When eggnog hits the shelves, my life gets complex. Do I get the dairy one, which is organic but not grassfed, and has a perfect texture bc of gums? Or the grassfed one that has no binders and is subsequently too runny? Or the non-dairy one that is as delicious as the branding implies but has multiple gums and binders? And why the *%&$*# do they all have SO MUCH SUGAR, no matter which I pick?
So, it’s DIY time. In the past I’ve made everything from raw vegan nog to eggy custard cream, and I love them all. This morning I decided it was go time, and I wanted a sugar free version that I could use to make a latte out of without starting my day on a sugar high. What I created is therefore paleo, low glycemic, vegan, and raw if you are using fresh/unpasteurized almond milk.
Coconut butter is an awesome ingredient to work with. It’s just ground organic coconut meat, and it makes liquids thicker without having to add more nuts. Sometimes nut milk + nut butter = too much nuttiness, so this gives things a different flavor. Any brand is fine, just make sure to stir well before using because the meat and the oil tend to separate.
3 cups almond milk (either homemade or a fresh / no gums or fillers one, preferably)
1/3 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup Swerve or other erythritol
1 dropper liquid stevia (I used toffee)
1/4 tsp lecithin, optional, to emulsify
1/8 tsp nutmeg, or more to taste
1/8 tsp turmeric, for color
Blend all ingredients until creamy. Shake before using once stored in fridge.
Yield: 4 cups
As individual people, it is easy to forget the collective impact we have with our purchases. “Does my dollar really make a difference?” is a question we often ask when deciding between a small brand we’ve never heard of or a larger one we “trust.” We rarely pause to reflect that our spending greatly impacts the lives of others throughout the planet. This holds particularly true with purchases for items that involve slave and child labor; we are so removed from the origins of what we consume, it seldom crosses our minds to consider whose life created our purchase.
As the Starbucks red-cup story hit the news this week, I was shocked and a bit appalled that for all the talk about Christmas and freedom, nowhere in the conversation did the topic arise of how awful Starbucks actual PRODUCT is. There are several reasons we shouldn’t be giving our money to Starbucks: their coffee is the result of child slave labor, their dairy is GMO & hormane laden / antibiotic filled, and they don’t use organic beans. You may not be aware that coffee is actually one of the most pesticided items on the planet.
When you want your next latte, why not try out a local shop that uses fair trade, organic beans and local– or at least organic– dairy? Wouldn’t you rather know that in drinking a cup of coffee, you’re helping others in foreign countries make a living, instead of suffer? And wouldn’t you rather enjoy a drink that wasn’t filled with 250 lbs of chemicals per acre? Currently, Starbucks says that most of their coffee is “ethically sourced” through a program they themselves created– about 90%— yet only 3% of their coffee is fair trade certified by the actual, real, fair trade organizations who are NOT part of Starbucks. And as for organic, about 3% of the coffee is.
Let’s make the conversation one that actually matters: it’s what’s IN your cup that you should be devoting your thoughts, and your money to. If you oppose slave labor and factory farming, vote with your coffee purchase, no matter what color the cup is, and choose to drink happiness.
This past weekend I spoke at The W.E.L.L. Summit
, a new wellness event that took place in Boston. Similar in process to other conferences I’ve presented at, I was able to attend sessions myself when I wasn’t leading them, and to mix and mingle with other presenters and attendees alike. To say it was mind-opening is an understatement; my conversations with the female-centric group of wellness warriors at the Summit was nothing short of transformatory.
What I walked away with were precisely the pieces of advice I needed in order to forge on in my path in the most potent, positive way possible. Oddly enough, these pieces of advice didn’t come from the sessions themselves, but from my conversations with others in the off times. This may not seem significant, but to me, it’s huge. Why? Because my goal for the weekend was not to lead amazing sessions; I’m confident enough at this point to know I could do that. My goal, simply put, was to socialize.
I understand that doesn’t sound like much of a feat, but for me, it’s pretty huge. As skilled as I am at talking TO people in a formal context, the idea of talking WITH people I don’t know– of any age, any gender, in any setting– is terrifying. I’m one of the shyest people I’ve ever met. In the past, that has repeatedly led others to presume I’m stuck up and/or uninterested in them. When people give me compliments, I say thank you and spend critical time trying to think of a retort that is interesting, engaging, and not self-deprecating (as women are known for being when complimented). Typically, by the time I come up with a good response the moment is over. The oddest aspect of these endless occurrences is that for every other life situation, my brain works at lightning speed. In problematic or chaotic situations, I typically remain the calmest person, the one who comes up with a solution the fastest and then orchestrates, delegating appropriate tasks to others involved. But small talk? Dear God, save me from it.
And that is why it was my goal for the weekend: to step far outside my comfort zone, into the magical place where change occurs, and just see what happens. I didn’t just engage with others when they approached me, I straight up introduced myself to strangers. I asked to join them for meals, I walked over and said hello, I complimented something I enjoyed about them. And WOW, did it yield incredible results!
Had I not consciously decided to do something for myself that was distressing and uncomfortable, I wouldn’t feel nearly as empowered as I do right now about my game plan for my next career steps. As much as I encourage people to do what makes them happy, sometimes we need a little kick in the butt to get to our next level of happiness, and there is no one better suited to do that for you than you are!
Here is my challenge to you: today, do one thing that embodies the person you WANT to be. Forget how you’ve never been “that type” of person. Forget that it isn’t your go-to behavior. Forget, above all else, the identifiers and quantifiers you’ve placed on yourself, like “shy” or “two left feet” or “not good at cooking.” Just dance. Just try making a new dish. Just talk. Just go BE exactly who you want to be, and I promise, after you get over the shock of it, you’re gonna love it. You’re gonna love you even more, and everyone in your world will then get that extra love toppling over onto them. All the magic in the world is in you, just waiting for you to set it aflame with your growth.
P.S. I offer weekly culinary and lifestyle “I’ve Been in Your Kitchen” tips in my newsletter, which you can subscribe to here
. You’ll get three free recipes from my book when you do. =)