We have talked about almonds already (great for the heart, weight-management, and good source of antioxidants), but I promised to explore or give examples of some almond products. Without further adieu here are some fabulous almond products:
- Almond Flour (or you might also see meal): Flour are almonds blanched and then ground almonds with the skin off; whereas, almond meal is simply whole ground up almonds. Great alternative to traditional flours, although it is denser so you have to be careful when replacing it for regular flours. It’s gluten-free as well, which is great for those with gluten-intolerance. I would recommend it for any one on a maintenance program (not during weight loss because of it’s high fat content because it is really low in carbs), although not for use all the time (try to eat foods in their whole, natural forms). A fourth a cup contains: 15g fat, 5 grams carbs (3 of which are fiber so yields 2 g carbs), and 7 grams of protein. It has a nice flavor. I’m currently working on a cookie recipe for once I’m not in weight loss mode (possibly with almond butter!). All-in-all it is a good flour alternative, but keep in mind that you don’t want to overdo it and don’t use a lot because it is so dense.
- Almond Oil: Great source of monounsaturated fat (62%). It can be used to cook at medium to high heat. Olive oil is always my first choice, but sometimes I like to add almond oil to add some flavor. It has a nice smooth taste. You can add it to protein shakes for some added taste and fat, or add it to some protein pudding (check Saturdays recipes). Make yourself a salad and use it as a dressing, there are many options. I like the La Tourangelle brand (I sale it at my shop, but it’s relatively easy to find)
- Almond Butter: Love peanut butter? Well here is your alternative. It is rich in protein, fiber, and essential fatty acids. It has a great taste and is better than peanuts butter (which has the wrong kinds of fats-polyunsaturated). You won’t be using it to make PBJ sandwiches, but try it in protein shakes or with celery. You can buy it in the store (I sell the Blue Diamond brand) or you can make your own (simply process some almonds until they turn creamy).
- Almond Milk: made from almonds that have been soaked, crushed, and strained to a pulp. I’m not a big abdicate of dairy products, but you could use almond milk in protein shakes (although I would recommend splitting it with water). My wife likes to use it with her isopure (a type of protein) before bed for a type of ‘hot chocolate’. Fill a mug 1/3 full of milk, fill the rest with water, add the protein and nuke in the microwave for a minute, stir, and add one sweetener if you need to. It’s a tasty way to get your protein in before bedtime (and retain muscle tissue).
These are all possible alternatives to replace old habits (grains- white or wheat bread, peanut butter, and milk), so dig in (with caution)!