Benefits of Almond Milk You May Not Know About

almondmilk

Those looking for a dairy-free milk substitute have probably stumbled across almond milk and wondered, “Is almond milk good for you?” Whether you’re a vegan, sensitive to milk or just don’t like the taste, almond milk is a fabulous alternative.

While almond milk is becoming more and more popular, it’s important to note that it doesn’t provide as much protein or calcium to be a complete substitute, so make sure you receive adequate amounts from other sources. One cup only has one gram of protein versus 8 grams in cow’s milk, and 2 milligrams of calcium versus 300 milligrams in cow’s milk.

As with everything you buy, make sure to check the labels and purchase almond milk that contains the least amount of preservatives and other additives.

1. It helps with weight management.

One cup of almond milk contains only 60 calories, as opposed to 146 calories in whole milk, 122 calories in 2 percent, 102 calories in 1 percent, and 86 calories in skim. It makes for a great substitute that will help you lose or maintain your current weight.

2. It keeps your heart healthy.

There’s no cholesterol or saturated fat in almond milk. It’s also low in sodium and high in healthy fats (such as omega fatty acids, typically found in fish), which helps to prevent high blood pressure and heart disease.

3. It keeps your bones strong.

While it doesn’t offer as much calcium as cow’s milk, almond milk does offer 30 percent of the recommended daily amount, as well as 25 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin D, reducing your risk for arthritis and osteoporosis and improving your immune function. Plus, these two nutrients work together to provide healthy bones and teeth formation.

4. It keeps your skin glowing.

Almond milk contains 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E, which contains antioxidant properties essential to your skin’s health, such as protecting it against sun damage.

5. It barely impacts your blood sugar.

Almond milk (with no additives) is low in carbs, which means it won’t significantly increase your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk for diabetes. Because of its low glycemic index, your body will use the carbs as energy so the sugars aren’t stored as fat (score!).

6. It contributes to muscle strength and healing.

Although almond milk only contains 1 gram of protein per serving, it contains plenty of B vitamins such as iron and riboflavin, both important for muscle growth and healing.

7. It keeps your digestion in check.

Almond milk contains almost one gram of fiber per serving, which is important for healthy digestion.

8. It doesn’t contain lactose.

Lactose intolerance impacts about 25% of the US population, which means they have difficulty digesting the sugar in cow’s milk. This makes almond milk a suitable, lactose-free substitute.

9. It tastes better than cow’s milk.

Almond milk doesn’t taste like cow’s milk, perfect for those who are turned off by the taste. It has its own unique flavor many describe as being light and crisp. Bonus: it’s versatile, meaning you can use it instead of cow’s milk in recipes that require it. It won’t have the same taste, but it will have the same consistency.

10. It doesn’t require refrigeration.

Knowing that you don’t have to refrigerate almond milk means you’ll be more likely to take it with you to work, or on a camping trip. It’s perfectly fine at room temperature which makes it a convenient, nutritious staple to pack, automatically upping your daily intake of all the fabulous nutrients above.

11. It’s easy to make.

Being that it’s a tad inconvenient to have a cow grazing in your backyard, almond milk is the convenient alternative to make at home. It’s made by finely grinding almonds and placing them in a blender with water, then filtering the pulp with a strainer to separate it from the liquid. Want to give it a try? Below is a delicious almond milk recipe.

Have you ever tried almond milk? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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Stocking & Maintaining a Wholefood Kitchen Pantry

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The key to changing everything is simply awareness. If we don’t know that something exists, we will never know what we’re missing.  With the ever changing pace of our busy lives and our efforts to try and balance what is quick & easy with what is good for us, we can take a practical approach to our weight and health goals, by changing what we keep in the house, and therefore what we put in our bodies.

Keep your commitment to yourself by implementing what you learn in this article to slowly and steadily re-stock your kitchen with new, healthy items you may not have heard of before. By purchasing 3-5 new products each time you shop at a health food store, and making a commitment to experiment with them, you can have access to more vibrant health than you ever thought possible. Nothing in here involves a sacrifice, it’s simply either an upgrade to a product you might be using or an addition to your diet.

Tempeh, nuts, beans

PROTEIN

      • Aduzi Beans- buy them canned to start out. Eden Organic is a good brand. This bean strengthens the adrenal glands and supports kidney function
      • Garbanzo Beans (chick peas)- for those eating less meat this bean packs more iron than any other. Have it in hummus form to cut back on dairy or in salads to double as a complex carb and a protein.
      • Tempeh- a natural fermented soy that makes a great veggie burger patty. Full of protein, dietary fiber and b vitamins; a healthier choice than tofu and easy to cook.
      • Fresh Fish- Look for “wild caught” to protect yourself from heavy metals and to maintain the nutrient content. Fish is the fastest protein to cook so if you are intimidated by it, start out with the flaky white fish like red snapper and tilapia and look up some recipes to bake them. Then move on to salmon, tuna, and any others
      • Nuts and seeds- raw almonds and walnuts are a great daily source of protein and healthy fat; bound to sustain you for hours. Have a handful of these with an apple for a snack and enjoy the feelings of satiety.

produce

PRODUCE

      • Leeks, red radishes, daikon radishes, and green onions- great fat emulsifiers for those trying to detox, loose weight or lower their cholesterol. Daikon radishes mirror the shape of carrots but they are white and translucent. Grate them into a salad just like they do at Japanese restaurants.
      • Broccoli Sprouts- 10x more cancer-fighting ability than regular broccoli. Keep your fridge stocked with these to put in salads, wraps and sandwiches. Great detox and weight loss vegetable as well.
      • Sweet Vegetables- beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips and yams are a great way to stave off sweet cravings during this time of year as well as to stay grounded. Cut up your favorites, coat them in olive oil and bake them for 45 minutes at 375. Good for breakfast, over a salad for lunch or as a side dish with dinner.
      • Boxed/bagged mixed field greens- easy, convenient way to eat your greens and to get more than one variety in your salads. Store with a paper towel to ward off excess moisture that wilts the greens.
      • Kale- most powerful source of well-absorbed calcium than any other food. You will be doing yourself a huge favor if you incorporate this food in your diet on a daily basis. Use in sandwiches and wraps in place of lettuce, mix in with a salad or sauté it with garlic and olive oil (or coconut oil). Make sure to de-stem it.
      • Lemons- powerful cleanser. This fruit is highly alkaline and helps wash excess acids from the stomach into the intestines so our bodies can eliminate them. Try the juice of ½ a lemon in water first thing in the morning. This is a great way to kick start your metabolism for the day.

grains

WHOLE GRAINS

      • Bread- try wheat alternatives like brown rice bread, ezekial sprouted grain, manna bread, or many others avoid allergies, mental fog and weight gain.
      • Pasta- pick up brown rice pasta for a low-glycemic choice. You will never taste the difference, but your body will process it much better.
      • Quinoa- a south American grain packing more protein than any other grain. Delicious, full of fiber and b vitamins and one of the least allergenic foods. Cooks in 20 minutes!
      • Millet- this light, fluffy grain is good to use as a breakfast porridge when mixed with almond milk, trail mix and a touch of agave and cinnamon. It is a complex carbohydrate easily processed by any body type.

ghee-coconut oil
FATS AND OILS

      • Flax Oil- great source of desperately needed Omega 3 fatty acids. Never heat it – best on steamed veggies and used in salad dressings or in smoothies. The good fats lower cholesterol, balance our moods, reduce inflammation and promote weight loss!
      • Coconut Oil- use to bake and stir-fry. Helpful with weight loss and stable under high heat.
      • Ghee- alternative to butter because it’s clarified which means the milk solids have been taken out.
      • Avocado- more vitamin E than any other food and provides monounsaturated fat 80% of which is digested immediately.

dairy alternatives

DAIRY AND ALTERNATIVES

      • Goat’s milk yogurt- considered dairy-free for those who cannot process lactose, casein or whey.
      • Feta Cheese/Goat cheese- dairy-free, low fat, and the healthiest cheese.
      • Almond Milk- nut milk found in a box in the cereal isle. Great source of magnesium and protein. Tastes good too!
      • Rice Milk- healthy alternative to milk and much easier to digest.

condiments
CONDIMENTS

      • Tamari- wheat-free soy sauce.
      • Apple cider vinegar- healthiest vinegar to alkalize the body. Can alleviate indigestion and acid reflux with regular use of 1T/day. Make it be your mainstay in the vinegar category.
      • Cayenne Pepper- boosts metabolism and warms us from the inside.
      • Herbs and Spices (a variety of fresh or dried)
      • Cinnamon- will balance your blood sugar for 24 and stave off sweet cravings
      • Coconut Milk- use for asian dishes and to replace milk and crème on deserts. Nice topper to your breakfast cereal.
      • Agave Nectar- honey-like natural sweetener that is completely safe for diabetics, low in calorie and 1/4x sweeter than sugar. My personal favorite!
      • Xylitol- This natural sweetener comes from plants and can be used cup for cup in place of sugar in any recipe for a healthy “sugar free” treat.
      • Celtic Sea salt- matches the exact mineral profile of our blood; supports healthy skin and digestion.
      • Raw Almond butter- healthier than peanut butter and more satisfying.

Now that your pantry is all stocked up here’s a few recipes for you to try:

Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms

quinoa

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 pear , peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 garlic clove , halved
2 pounds portobello mushrooms , stemmed and gills scraped out
1 cup red or white quinoa
3 cups tightly packed fresh spinach , chopped
4 green onions , thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds , toasted
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 475°F.

Put vinegar, mustard, pear and garlic in a blender with 1/3 cup water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute, to make the dressing. Cut mushrooms into chunks and combine in a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup of the dressing. Spread mushrooms in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

While mushrooms roast, prepare quinoa. In a medium pot, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, 10 minutes more. Uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork.

Combine mushrooms, quinoa, spinach, green onions, almonds, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup more dressing in a large, wide serving bowl. Stir to mix well. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.

Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving: Serving size: , 280 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 120mg sodium, 43g carbohydrates, (7 g dietary fiber, .9g sugar), 12g protein.

Creamy Sesame Greens

creamy

6 cups chopped kale, Swiss chard or collard greens , tough stems removed
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice
1 clove garlic , finely chopped

Heat 2 tablespoons water in a large skillet over medium heat. Add greens and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

In a large bowl, whisk together tahini, orange juice, 2 additional tablespoons water and garlic. Add hot greens, toss to combine and serve immediately.

Nutritional Info:
Per Serving: Serving size: , 200 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 95mg sodium, 25g carbohydrates, (5 g dietary fiber, .0g sugar), 9g protein.

No Ice Cream Maker? No Problem!

5 At-Home Ice Cream Tricks

strawberry-icecream

We’re officially in the thick of winter, and just about everyone could use a little sunshine in his or her bones. According to the groundhog, we still have three weeks of cold weather left, but it’s time to take matters into our own hands. Enter ice cream.

You’d think the bone-chilling temperatures would be reason enough to put down the ice cream spoon, but members of Ice Cream Addicts Anonymous know this isn’t the case. Berries might go out of season but ice cream never does, so we’re bringing you five ways to make the frozen treat from the comfort of your own (warm) home — ice cream maker not required.

There are a number of ways you can enjoy your favorite dessert even if you don’t own an expensive ice cream maker and don’t want to make a run to the market. As it turns out, a lot of the time, you can make your homemade ice cream even healthier than the store-bought kind. Nothing beats the creamy goodness that is a summertime chocolate or vanilla soft-serve cone, but these alternatives certainly can help you get by until summer, when you can really go after the good stuff, or just simply perfect your own recipe.

We can all scream for ice cream in these five simple ways:

2. Frozen cube method

Up next is another technique that homemade ice cream aficionados might know of: the great ice cube method. This technique requires more steps than the banana soft serve and is less waistline friendly, but it yields a decadent flavor and texture that is closer in comparison to the commercially made thing, and that in itself is an accomplishment.

Once again, you’ll need a food processor for this recipe by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eatsbut more people have access to this handy kitchen appliance than the expensive ice cream maker. You’ll also need some ice cube trays. Here are your steps to success for vanilla at-home ice cream via the frozen cube method:

Ingredients:

  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Directions: In large bowl or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt until pale yellow and mixture falls off of whisk in thick ribbons, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Stirring constantly, heat evaporated milk in medium saucepan on stovetop until it comes to a simmer. Slowly add hot milk to egg mixture, whisking constantly, until fully incorporated. Transfer mixture back to saucepan and heat, whisking constantly, to 180 degrees Fahrenheit (it should become thick and custard-like). Do not overheat, or eggs will scramble. Chill mixture completely.

Whip 1 cup heavy cream with whisk or in stand mixer until doubled in volume. Add whipped cream to egg mixture and fold with whisk just until no lumps remain. Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze for 4 hours or until solid.

Combine frozen cubes of mixture (use a spoon or a dull knife to remove them) and remaining heavy cream in food processor and process until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides and breaking up lumps as necessary during the process. Transfer mixture to quart container and freeze for at least 4 more hours before serving.

Source: iStock

3. Whipping cream method

Next up is another way to make your ice cream and eat it, too: the whipping cream method. Kevin and Amanda from KevinAndAmanda.com deserve credit for this foolproof ice cream method starring whipping cream and condensed milk, and we promise that it will not disappoint. This technique doesn’t require a food processor but rather a stand mixer or a strong arm.

You start off by whipping two cups of heavy cream until peaks form and then adding your toppings and fix-ins to a can of sweetened condensed milk. Next, you fold in the whipped cream mixture and then freeze before enjoying. Like the ice cube trays, this method is certainly more indulgent than the banana soft serve technique, but we think you’ll make an exception for the ice cream.

Here’s an example of how Kevin and Amanda mixed their cream and condensed milk to create cinnamon bun ice cream:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks in large bowl. Whisk sweetened condensed milk, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla in large bowl. Mix well. Fold in whipped cream.

Pour into a 2-quart container and cover. Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Store in freezer.

4. Ziploc bag method

Coming in at No. 4 is one technique that only requires you know how to shake. One fun indoor activity that parents can do with their kids to pass the long winter days is make ice cream in a bag — a Ziploc bag, that is. Though many people have their own technique, this method all comes down to your ability to shake up your ingredients once they’re zipped up safe in a bag. In a matter of 15 minutes, you can make your ice cream and eat it, which is more than some of the other recipes can guarantee.

Here is TableSpoon’s take on the technique:

Ingredients:

  • 2 small Ziploc bags
  • 1 large Ziploc bag
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups crushed or cubed ice
  • 6 tablespoons salt

Directions: Take a small sealable (Ziploc-type) bag and add 1/2 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of sugar. For added flavor, use 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Seal it up, getting rid of as much air as you can. Now double bag it inside a similar-size bag.

Throw 4 cups of crushed or cubed ice with 6 tablespoons of salt in a large freezer bag. You can use any kind of salt, as you won’t actually be eating it. Put in your little double bag, and seal the large bag around it, getting rid of as much air as possible.

Now, get shaking. Wrap the bag in a tea towel or use gloves and shake the bag for at least five minutes before checking on its progress. You’ll start to notice the mixture getting thicker by simply feeling through the bag. In eight minutes max, you should have your ready-to-eat ice cream, although it will take longer if you are mixing a large batch.

When you remove the smaller bag, wipe it down carefully to get rid of all the salt on the outside.

5. Almond milk ice cream

To round out the list, we come full circle and conclude with another healthy ice cream recipe, similar to the banana soft serve. These recipes have two things in common: they’re healthier than they taste and they’re both dairy free. Don’t believe it? Try it.

This recipe for voluminous homemade ice cream from Chocolate Covered Katie has a very light texture but yields a lot of ice cream for a dessert that really comes to around 40 calories. If you choose to use coconut milk or dairy milk, you will have a creamier taste, and the calorie count will also rise. The beauty is that it is all up to you. As long as you have some milk, a dash of vanilla extra and sweetener, and some shallow containers, you’re good to go. Use your food processor to see this little miracle happen right before your eyes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • sweetener (such as 1-2 stevia packets or 1-2 tablespoons sugar -I actually used maple syrup when making this recipe.. yum!)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • optional add-ins

Directions: Mix the ingredients together in 1 or 2 shallow plastic containers. Freeze. Once frozen, pop the blocks out of the container and allow mixture to slightly thaw. Blend in your food processor until you have the desired consistency.

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