Which Non-Dairy Milk is BEST?

Katie asked:

I get so confused with all these vegan milk options available! I saw a fat-free soy milk today in a grocery store, and it made me consider my milk choices. What would you select - fat-free soy milk or unsweetened almond milk?

GREAT question AND a good problem to have ;)

AMAZING that we have so many choices now, right??!

Soo…. how do you pick? What’s THE BEST?

If you have an allergy, the best plant-based milk is the one you’re not allergic to ;)

But assuming you could drink any of them…

“BEST” depends on a few factors... the MOST IMPORTANT BEING...

Taste!!! (A.k.a. that you actually like it!)

There’s no point in buying something you or your family won’t like.

Find what works for your tastes and use it exclusively.

(and if you don’t know where to START, hang on! I’ve got some tips!)

Once you know what you like, fine-tune based on other factors mattering to YOU.

But don’t let “perfection” or other people’s ideology get in your way!

LIVING a healthy lifestyle is a balancing act…

Balancing factors to make the BEST choice in that situation.

Overwhelm happens when we stop balancing. “Almost perfect” is more realistic.

Figure out what matters most to you and operate based on that.

For example, I’m not overly concerned about buying organic, but I AM fussy about ingredients.

Which brings me to SUGAR and CARRAGEENAN.

We can all agree that less is more with sugar, right? BUT don’t force unsweetened on yourself or your family if you hate it. Sweetened isn’t the end of the world--it’s where I started!

And Carrageenan? Dr. Gregor recommends avoiding carrageenan *IF* you have IBD or other GI issues, but says it’s not a big issue for everyone else. (See his video on the issue here.)

PICKING YOUR PERFECT “MILK”

Let’s talk flavor… Soy, almond, coconut, hemp, oat, rice, quinoa, cashew milks (and beyond!) all have different tastes.

I find almond and cashew are the most neutral tasting, whereas hemp, oat, quinoa, and coconut have the most distinct tastes. (Soy and rice are somewhere in the middle).

There’s also blended options like soy+almond or almond+coconut.

In terms of creaminess, soy and coconut have that “full fat milk” feel---very thick and creamy-- while rice, quinoa, and oat milks are thinner and lighter--more “skim” like. (Almond and cashew are somewhere in the middle).

It might take a few tries to find one you LOVE (so have a little patience)

AND remember that brands taste different, too… so if you don’t like one particular brand of soy milk, don’t assume you’ll never like ANY soy milks.

Lately, I’ve been using Suzie’s unsweetened quinoa milk since it skirts all the allergies in my family and is low enough in fat for my Dad who has heart disease.

If you have a favorite, please share it in the comments below. Your opinion will help others!

Finally, if you’re trying to lose weight, aim for the option with the least amount of calories, but keep in mind that with cooking, you use so little that the difference per serving would be marginal… so… back to the #1 factor ;)

P.S. Join the Meal Mentor newsletter (it's FREE!) Click here to signup!

Enjoyed this post? Get our blog posts sent to your email

Paleo to Plant-Based Diet Podcast

A new Meal Mentor podcast is ready for you!

In this episode, Nikki (my co-pilot) talks about how when she switched from paleo to plant-based, she and hubby DOUBLED their weight-loss! 

https://dmi4pvc5gbhhd.cloudfront.net/2015/07/mm-podcast-nikki-1.JPG

We also talk allergies (can you be plant-based if you’re allergic to beans and wheat?), why we feel we need to fit in socially (but embracing you don’t fit a mold and finding your tribe online), why women are so competitive, vanity sizing, and how we can get away from making every thing in life about FOOD. 

Food is not fun. Food is fuel so you can have fun.”   

AND Nikki’s crab box example will BLOW YOUR MIND.

If there is ONE episode you listen to all year, THIS IS IT. (Well, and Part 2 next week!)

Nikki really knocks it out of the part with amazing advice + insights! PLUS she’s also the mama to Madi, a former Herbie of the Week.

P.S. Do you love listening to the podcast? Show your support by leaving a review on iTunes.

P.P.S. Join the Meal Mentor newsletter (it's FREE!) Click here to signup!

Enjoyed this post? Get our blog posts sent to your email

Feeling Constantly Bloated?

What foods are you avoiding or adding to reduce bloating? I'm constantly bloated whether doing good on the meal plan or cheating—my "fat" clothes are not fitting me bc of it. My bday is next Sunday, and I don't want to feel like a bloated cow! Any of you have advice? And how long after adding or avoiding certain foods do you start to feel better?” —Shanone M.

This topic bubbled up in the Facebook group and judging by the 41 replies (!), I realized it’s a common problem we’re apparently not too shy to talk about…so lets get all TMI, OK?

Bloating (aka tightness, discomfort, or swelling of the abdomen, with or without the toots) is typically caused by 1) overeating, 2) eating rich and fatty foods, 3) eating sodium (salty foods), 4) food sensitivities, or 5) eating too fast and not chewing properly.

The last one is definitely my #1 bloating culprit!

Long process short, whatever food your body is not able to digest or absorb before it reaches the large intestine will produce gas as it is broken down, which causes gas and bloating.

Not chewing properly makes it harder for the body to digest and absorb, so bigger pieces pass and, well, bloat. Eating too quickly also results in swallowed air, which also leads to bloat.

Foods to Avoid

-Fatty and fried foods

-Highly processed foods

-Salty foods

-Spicy foods

-Dairy

-Artificial sweeteners like sorbitol

-Carrageenan

Now here is where it gets tricky…

Some plant foods, while nutrition superstars, don’t play nice with all tummies.

Wheat, for example, can cause some people to bloat like a balloon. Fortunately, the meal plans are always wheat-free and gluten-free, if you need to avoid wheat for a flat midsection :)

I find sprouted whole wheats don’t bloat me, but the really processed, crappy, white stuff (like pretzels or junk foods) are a belly destroyer.

Beans and lentils can also be a problem for some people (they contain indigestible sugars—oligosaccharides—that get broken down in the intestines, creating gas), but soaking, cooking them well with kombu, and chewing to a mush usually reduces their gassy effect.

Similarly, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, garlic, and prunes contain sugars and starches that can cause gassiness and bloating.

Try an elimination diet, avoiding common food allergens like corn, gluten, dairy, and soy. (Members: There’s an elimination diet plan on your dashboard). And if that doesn’t work, try removing some of the other plant foods that are known troublemakers.

If you’re new to a plant-centered diet, increased bloating and gas is common. Give your body some time to adjust to the increased fiber. You’ll digest like a champ soon!

Have a remedy for beating bloat?

Share it in the comments below.

When I was having all kinds of GI distress, I found this tea helped a lot.

You can also try this simple and easy detox drink. It's great first thing in the morning!

Detox Drink

12-16 oz water (purified is best)

1-2 tbsp Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar

1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

dash of cayenne pepper

ground cinnamon (optional)

honey, pure maple syrup or stevia (to taste, as necessary)

Directions: Mix all together, and drink!

P.S. Join the Meal Mentor newsletter (it's FREE!) Click here to signup!

Enjoyed this post? Get our blog posts sent to your email

Motivation & Intuition Podcast

A new Meal Mentor podcast is ready for you!

In this episode Jenny (my co-pilot!) shares how her faith brought her to a plant-based diet along with a deep desire to create a healthier life for her kids “I want my kids to be better than me” she explains.

We also talk about intuition and listening to what your body is telling you, Weight Watchers (and how you have to learn to eat differently, period, not just less of the junk), showing by example with kids and skeptics, and the absolute, utmost importance of having a plan.

https://dmi4pvc5gbhhd.cloudfront.net/2015/07/mm-jenny-podcast.jpg

And HILARIOUS: Jenny confesses she secretly bought the meal plans when her husband was out of town and couldn’t stop her!! He wasn’t convinced the meal plans OR plant-based was for them, but the big money savings and stress-free dinner planning made him the biggest advocate!

This episode is a testament that it really takes all kinds of motivation, but any road to plant-based is a good one!

P.S. Do you love listening to the podcast? Show your support by leaving a review on iTunes.

P.P.S. Join the Meal Mentor newsletter (it's FREE!) Click here to signup!

Enjoyed this post? Get our blog posts sent to your email

SHOCKING: Caloric Density Comparisons

Want to feel satisfied on less calories?

Are you hungry for abundance instead of deprivation?

Ready to change your life (and your approach to food!) FOREVER?

You’re going to LOVE the concept of CALORIC DENSITY.

Caloric density = the concentration of calories in a serving of food. For example...

What would leave you more satisfied?

¼ cup of almonds or almost 2 whole cups of blueberries?!

https://dmi4pvc5gbhhd.cloudfront.net/2015/07/blueberries-vs-almonds.jpg

They’re both about 100 calories!

Nuts are very high in caloric density, but blueberries (like most fruits and veggies) are low in caloric density since they’re full of water and fiber.

Thinking of it another way: How fast can you eat a handful of olives?

Can you eat 1 whole cucumber that fast? What about 45 celery stalks? Or 3½ bell peppers?

https://dmi4pvc5gbhhd.cloudfront.net/2015/07/cucumber-vs-olives-1.jpg

They’re all about the same amount of calories!

Learning about caloric density, and then choosing foods based on it…

CHANGED MY LIFE.

I wasn’t hungry anymore. I wasn’t tired or lethargic from too few (or too many) calories.

Choosing the right foods to eat became a no-brainer.

Weight-loss became easier, too, almost effortless. And maintaining? A breeze.

If you have a ravenous appetite (like me)...

Or you battle the urge to EATALLTHEFOODS… (If that appestat is set too HIGH…)

Caloric density will make a HUGE difference in your health and food satisfaction.

https://dmi4pvc5gbhhd.cloudfront.net/2015/07/caloric-density-stomachs.jpg

If you focus on selecting foods with a low caloric density, you can worry less about how much of them you’re eating.

PLUS the most filling foods are the most nutritious foods!! WINNING.

This is why our meals are so big and filling -- they center on caloric density.

Take a look at this caloric density comparison of common foods:

Food | calories per 1 cup

spinach 7

lettuce 8

broccoli 31

carrots 45

strawberries 49

apple 57

pineapple 78

tofu 176

black beans 210

chicken 214

brown rice 218

lentils 226

beef 263

garbanzo beans 269

oats 310

raisins 434

flour 455

almonds 546

sugar 774

cashews 786

oil 1728

If you want to lose weight without scrimping on your portion size, it’ll be OBVIOUS what types of foods you need to center your diet around.

AND if you need to gain weight, or you often run into the “I ate a big salad but I’m hungry an hour later…why?” issue…you’ll see what you need to do differently.

Here are some more comparison pics...

https://dmi4pvc5gbhhd.cloudfront.net/2015/07/apple-vs-peanut-butter.jpg

1 tbsp peanut butter vs. 1 apple

https://dmi4pvc5gbhhd.cloudfront.net/2015/07/sweet-potato-vs-avocado-1.jpg

¼ avocado vs. 1 sweet potato

https://dmi4pvc5gbhhd.cloudfront.net/2015/07/kale-vs-brown-rice-1.jpg

¼ cup cooked rice vs. 1¾ cups kale

And here's a video comparing 100 calories worth of food. Click here to watch!

Enjoyed this post? Get our blog posts sent to your email

Plant-Based Kid Podcast

A new Meal Mentor podcast is ready for you!

In this episode 12-year-old James (my co-pilot!) talks about being a plant-based kid (even when his parents are not 100%!), his favorite meal plan recipes, and gives practical tips for how parents can help their kids transition.

https://dmi4pvc5gbhhd.cloudfront.net/2015/07/james-gina-mm-podcast.jpg

James’ Mom Gina also joins in and talks about making healthy eating work when grocery prices are outrageous where you live! (She's lives in Hawaii and is from Alaska!)

This mother-son duo is refreshingly fun, don’t miss this episode!

P.S. Do you love listening to the podcast? Show your support by leaving a review on iTunes.

P.P.S. Join the Meal Mentor newsletter (it's FREE!) Click here to signup!

Enjoyed this post? Get our blog posts sent to your email