Alisa Fleming ~ “Granola” is a term that is often associated with health nuts and hippies, but modern day granola is usually anything but healthy. Loaded with sugars and vegetable oils, most brands will leave you with that dreaded sugar cereal after-crash.
In recent years, I’ve seen valiant attempts at healthier granolas, but Hail Merry is one of the first I’ve seen to really get it right. I had the opportunity to trial their Cherry Almond Hemp Grawnola, and was amazed at its nutritional profile. The 3.5-ouce bags contain 2 hefty servings (forget the, “but who can stop at half a cup” problem with sugary granolas), and each serving is packed with 7 grams of protein, 12 grams of (no oil!) fats, and 3 grams of fiber. Per serving, you will get only 10 grams of sugar, and that includes the sugars from the organic dried cherries, organic dried apples and pomegranate juice. In other words, this granola isn’t packed with loads of added sugars.
Here is a peek at the whole ingredient list: almonds, organic buckwheat groats, shelled hemp seeds, organic dried cherries (evaporated cane juice), organic maple syrup, organic dried apples, pomegranate juice, organic sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, organic flax seeds, brown rice protein powder (brown rice protein, natural vanilla flavor, guar gum), hemp meal, sea salt.
Notice anything interesting? No added oils! How cool is that? All of the fats are naturally occurring in the nuts and seeds. I’ve trialed at-home recipes that don’t use added oils, but they come out lifeless and soft. Thanks to the soaking and dehydration process used by Hail Merry, the granola is perfectly crisp and crunchy. Here’s how they do it …
The nuts, seeds, and groats are first soaked to “activate the living enzymes.” They then dehydrate the granola at very low temperatures to protect these enzymes along with the delicate essential fatty acids found in the nuts and seeds. In the end, since this is “cooked” at such low temperatures, it is classified as raw food. Hail Merry makes three different Grawnolas this way, including their Grawnola 369 Orange Cranberry and Lemon Blue Agave Grawnola, but I didn’t have the opportunity to trial those flavors.
Unlike regular granola, Grawnola isn’t something I would pour into a bowl and douse with milk alternative. It's heartier, with big chunks of whole almonds and cherries, and more like a filling snack or even a meal replacement on-the-go. As you might expect from the ingredients, the flavor is warm, earthy, and gently sweetened. This isn’t a dessert-like treat; it’s a rich snack that makes you well aware that you are eating real food. Hello back-to-school (and work) lunchboxes!
Of course, I wouldn't be tasting something if it wasn't dairy-free, but as you can see from the ingredients, Grawnola is also a gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan product that is suitable for various special diets.
The one drawback? Hail Merry’s products aren’t what I would call bargain-priced. Specials do pop up on their website, so I would keep an eye out for those and in stores. But hey, you get what you pay for, and good quality food (with tons of organic ingredients no less) rarely comes cheap.
Want a healthy dessert too? See my review of Hail Merry's unreal Miracle Tarts. Yes, I love this brand!
For more information on all of Hail Merry's products, visit their website at www.hailmerry.com.
This is a third party review by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets.