Everyday Trail Mix

We are a house in transition. 
We've made a number of significant diet and lifestyle changes within the last year and a half, and somehow, we're still going.  Right now, we're making the transition to a mainly vegetarian diet.  We each drink a vegan breakfast smoothie each morning (have I mentioned that it's wonderful?!), and while I am usually vegan 'til six (as Mark Bittman discusses in Food Matters), our dinners generally fluctuate between bean-focused, fish-focused, or pizza-focused.

Danny still eats meat, but he has decided to make steps to scale it back significantly.  Because I no longer eat meat (except for fish, occasionally), I have had to alter some of my diet staples to accommodate for my lack of protein. And though that may sound quite dramatic, it hardly seems like a difficult decision with delicious everyday treats like this one.

One delicious (and very basic) recipe we've discovered is a simple, everyday trail mix.  Though it is something that one might bring hiking--and that's good, too!--it is also excellent for everyday consumption; along with a fresh juice, it has become a reliable and delicious lunch-on-the-go since returning to school

You can add other elements in, but here is a great place from which to begin building your new favorite trail mix.  You can get the ingredients in bulk or you can get them from the regular grocery store.  Just look for the unsalted nuts and seeds--even those claiming "made with sea salt" have a whole bunch of nasty ingredients.


- peanuts (unsalted, unseasoned, dry roasted)
- sunflower seeds (unsalted, unseasoned, dry roasted)
- organic raisins
- organic dried cranberries

Below are a number of other ingredients that sometimes make it into the mix or add your own!
Additional wonderful add-ins:

- almonds
- chocolate chips
- dried goji berries
- dry cereal (like GF rice chex)
- granola
- pumpkin or squash seeds

Simply combine any ratio of these ingredients you would like.  I go heavy on the peanuts and sunflower seeds, but I also love adding in cereal and almonds.  Danny prefers chocolate chips and goji berries in his. 

Around Halloween and Thanksgiving, with fresh pumpkin and squash in the house, I baked or sautéed the seeds and threw those in.  Marvelous!

Health Benefits:

(Unsalted) Roasted Peanuts: obviously not for everyone, peanuts provide a good source of monosaturated fats and oleic acids, which can decrease risk of cardiovascular disease (maybe up to 21%!), contain protein, vitamin E, niacin, manganese, folate, and the antioxidant resveratrol (same as red grapes and wine), may have anti-cancer properties

(Unsalted) Roasted Sunflower Seeds: contain anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits from vitamin E, copper, vitamin B1, manganese, phytosterols which lower cholesterol, magnesium which can calm the body, nerves, and blood vessels, selenium provides detoxification and cancer prevention

Raisins: provide assistance with constipation, acidosis, anemia, hypertenstion, diabetes, fever, and sexual dysfunction; assist in healthy weight gain* and cancer prevention ; believed to improve eye health, dental care, and bone quality (*note: weight gain--due to the compact calorie punch of dried fruit--if you want less of that, simply alter the ratios and use additional high fiber, low calorie ingredients*)

Cranberries: protect both the cardiovascular system and liver; supply phytonutrients (including phenolic acids, phanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, flavonoids, and triterpenoids), which deliver antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits; aid in preventing urinary tract infections; and mixed findings regarding kindney stone prevention; and overall immune support