The plan for this weekend was to take Red Chameleon out for two 50k rides on Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately that plot was rewritten thanks to a nearby typhoon causing highly unstable weather across Tokyo. Sadly, cycling this weekend is out of the equation.
When I awoke at 4am Saturday morning it was lightly raining, and as I sit here typing this on Sunday the typhoon is bearing down on the area. Although I did not get to log a full 180km this week, I am pleased with the exercise output and the additional sleep I caught up on this weekend.
The forecast for Monday morning, a holiday here in Japan, appears to be clear. I should be able to get some time to ride, but am a bit tentative because there is a second typhoon on the western side of the country not too far from Tokyo. We quite possibly could feel some residuals from the weather pattern, but I will evaluate the situation in the morning.
Despite not cycling, the entire day was not lost. I pumped out another batch of homemade almond butter, infusing even more vanilla and maple syrup this time. Instead of a more subtle flavoring, it is noticeably stronger and has much more character. While the three batches I have made thus far have been really good, this is my favorite to-date.
This morning I topped some boule slices with almond butter and apricot jam. The flavor was out of this world. If you enjoy peanut butter, I cannot recommend the homemade almond butter recipe enough. It works exceptionally well, is easy to make, and has the perfect amount of nutrients to complement a healthy breakfast. Next up on my things to try is homemade apricot jam. If I get an opportunity to make some, and the recipe turns out decent, an article shall be forthcoming.
One additional new favorite is cashew nuts milk. It is exceedingly easy to make, is very healthy, and has none of the downsides of cows milk. If you are lactose intolerant, or even just get slight discomfort from normal milk, then you will want to give cashew nuts milk a shot. It is really creamy, thus making it the perfect complement for that morning cappuccino or afternoon iced macchiato.
I almost never drink plain milk. While I have no problems using it in cereal, coffee, and other mixed methods, drinking it plain was never someting I enjoyed. Since starting cashew nuts milk I enjoy it now. The natural sweetness and flavor from the almonds are amazing.
In terms of health benefits, cashew nuts milk is full of valuable nutrients. It contains iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. The fat is primarily unsaturated and, like most nuts, are a superb source.
Cashew Nuts Milk
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 4 cups water (3 cups if you prefer creamier milk)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup (optional)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)
- Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
- Soak the cashews in water at least 4 hours. Soaking overnight in the refrigerator produces the best results.
- Completely drain the cashews of all soaking liquid, and wash until the water runs clear.
- Add the cashews and two cups water to a blender.
- Blend on a lower setting, gradually increasing the speed until the cashews are completely blended. There should be no powdery residue, and no cashew nut pieces - just a nice milky liquid. This process may take anywhere from 2-5 minutes, depending on the blender.
- Blend in the remaining water, along with the salt and any of the optional sweeteners, approximately 1 minute.
- If you are finding bits and pieces of cashews still in the mixture, strain the milk through cheese cloth or a very fine mesh strainer. Most modern blenders should be okay, but you never know.
- Store the covered milk in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
I found mixing cashew nuts milk, assam black tea, a bit of cinnamon, and some spices like cardamon, ginger, and star anise will produce an almost Chai-like flavor. After mixing everything together, pour it over some ice for a nice, refreshing iced Chai latte to cool off and escape from the evil summer heat.
All these homemade recipes are great but one thing needs to be reiterated: it is the combination of exercise, healthy food, and being extremely cognizant of what food and the amount of food you are consuming that is extremely important. While it is healthy to exercise, it is vital to not overeat or have terrible nutrition. Paying attention to your diet helps lower cholesterol levels, decreases the risk of heart disease, and just is a healthier lifestyle all around.
This is not to say you should just ignore the good things in life. We all need to have days where we can forget the diet, and enjoy some really tasty and potentially exceedingly sweet and unhealthy food. Those days are the exceptions, not the norm.
Since this weekend has been mostly sedentary, I need to focus on Monday and get that much needed exercise. Thankfully I did not go balls to the wall on Saturday, nor do I have plans to have crazy meals today, but I can defintely tell my body desires exercise. It wants to move, to be pushed, to sweat out all that nastiness.
Time to focus and get back to the basics.