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My Week on Almond Milk

Like fashion, there are always trending ingredients and current food fads. Among the “Popular Crowd” right now would be chia seeds, Nutella, Greek Yogurt, Pumpkin (as with every fall), and Almond Milk. I know it has been around for a while, but it seems like more and more people are making the milk-swap, vegan or not!

What’s the fuss about?

I was intrigued, and decided to forego my skim dairy milk for a carton of Silk Unsweetened Original Almond Milk. Since then, I have been told that Vanilla flavor is the way to go. Anyways, I poured myself a glass with dinner that night, a little apprehensive about the gray-ish color…(No one thinks it’s weird that it sits on the shelf in the cupboard until opening?!)

I gave it an honest try but I couldn’t get past the ‘bitter water’ flavor. It may be 1/3 the calories of skim, but I think I’ll stick with the Cow’s milk.

I still had a carton of almond milk left, and I wasn’t going to waste it! I made a cup of hot chocolate with the almond milk next:

Pure deliciousness in a mug! The almond milk was definitely a hit with hot chocolate (6 oz. Almond Milk, 2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 Tbs sugar, 140 calories). Also a fan of almond milk over cereal and in fruit smoothies. When it was combined with other flavors, the wateriness wasn’t as obvious. I think it’s worth it to go for this low-calorie, high-calcium substitute in baking and other dishes. Next I’m excited to try Coconut Milk.

Now, I would never consider becoming a vegan or vegetarian; however meat is not a big part of my diet. I probably have meat 3 times a week, predominantly chicken or fish. I get most of my protein from milk, yogurt, garbanzo beans, peanut butter, peanut butter, peanut butter, protein bars and peanut butter ;)

My favorite Vegan in my life is quite a character. You may recognize her from some previous posts…

It’s Missy! Missy loves her carrots, and practically any veggies. She’s got some food allergies and is sensitive to a lot of dog food. No she’s not really Vegan (I think her food is lamb-flavored?) but she does LOVE her dinnner-time vegetables. This dog eats canned carrots like nobodies business, my little bunny dog. When we were all out of carrots, we discovered she is equally as excited about beets, peas, green beans, potatoes, and ALMONDS. She will literally scarf down a bowl of steamed, sliced carrots in 3.6 seconds – if only we ALL were as excited about a bowl of veggies :D

Thoughts on dairy-substitute products?

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The Least Stressful Class – Ever.

College classes are amazing in that you can actually get credit for taking “Stretch and Relaxation” for 50 minutes twice a week. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? Today was my first day in the PE class and I am already so glad I signed up! I am really excited to learn about stress management and relaxation techniques. Not to mention time dedicated to stretching, a task I often tell myself I am going to do and “forget”….

Being in college full-time as well as on a sports team, having a job and balancing a social life was one of the most stressful things I have ever done. This semester I quit my job (as a Supplemental Instructor, or teacher’s assistant) and am involuntarily on a break from cross country, so I do have a lot more time to dedicate to studying and having fun (like keeping up this blog!) But in my crazy-busy schedule last semester,  I did learn that in order to keep my hair from falling out, I’d have to make an effort to reduce my stress. Some things that help:

1. Switch to decaf after around 4pm to make sure I’d be able to fall asleep easily

2. Get away from the computer/TV at least half an hour before going to bed (I like to give myself a good facial during this time!)

3. Pack your lunch/pick out your outfit the night before to give yourself more time when getting ready

4. Get outside and enjoy fresh air (I multi-tasked and got in a leisure evening walk while calling my parents just to talk a few times a week)

Honestly, how could I stay inside when I live in a place like this?!

 

5. Keep an organizer to write down your schedule. My planner was my life-line last semester, color-coded and completely full of all the information I knew I couldn’t possibly remember

6. On a particularly stressful week of school, my mom sent me a special care-package….not the chocolate chip cookies and homemade fudge kind. The healthy, relaxing, spa treatment kind:

Can’t wait to share what else I learn from this class through out the semester : ) In other news, I hear my little polar bear is keeping my bed warm while I’m away. If pet’s were allowed in dorms, Missy, I would keep you with me!

Puppy kisses make stress disappear too! ;)

Less Stress, More Fun.  Share your de-stress tips!

Wake Up Work Out

5:45am – alarm goes off.

5:57am – Out the door for leisure bike ride

My body has come a long way from just 3 weeks ago when my “physical activity” amounted to 5 minute walks around our hotel courtyard. While I am in no running shape, I have built up my walks to around 2 miles each morning and each evening. Occasionally I’ll go on an easy bike ride next to my mom while she  jogs or do some light stretching and balance exercises. So this morning I decided to do them all back-to-back for a true workout! You gotta work with what you’ve got. Because my mom jogs before work, we started at 6am. Once you lace up your shoes and get outside, it really gets easier to be awake at the crack of dawn (during summer vacation I might add!).

Well….not according to my “walking partner” Missy…..

She would not be accompanying me on my early morning route.

My mom jogged two miles this morning (Sadly, this is more than I have run in a month. I’m going through withdrawals of endorphins). It was beautiful out, even though it’s supposed to be ugly and in the 100’s by this afternoon. And I got to wake my legs up with a cruise on my bike.

Next I ditched my bike (and my mom), turned on my Garmin GPS watch and headed out to the neighborhoods. At just 6:30am, it was silent. I finished my two miles in under 40 minutes (not impressive, I know. Right now, walking is more to get my body moving than to get some serious cardio exercise. It’s a slow process.) Meanwhile, Missy snoozed away!

Leg 3 of Wake Up Work Out was in the comfort of my own living room with some mellow morning music playing. I stretched my entire body, starting with my neck and ending with my calves. Next, a series of balance exercises like Tree Pose, Dancer’s Pose, and other things I made up as I went along. 85 minutes total, and while I wasn’t sweating or breathing heavily I felt like I had worked my whole body and EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS! All of this should help when I start my training again in just 2 weeks. “Real” workouts are coming!

My music selection, odd as it may be, was a ‘blast from the past’ type of thing. All CD’s that I had and forgot about. It’s funny how years later I can still remember the lyrics, yet I couldn’t tell you what I wrote my English 205 persuasive essay on last semester.

Missy was not forgotten! She went on a mini-walk with me after she fully woke up. Rough life…

Time for breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Craisons!

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