Grainless Granola

Nut Granola

This grainless granola is easy to make, full of flavor, and naturally gluten and grain free.  You can enjoy this as a cereal with your favorite milk, on top of yogurt, or just by the handful.  Unlike typical granola, this one is full of healthy fats and protein, making it a perfect snack or meal.  The variety I made today contains coconut and dried wild blueberries, which is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this recipe, but it can be modified to your liking.  Whether you have an allergy or just prefer different fruits or nuts, the possibilities are endless.  Get creative!  I suggest using any variety of raw nuts or seeds and adding one or two dried fruits.

Nut Granola 1

Today, I went with raw almonds, cashews, and walnuts.  You can put them in a food processor to chop them into smaller pieces or just use a chopping knife, as I did.  Combine all your nuts and seeds into a large bowl and then pour the warmed coconut oil, maple, and cinnamon mixture into the nuts.  Mix all around until fully coated and then spread the mixture on a lined baking sheet.

Nut Granola 2

Cook the nuts for 15-20 minutes on 275 degrees, making sure to stir them every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning.  Once the nuts are cooked to a golden brown and fragrant, take the pan out and add and stir in the fruit and coconut chips to the warm nut mixture.

Nut Granola 3

Let the granola set and cool for 20 minutes or so before serving.  This can be stored in a air tight bag or jar for easy snacking.

Enjoy 🙂

Nut Granola 4

Blueberry Coconut Grainless Granola
Recipe:

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut chips

1/3 cup dried blueberries (or any other dried fruit)

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or raw honey)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla)

dash sea salt

Directions:
  1.  Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Chop all your nuts in food processor or with chopping knife and add with seeds into a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a sauce pan combine and warm coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, almond extract, and salt (or heat in the microwave)
  4. Once warmed and combined, pour the maple-oil over the chopped nuts and stir to fully coat nuts and seeds.
  5. Pour mixture onto a lined baking sheet and spread evenly.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning.  Once the mixture is fragrant and golden brown, remove from oven.
  7. Immediately add blueberries and coconut to the warm nut mixture on the baking sheet and stir.  Spread everything out again and let cool 20 minutes before serving.
  8. Store in an air tight container and enjoy!

Homemade Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Almond Milk is a delicious and nutritious dairy-free milk substitute.  Whether you are sensitive to milk, don’t like the taste or just looking to reduce animal products in your diet, almond milk can be an excellent alternative.  Check out my video to find out how to make your own.  It is easy, fun and DELISH!

Almond milk has become increasingly popular lately and there are lots of options at grocery stores.  These options are fine, and I still purchase some of these in a crunch; just make sure it is the unsweetened varieties with the least amount of preservatives and other additives.  When you make your own it is so much better for you and the taste is incomparable!

It is important to be aware that almond milk has significantly less calcium and protein than dairy milk, but you can find other healthy ways to increase your protein and calcium intakes from other plant based products.

There are, however, plenty of Health Benefits from consuming this delicious dairy-free milk:

1.  It Helps With Weight Management:

Almond milk contains %50-%75 less calories per cup compared to dairy milk.

2.  Its Heart Healthy:  

There’s no saturated fat or cholesterol in almond milk.  It is also high in omega fatty acids (healthy fats), which help prevent high blood pressure and heart disease.

3.  Promotes Glowing Skin:

Almond milk contains %50 of your recommended daily vitamin E, which contain antioxidants and protectants against the sun.

4.  It Is Low Glycemic:

This means that it barely affects your blood sugar and is low in carbs, so your body will more likely use the energy instead of storing it as fat. (YAY!)

5.  Its Easy to Make!

DIY Almond Milk is cost effective, much easier than milking a cow 😉 AND it doesn’t have to be refrigerated, making it super easy to take on the go.  ENJOY!

Almond Milk Recipe:

1 cup raw almonds

4 cups filtered water

1-4 medjool dates (optional)

1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

dash sea salt (optional)

* you can also play around with other flavors if you’d like….think chocolate, cinnamon, maple, etc.

You will need:

Blender

Measuring cups

Large bowl

2 smaller bowls

Strainer

1 quart size jar

Nut Milk Bag (or cheese cloth)

Funnel (optional, but makes it easier if you don’t have a spout pour on your bowl)

Directions:  

  1.  Soak almonds overnight or blanch almonds by pouring boiling water over them in bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Rinse soaked or blanched almonds under faucet through strainer.
  3. Remove almond skins/peels by squeezing almond between fingers.  Should come off easy but some are easier than others.
  4. Put skinned almonds in blender with filtered water, dates, vanilla, and salt.
  5. Run blender on HIGH for 1 minute or until fully combined and liquified.
  6. Pour blended almond milk through nut milk bag into large bowl.
  7. Squeeze nut milk bag until all the liquid milk is released.
  8. Set nut milk bag filled it almond pulp aside.
  9. Pour milk from bowl into jar using funnel or pour spout on bowl.  The milk will last one week in the refrigerator, but is not necessary to refrigerate….I just prefer it cold 🙂
  10. Take remaining almond pulp and save if you wish.  You can spread it out on a baking dish/pan and dry out in oven at 225 degrees for 1 hour and make into almond meal.  Use it in smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, energy balls, etc.

Comment with questions or let me know how it goes and other ways you customize your milk or almond meal!

 

 

10 Easy Tips on How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

valentine heart shape made by dollars isolated

I often have people tell me that “It costs too much to eat healthy!”, which can potentially be the case; BUT it does not necessarily have to be the case. This is one of the most common excuses of why people say they can’t eat healthy, and that, is why I am sharing my top 10 tips on How to Eat Healthy on a Budget.

1.  Eat less meat and more plant based proteins. Vegetarian proteins are usually less expensive and can be better for your body anyways.
Buy more things like:
-eggs
-Protein powder
-Yogurt
-Beans
-Nuts
-Fruits and vegetables
Eggs
2.  Buy frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. These can be cheaper, have a longer shelf life, and are nutrient dense, since they are picked at the peak of freshness. Just make sure that there is no sugar added, especially with canned fruits. You can buy these in bulk when they are on sale and always have fruits and vegetables on hand. This is a good way to buy organic and also saves time because they are usually pre-washed and cut; time is money!
Berries
3.  Buy Generic and Store Brands. These local grocery store brands are usually just as good as the name brand products. I have found that most store brands taste just as good as some of the name brands and a lot of the local supermarkets are now coming out with their own organic brands!
Simple Truth Organic
4.  Buy in Season Fruits and Vegetables. When you buy seasonal and local fruits and vegetables they are usually much cheaper, flavorful, and nutritious!
Seasonal Veggies
5.  Buy in Bulk. Purchase food in bulk, especially when they are on sale. Items with a long shelf life work best like rice, beans, oats, soup, quinoa, cereal, bars, frozen items, canned items, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc.
6.  Do your Research. Check for sales, coupons, and use customer savings cards. Shop with a plan, a list, and never on an empty stomach! That is just asking for trouble…. 🙂
7.  Drink Mostly Water. Get a Brita or another tap water filtering system; its cheaper and not as wasteful as bottled water.  Drinking lots of water is beneficial for your health and your wallet. Also, try to avoid other high-calorie, expensive, drinks such as; alcohol, coffee drinks, juices, soda, etc.

Brita

8.  Limit Buying Food Out of The House. Purchasing food at restaurants, vending machines, the movies, sporting events, airports, etc. can get very expensive! Try to prepare and eat as much as possible at home. This will give you total control of the ingredients you eat and is much cheaper. Prepare and pack food for lunch at work or school, bring your own snacks to theaters or sporting events, pack food for hikes, travel days and trips. Following this advice will save you so much on calories and money!

9.  Grow Your Own Food! Start a garden; even if it’s just in pots on your deck or a few herbs, every little bit helps.

Veggie Garden

10.  Buy Whole Foods. Unprocessed foods are typically cheaper and more nutritious than processed foods. This will also give you complete control over the ingredients. Try to avoid anything that comes in a box 90% of the time.

Also remember, you can not put a price on health!  What little extra you may be spending to eat healthier will save you a lot of money in the long run…I promise 🙂

How to Speed up Your Metabolism

What is metabolism anyways?!  Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories and we may be concerned with this because this rate determines the size of our body and how quickly we can lose weight.  Our metabolism is effected by a lot of different variables.  Unfortunately, there are some things that we can’t change about our metabolism like; our gender (usually males have a faster metabolism), our age (as we get older, our metabolism tends to slow down), and our genetics.  The good news is that there are more things that we can control that determine our metabolism rates.  I have 10 tips that will help boost your metabolism and get your body burning calories faster:

1.  Strength train:  build muscle through weight bearing exercises.  When your have more muscle in your body your resting metabolic rate will naturally increase and burn more calories even at rest!

2.  Interval training:  high intensity or interval training will help you to burn more calories while your working out and also for hours after you’ve finished your workout!  This is the case because your body has to work harder to get back to a resting, more comfortable state, therefore working harder longer and faster.  An example of an interval workout would be;  walking on a treadmill for 2 minutes at a comfortable pace, then increasing your speed so you are running or sprinting for 30 seconds to a minute, and then returning to your walking pace for another 2 minutes or so, until you completely recover and catch your breath.  Try to repeat this pattern for 20-30 minutes.

3.  Drink lots of water!!  When your body is dehydrated it can’t work very efficiently and therefore your metabolism slows down.  Try to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces every day and eight ounces more for every 30 minutes of exercise that you do.

4.  Eat often:  always start your day out with breakfast within 30-60 minutes of waking up and then eat something every 3-4 hours after that.  This will keep your metabolism cranking all day long!

5.  Spice things up:  add spicy foods to your meals or drinks whenever you can.  Spicy foods have a natural chemical that increase your metabolic rate.

6.  Eat more protein:  Your body burns more calories digesting protein than it does when digesting carbohydrates or fat.  Good sources include; lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt, nuts, beans, tofu, tempeh, and high quality protein powder.

7.  Drink coffee:  Black or with a bit of almond milk or cream.  The caffeine in coffee will show a short term rise in your metabolism….every little bit helps 🙂

8.  Drink green tea:  this offers a combined benefit from caffeine and catechins, which are shown to rev your metabolism for a few hours.

9.  Avoid crash diets:  these diets usually encourage consuming less than 1000-1200 calories and put your body in starvation mode.  Sure, you may lose some weight, but you will probably be losing metabolism revving muscle as well.

10.  Eat organic:  organic fruits and vegetables are not sprayed with chemicals, pesticides or other toxic materials that mess with your thyroid function.  Your thyroid controls your metabolism, so we don’t want to be messing with that!

…..also, get lots of SLEEP!!!  Help your body recover and work as efficiently as possible the next day.