Random Thoughts and Almond Milk

On Saturday I attended an all women’s conference sponsored by our stake (collection of 7-8 local congregations). After the first hour, we went from the chapel into the cultural hall, where tables had been set up with brunchy-type foods to create a comfortable atmosphere of conversation and conviviality. It was a nice set-up, and of course we sat with our friends so we were miserable at participating in the planned topics of discussion, but we tried, we really did.

But I want to talk about the food. It was standard fare – fruit, yogurt, quiche, various and sundry breads – sweet, yeasted, who knows what else. And so we passed things around. I took a few pieces of what looked to be relatively benign breads and a lot of fruit, and passed everything else along. Everyone else managed a bit of almost everything on their plates and enjoyed their fare. I kept sneaking more fruit – strawberries and melons already cut up are not as common in my home as I would like, and took the leftover whole grain breads and enjoyed them thoroughly.

About 3/4s of the way through the discussion period, some of the men doing the hosting brought around more sweet breads to pass around and everyone (but me) took a few. As I watched my friends, I found myself thinking a few different things. The first was that I didn’t miss or crave the things I wasn’t eating. I didn’t wish I could have them (especially since, like most people there, I’d had breakfast a couple of hours ago), or feel badly for myself that I was “just” eating fruit. The fruit tasted better than I remember most fruit tasting and was thrilled to enjoy crisp grapes and berries and melon.

Secondly, I thought about previous occasions in which I had access to “all-I-could-eat” and DID partake of everything. While I don’t remember specific experiences, I do recall that heavy feeling that often comes after eating as much as I could handle of sweets and breads and dairy, and it wasn’t good. I left this event feeling light, refreshed, and ready for the day. That has been a common theme for both Matt and me, the feeling of sustained energy and lightness that didn’t accompany our previous way of eating.

On similar note, on Monday I had my glucose screening test for pregnancy, the one where you have to fast for 12 hours (well, only if you don’t wake up early enough to eat something 3 hours before), then drink an awful sugary glucose drink with a blood draw an hour later. I ate soon after my blood draw – good wholesome foods, but they couldn’t counter the sugar kick I’d received. Soon after getting home, I tanked. I had one of the worst sugar hangovers in memory, and I couldn’t do anything about it since my kids were still about and needed me. I was so grateful all afternoon that I would be eating good, wholesome, and healthy foods from then on, even if it was a slow recovery.

I love this experience of learning how closely my emotions and capacity to function are tied to my diet, which surprises me since I feel that many of the changes have actually been very small.

“It is my view that a vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.” ~Albert Einstein

So, for breakfast and for our milk – while we’re on the topic of breakfasts, we have (all but my dear son who is fighting the change) switched to almond milk. And since the whole family is in on it, I’ve decided it’s time to make my own. And I’m so glad we did, because it’s fantastic – so much better AND cheaper than the packaged stuff.

Almond Milk
3/4 – 1 c. whole, raw almonds, soaked for 24 hours
2 quarts water
Drain and rinse almonds a couple of times after soaking. Add half of the almonds to blender with 1 quart of water, and blend until it looks pretty homogenous – about 30 seconds in a vitamix. Pour into a nut milk bag or strain in cheese cloth. Repeat with second batch. After straining, “milk” the remaining almonds until residual meal is almost dry. For creamier almond milk, use the full 1 cup, but 3/4 of a cup seems to be great for our normal needs. And I’m going to start experimenting with the leftover meal to see what creations I can come up with.

We bought three nut milk bags from Amazon and have loved them. It’s a bit of an investment, but when you consider you’re making more than a quart of almond milk for $0.83 (almonds from Costco at $3.29/lb – 3/4 cup is about 4 oz), you’re saving money there and it’s so much yummier. Not to mention you can buy a bunch of almonds at once and not have to go to the store for just milk when you inevitably run out on Saturday night. I also really like my ingredient list – clean and simple, and no aseptic milk container or added thickeners flavor.

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8 thoughts on “Random Thoughts and Almond Milk

  1. I’m presuming a good blender (2 speeds only, high and higher) would do almost as well as the VitaMix. Also, thanks for doing the math. I think of Costco almonds as expensive, since we’re on a tight budget, but I’m finding I’m better without dairy as well, although the kids seem to be fine. I may have to give this a go soon.

    Also I’m applauding all that you’re doing, and succeeding with (as best you can), on your vegan experiment. The “feel great” feedback is my favorite. Slowly we’re making changes around here, and hoping our kids pick up on it at some point.

    Love to you and your family. Ian asked me the other day if Lola had any kids besides me, and was surprised that you were my sister and we both had Lola for a mom.

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    • So, we’ve actually even better improved the almond milk making so it’s faster, and this is a reminder that I should update it! I love the idea of making crackers with the leftover meal – and all of those delicious seeds!

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