Making healthy choices every day is a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle; in fact, it is the exact way to maintain a healthy lifestyle! Here are some tips and tricks I use to help maintain my healthy lifestyle. I am not perfect, not at all, but I try each day to do things that will help me move through and be the person I want to be!
Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes
I love this saying, it is just so true, and you need to make a change for things to change. Change something each day that will lead to being just a bit healthier. Think a positive thought, tell yourself something positive, love someone else, eat a better food then you would have yesterday, pick a better sweetener, put back one less then healthy item at the store, go for a walk, do some exercises, take your vitamins, smile, laugh, read a book, go to bed earlier, have less coffee, take a deep breath...the list goes on! Do a little something each day to be better, feel better, and be healthier. Health isn’t just about the food you eat, it’s everything we do and think. It can be so overwhelming to change overnight, so don’t even bother changing over night, change slowly, a little every day.
Start with Breakfast
Starting in the morning with a smart breakfast is a smart way to get going on a healthy day. When we make a mistake or choose something we wish we didn’t we have a tendency to give up, so start off with something good. Stretch a bit, eat some good food and move on with your day. This will eventually lead to making lunch a bit better, making snacks a bit better, and making dinner better!
Keep Things Simple
Eat whole foods! Living a healthy lifestyle should not be complicated. I love homemade granola just as much as the next person but it is far easier to eat a piece of fruit or some nuts when I need a snack then to make a batch of granola bars or healthy muffins. You do not need special "super foods" to be healthy, you don't even need fancy grains, just eat real food. You will see this #hashtag around Instagram, because eating real food is what connects us all--vegan, paleo, vegetarian, raw--eating real food is what matters. Those extras are a nice treat, but not needed at all. Also, when I make fancy bars, snacks or treats, I tend to over eat them, because they are filled with so much stuff and taste so special, I want lots, and I don't want them to go bad. Grab something simple and whole to satisfy your hunger, it is way faster easier and less messy then baking!
Drinking water is critical; pure, fresh and clean water should be a part of everyone’s daily life, drink it often between meals. When you are starting to get hungry drink some water, lots of our hunger is thirst, so drink up, and drink up often! I go for my weight (in lbs) in half in ounces, but you will need more depending on exercise, climate and food intake, add some lemon or lime if you don't like water.
Be a Conscious Eater
When you are eating, think about eating, it will help you digest and appreciate your food, it will allow you to be in the moment and eat. Eating is essential to life, so don’t try to get it over with, eat at a table and think about eating, be at peace and enjoy your meal!
Never Start and Never Finish
Health is a journey, with no beginning and no end. We all have a story and it is on going, so don’t think you failed, just keep going, and don’t say you will start tomorrow or next week, just make better choices, every day, little things add up to big things, that’s just good math!
Visiting my site, reading this post, this is a good change, now go and do something that helps you on your health journey. We are always moving and going down our path, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes that path is rocky, sometimes it is smooth sailing, it can be up or down hill, so long as we are moving forward, we are successful!
What did you do today to keep you moving on your journey in health? What can you do tomorrow to keep going?
Making your own almond milk seems intimidating at first, but it is actually really easy, and worth the time and effort. I don’t always make my own almond milk, but most of the time I am using my own homemade stuff, and it tastes so wonderful!
The reason I started making my own almond milk was because I read about how easy it is, and how making things yourself allows you to know exactly what goes into the things you put into your body. It is important to know that kind of stuff, and although store bought almond milk isn’t a terrible thing to drink (at all, I still do!), the real stuff is far better.
I used to have a cheap blender and I made almond milk myself, so don’t try to use excuses saying that your blender isn’t good enough to make some, it is, and I have some tips and tricks to get it perfect!
The stuff in the store has so many listed ingredients, which is a shame considering the stuff you can make at home is just two—almonds and water. Here are my 6 steps to making and enjoying homemade almond milk.
Soaking your almonds before hand is critical to the success of making almond milk. Soaking makes the nuts nice and soft, which allows them to fully get pulverized in the blender when it comes time to make the milk.
Not only is this step important for blending ability, but soaking the nuts is also important for helping with digestion. Nuts have something called phytic acid, which is also found in beans and legumes. Phytic acid is a protective mechanism for the plants, it helps them to deal with stressful times, and allows them a better chance of survival at those times. The problem is, phytic acid inhibits the absorption of nutrients, the very ones we are eating the nuts to get. So although you have to soak the almonds for milk making purposes, you should be enjoying soaked nuts all the time when you choose to eat nuts.
Soaking should be done overnight, or for 8 hours, in a jar of clean water. If you plan on soaking them for longer, be sure you store the nuts in the fridge.
This step is optional, but it is especially helpful for those who are not working with one of the fancy high-powered blenders. I would get a few unbroken chunks when I used my old blender, but this was all fixed once I started peeling the nuts after soaking.
I know, peeling nuts sounds like torture, but it is actually super easy, the white creamy inside of the almond will pop right out, so it only takes a few minutes, I like to do it watching tv, or chatting with my family. You can simply get rid of the peels once you are finished.
Like I said, you don’t need to peel the almonds, but when you do the result is the creamiest almond milk ever! The left over pulp is also very nice, fine ground and white, making it perfect to dehydrate and use as almond flour after. You can also use the unpeeled pulp to make flour later too.
This is the easy part, once you have the peeled (or unpeeled) almonds ready to go, add them to the blender with water. I usually soak less than one cup of almonds, and after soaking you will notice they are much bigger, about a cup. I use just over 4 cups of fresh pure water in my blender and let to go! I have a Blendtec and it takes less than one minute to get the milk nice and smooth.
You can use less (or more) water too, depending on how thick you like/need your almond milk, I think I might make mine a bit thinner next time, but choose as you like, if it is for drinking, this ratio works well.
While I don’t have a fancy nut milk bag, this is exactly what their purpose is! I use a clean foot of a stocking, but a fine mesh sieve would probably work too. Pour your milk through one of the above-mentioned options and squeeze out the liquid into a bowl. My tip: don’t squeeze it into something small; a large bowl is your best option, sometimes it sprays around, not cool.
5. Add Ins
This again, is optional. It really depends on what your almond milk will be used for and what kind you normally buy. If you want to add things to flavour your milk, this is the time to do it. Here are some of my ideas, but anything would work.
If you are choosing any of these you can rinse out your blender and put the strained milk in with your additions and blend. I usually just go for some salt and vanilla and whisk it in the bowl, but if you are using a date, you should probably use the blender!
6. Store and Use
I recommended you use the fresh almond milk within 5-7 days, it tastes best at this time. Mine has never made it past this amount of time either. Also, shake the almond milk before using, it will separate and settle because there is no emulsifiers to keep it mixed. I love to steam my almond milk and add it to my coffee, or use it in a smoothie after my Zumba classes!
Amanda’s Homemade Almond Milk (makes ~4 cups)
After soaking the almonds for 8-12 hours, remove the skin and add the nuts to the blender with the water. Blend on high until you can tell all the nuts have been pulverized. Strain the mixture through a nut milk bag, a stocking, or a fine sieve into a large bowl. Add in the salt and the vanilla to the milk and whisk to incorporate. Store in a seal-able container in the fridge for up to 7 days (I love my mason jars).
You can follow this method for all nut milks, though I have not tried. If you are using cashews, you don’t even need to strain, they are so soft!
Don’t throw away the almond pulp, there are a ton of recipes out there for how to use it up, store it in the freezer until you have enough to make a recipe. You can also dehydrate the pulp to make it into almond flour, giving you more options!
If for some reason you don’t like almonds, you should be aware that homemade almond milk tastes a lot more like almonds then anything I have had from the store, so keep that in mind.
Have you ever made your own almond milk? What do you make at home instead of buy?
So I finally made it, 21 days ago I started the 21 Day Sugar Detox. I never really thought that I was “addicted” to sugar but, knowing the dangers and harmful effects sugar can have, I wanted to give it a try, no sugar and very limited sweet things for 21 days. I have finally completed it, to the excitement of my whole family and my loving boyfriend.
I decided to take on level 3. Diane insists that you don’t “be a hero” but after taking the quiz I ended up in level 2, which included full fat dairy products. I don’t eat dairy anyways so I decided to go with level three, full on paleo eating style. I would not say this was challenging in the typical way, my struggle was to come up with meal ideas, because the food was tasty and while I did have cravings for sweets at times, I was able to be strong the whole 21 days.
What was the toughest thing?
The hardest thing for me was figuring out my carbohydrate balance. It wasn’t until the last week and a half that I actually got my carbohydrates balanced; I was going way too low in the beginning. After day one and two I felt like total garbage. Then I had to teach a fitness class, and struggled to inspire my class because I was feeling fatigued. After talking to my good friend, I realized that I should be following the energy modifications to accommodate my high intensity cardio class. I was starting adding in sweet potatoes after my classes and was starting to feel better, but I still had ups and down. I was doing a lot of meat + salad, which is fine, but not only does it get boring, it made me exhausted. I finally rechecked my yes foods and added in parsnips and pumpkin more frequently to help me stay energized, the difference was astounding.
What about sugar carvings?
I would say I had a couple sugar cravings, but nothing that my piece of fruit or a not-sweet treat couldn’t handle. I made some almond butter cups and they got me though, I've always been a chocolate person! To my surprise (kind of) I experienced general carbohydrate and gluten with drawl. I have heard time and time again in school that gluten is addictive too and it has the ability to cause with drawl symptoms, I had no idea that I would experience them. I miss, and did the whole time, fresh bread, garlic bread and the like. I also really want a cookie, just one, a real cookie would be great, but I promise I am not craving it; I just feel bored and want a cookie.
What does the future hold now?
I plan on introducing gluten, and assessing how my body reacts. We learn in school that introducing foods, which you are sensitive to but have healed, can be tolerated once every 4 days. I really am not ready to fully go gluten free, but I plan on drastically reducing my gluten and doing almost all gluten free baking when I bake, I actually really enjoy gluten free baked goods and will incorporate more into my life. I also plan on adding in grains to my diet, gluten free ones as usual, but I want grains, I feel better with them. I will also reduce the sugar in all recipes and replace sugar content with banana, pumpkin and apple sauce.
What have I learned?
I learned that I am a strong person, that I can do something for myself, even though people around me are eating differently. It was a lot of effort to make my own meals and watch my family eat spaghetti with fresh garlic bread and pass it right in front of me while I ate a meal I wasn’t totally enjoying. I also learned that I don’t need sugar. I already don’t use refined sugars, but I learned that thai-style foods don’t always need honey, salad dressings don’t really need something sweet, and treats don’t need sugar, and that fruit is so satisfying.
I also learned that full on paleo 100% of the time is not something that I can do, not because I don’t want to, but because my body doesn’t feel best on it, not right now. I need to listen to my body, so much protein is not my ideal way of eating and my body knows it. I also learned to use fat more, cause it is awesome and totally satisfying!
Would I recommend it/do it again?
Absolutely! I loved this program and I loved not having anything refined at all! I also enjoyed educating people on sugar during the process, and although everyone respected my choices they are not all ready to give it a try.
I will do this program again, no question about that! I am going to get my boyfriend to do it with me! I have never felt myself have such balanced moods before, so I can truly appreciate the whole blood sugar balance thing. I never used to feel a drop in my energy levels, but after the holidays I struggled to wake up and get going, but I am back on track and ready to keep going with my healthy life!
Tell me, have you ever tried a sugar free diet? What would be the hardest thing for you to give up?
Amanda is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist out of Southwest Middlesex, and London ON. She works with clients to help them achieve their health and wellness goals!
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