The holidays are tough sometimes. Mostly they get really tough on the waistline.
You know what I’m talking about. Leftover halloween candy holds you over until Thanksgiving comes, and then you can stuff your face with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and (of course) pie!
Then, as if thats not enough, Christmas parties galore begin. Cocktail parties, ugly sweater parties, parties to watch Christmas movies. Its like every type of party you can imagine but Christmas-style.
And at each of these parties people start to whip out their best recipes and entice everyones taste buds with words like chocolate, candy, cheese, and bread.
Really? All of this in a two month span? No wonder everyone feels 10 lbs. heavier come January 1st.
Last year I did this crazy, fat shedding diet during the beginning of December. For two weeks I ate tons of meat and cruciferous vegetables… thats about it. No starchy carbs, no fats, no sugar.
Whaaat was I thinking? I asked myself this question a million times during those two weeks.
It was ridiculously hard. Especially during a time of never-ending feasting. But, it was kind of nice not to have to think about whether or not I would indulge. I had already decided that I wouldn’t. I had a goal and I was sticking to it.
Was it worth?
Physically… not so much. My goal was to lose fat, and I lost a little, but definitely not what I was anticipating. It was however, very emotionally and spiritually beneficial because it challenged me to move beyond the immediate satisfaction of food and look to more fulfilling sources.
But, this year I don’t want to do any crazy diets during this season. I want to enjoy the parties, enjoy the food, enjoy the community.
Its all about balance in the end. Thats one thing I am learning and continuing to pursue.
But seriously, I don’t wanna gain 10 lbs. between October and January. So here are a few tips I keep in mind during the holiday seasons that help me indulge and enjoy without going overboard and feeling guilty.
1. If I’m going to a party I’ll eat dinner before I go. One, that helps avoid getting too buzzed on alcoholic beverages (which inevitably leads me to justify more sweets), and two it helps me avoid over snacking on those tasty treats that everyone brings.
2. I do my workouts, which kick my butt and leave me with more of a desire to eat clean than if I didn’t do them. Once I’ve worked out I don’t want to spoil it with terrible eating.
3. When I want to indulge, I let myself do it guilt free. And I plan it ahead of time. That way I can anticipate the indulgence and fully enjoy it when it comes. Planning it out helps avoid guilt when suddenly someone springs a bag of chocolate on me. I already know when my “splurge times” are so I can kindly decline.
I also like to make my everyday meals delicious and healthy. Many times people think that “healthy” mean “no taste.” I completely disagree.
This cashew milk is a great example.
Cashews are awesome. They have the lowest fat content of all the nuts but the fat they do contain is unsaturated (read: good for you!). They carry substantial amounts of copper and magnesium which are important for energy, bone health, and nerve functioning. Plus, they’ve been proven to help with weight management!
The oats and cinnamon add great flavor to this milk, and the honey adds a touch of sweetness. Oats are great for the heart and cinnamon is suggested to increase metabolism. Who wouldn’t want to drink this stuff?
It’s also a great addition to coffee, smoothies, or hot chocolate. But, of course, you can just drink straight out of the glass too.
Cinnamon Oat Cashew Milk
Very slightly adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes just shy of 1 quart
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
- 3 cups water for soaking
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, ground to a powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3 cups filtered water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Place raw cashews in a clean bowl and put 3 cups water over them. Let soak for 8-12 hours or overnight. Transfer cashews to a fine mesh strainer, running cool water over them until water runs clean.
- Grind oats in a food processor or blender until they are a fine powder.
- Combine cashews, oat powder, cinnamon, honey and filtered water in a blender. Blend on low speed, then increase to high speed, until smooth.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a larger bowl.
- Pour half cashew mixture over fine mesh strainer and press with a spatula to work liquid through the strainer. Continue to strain milk until it has all been processed through the strainer. *Note: the hard you press the mixture the more bits of oat and cinnamon will end up in the milk. They’re pretty tasty, but it’s your call if you want them in there or not!*
- Place cashew and oat meat mixture in a bowl and set aside.
- If you want your milk smoother feel free to run in through the sieve again.
- Transfer cashew milk to airtight container and keep in refrigerator.
- Don’t forget to shake it up before using! Milk will last for about 4 days.