take this tiger by the tail (tigernut granola recipe inside!)
I’ve got a question for you today…
If, as you likely know by now, you are equal parts bacteria and human, just who (or what) are you feeding when you sit down to your morning meal?
Honestly, it’s not a trick question. And if you think about it with that data in mind (shall I say it again? Equal parts bacteria and human!), I believe you know the answer.
And while we’re still learning more each day—mapping what’s going on with those microbes and how they influence our states of health and illness, from gut to brain and immunity to pain—it’s time for each one of us to take the tiger by the tail.
We’ll do just that with the second recipe in our granola series and this week’s featured ingredient.
Last week, I shared my go-to gluten-free granola recipe. It’s a family favorite, but not one that I can eat any longer (no oats for me).
This week, we’ll consider how we can still make granola when nearly all of the customary granola ingredients are off the table (including grains, nuts, seeds, and most sweeteners.)
That’s right, our granola recipe of the day comes from our very own FxNA Nutritionist, Caroline Stahlschmidt, and it includes an option to make it Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) friendly.
It also happens to feature a favorite microbiome maverick (hello tigernuts!)
‘Taking a tiger by the tail’ means to become associated with something powerful and potentially dangerous; to have a very difficult problem to solve. This is nothing short of the truth when we think about the role of our microbiome in our health or when we think of making a granola with none of the usual suspects.
With that bug in your ear, it’s time to get nutty and learn a bit about tigernuts!
First, to be clear, tigernuts aren’t actually nuts. (Good news for all among us who are allergic or sensitive or intolerant to those edible kernels.) Instead, tigernuts are a small root vegetable tuber that originates from Northern Africa and the Mediterranean.
Are you curious, yet?
Tigernuts are a rich source of resistant starch and that makes them one of my favorite digestive superfoods.
Resistant starch is like nutrition for the probiotic (ie. good guy) bacteria in your colon. There are a number of foods that contain resistant starch and even a number of types of resistant starch, but they all have one thing in common:
This type of starch resists digestion.
What this means is that it travels through the gastrointestinal tract—from mouth to colon—without breaking down and becoming fuel for the cells throughout your system, like other foods do.
Once resistant starches reach the colon they’re ready to do their job. In the colon or large intestine, much resistant starch is converted to short-chain fatty acids, one of which is called butyrate.
Butyrate not only supports the colon to rebuild, repair and replenish, but it helps to lower cancer risk and increase the population of good colon bacteria that serve to ward off disease. Butyrate is like a superfood for your colon and resistant starch is how you deliver that superfood to your system!
Try Caroline’s favorite morning granola featuring this terrific little tuber (recipe below).
Here’s to groovy AIP-friendly granola that packs a gut loving tiger growl.
Your homework? Give tigernuts and this AIP-friendly granola a try and focus on feeding you and your microbiome. And keep your eye on the tiger!
Speaking of Caroline and our FxNA nutrition team, we’re accepting new clients into our Nutrition Counseling Services. Click here to learn more.
Tigrrrr-nola (AIP-friendly options!)
As you know, I love granola. But being sugar and grain-free, as I tend to be, most granola recipes don’t love me. (Sound familiar?) When Caroline told me about her favorite granola recipe and an FBS student gifted me a bag of tigernuts, I was inspired to get my granola on — tigernut style!
The tigernuts are tough little tubers so be sure to run the food processor long enough to grind them into very small pieces, it may take a full minute or two, but it’s worth the wait.
Note: This recipe is super flexible. Use it as a guide. Get creative with your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruit and spices. Give it a whirl. Let me know on the FxNA Facebook page about your winning combos.
- 1 cup whole tiger nuts (soaked 12-48 hours and drained)
- 1 cup of your favorite nuts or seeds (sub unsweetened banana chips to make AIP/nut-free)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (or more nuts/seeds)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ground ginger (optional)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 Tbsp coconut nectar or yacon syrup
- 2 Tbsp pureed pumpkin or applesauce (or use more coconut nectar or yacon)
- 6-10 drops liquid stevia
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Once soaked, drain the tigernuts and place them in a food processor. Give it a whirl until they are broken up into very small pieces (this might take a few minutes, keep whirling!).
Add the 1 cup of nuts/seeds (or substituted banana chips) to the food processor and pulse until the nuts are also in small pieces. Add the shredded coconut, coconut flakes, cinnamon, ginger, and salt to the food processor and pulse a few more times to combine. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix the melted coconut oil, vanilla, pumpkin puree or applesauce and sweetener until well combined. Stir the coconut oil mixture into the tigernut mixture and incorporate wet and dry ingredients well.
Scoop the tigernut granola mixture onto the lined baking sheet, spread it evenly on your tray. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes, until just beginning to brown around the edges.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the granola to cool completely. Store it in a glass container or jar in the fridge or pantry.
We’re each unique and we all respond differently to new ingredients. While introducing tigernuts to your diet, start low and go slow to be sure your microbiome is game to grow!
If you have a delicate GI and have any concerns, please consult your dedicated healthcare provider.