Food Challenge: Almond Milk & Flour

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Food Challenge: Almond Milk & FlourEach member of the InDependent team eats very differently based on upbringing and individual family choices. Even so, there are two things that are true across the board. We all:

  1. Eat mindfully. We pay attention to how food makes us feel. If we find ourselves overweight, sluggish, bloated, or find that strange things are happening with our skin, we pay attention so that we can adjust food choices and bring things to the attention of our medical providers.
  2. Eat simply. We look for fresh products and short ingredient lists with familiar words. We want to know what we’re putting into our bodies.

As a result of this philosophy toward food, this week’s food challenge is to make your own almond milk and almond flour. Here’s why I started:

Recently, my husband and I have made some dietary changes in our house. We thought we had been eating a relatively “clean” diet, and we were working out regularly. Still, we were both lugging around an extra 10-20 pounds of extra weight that we couldn’t shake and we weren’t sleeping well. Frustrated, as a short-term experiment, we went a step further with our eating habits and began removing sugars (both refined and natural), as well as dairy from our diet. As a result, we realized just how much highly processed stuff we had still been eating.

The number one culprit of our sugar overload was from wheat products. In Germany, where there is an amazing bakery on every corner, it was hard to resist the sweet temptations. My flaky, buttery, morning croissant became a staple and the employees at our village bakery knew us by name. Now wheat in it’s pure form isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when I began researching how far removed grain is from the whole-wheat flour you see at the store, I decided it was time to experiment with removing it from our diet to see what would happen.

Similarly with dairy, the conventional method for production is far from the green pastures and happy cows the advertising world would want you to believe. We never really drank a lot of milk to begin with, but I noticed every time I ate cheese, even the good stuff, my stomach would pay for it later and my sinuses would be stuffed-up to high heavens.

To fill the bread and milk gap, we made the switch to almond milk and flour. Both have a heavier consistency and definitely a nuttier taste than their traditional counterparts, but they make fantastic substitutes. Almonds are available year-round, and they contain healthy fats that help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol. Almonds also serve as a good source of calcium, vitamin E, copper, magnesium, and high quality protein.

We’re stationed at a small, closing base where our food options were limited to begin with. Now, our commissary has stopped carrying packaged almond flour. And fun fact: I cannot find almond flour for the life of me on the German economy, even in the health food stores. As for almond milk, I was looking for a shorter ingredient list with pronounceable ingredients, like almonds and water.

As for almond milk, I was looking for a shorter ingredient list with pronounceable ingredients, like almonds and water.

My solution: If you want it done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. I set out and decided to make it from scratch. Here’s my recipe for both almond flour and milk.

How to make Almond Milk and Flour

When I posted a picture of my most recent batch of almond milk to my personal Facebook page, a friend asked about cost comparison since raw almonds are pretty expensive. Where I am in Germany, I’m able to save about $1.50 for two cups of milk and one cup of flour. If you’re at a place where you can shop around for bulk nuts, you might save more.

After three weeks of our experiment, my husband and I have lost a good chunk of the weight we needed to lose, and we’re sleeping a lot better. We live in the real world where balance is key to healthy eating, but we’re definitely going to be looking to fruit to be our everyday dessert and we’ll keep homemade almond milk and flour in regular rotation.

Almond Flour Chicken Fingers
Almond Flour Chicken Fingers

via The Paleo Mom

This is the go-to chicken recipe in our house. The secret to this recipe that isn’t in the link is the shake and bake method: combine the dry ingredients in a paper bag and after dredging the chicken in the beaten eggs, throw them in the bag and shake to your heart’s content. Then bake as recommended.

"Tortilla" Chips
“Tortilla” Chips

via Edible Harmony

We love Tex-Mex in our house, so giving up my corn tortilla chips on guacamole and salsa night was really hard. But since corn also likes to wreck havoc on my system, I wanted to try an alternative. Finding something sans wheat or corn to hold up the weight of guacamole and salsa was tough. So when I found this recipe I seriously leapt for joy. It’s quick, easy and while it may seem like it doesn’t make that much, trust me, it fills you up fast.

Warm Ginger Almond Milk
Warm Ginger Almond Milk

via Mind Body Green

Perfect for a snowy day, or right before bedtime. I don’t have a high speed blender, so I make the milk concoction first in a blender, and then pour it into a pan to heat it up.