filtering my milk with an american apparel stocking


Yesterday I had a bit of an incident. Everyday I ride my bike to work – it’s just something I do to save money and also get in a bit of extra exercise.  At one point in my ride I have to cut across and head north where the bike lane ends.  I never had a problem with this route and I was doing the same thing I always do.  Long story short, a car wound up stopping and opening their car door.  I went right into the car door, swerved, and hit another car on the right side.  I fell to the ground (I’m okay, I promise!) and managed to be FINE.  I do not wear a helmet, but now I won’t get on the bike again until I have one.  I got away with a stiff neck and a couple of cuts.  This story is so significant to my life because everyday I try SO hard to live a healthy life, make the right eating choices, so I can have a long, healthy life.  My life could have abruptly stopped right then and there regardless of how healthy I try to be and how many homemade almond milk ounces I make.  Life is beyond precious, and along with making proactive choices so you can live a healthy life, also be careful.  Wear a helmet.  Look both ways.  Put on a seatbelt.  You don’t realize how short life can be until you face an incident like this.

Anyways. like promised, how to make my homemade almond ‘mylk’.

In my instagram post I wrote, “why I won’t buy store-bought almond milk”.  And yes, that is true, I won’t purchase silk or blue diamond or whatever.  I just won’t.  But a disclaimer, I’m not that anal chick bringing my homemade almond milk to coffee shops (well, most of the time.) and if I’m out to dinner/lunch and I have some milk in my coffee, I will just choose whatever non-dairy alternative they have.  Balance.  So yes, when I’m at my home and I want milk, I make my own.  I make the best choices I can everyday considering that life happens and sometimes you must have processed almond milk.

So why I don’t buy store-bought almond milk.  Not a big long spiel here, but why would you buy store-bought almond milk filled with guar gum and  ‘natural flavors’ when you could just make your own super fast, super cheap and super easy almond milk? What I try to do everyday is eat every food as a whole only consisting of ingredients I understand.  If you don’t know what an ingredient is, your body won’t either.  Trust me.  I think that is a pretty simple philosophy.  Just eat things in their natural state.  I don’t worry about food combining, macros, percentages of fat/protein/carb, I just eat foods as a whole and in an untouched, organic state.  Simple.

So how do I make my almond milk? We are thinking simplicity here.

What you will need:

1.) Blender (I use a Vitamix)

2.) Filtered Water

3.) Raw/Organic Almonds

4.) Dates

5.) Cinnamon

6.) Organic Sea Salt

7.) American Apparel Nylon (Haha! Or just any nylon stocking…I will get to this part and explain…I promise…)

First, I soak my almonds for about 8 hours. So just the day before you decide to make your milk, just soak your almonds overnight.  This will make them easier to blend.

Instructions:

1.) Drain and rinse the soaked almonds and then put them in the blender.  I normally do about 2 cups of almonds and this makes about 64 oz.

2.) So I know I mentioned on my blog before I never use measuring cups.  I always just approximate which makes me a shitty recipe writer but bear with me.  I put enough water in the blender so that all the almonds are covered plus about an extra 1 1/2 cups.  It should look like 1/2 almonds and 1/2 water in the blender.

3.) Then I add in a couple shakes of cinnamon, 3 dates, and a pinch of sea salt.  I taste test after it is finished blending and add in a little more of whatever you like.  If you like a more savory milk, add some more sea salt.  A sweeter milk, add some more dates.

4.) Blend.  I let my blender sit on for about 2/3 minutes so it completely blends all the dates and almonds.  Then I taste test and see what I need a little more of.  Now, the milk is gonna be thick at this point because this is prior to filtering it.

5.) So this part my roommate always laughs at.  But I promise it doesn’t take long!  So you are going to need a nut bag or cheesecloth and to be completely honest I have no idea where to get one, probably online.  What I use is an American Apparel nylon stocking.  I cut off the feet part (I never used these stockings) and it works perfectly! All I do is grab a big pot, pour my almond milk from the blender and into the stocking over the pot.  I wish I had a video for this part, it kinda reminds me of milking a cow.  The goal of this is just to filter out all the leftover almond pieces and just get the creamy ‘milk’.  It takes about a couple pours and a couple stocking massages to finally get all the milk out.  I’m not sure if I’m using correct terms when referring to my almond milk. But whatever. And wah-lah.  That’s all.  You are left with a non-chunky, creamy, delicious almond milk.  With no weird ingredients.

I’m telling you this almond milk tastes good in just about everything.  Especially coffee.

So that’s all for today, try my recipe, tweak it yourself and tell me what you think and what you did differently!

xxx

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filling my bowls with the right stuff


  
  
  

Okay! So obviously I love making all kinds of bowls.  Today we are going to focus on all of my lovely breakfast bowls.  Not only do they look beautiful but they are filled with nutrients I use everything from acai to avocado and I’m telling you they are filling and delicious.

BLENDER: I am lucky enough to have a Vitamix that I use at home and at work.  Yes, these blenders are worth every penny (Thanks Ooma!) but you can totally use a non-expensive blender to do these as well.  For the longest time I used a 30 dollar blender from Target and it got the job done.  When using an inexpensive blender I recommend just blending a little longer than you would and also using a little more of a liquid base.

ACAI BOWLS

THE BASE:  So you need to start off with a liquid base.  To keep my smoothie bowls raw, I use either freshly juiced apple or a water base.  The apple makes it a little sweeter (obviously) but if you don’t have access to a juicer the water works fine.  When making a smoothie bowl, I only use about 3oz of water or juice because I want it to have a thicker consistency.  Other liquid bases that are delicious, dairy-free, and good for you: Almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk (All can be found at whole foods)

1.) Acai – So you probably hear people saying the word “Acai” (Ah-sai-ee) all the time.  And most of the time they are probably saying it wrong.  So here is the scoop on acai.  It’s a berry, so it is filled with antioxidants. Does it have more super powers than any other berry? In my humble opinion, not necessarily.  All berries are going to be good for you, this one just happens to be exotic and delicious and makes an awesome, refreshing bowl.

Where do you get Acai?

Since I don’t have access to an acai palm tree and I can’t pick it myself, I have to buy the frozen smoothie packs.  Which aren’t too bad. I get all my frozen (unsweetened) smoothie packs from Sambazon.  They are all organic and a really great company to deal with. ( http://www.sambazon.com ) Tip: Stay away from any acai juices/smoothies that you see in refrigerators at stores they are loaded with sugar and are the furthest thing from au-natural.  So, you can get these unsweetened smoothie packs from Whole Foods and I’ve seen them at my local health store as well.  Check around.

So you have your base. Either juice, almond milk, water, etc.  Now put your frozen acai packet into the blender.

THE BANANAS: I go through a ton of bananas. I am constantly buying them and rotating them.  I wait until they are super spotty and almost brown to freeze them.  Please don’t freeze them when they are green! Bananas get a bad rep for being very binding and constipating people.  This is NOT the case when you eat your bananas correctly.  Waiting until they are super ripe is the key.  For smoothie bowls, using a frozen banana is the way to go.  It makes the consistency creamy, cold (But not icy) and thick.  I’m a little obsessed so I use two frozen bananas in my bowls because it sweetens it nicely and I have a major sweet tooth! But, you only need one.

Now, I find that honey makes for a super creamy and sweet acai bowl.  I don’t use honey but I think if you are using a local honey it would be a nice touch.  Sometimes I will throw in some chia seeds to help with the consistency. Chia seeds when put in water form a gelatinous fiber around them and are great for cleansing the body.

BLENDING: Even with a vitamix, it takes some time to blend up a frozen acai packet and a frozen banana.  Sometimes I will stop, add a little extra of whatever base you decided to use and stir it up. By the end of the blending procedure you should be left with a creamy, “yogurt-like” consistency.

GREEN SMOOTHIE BOWLS

This is all very similar to the acai procedure, but instead you will be using your base of choice (About 4oz this time), a frozen banana (or two) and greens.

1.) Greens – It’s very self explanatory, either throw in a handful of organic spinach or organic kale.  Tip: Kale is harder to break down in the blender so you will need a little extra blend time.  Also, I noticed that kale isn’t as easy to palate as spinach is.  If you are using kale, I would blend in an extra banana for taste.  Spinach you won’t even be able to taste.

What is better for you? I don’t discriminate my greens.  I eat whatever is organic and I just change it up.  ALL leafy green vegetables are going to work wonders for your overall health.

2.) Avocado – For my green smoothie bowls I always throw in 1/3 or 1/2 of an avocado.  Avo has a very neutral taste and thickens the smoothie bowl a LOT.  Even if you throw in the smallest amount of avo, it will make it have an ice-creamy texture. Delish. Not to mention avo is a healthy fat.

 

TOPPINGS

So I use a ton of different toppings, but the most important is the fruit.  I’m not crazy about supplements, I believe that using the whole food is the most important.  Use whatever fruit you can, I normally only put on a little bit for my fun photos and then load on more after the photoshoot.  

Favorite toppings:

1.) Gluten-Free/Organic Granola 

2.) Chia Seeds

3.) Flax Seeds

4.) Cinnamon

5.) Unsweetened Coconut

6.) Cacao Nibs

7.) Raw almonds

8.) Pumpkin seeds

9.) Goji Berries

I get a lot of questions about food combining and getting the right amount of nutrients and this is always my answer:  Your body is amazing.  It takes what it needs out of the food you put in your mouth.  If you are eating a whole food, plant-based diet you will get a ton of the right nutrients.  I promise. I don’t worry too much about eating the right combinations, I just eat food from the earth.  (Not to sound like a hippie bitch.) But just give your body what it needs and it can figure it out itself.  

 

I hope you took something out of this post and everyone have a fantastic Saturday! XOX

 

 

 

 

 

freeing yourself while feeding yourself

When I was 12 years old my father used to drag me out of bed to run with him.

Barely awake with a puffy face and my hair matted to my sweaty face I would oblige.  At 12 years old I started to become conscious of what I was putting into my body and knew that I was holding a little extra weight, more so than the other 7th graders in my class. I mean, all the other 7th grade girls had boyfriends, and I just had a bike.  I think I started to understand that you needed to exercise to stay fit and always eat a nutritious diet.  I grew up on canned spaghetti sauce, microwaveable vegetables, and butter. Drinking a XL glass of skim milk with a huge piece of white bread smothered in butter was completely normal and considered nutritious in my family.  So I kept eating the same way and decided to run with my father.

I always could make it out of my driveway.  Easy.  Once out of the neighborhood, mind you this is .33 miles, I could barely breathe.  I would start gasping and crying and my dad would exclaim as he ran in circles around me, “C’mon! Just do it!” He would have to pull me most of the time just to make me run 1 mile.

Weight became the center of my life when I was 15 years old.  I would carelessly throw the words “fat”, “obese”, “disgusting” around and I had such a hatred for my body. I didn’t have a thin figure like the rest of the girls and they were all just so thin.  I started exercising more, restricting calories, and I began reading up on “Macrobiotics”.  Not sure how any 15-year-old girl living off of skim milk and chicken dinner her mother made her thought she could go Macrobiotic.  Macrobiotics is primarily sea vegetables, seeds, brown rice, and leafy greens.  At the time I didn’t even fully understand that salad dressing could be homemade and it didn’t have to come from a bottle.  But I was going Macrobiotic.

This story could be painfully long, but I’ll spare you and get to my point.

Throughout my life I seemed to make dietary choices based on my weight.  I didn’t care about being “healthy” I was a vegan because it would restrict me of calories, I was macrobiotic because it was a way I could get out of eating and still put on this persona of living a healthy life.  Yes, being a vegan can be an extremely healthy lifestyle, if you are doing it for the right reasons.  It took me a long long time to get me to where I am today with my plant-based lifestyle. So many ups and downs.  At 16,  I would restrict.  At 18, I would obsessively count calories.  At 21, I would self-soothe with food.  At 22, I would starve and binge.  It still is something I have to deal with every single day, but I owe it to myself to enjoy food and just be healthy and love yourself every step of the way.  It sounds ridiculously corny, but worrying about food all the time and looking at it so negatively is exhausting.  After being diagnosed with MS in 2013, I noticed a change.  I genuinely wanted to work towards living a healthy life.  My life depended on it.  It wasn’t about being “skinny” anymore, it was about being strong.

I’m gonna write a few things that helped me get through this obsessive compulsive eating dilemma I found myself in. I truly believe everyone is so different and what works for me, might not work for you but I thought I would write it out anyways.

So thanks to my father, I am now a runner.  I just finished my first half-marathon and I am working towards a full marathon.  Running to me used to be something that was going to make me skinny.  Now, I think of myself as an athlete. I think of every mile making me stronger.  I get out there everyday and workout because I love training and working towards a goal. I want to be stronger and then after I finish running, I love fueling my body back up with the right foods.  This helped me a lot.  Work towards a goal to make you stronger and healthier than you were yesterday.

Make sure you are eating big enough meals with plenty of calories that are good for you. Stay away from “empty” calories. When I say “empty”, I mean calories that are giving you 0 nutrients.  Any sugary power drinks, processed foods, low-calorie snacks (these suck.),  etc.  When you fill your stomach with food that is genuinely nutritious it has a completely different feeling then when you overstuffed yourself with shitty food. If you are eating big enough meals you won’t feel the need to binge.

Stop getting mad at yourself for being hungry.  You are human. I would get so mad at my body when I would get hungry.  “WHY AM I HUNGRY?”  Why wouldn’t you be hungry?  Be thankful that you have food to eat.

There is absolutely no “screwing up”.  I will repeat myself, you are human.  Sometimes you are gonna eat like shit.  Sometimes you are gonna overeat.  Sometimes you aren’t gonna have the energy to workout.  It really doesn’t matter.  Stop being so hard on yourself, and once you stop thinking so negatively about yourself, you can work out tomorrow.  I noticed the more positive reinforcement I give my body the more I want to eat the right foods, and workout.  negatively sucks.

Life is way too short to sit around in anxiety over your next meal.  Listen to your body, fill it with the right foods, and just relax.

I started writing this post thinking I was going to write about Kayla Montgomery (MS/Running). But I guess my mind had a different plan.

xo