I can’t tell you how much I am dying to fall in love… with the incredibly healthy granola that is Go Raw. (And not just because (full disclaimer) they were kind enough to send me three different samples). Completely unblemished in its nutritional stats, Go Raw granola meets every holy standard there is, not just for cereal, but for any food: it’s wheat-free, it’s gluten-free, it’s sugar-free (any of its sugars come from dried fruits), it’s 100% organic, and you get so many vitamins and minerals – including up to 10% of your daily iron per serving – that it’s as nutritionally-rich as a supplement. That said- I’m not in love with it yet.
There’s also the fact that it’s raw: the granola’s main ingredient (whether it’s Live Granola, Live Chocolate Granola, or Apple Cinnamon) is sprouted organic buckwheat groats (yes- I mean ‘groats,’ not oats), which are made through a process which involves acquiring locally-sourced buckwheat groat seeds, sorting them by hand, soaking them in filtered water, and then letting them sprout.
You can think of it as a natural form of processing, or, put more reverently, a hands-on form of nurturing in which the inherent goodness of the seeds are allowed to fully come through and blossom. The groats are eventually dried at an avg. temperature of 98 degrees, thus qualifying them as raw, as opposed to your typical cereal, which is baked.
This inevitably brings up the whole debate over raw vs. cooked, which could be a rather lengthy discussion, but since I’m just talking about a raw cereal, it need not be. Studies have shown, and experts have echoed, that cooking cereal (above 100 C, or 212 F) leads to the lessening of protein digestibility; so as it turns out, you get greater protein benefits from cereal that’s raw.
But for Go Raw, it’s not necessarily all about being raw over being baked—their approach is more holistic than that. Clearly their mission is to produce a food that’s as pure and unprocessed as a food can be (http://www.goraw.com/index.php), in contrast to much of the cereals you find in the mass market, and I completely applaud their unwavering approach toward offering purity in a cereal.
The taste of the world’s healthiest granola, meanwhile, is an acquired one. More than simply adapting to a cereal that doesn’t have a gram of sugar added (again, other than the dried fruit- whether raisins and dates in Live Granola, or coconuts, dates and unsulphured apples in Apple Cinnamon), the biggest adjustment to getting acquainted with Go Raw is its rawness. You simply know that you’re not eating a baked/cooked food.
The buckwheat groats do have a nice texture – a subtle crunchiness – but they also really do have the taste and feel of being alive: a potent tingly-ness that is likely to be challenging to most who aren’t raw foodists (including myself). With milk (ideally almond, rice or soy, to keep with the healthy, sustainable theme), Go Raw granola is definitely more palatable; I also have tended to mix it with some baked oat cereal (OK, Cheerios), or organic corn flakes to balance this new type of taste out with something a bit more in the comfort zone.
Apple Cinnamon is my personal favorite. The Live Granola is just a notch down flavor-wise, w/the same consistency, while the Chocolate is definitely the hardest taste to adjust to: there’s something about the taste of the cacao, buckwheat groat, and sesame and sunflower seed mixture that is fairly sweet on one hand, but also, well, rather bizarre on the other (it may even be a touch soapy, depending on your own palette, as it was for me). My girlfriend, meanwhile, who mainly restricts her sugar intake to honey-only, enjoyed the Chocolate, though she didn’t find it anywhere near as satisfying as the honey-sweetened baked granola that she loves.
All that said, because I’m so enamored of GoRaw’s pure and healthy ambitions, and its organic and locally-sustained practices, I only consider this round 1. Next time I have some Go Raw granola, I’ll be interested to see if my palette will have adjusted a bit, like listening to a new album the 2nd or 3rd time after a little time away. I encourage you to give Go Raw a try and draw your own conclusions. If you’ve never had raw cereal before, I can’t imagine a purer or healthier granola than this….