5. Add dry mix to wet, stirring slightly until flour is just moistened
6. Fill cups 2/3 full and bake for 20 to 25 minutes
7. Remove from pan immediately

Goat Cheese and Tomato Stack
Slices of ripe tomato in the center of a small plate, topped with slices of goat cheese. Repeat the same layers again; lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar; season with salt and freshly ground pepper and sprinkle with oregano.

Fruit and Cheese Platter
A savory platter of fresh fruits and cheeses in the center will satisfy all. Aged cheddar with pieces of granny smith apple; jarlsberg cheese with some grapes; cantaloupe with feta cheese. Delightful and refreshing, will make happy everyone’s taste buds.

Lots of love and good spirits
The most important part of our happy breakfast gathering.

According to traditional Mediterranean lifestyle, good company and spirits are as important as the food itself.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL MOTHERS OF THE WORLD!

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Whole Grain Muesli with Greek Yogurt and Fruits: A Mediterranean Diet Breakfast

May is the National Mediterranean Diet Month! Intimately connected to the culinary traditions of the region, I am excited to join the celebrations by sharing a very simple breakfast recipe which most of us enjoy already daily: Greek yogurt with Athenian Harvest Goji Berry, Hazelnut & Apricot muesli, our all organic whole grain and chuck full of fruits and fiber cereal.

The recipe, delicious and healthy, is coming straight out of the Mediterranean Diet pyramid. As we know, eating fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, olive oil and moderate amounts of dairy is the essence of the widely studied Mediterranean Diet which has been linked to good health and longevity.

Let your imagination fly… travel to an Aegean Island and Enjoy!

Yogurt with Athenian Harvest Goji Berry, Hazelnut & Apricot Muesli

Ingredients:
• 1 cup low fat Greek plain yogurt
• ¼ cup almonds
• ¼ cup Ambrosial Athenian Harvest Muesli
• ½ cup fresh berries

Simply sprinkle the muesli, almonds and berries over the yogurt and enjoy in good health!

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To Eat or Not to Eat, that is the Question… Organic Nutrient-Dense Granola and the Counting of Fat Grams

Love to interact with our customers.  It helps me better understand their needs and dietary concerns and think how best to address them.  After all, Ambrosial organic granola and muesli came to life as a direct response to my own nutritional concerns.

March is the National Nutrition Month. No better time to focus on the most frequent questions our customers raise:  How much fat? How many calories? How much sugar? … all crucial pieces to the puzzle of a healthy diet.  From a dietary perspective though, they would be complete if followed with questions about the kind of fat, the nutrient density of each calorie, the source of sugars, the fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals each serving delivers.

The writing spark of this blog was a January 2012 press release from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) under the title Muffin Makeover: Dispelling the Low-Fat-Is-Healthy Myth. To challenge the myth, nutrition experts at HSPH, together with chefs wheat and wheat based foods5 244x300 To Eat or Not to Eat, that is the Question… Organic Nutrient Dense Granola and the Counting of Fat Gramsand dietitians from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), developed five new muffin recipes using healthy fats and whole grains and less salt and sugar.  Their goal was to “make over” the low-fat muffin, advertized as a “better-for-you” choice. These low-fat muffins are made with reduced amounts of heart-healthy fats and plenty of harmful carbohydrates in the form of white flour and sugar.

“Low-fat processed foods are not much better, and are often higher in sugar, carbohydrates, or salt than their full-fat counterparts” the nutrition experts note and add: “For good health, type of fat matters more than amount”. Numerous studies, many from Harvard School of Public Health showed that low-fat diets are no better for health than moderate- or high-fat diets—and for many people, may be worse…  “Low-fat approach to eating hasn’t reduced obesity or made people healthier” the press release announces.

Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition and chair of the Department of Nutrition at HSPH, suggests: “It’s time to end the low-fat myth.  Unfortunately, many well-motivated people have been led to believe that all fats are bad and that foods loaded with white flour and sugar are healthy choices.  This has clearly contributed to the epidemic of diabetes we are experiencing and premature death for many”.

Ambrosial Granola was born in response to my quest in finding better breakfast cereals to feed my children. This motherly care has been passed on and became one of Ambrosial Granola’s fundamental values: offer nutrient -dense products inspired by the traditional Mediterranean diet, well documented for its health benefits.  Food trends come and go making lots of buzz on- and off-line.  It is our responsibility to you the consumer, to provide trustworthy well documented information from reliable sources.  Dr. Willett’s advice to” end the low-fat myth” becomes the best response to our customers’ hunt for the lowest in fat foods.

Every serving of Ambrosial organic granola and muesli delivers good heart-healthy fats such as omega-3s.  We do not add any oil in our baking.  Organic flax meal and a variety of nuts, seeds and fruits mixed with whole grains, all certified organic, boost each spoonful with wholesome nutrition.  Our inspiration is the heart- healthy Mediterranean food culture which has been imprinted on me and influenced my nutritional outlook in life.  Growing up under the Mediterranean sun, fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts, all nutrient-dense foods from the nearby farm, were readily available. We never counted calories, fat or sugars. Famously, Greek salads were swimming in olive oil, always in abundance and most of the sugars were from the freshly picked fruits.

We are bringing the age-old wisdom of the Mediterranean diet to the modern world.  Enjoy our products with a peaceful mind!  After all, our state of mind is as important as our food choices for our wellbeing.

Here are some healthy recipes from our site, including the Ambrosial Granola muffins: http://www.ambrosialgranola.com/mediterranean-recipes.html

Disclaimer: Our only aim writing this blog is to provide useful information. It is not our intention to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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Award Winning Venetian Vineyard Organic Granola in light of a Recent Study

Walnuts Blog Post3 Award Winning Venetian Vineyard Organic Granola in light of a Recent Study We claim that the latest findings from studies on nutrition and public health help us develop new products. A good example is Ambrosial Granola’s award winning Venetian Vineyard Organic Granola which recently won the Best & Healthiest Cereal 2011 from Prevention Magazine/Prevention.com.

A newly released scientific study by University of Scranton chemistry professor Joe Vinson tells us that it takes only about seven walnuts a day, to get the potential health benefits. His findings position walnuts as the “No. 1 among Mother Nature’s nearly perfect packaged foods: tree and ground nuts”. “Antioxidants in walnuts were 2-15 times as potent as vitamin E, renowned for its powerful antioxidant effects that protect the body against damaging natural chemicals involved in causing disease” the report announces.

This is what we had in mind developing our Venetian Vineyard – Walnut, Date & Cashew organic granola. Walnuts have been a staple of the Mediterranean diet. How could we go wrong following the accumulated wisdom of thousands of years?

The same study shows that nuts account for just about 8 percent of the daily antioxidants in the average person’s diet. If nuts are so healthful and nutritious, why don’t we eat more? Professor Vinson sites ignorance of the healthful benefits among people along with concerns about gaining weight from a food higher in fat and calories than others. However, he points out that “nuts contain healthful polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats rather than artery-clogging saturated fat”.

To help our customers incorporate a few more walnuts in their diet we provide this link to Ambrosial Granola recipes. Some of them are chock full of walnuts, some other s chock full of other ingredients, all jam-packed with healthy and delicious nutrition!

The huge lush shade walnut tree in my sister’s Mediterranean garden is still a tranquil little haven for family gatherings during the summer. Who knew years later, these happy memories would become inspirations of new wholesome products?

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Environmental Artist Agnes Denes, a Fan of Ambrosial Organic Granola

 Environmental Artist Agnes Denes, a Fan of Ambrosial Organic Granola

You can find Ambrosial Granola at retail stores, a number of college campuses, and online; but we don’t often know who our consumers are.  We recently learned about one particularly exciting AG aficionado: artist Agnes Denes, known for her initiative in the environmental art movement.  We are excited to have a fan like Agnes, since we are fans of hers.  Her artwork, especially Wheatfield – A Confrontation from 1982, speaks to many of our beliefs about society’s current relationship with the earth and agriculture.  She “confronts” us with the reality of our priorities and as a result, makes us question them.

Ambrosial Granola is based in Brooklyn so we understand the difficulty of living an organic, sustainable lifestyle in an urban environment.  The first step is awareness.  Environmental artists like Denes help spread this awareness and we hope we do our small part in making eating organic, earth-friendly food just a bit easier.

 Environmental Artist Agnes Denes, a Fan of Ambrosial Organic Granola

Photo: Wheatfield – A Confrontation, Battery Park Landfill, downtown Manhattan, 2 acres of wheat planted & harvested, summer 1982. Courtesy of Agnes Denes

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Is Food Reform the Best Healthcare Reform?

One year ago, Michael Pollan wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling for reform of our food system. Exorbitant healthcare costs, he said, were a result of an unhealthy nation that needed to fix the food industry before any changes could be made to healthcare.

Well, now the healthcare reform has passed and we have the same food system. One year later, is his article still relevant?

The numbers he presented were overwhelming: over the last two decades, health care spending has increased by 30%, and much of this rise can be linked to obesity. We spend $147 billion on obesity, $116 billion on diabetes care, and hundreds of billions on cardiovascular disease and cancers that are both related to diet; and three quarters of our total spending goes to treating chronic and preventable diseases also linked to diet.

With the new healthcare bill placing a heavier financial burden on the insurance industry, Mr. Pollan and others have predicted that the industry will be forced to not only acknowledge but also be proactive about the relationship between costly healthcare and food, and will subsequently use its political and fiscal weight to sway the Farm Bill, which expires in its current form in 2012.

Michael Pollan is not the only one to recognize that high farm subsidies for certain crops that feed our obesity epidemic are at odds with the government’s other endeavor to fix our healthcare system. Resolving this incongruity by reforming the Farm Bill would only benefit the nation by making healthy, regional food more accessible and affordable. When the healthcare industry realizes this and acts on it, change might finally occur. But so far, there is no sign that the industry has caught on. Mr. Pollan’s message is still relevant.

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The Water Footprint of Granola

Water footprint The Water Footprint of Granola

In honor of Blog Action Day 2010: Water, I decided to look at Ambrosial Granola’s water footprint.  A water footprint is just like a carbon footprint but for water: it is the amount of water you consume in all facets of your lifestyle.  In my experience, our water footprints are almost consistently larger than we expect.  I was hoping to get a relatively accurate assessment by finding the water usage behind each individual ingredient, but it proved more difficult than I’d hoped.

The ingredients in our Grecian Grove Granola are: Organic rolled oats, organic honey, organic golden raisins, organic coconut, organic rice syrup, organic molasses, organic apricots, organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, organic crisp brown rice, organic oat flour, organic sesame seeds, organic cranberries, organic flax seeds, organic vanilla, organic orange oil, salt.

I didn’t even make it past the first one!  I couldn’t find a water footprint for oats.  Honey, nope.  Raisins?  Nothing.  Coconuts!!  Coconuts require 2500 liters of water per kg of coconut. That’s when I realized I was going about this all wrong.  In general, organic farmers make the extra effort to keep water use to a minimum and reuse or harvest it when possible.  So how could my endeavor be relevant when we’re talking about the world averages?

Instead, I decided to draw attention to a few important details in water consumption.  Fruits, vegetables and grains are always better than animal products.  Animals have to consume these crops and, as a result, each carries a larger water footprint.  Beef, for example, has a water footprint of approximately 15500 litres of water per kilogram.  It takes 1300 liters to make 1 kilogram of either barley or wheat and 70 for one apple.  These are still shockingly high numbers, even if they are lower than meat’s water footprint.

The good news is there are steps you can take to reduce your water footprint.  Start by going organic.  A Cornell study found that organic farms use 30 percent less energy and conserve water better than conventional.  They tend to reuse and harvest water and make an effort to irrigate less.  You can also calculate your water footprint and see where you can make changes in your lifestyle.  There are many ways you can make adjustments in your eating habits and also in your home: install low-flow showerheads and toilets, water your garden less and only do laundry when you have a full load, for starters.

Take a moment today to learn about water use in the world and in your own home.  Every little bit counts.

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Ambrosial Organic Granola Supports Non-GMO Month

Revised Seal copy Ambrosial Organic Granola Supports Non GMO MonthNon-GMO Month is upon us!  Yesterday, 10-10-10, was Non-GMO Day.  To celebrate, Ambrosial Granola sampled at the Whole Foods Market in Chelsea on Friday, October 8th.  We had a great turnout and are excited about Whole Food’s participation in the Non-GMO Project to verify and label all non-GMO products.  Without consumer knowledge and participation, though, the effort will be fruitless; so read on to learn more about the fight against GMOs in our food.
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