Did you know almond milk is super easy to make? While there is nothing wrong with store-bought almond milk, we want to share how simple real food truly is. Plus, when you try homemade almond milk, you may never buy it from the store again—it is so yummy. You can use this recipe in any of our recipes that call for almond milk.
Homemade Almond Milk
Recipe adapted from TheKitchn
2 cups organic raw almonds
4 cups water
Vanilla, honey, agave syrup for flavoring and sweeteners
Makes about 4 cups almond milk.
Today's Real Foodie inspiration comes from runner and triathlete, Kristen Chang, of Real Food For Fuel.
As a runner and triathlete, fueling properly throughout the day and during workouts is an essential aspect of my training regime. While studying nutrition throughout college, I slowly began to connect the dots in terms of how great of an effect my daily food choices made on my ability to complete workouts optimally, recover quickly, and just sustain the energy levels I needed to achieve my goals.
This connection between food and athletic performance became even more real for me when I decided to adapt a plant-based (mostly vegan) lifestyle in March 2013. I began to cut out many processed foods from my diet and emphasize fruits, vegetables, plant-based proteins and unrefined grains. My energy levels simply soared and I became leaner, fitter and stronger overall. I've never looked back!
A real foods diet is important for athletes not only to ensure they're getting the correct balance of macro-nutrients to support their training, but to optimize vitamin, minerals and antioxidants within those calories. By focusing on the quality of food, rather than overall quantity, improvements in energy, recovery, stamina and performance will be found. After all the hard work that is put into workouts, why compromise your efforts by eating junk?
My general diet philosophy these days is "every food has a purpose," and I try to remember this when I choose what to eat each day. Eating with a purpose, real food for fuel, everything in moderation: three general guidelines that I abide by to make eating simpler yet healthier. These apply to athletes, adults, teenagers and babies alike!
And check out Kristen’s Homemade Energy Fuel: Sweet Potato & PB Banana Mash-Up. Kristen said she was enjoying one from her Little Green Pouch as she sent it to us! She says it is “Kid friendly, but delicious for adults on the go too,” and that she is “totally looking forward to using these pouches to pack real-food fuel for my longer bike rides this spring and summer. The pouch should fit well into the back of my cycling jersey. It's like a portable picnic lunch!”
Today’s Real Foodie is blogger Kath Younger of Kath Eats Real Food. Kath has been blogging about her Real Food journey since 2006. Along the way she has added the titles of Registered Dietician and Bakery Owner to her resume. And most recently, Kath took on the role of Mom to son Mazen.
Kath has found feeding a toddler to be one of the hardest parts of motherhood. “I don’t blame Mazen at all for being a picky eater - imagine if someone was creating your whole menu and you had very little way to communicate back. Sometimes you just don’t want meatballs.” Kath and her husband, Matt, have found that sign language has helped a lot, but beyond the basic foods, “It’s hard to tell what he’s in the mood for until he pushes it off of his tray.”
Kath has found texture plays a huge part in Mazen’s likes and dislikes and often makes him smoothies, soups and purees.
“I believe that the more variety you can get into a child’s diet the better. It’s hard for a toddler to chew kale or celery and texture can make or break a dish. Thus, the more you can adapt things to make kiddos like them the better off their diets will be. Smoothies and pureed soups are as versatile as they come and offer an easy way to introduce more real food. Best of all – you can enjoy them along with your toddler.”
Our awesome Real Foodie for today is Jessica from Real Food & Fitness. Jessica loves both food and fitness, and “believes that one is not without the other.” As a registered dietitian (RD), certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD), food lover, group fitness instructor, and certified-personal trainer, her belief is that wellness is both mental and physical.
When we asked Real Foodie Jessica why she felt that a Real Food lifestyle was important for athletes such as herself, she had the following to say:
“A real food focus is essential for athletes because so often their on-the-go lifestyles leave them greatly dependent on convenience foods that poorly fuel the body and lack many of the nutrients found in real, whole foods. Remember that real foods, including a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, provides nutrients that work synergistically to repair and nourish the body. A solid foundation in real foods makes an incredible difference when it comes to energy levels, staying well, and feeling our best, no matter what each day brings."
Jessica was kind enough to share a pouch-friendly real food recipe that she says is “more specific to healthy living in general.” (FYI, she explains it is not ideal just before or during high-intensity or intermittent workouts, if that was your plan today). It’s her Lean Green Smoothie, and here it goes!
When to introduce: 12 months (check with your pediatrician)
Stars: Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid, high in fiber, and a good source of iron, calcium, and other minerals. Apples are high in fiber, potassium & Vitamin B6 and also contain calcium. Spinach is another great source of Calcium and contains Vitamin A, Iron and Selenium. Oranges are not just a great source of vitamin C, they have a myriad of vitamins and other nutrients that make them tops for a refreshing and healthy snack.
Lean Green Smoothie
Here at Little Green Pouch, we are loving learning about Real Food. There are so many fantastic resources out there for those of us trying to better understand the Real Food movement, and incorporate it into our lifestyle.
We were excited to recently discover a great Real Food resource in Wholesome Mommy. Wholesome Mommy is a blog for busy moms trying to feed their family Real Food. Denise Sawyer, author of the blog, keeps it “REAL SIMPLE for those of us who don’t have all day to spend in the kitchen or don't have time to hunt exotic ingredients.” She has fantastic recipes and provides great tips and tricks (like how to purchase chicken) to make wholesome living easy and affordable (check out her Real Food on a Food Stamp Budget meal plans).
Wholesome Mommy has been kind enough to create a great Real Food Pouch Recipe for Little Green Pouch that is perfect for pouches and also great for Valentine's Day — Apple Beet Sauce. How pretty is that color? You can find the full recipe HERE.
We hope you’ll give this Real Food Pouch Recipe a try, and let us know your thoughts. And don’t forget to send over Real Food Pouch Recipes of your own. If we love them (which we’re certain we will), we’ll include them on our Real Food Recipes hub, our general Recipes Page and our Real Food Pinterest Board. I mean, you’ll practically be famous!
We’ll check in with you next week to let you know how other Real Foodies are filling their Little Green Pouches, and of course, what’s in Parker’s Pouch this week.
‘Til next time,
Maggie & Melissa
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