Thursday, May 14, 2015

Kefir and Almond Milk

I am not what you would call health food nut.  I am not vegan or vegetarian (and I am told there is a difference). I do not spend my spare time sprouting seeds and worrying about whether a food source is organic, though it may eventually come to that. Having said that, when they make it easy for me to eat healthy, I do participate. I just like it when healthy food is as convenient as a Egg McMuffin if you know what I mean...and I do like me some that kind of stuff.  

There are many healthy choices on today's grocery store shelves if you just look. Many organic items and many stores with strictly healthy food sections. Hy Vee here in Iowa is an example of this. Hy Vee is wonderful, though kind of expensive. In Altoona Iowa, the Hy Vee has a sushi bar....yes, a sushi bar. Those farmers line up for their sushi. I think maybe it's an excuse to buy a bottle of sa'ke to wash down the raw fish, but I digress. I do not yet eat sushi, but I do not rule it out either.

What I wanted to talk about were two healthy items that are also convenient. The first one is Kefir. Kefir is an interesting item - a dairy product that is also good for you. It's basically fermented cows milk. If that puts you off, I am sorry. I know you are probably thinking of sour milk, but really, it's more like a liquid yogurt that you can drink and it comes in flavors or can be used to make fruit smoothies which are delicious. I personally am a yogurt lover so I transitioned quickly to Kefir. I like the red raspberry flavor produced by Lifeway. It is delicious.

 Image result for kefir

The nutritional thing about Kefir is that it is packed with probiotic bacteria and calcium and protein, but it has no more than 10% of the lactose of regular whole milk products and it's low in fat. I think it's delicious and it's full of stuff that us senior citizens may be lacking in our diets. Pick up jug today and try it. Be sure to give the bottle a good shake each and every time before opening.

The other item I wanted to discuss is almond milk. This product fascinates me. I bought a half gallon jug of it at Hy Vee (it's in the regular dairy case). It was the chocolate almond milk and I could not tell that it was not a dairy product. It tasted just like the chocolate milk I am accustomed to, but here is the healthy kicker. Almond milk contains no fat, no cholesterol and no lactose. And while it does not have as much calcium as cows milk, it is still loaded with vital vitamins and minerals. The only drawback that I see is that it contains Carrageenan which is a controversial food additive that is illegal in some countries. I will let you make the determination about that. I can tell you that it's most likely in your diet anyway.

Couldn't hurt to try some.

Image result for almond milk nutrition facts
A third thing that I would like to give honorable mention to is something that I just love - unroasted nuts and dried fruit. This can be an expensive habit, but it is also very good for you. I buy unroasted, unsalted cashews, almonds, and shelled pistachios and mix them with dried cherries and cranberries. The mix is delicious. They make for a great snack that is high in protein and EFA's (essential fatty acids) that are undisturbed by the roasting process. Very heart healthy, anti inflamatory and I find, memory enhancing.  

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