Thursday, February 12, 2015


I've had a post done for a while, about my latest finished garment - the StyleArc Elita - but I haven't had enough light (or energy, or time or motivation etc.) to photograph the end result. Stay tuned, we are supposed to have some sun over the next few days (at the cost of -30C temps) so I should be able to take a picture soon... The short story is that it's very wearable.

This post is to update you on the saga of the blender / nut milks. OMG, people, I have no regrets about spending a small fortune on this entry-level model Blendtec. (Note: I did get a deal but it still cost a lot. My rationale is that I've never bought a blender before. I've been using the one my parents, got as a wedding gift in 1968, since I moved out of their house in 1988.) You cannot make nut milks optimally unless you've got a powerful machine with a good design. I mean, if you've got a war-horse appliance-store version that's worked for you in the past, that's great, but I've read that the low-end models just can't adequately grind.

At any rate, here's what I've learned so far:
  • I'm not nuts about almond milk when a much easier, and more delicious, alternative is cashew milk. The thrill of cashew milk is that the nuts are soft enough to be completely obliterated by blending so you don't need to strain the pulp. It also tastes creamier, no doubt because one consumes the entire nut, not simply the interior.
  • I'm using non-irradiated, non-sulphite, organic nuts (to the best of my ability). It strikes me, if I'm going to go to the trouble of making nut milk 2x per week (at the volume of 3 litres), I'm going to use the best raw materials I can find. Ditto for the dates, cocoa and vanilla.
  • It takes about 20 minutes, start to finish, to make 1.5 litres of milk. That's the amount that M and I drink in 3 days (the shelf life of the stuff). We each have 250 ml per day, she after kickboxing and I for breakfast. Of course, the nuts need to soak for a period of time (nut-depending) to soften, hydrate, clean and activate enzymes. So you have to factor that in as prep time. But that part takes a minute (followed by the waiting period).
  • The recipe is a piece of cake: 190g of cashews, 4-6 dates, 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa, 1tbsp vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla pod seeds, 5 cups water. So far I haven't done much experimenting but my next go round, I think I'll make it ORANGE by adding a tbsp of turmeric in place of the cocoa. We'll see how the kid deals with that. I'm looking to reduce inflammation in my body, as you know, and turmeric's all the rage for that.
  • M loves it and, between the intensity of her kickboxing (she's hardcore) and some info we've gained about her learning-style and brain chemistry, I'm committed to ensuring that she increases her healthy fat and protein consumption. She and I both take daily fish oil and evening primrose oil supplements as well - for entirely different reasons. 
  • Seriously, if there's one thing that juice fast taught me it's that fat is essential. It's all the more essential for people whose mental and/or physical metabolisms move fast. Furthermore, it makes your skin glow, your eyes shine, your hair bouncy. Don't eschew the stuff - just don't eat crap. I use so much oil these days it's ridiculous. Sure, it's February. It's freezing and dry. Do I moderate my fat consumption in summer? Absolutely. Too much fat seems gross when it's warm. But this climate can kill you or, at very least, cripple you with depression. Fat moderates weakness in the face of harsh climate.
  • I'm not much into dwelling on calories in my 40s. All through my 20s and 30s I was a food diary keeper. I can tell you how many calories are in anything, anytime, and frankly, I'm bored by it. I also believe that calorie counting can obscure a much more relevant matter: nutrition. I'm in a phase of my life when my body's not acting as I expect it to, as it used to - as it would have at any other time. But there's nothing like pain to put shape-change into perspective. My goal is to get to menopause (and far beyond) in optimal health. I want to support my brain, my joints, the suppleness of my muscles and tissues, my bones. I appreciate my youthful appearance and I believe that the way to maintain it is to exercise appropriately (that changes for me depending on the week), to sleep a fuck of a lot and to eat fat.
  • Now having said that, and because a lot of people have asked me, I did the math so I can tell you that 250 ml of cashew milk has @200 calories, 5.5g of protein and 13.5g of fat. I haven't bothered to figure out the sugar content but cashews themselves have practically no sugar and I'm not going to worry about the sugar in 1 date. That makes this drink mostly fat, by composition, and that's entirely cool as far as I'm concerned. I have it for breakfast - a meal I sometimes struggle with because I don't like to eat early - and supplement it with a handful of pumpkin seeds or a hard-boiled egg. My pain is most noteworthy in the morning because I'm at my most dehydrated (though I do drink a glass of water in the middle of the night), so this elixir provides some energy, some ballast AND hydration. It also makes a great drink post-exercise and a lovely dessert. It's terrific for managing the chaos of PMS. Would I drink 3 a day? No - not unless I were prepared to cut back on solid food, which I'm not. But will I drink it daily? Yup.
So, there you go. My foray into cold-pressed juices and milks really has facilitated a change in my eating habits and perspective. I see food now in a much more deconstructed, metabolic way than ever I have before, and it inspires me to eat well, especially when the drink I take now can make all the difference in the way my body feels pain later.


  1. Very interesting post! I bought a Blendtec, too, a few months ago, after hesitating for months because of the price. I had an immersion blender and a Cuisinart, but neither could handle the smoothies I make for my vegan son, let alone nut milk. I've been meaning to make almond butter and milk, and I've gone as far as to buy a large bag of high quality almonds from Amazon, but they're still in my freezer. I'm going to try you recipe with almonds. My other son has life-threatening nut allergies, so cashews are out. I am definitely going to make almond butter. I've just been to Trader Joe's, where I picked up a jar of almond butter, then noticed a sign to the effect that their almond butters contain up to 1%cashews! Clearly they used shared equipment and someone had a reaction.

    1. Try it Marie! I think you'll really love it. But make sure you have a nut bag (for straining out the pulp left by almonds. You can dry the pulp the oven, pulse it in the Blendtec and use it as almond meal after.) You know you need the special Blendtec jar for making butters and sauces. Look it up if you don't already own it.