Tag Archives: almond milk

My Favorite Dairy Alternatives

I used to be a huge milk and cheese lover.  And let’s be honest, dairy products are pretty yummy. But just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy that taste—or at least something very close to it! Here are some of the dairy alternatives that I consume regularly.

 

Nut Milks

Almond milk can usually be found at most grocery stores. But if you don’t like the taste of almond milk, or if all the extra ingredients in it (carrageenan, added sweeteners, etc.) freak you out, you can make nut milks in a matter of minutes at home. All you need is a fine strainer, a blender, some water, and your favorite nuts of choice. Place 1 and ¼ cups of nuts in a blender and fill the rest with water–you can even use coconut water if you like your milk super sweet. Blend well and then strain in order to make delicious nut milk. I like to also sweeten with vanilla extract and stevia.

 

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is rich in b vitamins and vitamin b-12, which usually is difficult to get for vegans. It has a cheesy taste that is great to put on salad dressings or as a topping to gluten-free pasta or pizza!

 

Dr. Cow’s Nut Cheeses

These are a bit pricey, so I only get them once in awhile, but they are so delicious. They are dairy-free, gmo-free cheeses that are made with cultured nuts, sea salt, and probiotics. Most store-bought cheese alternatives like daiya and tofu-cheese have tons of additives and “natural flavors” (which really means chemical flavors) and usually leave me with an aching stomach, but Dr. Cow’s cheeses have four ingredients max and are easy to digest. They come in several flavors, like macadamia, hemp, cashew, and brazil nut. I recently used the aged cashew flavor to make a vegan, gluten free pizza and it was delicious!

 

Homemade Parmesan Cheese

If you’re looking for a quick way to make parmesan cheese to add to the top of your salad or a pasta dish, you can simply blend garlic and brazil nuts or pine nuts in a food processor. So simple, yet so delicious!

Vegan pizza made with Dr. Cow’s nut cheese. Yum!

Eating On-the-Go

The biggest complaint that I hear from those trying to eat properly is lack of time. I am too familiar with this problem. I first decided to start changing my eating habits when working as an associate teacher at a high stakes charter school. My day started at 7:30 AM, so I’d leave my place in a rush and skip out on breakfast. I couldn’t leave the school for lunch (first year teachers were put on lunch duty) so I either didn’t eat or ate whatever food was around—wheat-thins, high sugary/additive processed foods, etc. But once I started getting sick from all this food (which by the way, speaks to what we’re putting in our children’s bodies everyday, but that’s another post) I decided to start making eating healthy a priority.  In doing so, I learned that the key to eating properly at work is to really utilize your workspace. Here’s how I did it:

Leave Food at Work

For breakfast, store some breakfast that can be made quickly. Keep a mix of gluten free rolled oats, chia seeds, flaxseeds, almonds, and cinnamon in the office. I eat the mixture with almond milk, but if you don’t have access to a refrigerator, you can cook the mixture with hot water.  This can also be a great before-work breakfast; just throw the mix in a tupperware bowl with some almond milk to take with you on-the-go.

For lunch, keep avocados and flaxseed crackers/gluten-free bread at your office to make an on-the-go sandwich. If you have access to a fridge, add lettuce, tomatoes, olive oil and vinegar so you can throw together a salad in a few minutes.

Have Snacks on Hand

Even when I stocked the fridge while teaching, sometimes I didn’t even have time to run to the kitchen to put together my lunch. That’s how crazy the day would get! So you should keep emergency snacks on you at all times, especially if you have a job where your lunchtime hours are unpredictable.

Here are some of the snacks I like:

Lara bars–perfect if you have a little bit of a sweet tooth.

Almonds/individual packets of raw almond butter– extremely filling and provide an excellent source of good fats to keep you focused throughout your day!

Roasted soy nuts– good for energy and a complete source of protein.

Green Vibrance–super greens that can be mixed with water to make a green-juice type mix. It don’t taste too great, but gives you tons of nutrients and energy to keep you full and on-your-feet. It also provides a huge source of green vegetables in one serving!

Organic, Cage-Free, Hard Boiled Eggs–although I generally try to stay away from eggs, a hardboiled egg or two can replace a full meal for my non-vegan friends. Boil a bunch over the weekend so that you can throw some into your bag in the mornings.

Exercise Your Right to Take a Lunch Break

If you’re in New York, chances are that you have a boss who tries to make you work through your lunch break. Guess what–that is not legal (at least in NY). Many Unemployment Insurance judges have even held that employees quitting due to their bosses’ repeated failure to grant a 30 minute (uninterrupted) lunch break were entitled to unemployment benefits!  Bottom line–always take your lunch break–it’s your right!

Prepare Smoothies—Before Work and At Work

Drinking smoothies is the best way to satisfy hunger with minimal effort. If you have a few minutes in the morning, throw some spinach, chard, banana, and mango with water in a blender and put it in a to-go cup before getting to work. If you don’t have time in the morning, invest in a portable blender –I got mine for only $15—and keep it at work so that you can make a two-minute smoothie once you get to the office or during a short break. This may seem a little strange, but it definitely pays off. Even the judge that I’m currently interning for in the S.D.N.Y keeps a magic bullet blender in his chambers!

Water, Water, Water

Sometimes when we’re busy, we forget the most important thing—WATER! You need to keep a huge water bottle with you all day. I have a friend who keeps a gallon of water in her classroom. Keep a large water bottle (at least one liter) with you at your desk (or in your classroom, postal bag, etc.) and make sure to drink at least half of it before lunch and the other half after lunch.

Eating on-the- go may be tough, but it’s not impossible. With preparation and dedication, you can find yourself eating healthy at work without interfering too much with your schedule. Happy eating! :)

ALANA’S FEEL-GOOD COCO MOCHA

 

When the summertime hits, sometimes all I want is a sweet chocolatey milkshake. But there is no need for me to run to the next hormone-filled, mucus forming concoction available at the nearest diner or Starbucks. No, no. I’ve got something better. I call it the Feel-Good Coco Mocha because it tastes like a Java Chip Frappucino but has an extreme amount of feel-good nutrients that will leave you with a feeling of awesomeness instead of a sugar crash. Perfect for a post-workout or for when you just need a pick-me-up. I promise—you will be hooked!

Ingredients

1 cup of coconut water (if you want to make a larger portion, add regular water or almond milk as well)

2 tablespoons of chia seeds soaked for 10 minutes

1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter

¼ avocado

1 heaping tablespoon of raw cacao/carob powder

1 pinch of vanilla extract

1 pinch of liquid stevia (optional, if you want a little more sweetness)

Ice (optional)

Throw it all in a blender and hit blend!

What’s Great About the Coco Mocha

Coconut water: Coconut water is extremely hydrating, and contains the electrolytes potassium and magnesium. Magnesium is extremely helpful for reducing stress and belly fat, whereas potassium is great for rehydration.

Chia Seeds: I know I talk about chia seeds all the time, but that’s because they are AMAZING. The tahamurara tribe drinks water with chia seeds to fuel up for 3 day, 50 mile runs (check out the book “Born to Run” if you want to learn more about them).  The seeds absorb water, giving the smoothie a thicker texture and making it more filling.

Cacao: Cacao is a nutrient-rich superfood. Who would’ve though chocolate could be so good for you?  Cacao also has magnesium, along with serotonin (which is often deficient in those suffering from depression). In addition, it has more cancer-fighting antioxidants than green tea, red wine, and goji berries combined!

Carob: Although not as nutrient dense as cacao, carob powder is a great source of calcium and has less caffeine and calories than cacao. Both forms of chocolate have excellent cancer-fighting properties.

Avocado and Almond Butter: Tons of fatty acids to keep you satisfied and to keep your skin glowing and radiant!

Not to mention, its absolutely DELICIOUS, if I do say so myself. ;) Enjoy!