Generally, store-bought almond milk contains additives, thickeners and fillers, and contains an average of 2.5% almonds. If you want to steer away from dairy and towards a more whole-foods lifestyle, then making your own almond milk is a simple way to do this.
In this post, I am going to show you the easiest way to make your own almond milk.
Note we call it ‘mylk’, as you can’t use a term that specifically refers to animal produce.
To get started, you will need;
- ½ date
- Vanilla essence
- ½ cup almonds
- 2 cups filtered water
- Small funnel
- Strainer (or nut mylk bag)
- Glass to store it!
Next, you need to work out how much you want to make. This recipe makes approximately 2 cups of almond milk. Note it only lasts about 4 days in the fridge so you need to make an amount you will be able to consume within that time frame.
Step 1: Soak the almonds overnight in water
They need to soak for 8-12 hours, this makes them softer when blending
Step 2: Add the ingredients to your blender
Add the soaked almonds, ½ date, 2 cups filtered water, and drop of vanilla essence into the blender
Step 3: Blend until ingredients are well combined
You will need a high-speed bullet or blender to get a good result here! I blend for approximately 60-seconds.
Step 4: Pour through a strainer
Grab your strainer, and place over a large bowl. Pour the blended mixture into the strainer slowly so it doesn’t overspill
Step 5: Use a spoon to ‘strain’ the liquid out
Once you have poured all the ingredients into the strainer, you want to use a spoon and stir until you have pushed all of the liquid through into the bowl.
You can also use a nut mylk bag (you need to buy this especially), and if you do it this way you will get more mylk out as you can really squeeze it. Note you will have almond meal left over.
I used one and spent a really, really long time cleaning it, so I never used it again. I am happy to sacrifice a little milk to save myself 30mins of cleaning time, but you do you!
Step 6: Pour into your jar
Grab your funnel, place it over your storage jar and slowly pour the mix into the jar. I prefer glass storage containers, as where possible and where focussing on optimal health, you want to avoid plastic leaching into your food. This is not essential though to get the full nutrition from your almond mylk.
Finally, seal the jar and keep in the fridge for 4-5 days!
Step 7: Work out what you want to do with the almond meal
I often make pancakes with the left-over almond meal, or you can use it in brownies, muffins, overnight oats, cakes, etc. Don’t let it go to waste! You don’t need to dehydrate it to use it, just make sure you use it in the next day or two while it’s still fresh.
Step 8: Enjoy!
Enjoy in oats, tea, coffee, smoothies, cereal, and more! You can use this for anything you would use traditional milk for.
That’s the simple recipe! You end up with a mixture that is approximately 15% almonds, and it’s 100% natural. If you want to take it further you can buy all your ingredients organic, but it will taste great with conventional ingredients.
Let me know if you try it 🙂
PRE AND POST TRAINING NUTRITION: How does it work and how important is it really?
The purpose of pre and post-training nutrition is to provide your body with the most effective nutrition to support your training and body composition goals, increasing the availably of those nutrients at the time you need it most. These two nutrients are protein and carbohydrates; protein as a building block, and carbohydrates as fuel.
Meal timing aside just quickly though, as I want to make it clear there are things that are way more important, and need to be prioritised FIRST in order to maximise your chances at overall success:
- Adherence and consistency when it comes reaching your macro targets,
- The quality of your training and training methods, and
- Your overall health and stress levels.
Without these things in check, it won’t matter what time of the day you eat what nutrient. So, overall health and consistency first, and perfectly timing your meals second!
Now to answer the original question; how do I best time my meals?
Here is a very simple run-down of how you would approach your nutrition before and after training, for those ready to give it a go:
- Eat a carbohydrate and protein rich meal, with lower fat. This could be something like lean meat with rice or potato, oats with whey protein.
- Make sure to leave at least 90-mins to digest the meal before you train.
- If you are training first thing, and you’re not ‘dieting’ you can train fasted
- If you are dieting, I recommend you have a small protein-meal before you go to the gym, to avoid stressing your body out too much (especially for females). Something good for this could be protein custard, a protein yogurt, or similar.
- If you’re training at night, then carbs and protein can be consumed pre training really easily
- You want to eat something that is higher in carbohydrate and protein, but lower in fat and fibre, as the faster this meal is digested, the better for muscle recovery.
- Think – white rice or potato with lean beef or chicken, or rice cakes with jam and a whey protein shake in water.
- The higher your choice of protein is in the amino acid Leucine, the better this will impact your muscle recovery. This can be found in the largest amounts in lean meat, egg whites, and whey protein supplements.
Meal timing is great if you’re wanting to just just that little bit more from your nutrition and training. If you’re not quite there yet, and you find all this timing info overwhelming, then it is completely OK not to get this right in the early stages. You will still make progress. Many of my clients have competed (and won) without worrying about meal timing at all!
The image is chicken breast with jasmine and wild rice, and some pomegranate seeds – delish! There’s a little spinach in there (I had too much in the fridge!) but this is a pretty good option for pre or post training 😉
Hope this is helpful. Leave any questions in the comment section below and I’ll answer them for you
Smoothie bowls are the most delicious, refreshing sugar hit, perfect for a summer breakfast or snack. But are they good for you?
Despite smoothie bowls being packed with healthful ingredients – fruit, greens, honey, seeds – it is an extremely high carbohydrate meal option.
Carbohydrates (particularly sugar) in high amounts can be problematic for some individuals, for example those with diabetes, excess weight, high stress levels, fatigue, or hormonal issues such as PMS and PCOS. In all of these scenarios lies an issue with the hormone insulin – it doesn’t function as well is it should, mopping up excess carbohydrates and burning them for fuel.
A typical smoothie bowl (or smoothie) comes with 100gms+ carbs, mostly in the form of sugar. In addition, they don’t contain enough protein to balance this sugar spike out.
When you have issues with blood sugar regulation, one of the easiest ways to take care of yourself nutritionally is to avoid sugar, particular that sugar which does not come packed with fibre, or which comes in high on the glycemic index scale.
The solution? A high protein, Casein Custard smoothie bowl! All you need to make it is chopped fruit, protein custard, water, and chia seeds. This protein smoothie bowl is higher in protein than it is in carbs, so it will digest well, whilst tasting delicious at the same time
- Choose 250gms any fruit. Keep in mind that apples, pears, berries are the lowest on the glycemic index. I choose 150gms from these fruits (usually berries) and 100gms from other – generally banana, mango, pineapple or pink dragonfruit (of a combo!)
- Add 15gms chia seeds
- 45gms Muscle Nation Protein Custard – I use vanilla flavour, but you can use banana or strawberry too to compliment the fruit flavour
- Chop up all the fruit, add in the chia seeds, and 3/4 cup water. Soak this for 20-30mins while the chia seeds expand
- Add the protein custard
- Blend with a blender or bullet
- Empty out into a bowl and top with anything you want (not included in the macros below).
Why is it so low in carbs? Generally you need quite bit of fruit in order to get the thick consistency, but because the custard thickens up in water (can be eaten as a protein custard snack), it makes it thicker without you needed to add heaps of fruit!
Macros (without topping):
- Protein: 38gm
- Carbs: 38gm
- Fats: 8gm
- Calories: 376
As I am tracking calories at the moment and having this as a snack, I just topped it with some puffed multigrain, which is virtually calorie-free, and a few of the frozen berries from the fruit allowance. You can top it with anything you like though! Micronutrients include fibre, vitamin C, folate, potassium, vitamin A, calcium and iron.
Hope you enjoy 🙂
In January this year I was interviewed by Bulk Hackers, they were interested in my philosophy and background and how I overcame chronic fatigue. Here is my interview:
Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is Jenifer Lee, I am 36 years, living in Australia. I specialize in women’s health and lifestyle change. My education centres on nutrition, personal training, and naturopathy, as well as energy medicine. I have been training for 20 years and a personal trainer since I was 18.
I own my own holistic health coaching business, which combines multiple health disciplines to offer women health, body and mindset transformations, both online and in person, locally and internationally.
I approach all coaching from a whole-health perspective, aiming to restore balance in both body and mind whilst my clients chase their individual goals. A large portion of my business is in body re-composition, including bodybuilding competitions and prepping for photo-shoots.
Outside of that I enjoy writing, drawing, painting, playing music, travelling and reading. I practice meditation daily and always strive to learn more about the world.
Training wise, I have tried everything from dance to martial arts, cycling, powerlifting, bodybuilding and strongman. I was once a cardio bunny totally addicted to the ‘runners high’ until I learned about the value of lean muscle and eating to help your body grow strong.
Since finding a balance with weight training and nutrition, I haven’t pursued any other forms of exercise as this brings the most benefit for me in both body and mind.
Describe a typical day of training
My training philosophy is based on a combination of powerlifting and bodybuilding, which I’ve developed over the last 10 years of coaching. I focus on weight training and building strength, and prescribe nutrition to fuel that.
For me personally, I follow that same philosophy, but I train for fun now and not with the intention of competing. My training split varies but generally the balance is legs twice per week, back and shoulders twice per week, and chest/arms once per week.
I do some cardio for fun but I don’t prioritise it. My favourite exercises are for the posterior chain; deadlift movements, squats, lunges, and rows.
I like to train alone, as I train clients most days. It’s my time to focus on myself and my own health and well-being.
At the moment, I am training intuitively, since I just recovered from chronic fatigue. I don’t like to set targets for myself and risk over-doing things. I generally remember all the weights I lift anyway and thus don’t log it, though when I had competition goals in the past I logged everything in a diary.
As I am predominantly weight training, I don’t focus so much on measuring heart rate, just session times and energy expenditure, to ensure its consistent week to week.
How do you keep going and push harder?
I don’t necessarily push my limits in training any more. I suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for around five years and only in 2019 was recovered enough to train again. I used to be all about pushing as hard as I could, whereas now I maintain a healthy balance and focus on remaining strong and enjoying myself.
I think in order to stick at training for the long term, you need to spend time finding a routine and discipline that works for you. People tend to love cardio for the ‘high’ you get afterwards, but in my opinion it is fleeting and you have to keep training hard to get it again.
Weight training is the easiest to invest in long term, but you do need to spend some time with a trainer in the beginning, building foundations and a split that works with you in order to really feel the benefits of weight training that you can benefit from in the long term.
Another tip to keep the momentum going is to ignore what’s going on around you. Train for yourself and eat to be strong and healthy, but don’t over commit or put too much pressure on yourself to look a certain way.
A healthy body looks fabulous no matter what percentage of body fat you carry, and I think women sometimes get discouraged by the fact that they don’t look like a professional within the first year.
It takes a long time to build a physique, but your efforts never go unnoticed and once you are consistent enough to feel the benefits, the motivation to continue comes easily!
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
If I could start over in my bodybuilding/fitness journey, I would do a lot of things differently. I came up in a time where very low calories and high amounts of cardio were the norm in exercise prescription for women, as well as very restrictive food choices.
I used to eat around 10 different foods as they were considered ‘clean’ foods. I don’t think these methods are beneficial for women at all in the long run (not even really in the short term), so I make sure to pass on better wisdom to my clients, and also ensure I never go down that road again myself!
My goals for the future are just to remain strong and healthy, and focus my energy on building my business. I love sharing my knowledge and supporting women in their journeys to becoming healthier, stronger, happier women.
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I train consistently in a split that works for me, I have never been injured but in saying that I have had a lot of postural issues that took a lot of correcting along the way. I don’t push beyond what I consider to be good technique, because doing that only sets you backward in the long run.
I have been out of training for a period of about four years due to chronic fatigue, and I managed that through natural therapies and light training, until I was well enough to build my training back up again.
I think listening to your body and training smart is the key to longevity in training, and many people get caught up in their egos and miss the signals their body is sending.
I generally sleep around six to seven hours per night, and this is plenty for me. I started turning my WiFi and phone off at night, and avoiding lights after dark as a management tool for my chronic fatigue, and since recovering I maintained this habit as I sleep much deeper, and wake up feeling rested.
When I travel, I either cram my sessions in on the days I am home (if I’m away only for a weekend), or if its longer I either have active rest or do full body sessions only a few days per week. It really depends on where I am and whether a gym is easy to get to.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
My diet consists of primarily whole foods, I don’t like to eat processed foods, mostly because my body doesn’t agree with it and after battling health issues, I have learned that low-inflammatory nutrition is essential for optimal mind and body health.
The only supplements I use are a Evolve WPI (Whey Protein Isolate) and glutamine. My favourite brand is Evolve by Australian Sports Nutrition (all products), and NoWay protein by ATP Science. I leave the rest to my food. In times of stress, I supplement with magnesium and zinc, and around my cycle I take a liver supplement to support detoxification. I take a more specific approach these days, rather than taking all the traditional training supplements, as I find it more beneficial for me now.
What has inspired and motivated you?
I am inspired by learning more about the mind and body, and inspired by supporting others to see and experience their own potential. This is what keeps me going and what I invest all my energy in.
I am inspired by music and other health professionals as well. Learning new information and applying this to my business and myself is key to keeping me inspired and motivated towards the future.
Music wise, I listen to a broad range, for training it’s mostly 90’s RnB, but in my free time it’s Soul music and a lot of world music. I read a new book roughly every two weeks, and frequently listen to podcasts on health and well-being.
My favourite books to read include Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, and You Are The Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza, Mind over Medicine by Lissa Rankin, and anything by Paolo Coelho, as he has so much wisdom in his stories. I actually have a list of my favourite books in the ‘free resources’ section of my website.
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
If you want to improve yourself, the best advice I could give is to find a mentor. When I started out, the Internet was new and there was not much knowledge going around. Progress was much slower and in most cases, a result of trial and error.
Doing your research into a good mentor will fast-track your journey in ways you can’t imagine, and I think skipping this step is a big mistake. Self-research, YouTube, and free online programs just don’t cut it (especially if you have the added difficulty of a health condition, or a history of disordered eating).
I often think to myself, imagine how different my life would be if these people were around when I was younger!
I have had at least 10 significant mentors in my health and fitness journey, including a psychologist, naturopath, chiropractor, homeopath lifting coach, and energy medicine practitioners. I learned a lot from them and as much as it costed me money, I would not have the knowledge or health that I do now had I not learned from them.
The biggest mistakes I find are those who self-prescribe strict eating regimens, try to train way ahead of their training age, not paying attention to their body signals, underestimating the importance of eating healthy food, and not eating enough calories to fuel their training.
Are you taking on clients right now?
I am currently at capacity with my coaching, as it is all one-on-one and I only have so much time every day to commit to my business! I do have a waiting list so when spots open up, I offer them to the next person available.
To go on the waiting list, I have a short interview process that I run through, to ensure that person will be a good ‘fit’ for my coaching. I think it’s important to make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to expectations, before beginning any coaching journey.
Click here to see the full interview
Over the past 10 years of coaching women in weight loss and body transformation, I see the same mistakes being made over and over again. In todays post you’ll find 5 fundamental nutritional principles that can’t be avoided if you want long-lasting results.
You may have never heard of them, as in 2020 we live amongst a sea of misguided, unregulated, sales-oriented miss-information. Especially in the nutrition space. Accurate information is often overlooked as it doesn’t grab attention like a quick-fix does. We get addicted to extremes and to thinking that in order to make progress we need to go ‘all out’. But guess what? You don’t.
These fundamental principles are really all you need to get started, and I apply them to every client I work with.
1: EAT MORE FOOD, AND EAT OFTEN
I have met only a handful of women over the years who were eating even close to the right amount of calories for their fat loss goals. On average, numbers range from 1100-1500 calories per day, and often with a couple of 2700 calorie days thrown in there.
Women generally believe that the less they eat, the better their results will be. What they don’t factor in is their body’s physiological needs, most importantly a need for safety, and a need to reproduce. Safe bodies can make babies, unsafe bodies cannot. A ‘safe’ body for most women, is one that has enough body-fat for hormone regulation. If your calories are too low, your body won’t feel safe, and you won’t lose weight.
Women also fail to take into account their activity levels. Ladies, if you want to train like an athlete, you need to eat like one.
With almost all new clients, I increase the quality of food, the amount of calories eaten on a daily basis, and the size of the individual meals. Often my clients can’t finish the food in the first week, but are surprised to see weight loss at their first check in. That’s about all it takes to realise that eating more, and more often, is key. It’s also not long after that when they find themselves asking when their next calorie increase is!
How to implement this:
Firstly, track your food intake for 7 days, including everything you eat. A good calorie tracking app is MyFitnessPal and it’s free. Secondly, calculate your basic metabolic rate, by multiplying your weight in pounds by 12. That is the number you should be eating, on a rest day, to maintain your weight.
Eg I am 72kg; 72 x 2.2= 158 (weight in pounds). 158 x 12 = 1896. That’s approximately how much I need to eat in a day to maintain my weight, if my metabolism is healthy.
2: EAT MORE PROTEIN
Protein is the body’s primary building block. It plays an important role in weight management, helping your body repair and build tissue (the key one here being muscle from training). It also makes ‘dieting’ easier as it increases satiety.
Also very importantly, adequate protein intake ensures you don’t lose too much muscle when losing fat. When you diet, and are on a calorie deficit, your body burns your fat stores, but it also taps into your muscle stores. Ensuring you have enough protein, and are lifting weights, is the best way to ensure that the majority of your weight loss comes from body fat.
I personally recommend animal protein as a priority. It is the most anabolic, meaning your body uses it more efficiently than plant protein in building and sparing muscle. You want to eat around 1.5-2x your bodyweight per day. I personally prescribe 2x bodyweight for most clients, unless they’re not used to eating protein, or have trouble digesting it, in which case I start them off with the lower target.
How to implement this:
Track your food for 7 days (as above), and check how much protein you’re eating. Use the example below to calculate an ideal amount of protein for you.
Eg I am 72kg; 72 x 1.5 = 108. 72 x 2 = 144. I need to eat between 108-144gms per day for best results.
3: TRACK YOUR FOOD
If you’re not tracking your food intake, and you have no idea how much you’re eating, you’re kind of like a Powerlifter without a barbell. You can’t do anything.
You may lose weight simply by removing large amounts of food, or food groups (such as carbs, animal products, sugar, etc), or exercising like a maniac for a period of time but once this progress stops, you have got nothing to work with. And that’s assuming you can keep the restriction up long term.
In order to optimize your fat loss or muscle building, you need to learn how much fuel your body requires, what foods work best for you, what nutrients different foods contain, etc. The more you learn about food, and how your body uses it, the better your success will be. Body transformation is all about finding a calorie target that works for you, and then manipulating it over time.
Don’t mistake what you see on social media with real life. ALL body transformations that stick, or involve considerable muscle gains, require consistent food tracking, followed by adjustments where necessary, followed by more consistent food tracking. This also applies to the women taking performance enhancing drugs. There are no exceptions.
Food tracking is a time consuming practice, which involves planning, organizing, and making sacrifices. This is a practice that can be difficult to learn, but becomes easy over time with great reward.
How to implement this:
Download a calorie-tracking app, such as MyFitnessPal, and start entering all your food (as above). See how much you are eating. Eat that much consistently (or using the calculation from the first point), and track your progress with weight and measurements.
4: EAT MORE FIBRE
Fibre is a carbohydrate (‘carb’), but it is not digested in the small intestine thus it acts differently to your most-loved carbohydrate friends, starch and sugar. Starch and sugar provide us with glycogen (fuel), whereas fibre makes its way all the way to your large intestine, bulking up your stool (poo), and feeding your good bacteria.
If you don’t eat enough fibre, not only do your good bacteria starve (and in some cases resort to eating your own gut lining), you also risk constipation, as the food in your bowel can’t move through properly. When you are constipated, your body can’t eliminate waste efficiently, thus leaving you feeling tired, bloated, and sometimes, in pain.
How to implement this:
Include fibrous foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. A typical fibre target that works well for most people is 20-30gms per day, more if you’re heavier, and less if you’re lighter. Again, you can track this on a calorie app.
5: EAT MORE VARIETY
When I came up in the bodybuilding world, there was a lot of emphasis on eating ‘clean’. Specifically, our diets consisted of, and were limited to, the following foods; beef, chicken, fish, eggs, oats, rice, sweet potato, rice cakes, apples, broccoli, peanut butter, whey protein, and Udo’s oil (a horrid tasting omega 3-6-9 fatty-acid blend). All other foods were ‘bad’.
I basically choke of the thought of eating like that again, and also cannot believe we were that stupid, as it turns out you can achieve amazing results, and in most cases better results (if you factor in health, vibrancy, and sustainability), by eating almost any food, provided that, you can track it (point 3).
These ‘clean’ diets work well because there is little variation, thus getting to peak condition (lowest body-fat possible for you) is easier. However, this is not an approach that’s required for your every day competitor, or a woman who just wants to get the most out of her body.
The negative side of ‘clean’ eating, is it’s hard to maintain, it’s socially isolating, and falls short nutritionally in the long run. For my friends and I who ate that way, relentless cravings for other foods lead to binge eating, and punishing ourselves for eating ‘non-optimal’ foods (I’m talking things like strawberries and avocados). So, this kind of eating comes a set of problems.
I have never recommended this kind of strict approach (with the exception of two or three week periods, right before a competition for my clients with more stubborn bodies), though many coaches still do as it’s the bodybuilding way. I am strict on the total calories and macronutrients, but not their source. I have had countless clients make it to the comp stage, and win, without adopting this kind of strict ‘clean food’ eating regimen. Variety is key in long-term success.
How to implement this:
Eat a variety of foods. When it comes to meats, mix it up, eat the rainbow when it comes to vegetables and fruits, understand that different foods come with different nutritional profiles. If you love chocolate, include it. If you love ice cream, include that too. SO LONG as your macros/calories are accounted for, you will still lose body fat.
So that’s it ladies, my top 5 nutritional tips. Notice that supplements, fad diets, intermittent fasting, and heavy calorie/nutrient restriction, don’t make an appearance here. They aren’t required, nor are they healthy and sustainable long term.
If you want me to expand further on any of these points in upcoming posts, let me know!
For nutritional consultations, contact me for more information 🙂
So often women are caught up wondering what it the most important thing when it comes to planning nutrition. When do I eat? How much? What about supplements? Below is a list of priorities when it comes to meal planning;
PRIORITY #1: BALANCE
Vary your meats, plant products, grains, and sweets. Don’t get caught up thinking you need to eat chicken and broccoli for every meal. Flexible dieting is encouraging variety and enjoyment, to prevent food cravings and feelings of missing out on the foods you love
PRIORITY #2: YOUR CALORIES/MACROS SHOULD BE ACCURATE
If you find the macro-counting aspect to overwhelming, or your goal is to simply look smaller and leaner, then just hitting calories will still give you results. Studies have shown that the TOTAL INTAKE of calories is the most important variable when wanting to lose body-fat. Hitting carb, fat, protein and fibre targets will bring extra results, especially when you are hoping to add muscle. Overall, if you focus on accuracy and consistency, the results will come.
PRIORITY #3: MEAL FREQUENCY
Meal frequency is personal preference. Old assumptions used to be that eating 6 meals per day would ‘speed up your metabolism’. This has now been proven to be untrue. You could eat all your calories in two sittings or 6, so long as you are consistent. I personally design meal plans with 5 meals per day because women love food, and I find they have more success when they can eat more frequently. It also lowers the chance of you bingeing if you don’t get overly hungry.
PRIORITY #4: MEAL TIMING
Studies have shown that this makes about a 2-5% difference in overall results. This is really only something you would worry about if you were an elite athlete or a bodybuilder towards the final stages of prep. Whether you factor it in or not is up to you
PRIORITY #5: SUPPLEMENTS
Supplements are just that, supplements. This means they make a good supplement to an already-solid macro or calorie-controlled program, coupled with physical activity. They don’t do much on their own, so keep them minimal and focus on you adherence instead
Hope that helps!