A Brand New Attitude (and Homemade Cocoa Almond Butter)

Hello hello! 

Homemade cocoa almond butter

I hope your Christmas and New Years brimmed over with rich time with family and friends (and good food). I know mine was WAY too short with the people I love so much and get to call my family. Did you do the same old same old, or spice it up a little bit? Isaac and I split our time between both of our families for Christmas and then branched out for New Year's Eve by spending it with another married couple we're friends with. It was super low key, but incredibly fun! There were even 2016 hats and bizookas involved...Yeah, we're pretty wild. :-)

As we celebrated New Year's Day, I decided to be a little bit more grown up and actually reflect on the past year. I mean, that's what you're supposed to do when you're grown up, right? So Isaac and I went through the past year month-by-month. It blows my mind how big of a year 2015 was for me. Like huge. Here's a recap: Isaac and I went on a ski trip with friends (best vacay EVER), my sister and brother-in-law moved to Italy, I presented my nutrition seminar, defended my thesis, graduated with my master's, celebrated our one year anniversary, moved to Tulsa, joined an incredible church, started my dietetic internship, finished my dietetic internship, moved again, and passed my RD exam. Reflecting on the past year was incredibly encouraging--I have been blessed beyond measure!! 


And in keeping with the new year, I contemplated setting a new year's resolution. I'm sure a lot of you did it yourself. Prior to Christmas, my eating habits weren't what I would have liked for them to be. I thought about food too much, ate beyond feeling satisfied, and craved sweets like none other. In fact, I was to the point where I was considering doing the whole30. But then I looked at what all that entails. Nope. Not gonna happen. (To those of you who are able to do it--power to you!) So then I decided I would do a sugar challenge before Christmas--no added sugars for 10 days. Welp, I failed miserably. Once Christmas was upon us and I was up to my eyeballs in white trash and ranch crackers, I had decided for sure I was going to do an indefinite sugar challenge once the holidays were over. I mean, my eating seemed ridiculous, I didn't feel good, and I had a few pounds I wanted to get rid of. But then I read this article on my favorite blog titled "Why not to go on a diet in 2016". 

Reading that article and her subsequent one on intuitive eating really got me thinking. So much so that I checked out the book "Mindful Eating" by Jan Chozen Bays at our local library. The basic premise of both is that food should be savored and enjoyed. Being healthy (physically and emotionally) is about honoring cravings, listening to your body, and eating the amount of food that your body needs. 


Here's a few lines from the book that really resonated with me:


" The problem is not in our food. Food is just food. It is neither good nor bad. The problem is not in our fat cells or stomach or small intestine...The long-term solution is not to eat food that has been stripped of nutrition or to mutilate healthy organs...The source of the problem lies in the thinking mind and the feeling heart."


Wow. Chew on that one for a while... And here's another:


" When we don't taste what we eat, we can end up stuffed to the gills but feeling completely unsatisfied. This is because the mind and mouth weren't present, weren't tasting or enjoying, as we ate. The stomach became full but the mind and mouth were unfulfilled and continued calling for us to eat."


So I am starting this journey of learning to eat when I'm really hungry, eating what I really want (not what I think I should eat), stopping when I'm satisfied, and finding balance and freedom with food. I hope you'll consider joining me. 

Aaand now you're probably thinking, "When is she going to get to the recipe part? And what does it have to do with mindful eating?" Well, they're not really connected. But I LOVE almond butter, and it's something I am going to mindfully enjoy the next few weeks. So there.

Since getting my vitamix a few weeks ago (best purchase ever), I've made almond butter for two friends and a few batches for myself. You literally just throw almonds into the blender/food processor. I prefer salted almonds for regular almond butter. As for this batch, I simply used cocoa almonds. Depending on the brand you purchase, you may want to add some honey/maple syrup and some vanilla, but my almonds already had sugar on them so I didn't add anything to them. 

Homemade cocoa almond butter

So, go out and buy yourself some almonds (1.5-2 cups is a good amount), put them in your food processor for several minutes (time will vary depending on your processor, and you may need to scrape the sides every-so-often), and enjoy the most delicious spread ever. Top on apples, bananas, oats, english muffins...the possibilities are endless!! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for several weeks--if it lasts that long!!

Homemade cocoa almond butter

In case you missed it, here are the links again to the two articles: http://immaeatthat.com/2015/12/28/why-not-to-go-on-a-diet-this-year/ and http://immaeatthat.com/2016/01/08/hunger-and-fullness-scale/