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Winter Superfood Almond Hot-chata and Finding a Balance

01-18-2016 11:19 AM By Superfoodie

Good morning to all of you from Tucson, Arizona! I'm just going to jump right in and tell you a little bit about me and my journey. It started four years ago, when I read two books. One called, "Wheat Belly," by Dr. William Davis, and one called "Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About," by Kevin Trudeau. I had been eating the Standard American Diet, and had been toxifying myself in many other ways that were destroying my body and mind and completely disconnecting me with my spiritual self and the goddess within. When I read these books, a small spark was lit behind my third eye, and for the first time I considered the thought: Could what I'm eating somehow be connected to how I'm feeling, physically, emotionally, and spiritually?  Of course, at this stage of my life, this is a base truth. But at the time, it was a completely novel concept to me. So, I took the first step. I went through my house and all the cupboards, reading ingredients and tossing anything containing wheat or gluten into a box for donations at a local food-bank. I threw my medications away (they were superfluous), and began questioning everything I put into and onto my body (I also started binge watching conspiracy documentaries, which made my paranoia reach a frightening zenith, but that's another story for another day.) I have not eaten gluten or wheat products since, and I took Dr. William Davis's advice to "be gluten-free but don't eat gluten-free," which means I stay away from anything marked "gluten-free" because I learned that the substitutes often act the same way as the real thing. I also continue to take Kevin Trudeau's advice, and be very wary of anything in a package, box, or can. If I buy an ingredient, I will research the source (which, if you are reading this blog, you are apparently doing, so go you! And incidentally, you can trust us!). Fast forward. Two years ago, a small stone from the cliffs of my mentality nudged loose and began to tumble down the mountain of my mind, and with the speed of a brush fire, it came rocketing through, gathering strength and size until it became a boulder and crushed much of what I thought I knew about food and life. It knocked down my soul blockage and forged a clear path to spirituality through the forest within. That stone is called Veganism. I watched all the documentaries. Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, Cowspiracy, Food Inc, Fed Up, I mean just everything I could find about food. Then I moved on to sustainability videos like Plastic Paradise and Gas Land, and my mind turned inside out and upside down and I went through a profound psychic change. I was angry, on fire, and fueled to begin a new life. When I first went vegan, I was a very intense individual. That's all I'll say for the moment because what I want to focus on is how I've settled into this peaceful, joyful, absolutely delicious lifestyle. In my quest to always learn more, I have discovered many nuances of our vegan life. There are those who call themselves vegans, and those who call themselves plant-based. There is high-carb, low-fat. High fat, low-carb. There are fruitarians and superfoodies and "junk-food vegans" and a million shades in between. It can be frustrating, and also beautiful, to experiment with new techniques of eating to achieve the result that I diligently seek: to look and feel my best. At different stages of my food-obsessed path, I have avoided certain ingredients, always trying to find a balance that works best for me. Sometimes I avoid sweeteners, I supplement on and off with vegan protein, I go heavy on the fruit, whatever. It's taken me some practice to figure out a program that works for me, and I'm still learning as I go. What and how I eat changes and shifts and bends with my life, turning corners and forking off (haha) onto different paths. But what I have learned up to this point with a calm certainty, the constant that I maintain, is that the quality of the ingredients that I use daily resonates through my spirit, mind, and body. Whether I'm avoiding fat or sugar or carbs or whatever, I make sure the ingredients I use are sound, pure, delicious, and divine. Organic always. Non-GMO. Packaged properly. Free of chemicals. Free of dyes or anything weird that I can't pronounce or doesn't make sense. Standards of ethics and sustainability always matter. Fairly traded. No matter what I'm doing with my vegan plant-based diet, these basic principles are my foundation. Kevin Trudeau said, "people have no idea how good they are designed to feel," and he was absolutely right. I feel so much better, holistically, now that I've practiced these principles and become keen on these concepts. So, here's a recipe for you to play with according to wherever you are, with ideas for variations. Horchata is a rice-based drink that is usually served cold, in the summertime, and it is not vegan. But I am, and it's winter, and I try to stay away from rice (because it makes me feel heavy.) So I wanted to come up with something that fit my mood. An almond based horchata that is great warm, and also cold.
What you will need:
  • 1 cup vivapura almonds, soaked overnight
  • 6 cups filtered water
Blend together in your vitamix until well combined, and then strain through a nutmilk bag (great one available at Once well strained, add this almond milk back into your vitamix and save the almond meal left in the bag for other projects. Now, in your vitamix, with the basic almond milk, you can add:
  • 2 tbspns vivapura coconut creme*
  • 10 small, pitted deglet dates (or 5 large)
  • 3 tspns cinnamon
  • 1/2 tspn clove
  • 1/2 tspn nutmeg
  • tiny sprinkle of sea salt, less than 1/8 tspn
  • 1/2 tspn vivapura vanilla
  • 1 tspn vivapura lucuma
  • 1 tspn maca
  • 2 tbspns vivapura coconut sugar**
Blend this mixture very well in your vitamix. Blend for five minutes if you want to serve it hot, the vitamix will heat it for you and create a completely luxurious foam at the top. Garnish with cinnamon, or whatever you fancy. *If you are at a stage of your journey where you are avoiding fat, you can omit the coconut creme, but it does give a silky, smoother texture **If you are at a stage of your journey where you are avoiding sugar, you could add more dates and sweeten that way. ~If you are bored of green smoothies in the morning, you could use this horchata as a base for a delicious and different smoothie, and add vegan protein powder or coconut yogurt and nut butter ~If you want a thicker horchata, you could try adding one soft, ripe, brown spotted banana, which will also sweeten a bit, so you could add less sugar. Anyway, my lovelies, the possibilities are endless. You can serve it on ice, or have it hot the way I like. You can leave some in your fridge so that when your homeboy comes over he can discover it, mix it with a bunch of alcohol and call it "the best white Russian he's ever had, you should seriously bottle this sh*t," ---true story.  
Anyway, if you feel inclined to leave a comment and tell me about your food journey, I'm all ears. Be blessed. -Matt  
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