Welcome to day 11 of 30 Days to a Food Revolution. Our guest blogger today is Alisa from One Frugal Foodie, Dairy Free & Fit, and Go Dairy Free. Like so many people, Alisa grew up thinking that those processed foods with “lean” and “healthy” stamped on the package were somehow providing real food and nutrition. It wasn’t until she strictly transitioned to a dairy-free lifestyle that she discovered what she was really eating. Forced to read every food label in great detail, Alisa was shocked at what she saw. Dyes, additives, “modified” ingredients, highly processed sugars and grains, and completely unrecognizable chemicals, with ingredients like tomatoes, bananas, and whole grains sadly pushed to the bottom of the list (if present at all). She bought her last loaf of store bought bread, her last frozen meal, her last box of cookies, and her last can of conventional soup in 2005, and has never looked back.
Though she tries to support the dairy-free community as a whole and accommodate the variety of requests via her website, Go Dairy Free, her focus has truly shifted to helping people transition to a whole food lifestyle. She created One Frugal Foodie to share her own whole food recipes with the concept that eating real food will actually save you money. She just recently launched Dairy-Free & Fit, also a foodie focus, but to discuss everyday food, health, and fitness topics too.
Alisa’s Recipes: Strawberry Mylk and Fruit ‘n Fiber Breakfast Shake
Alisa’s Tip: Enjoy the Seasons
Though I grew up in the fertile northwest, I still related “seasonal eating” exclusively to garden-growing hippies. I had no idea how much goodness could be found within this single concept. What you eat and when can have a tremendous impact on:
Nutrition: Produce is richest in nutrients when it is ripe, and as it is picked. Seasonal produce doesn’t need to travel as far, so it can reach your table while still rich in vitamins (oh how we love those antioxidants). Produce that must travel great distances is often picked before it is ripe AND it loses nutritional value with every day of travel.
Taste: Have you ever had an out-of-season strawberry? Enjoy the May/June season of this beautiful berry with abandon. While you’re at it, stock up and freeze some for your baking and smoothie needs. Flash freezing does preserve most of those wonderful nutrients.
The Environment: Yes, I do think those hippies were actually ahead of their time in logic. In fact, eating out-of-season produce can do a double-whammy on the environment. In many cases, a greater amount of pesticides, fertilizers, and resources must be used to produce market-worthy produce outside of its natural growing season, and much of our out-of-season produce comes from other countries (where it is in season). A lot of extra resources must be used in packaging and transit to deliver that worldwide food to our local stores.
Price: Hmm, have you ever noticed how beautiful, firm, cherry-red tomatoes go on sale for $.69 a lb in summer and early fall, but often look less than stellar and shoot up to $3.99 per lb in winter. That extra transit time, the difficulty of harvest … it is all placed in your grocery basket. Yep, just when you thought healthy eating was “too expensive,” I throw you this curve ball. Eating seasonally is actually a good economic choice for your pocketbook. Watch the sales; the value produce will often be seasonal and relatively local.
Is this to say that you should never buy dark leafy greens in summer and you must forgo all but citrus fruits in winter? I don’t think so. We are human, and have cravings and recipes for foods we want here and now. But, by shifting the core of your meals with the seasons, you will be doing body, your taste buds, your wallet, and the environment a big favor on so many levels.
The recipes below are quite simple and easy to modify to your own tastes. Keeping with the mantra above, your results will vary wildly depending on how in-season and ripe your produce is. Strawberries are just hitting their sweetest time of year in the coming months, and will be perfect in the recipe below with just a bit of sweetener. However, if making either recipe with less than ripe and/or under-sweet produce the result may require more of the sweet stuff for a tasty end result.
This recipe is adapted from the Effortless Overnight Oat Milk and Strawberry Milk recipes in my book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. It will create a very light, refreshing, and sweet beverage (if using ripe / in-season strawberries. The ones pictured are from my CSA last week). For a richer and creamier strawberry “milk,” see my “whole milk” option below. The following recipes are Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, and optionally Vegan and Gluten-Free.
- 1 Cup Rolled Oats (for gluten-free use certified gluten-free oats if you can tolerate them)
- 2 Cups Water
- 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Fresh or Frozen Halved Strawberries (I recommend the full 3/4 cup of course!)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Alcohol-Free Vanilla Extract (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon Honey (or agave), or more to taste
Place the oats and water in a sealed container (like a recycled glass jar), give it a quick shake, and place in the refrigerator. You can leave it for several hours, or do like I do, and just place the jar in the fridge at night to use the next day.
Give the jar a vigorous shake for 30 to 60 seconds. The liquid should start to turn oat colored. Strain the liquid, pressing as much as you can from the oats. Enjoy the oats for breakfast (they are now softened and ready to eat!), reserve them for another recipe, or see below for a quick breakfast shake option.
Place ¾ cup of the fresh oat milk in your blender along with 1/2 cup of the strawberries, and vanilla, if using. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, drizzle in the honey (or agave) through that top portal. Honey can chunk in cooler liquids, so it is best to drizzle it in while the beverage is whizzing away to help emulsify it. Taste test, and add more sweetener and/or strawberries to taste.
Quick “Whole Milk” Option: Use the Instant Nut Milk in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook in place of the oat milk for a quick and rich strawberry “milk.”
Yields 1 serving
Lean Fruit ‘n Fiber Breakfast Shake
- 1 Batch Strawberry Mylk (recipe above)
- 1/4 Cup of the Leftover Soaked Oats
- 3/4 to 1 Cup Ripe Frozen Mango Chunks (preferred) or Frozen Ripe Banana Chunks (about 1 medium to large ripe banana)
- ¼ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- Ice (optional)
Place all in your blender, and process until smooth.
Omega-Me: For some healthy fats, blend in 1 to 3 teaspoons of Omega-3 rich plant oil, like flaxseed oil or grind some whole flaxseeds in a spice grinder and blend them in (pre-grinding helps since less powerful blenders may miss some seeds).
Yields 1 fruity breakfast or snack
In order to be entered to win one of 7 cookbooks, here’s what you need to do to gather entries into the drawing. The more you do, the more chances you have to win!
- Leave a comment on this blog on as many of the 30 guest food bloggers as you like. Each comment is an entry.
- Sign up for The W.H.O.L.E. Gang newsletter.
- Visit that guest blogger’s site and leave a comment there too.
- Tweet about this project using both of these in your tweet so I’ll find you #30days2 #foodrevolution
When the initial 30 days of guest posts are over on June 4th, we’ll pick the winners.