Back To The Basics: Chia Pudding (1/5)

I'm just gonna dive right into this one.

Things I'm loving in 2017:

  • The Strava app! For 2 weeks in January, Lululemon teamed up with a GPS running and cycling tracker to encourage our global community to get outdoors and run, walk, hike, or cycle 25/50 miles over the course of 14 days. With 8 days and 15.5 miles down, the Strava challenge has already had such a positive impact on my life. I start my mornings with short 1-2 mile walks with Zephyr, which she absolutely loves, and getting outside before doing anything else in the morning has been so nice for me--I start every day in this calm, clear, and collected mindset. My coworkers and I have been getting extra bonding time with each other in the form of hikes and we are exploring parts of our city we didn't even know existed. I've also been going for walks before meetings or when a bout of anxiety hits me--it's like a refresh button for my brain.
  • Weck jars--um, why am I just now discovering how amazing these things are?! I first discovered Weck jars when my Food52 Community Cookie Swap buddy Karl Cooks sent me her homemade peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies, and love notes in the mini jars. I was obsessed with how adorable they were, and how convenient they made storage. So I went online and ordered a set in every size...the only logical thing to do! Now my pantry and fridge are organized and also #aestheticgoals, and my smoothies (and chia puddings) are so much easier to take on the go!
  • Sauerkraut: as a Celiac with a previously destroyed gut, I am super adamant about keeping up with my gut health by taking probiotics and eating lots of fermented foods such as yogurt and kraut, and drinking kombucha (does wine count?). As of recently I have become absolutely hooked on the Farmhouse Culture Kraut. My favorite flavors are the original and the Smoked Jalapeno, but they have a flavor for every palate and I seriously put that shit on everything. EVERYTHING!!!! I've even found myself craving it alone as a snack, eating it straight from the bag. It's becoming a problem.
  • Making my own nut milk! I actually used to do this religiously my freshmen year of college, but then I got lazy and every time I bought nuts I would eat them before I could use them to make milk. It's actually a super simple process with minimal ingredients (almonds and water) and equipment (bowl, blender, cheesecloth), and once you have the basic process down you can do anything you want with it! Add dates and cinnamon for sweetness, cacao powder for chocolate milk, etc.! Each time I make my own, I am blown away by how creamy and rich it is--it makes store-bought taste like water! I'll be doing a post within the next few weeks to give you all the recipe!
  • Headspace app--I've never been one to meditate. In fact, I often joke that I have "no chill," unable to sit still for more than 10 minutes without going insane. I feel like I always have to be doing omething. owever, after struggling more than usual with my anxiety lately, I downloaded the app Headspace with the intention of clearing some space in my head and slowing down a bit, just for 10 minutes every day. I remember after my first session, the voice on the app asked me how I felt, to which the voice inside my head reflexively responded, "like I just took a Xanax." Seriously! Just giving myself 10 minutes a day to meditate and be with my thoughts and breath, not to mention being guided by a beautiful male Australian voice, has already reigned my anxiety back within a manageable realm and improved the quality of my sleep and mood. I'm obsessed!
  • Lifting weights again!!! When I first entered the world of Health and Fitness, I had just gotten a job at Lifetime Fitness and began working out with the personal trainers that I befriended there. They taught me good form and how to safely and effectively lift weights and superset, and from there I was hooked. I fell in love with lifting and with how it shaped and transformed me, both mentally and physically. I found lifting meditative, empowering, and FUN! My love of working out led me to discover "clean eating" and eventually my passion for cooking and whole foods. I even entered college with the intention of getting my degree in Exercise + Sports Science and went through the NASM Personal Trainer Certification process. However, when I (unknowingly)developed an eating disorder later that semester, I was not eating enough to compensate for the insane amount of calories I burned daily as I continued lifting. I honestly don't know how I survived. I became dangerously thin, and with that, many health problems started manifesting themselves. When it finally clicked for me that I had an eating disorder, I decided it was time to let go of weight training for awhile and focus on gaining weight, re-learning normal eating and thought patterns, and finding new, less physically demanding forms of exercise. I devoted myself to yoga, hiking, and bodyweight plyometrics to take some of the strain off of my body. And while I sort of liked plyometrics (and only working out 30 minutes/day), I never quite felt the passion or excitement for my workouts that I had with weight training. I actually dreaded going to the gym, and made it to my workouts less and less frequently. Exercising became a chore, something to check off on my to-do list. But I'm FINALLY a healthy weight again, in a good place mentally where I don't take my schedule or routine too seriously, and I really, really missed lifting weights. So, I'm back in the gym, only 3 days a week this time, rediscovering my old favorite workout routines and re-activating muscles that have been dormant since 2015. I feel so good y'all. I'm so excited to go to my workouts, and my days of yoga and walking feel like a treat to my sore muscles on the days I'm not in the gym. I can honestly say I'm feeling more myself than I have in a very long time.

Things I'm not loving:

  • My pathetic attempt at weaning myself off of coffee. All you need to know about this: don't do it. I wanted to attempt to reduce/eliminate my coffee consumption because I hate a) being dependent on it b) the midday crashes and c) how it affects my blood sugar, making it drop pretty dramatically a couple hours after I drink it. So, I tried turning to my friends, green tea and matcha lattes, hoping they would suffice.

I'm currently gulping a cappuccino.

 

In other news, to kick off the new year on the blog, I decided to do a 5 week series that I'm calling Back to the Basics, where I share my staple recipes that I make every single week with you guys. These 5 recipes are my go-tos, in regular rotation for breakfast, lunch or dinner; they're what I crave most often. They're easy, quick, filling, and super versatile.

This week, I will be sharing my most requested recipe: Chia Pudding! I make this all the time on my Instagram story and get so much feedback, and requests for the recipe! I love how excited you guys get about chia. It's seriously a lifesaver on busy mornings: packed with protein and healthy fats, ready to just grab and go in the morning on your way out the door, and it's such an amazing canvas for any flavor combination or topping you desire. I'm seriously so addicted, and I hope you will be too after reading this!

 

Basic Chia pudding recipe:

  • 1/3 c coconut milk
  • 2/3 c almond or other non-dairy milk (or yogurt!)
  • 3 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • dash of cinnamon

ethod to the madness: combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir to mix thoroughly. pop it in the fridge overnight. in the morning, top with fruit, granola, nut butter...whatever your heart desires!

asty tips: once you've mastered the basic vanilla flavor (which is honestly my favorite) try adding different flavorings and getting creative!

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter: Add 1 Tbsp cacao powder + 1 Tbsp peanut butter to basic recipe.
  • lueberry Maca: Blend all ingredients except for chia seeds with 1/4 c blueberries and 1 tsp maca powder. Add chia seeds, stir, and refrigerate overnight.
  • offee Caramel: Replace 1/3 c almond milk with 1/3 c brewed coffee, cooled. Chop 1 date and stir in with ingredients.

 

Seriously, how simple is that?! With endless flavor combinations, chia pudding seriously never gets boring. I'd love to see all of your chia pudding creationsif this post inspires you to make your own! Post a pic on Instagram and tag me @soulandspoon to make sure I don't miss it.

Enjoy!