A Better Way To Eat Almonds

Did you Know…

You can get more out of your almonds by soaking them in water.

Almonds are one of my go to foods to snack on because they are high in protein, fatty acids, omega-3 and fiber. Almonds are also considered a Superfood because of the high levels of Vitamin E, Antioxidants, and they help curve your hunger. After doing some research I found out that soaking almonds actually helps you absorb more of the nutrients the almonds have to offer, but how?

Almonds2

The brown skin on an almond protects it until the correct levels of sunlight and moisture allow it to germinate. Because of this, eating an almond without allowing it to get proper moisture makes it harder to digest. When the almond is soaked; however, the outer brown skin is penetrated and the almond releases enzymes. When eating an almond that has been allowed to take in such moisture, you are able to digest the almond more efficiently and absorb the healthy nutrients the almond has to offer.

How to soak an Almond:
This is very easy. It is recommended to put the almonds in a bowl of purified water. Cover the almonds with 2 cups of water per 1/2 cup of almonds. Soak the almonds in the bowl overnight (10-12 hours). After the 10-12 hours, drain the almonds and eat or store them. You can store the almonds in the refrigerator for about one week. The almonds are soft, sweet, and they taste great!

Apparently, if you would like to sprout your almonds, simply soak you almonds overnight and place them in a glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator. After a few days, the almonds should begin to sprout (about 1/8-inch sprout should show). A sprouted almond can be more beneficial than a soaked almond because they are easier to digest and they also release lipase (an enzyme that helps digest fat). I have not tried this, but would like to very soon. If you have, please let me know what you think!

Do you like this post? Do you have any other ideas for posts? If you have any questions or comments please email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com!

Advertisements

LARA Bars

Lara Bar cherry pie

Lara Bar Cashew

lara bar apple pe
Just a few years ago, I was drinking Redbulls, Monsters, and other insane, high sugar, high caffeine energy drinks in order to get me through my day. It seemed like everyone around me was drinking these artificial drinks to find the extra boost they needed during the day as well. Today, it apprears that many people, including myself, are trying to find more “natural” ways to get their energy. So what are our choices?

One of my new favorite things to do is have a LARA bar. LARA bars are simply made with fruits and nuts. No extra sugars, preservatives, or additives! If you ever come across a LARA bar, look at the label of ingredients! No LARA bar contains any more than nine ingredients (most of them have much less). For example, the Banana Bread LARA bar consists of Almonds, Dates, and Unsweetened Bananas. The Peanut Butter Cookie LARA bar contains Dates, Peanuts, and Sea Salt. Very simple ingredients and very delicious flavors. To view all of the different flavors of LARA bars CLICK HERE. On this website it will show all of the different flavors, and when you click on one of the bars that you may be interested in, it tells you what ingredients are used, the nutritional facts, and also some beneficial vitamins and nutrients you get from the bar.

Another great thing about LARA bars is that people with all different diets can still have them. LARA bars are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and many flavors are Soy Free for people who may have allergies. LARA bars also are Vegan and Kosher for those people who follow strict diets. Every LARA bar consists of Dates and some sort of nut. Because of this, the bars have a good source of dietary fiber, and is high in natural sugars and carbs which give you the energy you need (23-32g of carbs per bar). The nuts give a good source of healthy fats and protein to feed your body, fight hunger, and also provide energy.

Next time you need a little pick me up, consider trying a LARA bar. They are easy, quick, and delicious!

What do you think about LARA bars? Have any other questions? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.

Kombucha

CherryKombucha

“Organic” is a word we hear a lot these days. We try to eat “organic” and “natural” foods to help stay far away from the processed junk we have been so accustomed to eating. Processed foods have been linked to many health issues including obesity, heart problems, diabetes, and even cancer. With organic foods, we hope to ward off such health problems and live a more healthy lifestyle.

Today I was finally able to drink an entire bottle of an Organic Kombucha drink. I have seen these around for a while now, but whenever I had a chance to try one, I honestly could not get passed the disgusting taste. Today I was able to find one of the Synergy Kombucha drinks, a juice variety of the Kombucha tea, that I was able to finally enjoy. I will admit it wasn’t the most delicious thing I have ever tasted, but it was not bad.

Many of you may be reading this thinking, “What is Kombucha? I have never heard of it.” Kombucha (pronounced kom-BOO-cha) is a fermented drink made of live bacteria and yeast that supposedly has many health benefits. Some claimed benefits have been increasing your immunity, lowering your cholesterol, and improving your digestion.

Kombucha drinks do have helpful probiotics, prebiotics, antioxidants, and nutrients. In the bottle of Raspberry Chia Synergy Kombucha drink I had today, the only ingredients were organic raw kombucha, raw chia seeds, and raspberry juice. With only these three ingredients, the label still claimed that there is more than 8 times the omega-3s found in salmon, more fiber than oatmeal, and more antioxidants than blueberries. That is very impressive for such a simple drink. Because of the Chia seeds inside, this drink also provided some “Raw Energy.” I will admit that I drank the Kombucha before my workout and it did give me a nice energy boost in order to hit the gym full force.

SynergyKomucha

According to Janet Helm, a Chicago-based dietitian and nutrition communications consultant, “It is a new way to get the beneficial bugs that people are looking for in yogurt, kefir and other probiotic dairy drinks. Kombucha also provides a source of prebiotics, which helps fuel the growth of helpful microorganisms in your digestive track. The black and green tea in kombucha also offers some beneficial antioxidants and polyphenols — although you could get the same with a simple tea bag.”

SETBACKS
Now Kombucha also does have some possible downfalls. Although you can buy Kombucha drinks in the bottle at a natural grocers, it is also possible to make this fermented drink in your home. People sell kits in order to make your own Kombucha, but this can lead to some problems since sterile environments and how the bacteria is incubated and kept is unknown. Kombucha teas, specifically home brews of Kombucha, have been linked to some health issues including liver damage and acidosis because of the high levels of different acids. With this in mind, nutritionist suggest drinking Kombucha in moderation. You should not be drinking a Kombucha tea every day, but rather weekly or a few times a month.

One other issue is the taste. Many people who try Kombucha can not get past the harsh taste which is why I was only able to drink the Synergy drink which mixes juice with the Kombucha tea. Although some people find Kombucha to be refreshing, many others find it to be down right disgusting. Kombucha is also not a drink that goes down easily like a glass of water, but rather more like a glass of Orange Juice with pulp. Kombucha tea has floating strings of bacteria in the tea, and the Raspberry Chia tea I had today had many chia seeds floating inside, making it a very weird consistency.

REVIEW
So my overall review of Kombucha is mostly positive. If you can get passed the taste and consistency of the drink, I suggest that you should try drinking it in moderation. It does appear to be a nice natural health source and it contains a good amount of antioxidants, just be sure not to drink too much.

Do you like this review of Kombucha? Are there any other foods you would like me to try reviewing? Do you have any other questions or concerns? Email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pudding

This is a snack that I decided to try the other night after seeing a few fitness gurus suggesting it on their social media sites. I was definitely skeptical because it is a really easy recipe, but sounds like it might not taste all that great. To my surprise, however, it was a lot better than I suspected. The best part about it is that it can really help curve your dessert cravings without actually having something that may be totally against your diet.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pudding:

    2 scoops of Chocolate Whey Protein. (I used Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein)
    2 Tbsp. of Organic Peanut Butter (I used Smuckers Organic Creamy Peanut Butter)
    Add water as needed (I used about 3-4 tbsp.)

Protein Pudding
Directions:
Prep time: 2-3 minutes.
Cooling time: 30 minutes
1. Place 2 scoops of Whey Protein Powder in a bowl
2. Add 2 tbsp. of Organic Peanut Butter
3. Add 1 tbsp. of water
4. Stir
5. Continue toaAdd 1 tbsp. of water at a time and stir until desired consistency is reached.
6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

That is it! It is very simple!



Tips:
Smuckers Organic Peanut Butter

    1. Make sure to use Organic Peanut Butter. Organic Peanut Butter IS NOT the same as Natural Peanut Butter. Look at the list of ingredients. You want a Peanut Butter that consists only of Peanuts and maybe 1% or less of salt (no added oils of sugars).
    2. When used with Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Protein and Organic Peanut Butter, this snack has 450 calories, 18g of fat (3g of saturated fat), 60mg of Cholesterol, 365mg of Sodium, 12g of carbs, 2g of fiber, 3g of sugar, and 55g of protein. The best thing about this snack is the very high protein content of 55g and although it is high in fat, most of the fat is unsaturated and considered good fat coming from the peanut oil.
    3. Due to the high amounts of fat, I would not suggest this snack to someone who is trying to seriously lose weight quickly, but rather to someone who is trying to maintain their weight or possibly gain more muscle mass. Don’t get me wrong, even when trying to lose weight you need good fats to feed your body; however people trying to gain muscle mass may benefit more from this than someone who is looking to loose inches off their waistline in a short amount of time.

Whey Protein

    4. There are other variations of this recipe that I have not tried, but if you are daring, I would love for you to let me know what you think of this recipe. One other variation of the recipe suggests microwaving the peanut butter for 20-30 seconds first, then stirring in a little water, then adding the protein. No cooling is involved for this one. This sounds pretty good too, so I hope to try this in the near future.
    5. I also would be interested trying this recipe with different flavors of protein. If you do get adventurous and try some out, please let me know what you think!
    6. One other thing to maybe consider if you would like a little less fat in your Protein Pudding would be possibly using one tbsp. of Organic Peanut Butter and more water, or possibly even skim milk. Or you could also try using 1 tbsp. of Organic Peanut Butter and 1-2 tbsp. of PB2 with water! Just a thought that may work. I have not tried either of these options, but if you are interested in getting a reduced fat Protein Pudding, this may be something to play around with and consider.

Hope the recipe helps you reach your fitness goals. Let me know what you think by emailing me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com!

PB2 – Powdered Peanut Butter

PB2 - 1
I have been hearing a lot about this product called PB2. PB2 is a Powdered Peanut Butter that has less calories and fat than regular peanut butter. I was definitely curious to see what it tasted like, but to my surprise it was better than what I expected. Here are my thoughts on PB2…

Why PB2? What makes PB2 better than Peanut Butter?
PB2 offers a much lighter version of peanut butter to people. As you may notice, there is a lot of fat in Peanut Butter. Although in organic peanut butter, most of the fat is considered good fat, many dieters still steer away from having it. PB2 is only 45 calories and has 1.5g of fat (It also has 94mg of sodium, 5g of carbs, 2g of fiber, 1g of sugar, and 5g of protein). With lower calories and fat content, PB2 can be a very nice alternative to dieters everywhere.

How is PB2 made? Is it made with bad chemicals or highly processed foods?
PB2 is made by pressing out most of the oils and fats from roasted peanuts. This pressing process then leaves a powdered substance. This powder is then mixed with salt and sugar to create PB2. It is as simple as that… just 3 ingredients.

Do you just eat the powder? What do you do with it?
For one serving, you mix 2 tbsp of the PB2 powder with 1 tbsp of water. It mixes pretty easily together, but you may need to add a little more water if all the powder doesn’t mix in well enough. After stirring for a few seconds, it takes on a consistency similar to that of regular creamy peanut butter. If you would like to mix the powder in something, for instance a smoothie, you can just toss the powder directly into the blender and not worry about mixing it with water beforehand.

PB2 - 2

How does it taste?
I definitely would not say that it tasted bad, but it doesn’t taste as good as regular peanut butter. It is not the type of thing you would just eat on its own. As long as you are eating it with something, like a banana, toast, or anything else, PB2 tastes just fine.

Who would I recommend PB2 for?
I would recommend PB2 to anybody, but specifically to dieters who are very calorie and fat conscious. I personally think that I will still stick to organic peanut butter because I am not trying to lose any weight (in fact I want to try putting on a few more pounds). Organic peanut butter offers a few more grams of protein, fiber, and significantly much more fat and calories which is good for someone who is trying to bulk or keep weight on. PB2 is perfect for someone who needs to get his/her peanut butter fix, but does not want to feel guilty about eating it.

Hope you like this food review. Have any questions? Email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com 🙂