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How to Make Homemade Almond Milk

Almond milk is a great delicious alternative to dairy milk. The proteins found in dairy are often very hard for many people to digest, casein in particular, and can cause digestive issues which can lead to many other health problems in the body as well.

Dairy is one of those foods that can be either healthy or harmful to your body and depends largely on the individual and also the quality of dairy in which you are consuming because not all dairy is created equal. Pasteurized dairy (all dairy that is sold in stores) is not the same as raw dairy and that’s where most people get confused.

I don’t have time to go into detail about all the reasons why dairy may or may not be a healthy food for you to consume, but thankfully Chris Kresser has wrote a great article that might answer some of your questions here.

Here’s another great article on why pasteurized dairy might not be as good for you as you thought.

I personally have found that I don’t do very well on dairy products, pasteurized that is. I have not ventured out to try raw dairy products yet. If I consume pasteurized dairy, I have noticed I will break out on my face and I will get really bloated, so I’ve chosen to eliminate it from my diet.

Almond milk has become one of my favorite dairy alternatives that I like to use as the base of my smoothies. You can buy almond milk at almost any supermarket or grocery store now, but they almost always have preservatives and other fillers. If you make it yourself you can guarantee that no ingredients that you don’t recognize have been added.

It’s actually way easier than you would think and tastes so much fresher! When I made this the first time, my husband was begging me to make another batch. He loves to use it as a healthy coffee creamer alternative especially when I sweeten it with maple syrup. It definitely doesn’t last long after I make it, that’s for sure.

 

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**Makes approximately 6-8 cups**

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw almonds, soaked in water at least 4-6 hours
  • 8 cups filtered water
  • Nut milk bag
    or cheese cloth for straining
  • Optional Add-In to make it sweet: 2 T. coconut oil, 2 T. vanilla, 4 T. pure maple syrup

Directions: 

  1. Soak your nuts in a warm bowl for 4-6 hours or overnight.  Doing this beforehand releases enzyme inhibitors that are naturally found on the outside of the nut and can potentially cause digestive distress. This step isn’t necessarily specific to just this recipe, but is a good practice to start doing for all your nuts that you consume even as a snack. It also will increase the nuts vitamin and mineral content as it releases other anti-nutrients that block absorption and digestion of certain vitamins and minerals.
  2. Drain the water that your nuts were soaking in and discard. You won’t want to use this water because it will have all the toxins that have been released from the nuts in it.
  3. Place your soaked almonds and fresh filtered water in a large blender and blend until the consistency is creamy and smooth
  4. Add in your optional ingredients if you are making it sweeter and blend well
  5. Place a large bowl underneath your nut bag or cheesecloth. Slowly pour your almond milk into your nut bag or through your cheesecloth and let the liquids fall into the bowl underneath.
  6. Once you have poured all the almond milk out, make sure to really squeeze the bag to get every last bit of liquid out as you can
  7. Pour the almond milk into glass mason jars and store in your fridge for up to 1 week

 

 

Trip to Costa Rica

In my last post, I shared that I would be going to Costa Rica for an entire week for FREE with my husband and some of our friends.  We got back last weekend and man do I miss being in sunshine. Since I’ve been back it has been cold and rainy almost every single day. It is a little depressing..

I forgot how happy being in the sun makes me, and how much I like being tan. It was such an awesome trip. We are both so greatful for the experience.

Long story short, my husband knows a guy on young life staff in the Dallas area who knows a guy that works for the company Common Wealth.  This company plans annual incentive trips for its employees as a large thank you to all the hard work they do over the course of the year. They are allowed to bring their family along with them including kids. Common Wealth for the last couple of years has been asking a few couples on Young Life Staff to come be a part of their trip to help watch the kids while the adults have their business meetings/socials. My husband’s friend on staff in the Dallas area has been going on these trips with them the last couple of years and was in charge of finding another couple to come with them this trip because they needed more helpers because there were more kids this year. We, so fortunately, happened to be the couple that he called and asked. Seriously, such a blessing that him and his wife even thought of us.

So, when we got the call, we said, um let us think about it, uhhhh YESS!! How do you say no to an opportunity like that?

We were in charge of watching these sweet little kiddos below for about 4-5 hours each morning and a couple hours some nights and the rest of the time we were free to do whatever we wanted.

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In this picture we just got done with a fun scavenger hunt that we led the kids on that involved finding as many monkeys/creatures we could find and taking pictures of them for points. We saw about 6 monkeys just chillin in the trees around the resort. It was so cool. The way you won was to find the large inflatable monkey that’s in the picture above. They loved it! Best babysitting job ever. I mean, look at the scenery behind us? I’d babysit these kids any day to be back there!

During our free time we did a whole of of chilin’ on the beach just laying out. We also got to go kayaking one day and boogie boarding another day. The wind there was crazy strong and created some awesome waves that made for extreme boogie boarding. I felt like a little kid again, it was so much fun.  I’m surprised I walked away with both of my bathings suite pieces. I’m pretty sure I flashed/blinded everyone with my white skin every time I caught a wave.  I’ve never seen waves that big on the shore.

On top of lots of fun play time we of course got some great workouts in during the week also!

As many of you know, my husband and I enjoy doing Crossfit together at home and the Crossfit Open is currently going on right now. If you don’t know what that is, well, it’s kind of hard to explain. Basically it’s a worldwide competition among all Crossfitters that qualifies the elite athletes in your region to go to Regionals if they place in the top. If you do well at Regionals, you then advance to the Crossfit Games. Even if you know you won’t make it to Regionals it’s fun to push yourself and compare yourself to 1,000’s of other athletes across the world.

Well since the open is going on, my husband really wanted to do one of the open workouts one more time to try and get a better score so at the beginning of the week, we looked up a Crossfit gym in Costa Rica and found one! We were so pumped. The owner told us we were more than welcome to come do a workout at his gym, so we did. One of our friends on the trip came with us because he also is signed up for the Crossfit Open.

This is the workout we did:

In 9 minutes, do as many rounds as possible of the following:

15 toes to bar

10 deadlifts (75# for girls, 95# guys)

5 snatches (75# girls, 95# girls)

*I got through 5 rounds and 3 reps (153 reps total)

Right when the nine minutes is up, you had 6 minutes to find your 1 rep max of a clean and jerk

*I was able to get 155#. That is way harder than you think when you are exhausted. I was pretty proud of myself for that!

Before we went to the gym, our friend looked up the owner of the Crossfit gym on Instagram and saw that he posted a picture of himself doing a muscle up in the middle of the Cost Rican rain forest. Uhh..jealous. That is seriously cool.

Another day we decided to switch it up and make use of what the resort had for us to do a different workout. We spotted some stairs early in the day and said, that would be cool to run up.

So, we made up this workout:

Run to the top of the stairs

*I don’t think any of us realized how long those stairs were. It took us 9 minutes to run to the top of those dang things. They just kept going and going and going..My legs have never burned so bad. Plus it was like 90 degrees outside.

When we got to the top, there was a covered pavilion. We ran with our jump ropes so we did the following under the pavilion right when we got to the top:

100 double unders

50 air squats

25 burpees

Then we ran back down.

Best.Workout.Ever.So.Stinkin.Hard!! I never thought air squats could feel so hard. My legs were shaking every single rep after running what felt like 1 million steps.

That was the last scheduled workout we did. Boogie boarding was definitely a workout also!

One of my favorite things about our trip besides just being in Costa Rica, and for FREE and with great friends, was the FOOOD!!!! OH MY GOSH. It was all so good. I was in heaven.

Here are a couple of my favorite meals that I had:

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Breakfast pretty much every morning: Omelette with all the veggies (spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions) and some sausage. Side of roasted potatoes, pico de gallo and fresh pressed green juice. They had fresh pressed juice available every single morning. It was amazing! I always got a green base with a mix of a variety of other fresh island fruits and veggies like guava, carrots and beets.

**Not pictured, but most mornings I also got plantains that had been fried in pure cane sugar maple syrup. Plantains are very popular in Costa Rica. This is one of my new favorite foods at home also. It’s an excellent nutrient dense carbohydrate source. I was so happy to get to enjoy them where they are picked locally every single day. No I don’t fry mine in cane sugar maple syrup at home, usually just coconut oil, but man were they good. Tasted like a doughnut**

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Lunch one day: Fresh Catch of the day (Mahi-Mahi) with grilled onion kabobs, topped with fresh pineapple mango salsa with a side of Yucca Sticks (aka. Cassava sticks).

**At home I have been trying to up my husband and I’s starchy carb intake to help fuel our workouts better and Yucca is another excellent nutrient dense source of carbohydrates, however I cannot find them sold at home! I have been wanting to make these for awhile and they were delicious! They seasoned them with garlic and cilantro. Wow. They were on point! I think this was my favorite meal of the whole trip. **

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Appetizer to many of our lunches, because, sushi is amazing, and if you don’t like it you’re crazy: I don’t even remember what was in this. All I remember is, it was perfection. I could eat sushi every day.

**Wait, you eat white rice, but you say you eat paleo?? I can see how that would be confusing. First of all I am not a strict Paleo person. I use it as a general guideline to how I eat 80% of the time because this is what I’ve discovered works best for my body. And second of all, white rice is actually a very safe starch to consume if you are wanting/needing more starches in your diet. It does not contain any anti-nutrients that prevent certain vitamins and minerals from being absorbed because the fiber has been removed (that’s where the anti-nutrients are in certain plants/grains) and has no harmful proteins that are hard to digest.  Is it the most nutrient dense choice of food? No, but as far as it being harmful or disruptive to your digestive system, it’s a generally safe choice.

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Favorite Beverage: Fresh coconut water straight out of the coconut!

**I love coconut water and highly recommend it to people at home as a great source of natural electrolytes. It is super high in potassium and would make for a great post-workout beverage. Of course I can’t ever just drink it straight out of the coconut at home nor do I have someone who will cut it open with a large machete for me either. That would be pretty sweet if I did. I think I’d drink it a lot more than I do currently. These are all our awesome friends that went on the trip with us too!

I ate tons of other delicious food while on the trip, but I think I’d bore you if I shared all of my meals. So those were the highlights.

What a fun trip it was. I wish I could go back! It is a trip that we will forever remember.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I think it’s more rain for us here in Paris, Texas..I guess I’ll just dream of the sun in Costa Rica until it decides to come back out here!

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