Milk Alternatives; Friend or Foe?

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Photo: India Times

Fresh cows milk…fresh goats milk….nut milk….low fat UHT milk…..coconut milk……boxed or made fresh……CHOICES, CHOICES, CHOICES!

I am not a great decision maker at the best of times and the milk section in the grocery store is no exception. Unlucky for me, as well as my poor decision making skills I am also a trend follower.

“Do you have kale?”, “Can I please add Chia” and “Where do you stock your quinoa?” are phrases that we are all guilty of, don’t lie. But unlike these super food super trends, milk alternatives deserve a closer a look. How do we know what to choose and how do we know what exactly we are consuming?

It is true; many milk alternatives provide health benefits but with this can come added sugars and oils. Whether you are lactose intolerant, vegan, allergic or just want to give the cows a break, unless you are making your own, take a look through the following to decide which is right for you.

 

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Photo: Family Wellness

 

Soy Milk


Easily the most popular milk alternative in Asia. This may make you think it’s the best option but I’m not convinced. While there are extensive benefits to drinking Soy Milk, including a high source of protein, potassium, magnesium and boosts in calcium and iron, a plant like oestrogen comes in Soy Milk. This means that over consumption can impact your hormone balance, which can lead to serious health problems including fertility issues.

For Soy consumers with IBS, lactose intolerance or Crohn’s disease remember… Soy Milk made from whole soybeans is not a good idea. Rather, Soy Milk made from isolated soy protein will sit well in your gut.

For Malaysians given soybean products are seen in each meal it is not a milk alternative I would recommend consuming.

 

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Photo: NL Health

 

Almond milk
In its raw form made from scratch, almond milk is a great alternative. No cholesterol, high antioxidant, no problem? Incorrect. Not all of us have time or energy to make our own. Scrolling through the ingredients in a main stream Almond Milk I discovered 7g of sugar and 7% salt, not to mention an array of other ingredients I have never heard of. My advice? Choose an unsweetened option. Silk brand is my personal favourite.

Did you know?
Almonds needs a lot of water to produce and with the main grower being drought hit California you may want to consider the sustainability of this option.

 
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Photo: Huffington Post

Coconut Milk


Ensuring you balance the good fat bad fat debate, coconut milk is packed with goodness. So what’s the trick? Coconut milk may not be what you find in a can. Real Coconut Milk is the fruition of coconut flesh and water and should have no added ingredients. In my opinion, Ayam Coconut Milk is the best available in most supermarkets. While I am happy cooking, baking and blending with this milk alterative, if you’re watching your calories, limit your intake to a minimum.
Did you know?
Coconut milk freezes really well so fill up those ice cube trays and pop one in your smoothie for extra creaminess.

 

blog5Photo: Dreamtime

 

My favourite option thus far would be the nut milks because I find it tasty yet subtle enough to mix into various forms of food. In my home, we always believe that making something from scratch is by far better tasting that anything from a bottle or a box. So, I tried out this recipe by The Minimalist Baker and loved it. It is pretty simple too for those who don’t like spending a lot of time in the kitchen. You can now find raw nuts to make nut milks from our Amazin’ Pantry range. We have a good selection of raw, fresh and premium quality whole nuts.

 

Almond Milk Recipe

(Vegan and Gluten Free)

Serves: 5 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight in cool water (or 1-2 hours in very hot water)
  • 5 cups filtered water (less to thicken, more to thin)
  • 2 dates, pitted, or other sweetener of choice (omit for unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or one vanilla bean, scraped (omit for plain)
  • pinch sea salt
Instructions
  1. Add your soaked almonds, water, dates, salt and vanilla to a high speed blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Keep it running for at least 1-2 minutes so you get the most out of your almonds.
  2. Strain using a nut milk bag, or my favorite trick – a thin dish towel. Simply lay a clean dish towel over a mixing bowl, pour over the almond milk, and carefully gather the corners and lift up. Then squeeze until all of the liquid is extracted. Discard pulp, or save for adding to baked goods (especially crackers).
  3. Transfer milk to a jar or covered bottle and refrigerate. Will keep for up to a few days, though best when fresh. Shake well before drinking as it tends to separate.
  4. You can also make other flavors, including strawberry, banana and chocolate!
Nutrition Information (based on rough estimate of 1/2 cup of 10 total servings)
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 30
Fat: 2.4g
Saturated fat: 0g
Carbohydrates: 1g
Sugar: .7g
Sodium: 19mg
Fiber: .7g
Protein: 1g

Try it out and you’ll notice the difference in taste. You wouldn’t want to buy the prepackaged nut milks once you start making your own! The taste is by far more superior and definitely more packed with nutrients as it is raw and fresh.

Happy nut milking!

Sticky
March 30, 2016

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day to all the beautiful strong women out there!

A great day to celebrate, love, respect and show gratitude to the women in our lives.  She may be a mother, a sister, a wife, a girlfriend, a friend, an employer, an employee, a colleague, a mentor or a mentee. Very likely she is a multi-tasker, wears many hats and ploughs through her day with grace and strength.

This special day is a great reminder to not take things for granted.  One of Amy’s mentors at The World Bank told her that change takes a very long time and is often the result of many blood and tears.  We remind ourselves today that it took the sacrifice of many visionary men and women for women today to be treated as equal members of the society,  to receive education, to have the freedom to choose their careers and their partners.

change takes a very long time and is often the result of many blood and tears.”

International Women’s Day also reminds us that there is still a lot that needs to be done. Least we forget that girls like Malala Yousafzai (Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2014)  was shot in the head for going to school, that at least 200 million women and girls across 30 countries still experience female genital mutilation (UNICEF 2016) and 1 in 3 women in developing countries are married before the age of 18 (ICRW 2016).

For us, today is a day of encouragement to keep on striving and to be each other’s pillar of strength.

Coming from a small team of strong women (8/9 people in our team are women), we are reminded today to be exceptionally thankful for our families. Thanks especially to our mothers who told us that we were capable of doing anything and taught us the importance of having our own careers and holding our own.

“Thanks especially to our mothers who told us that we were capable of doing anything…”

This advice and mentality has pervaded to the team here at Amazin’ Graze.  The AG family currently consist of 9 women and one man; the only knight in our team. The women in the team are strong, hardworking, dedicated, passionate, kind and we look after each other.  There is no distinction between men and women at work in terms of what we’re capable of doing. We will not be here today without this Amazin’ team.

We would also love to take this opportunity to thank and appreciate all our dear customers today, for being the strong women they are and for being men who honour the women in their lives. We will be including fun size gift packs of our brand new Mocha Vanilla Latte Granola and Peanut Butter Choc Chip Granola into all orders placed on our online website today at www.amazingraze.co. There is no better gift that the gift of good health and the opportunity of eating better together.

Have a great day and don’t forget to tell the women in your life that you love them for being so amazin’ every single day!

Love,

The Amazin’ Team

*Packs will be delivered on Fri for SG orders

Sticky
March 10, 2016

A little oat-ducation

A little oat-ducation – learning all about oats!

With its nutty flavour and versatile texture, oats are the little grain that performs way beyond a basic pantry staple. These days though, oats are making a come back. Not only are they packed with goodness but their versatility deserves praise far beyond a winter ingredient. At Amazin’ Graze, oats are the essence for majority of our products. We combine the goodness and versatility so you can enjoy the benefits. So let’s talk about it. 

 

 

Benefits of oats

Can lower your cholesterol
Oats are packed of fibre but more specifically, beta-glucan. Beta-Glucan is a type of fibre that helps lower bad cholesterol. This is particularly beneficial for Malaysians given that many local dishes have very high cholesterol and thus a reason why heart disease is the highest cause of death in Malaysia according to the World Life Expectancy.

Helps you feel fuller for long
The combination of oats being low in fat, high in fibre and a low glycaemic index (GI) means oats digest slowly in your body. This means, you will feel fuller for longer which can help weight management.

High in protein
Your body uses protein to build and repair itself. It is a vital building block for strong bones, muscles, skin and blood. Not to mention, your hair and nails are made of up mostly of protein. So if you want luscious locks then oats are for you!

A good source of carbohydrate
Most importantly, our body needs energy and we get energy through what we eat. Start to think of food like fuel for our system so you want to choose the right fuel for your body. The carbohydrates in oats are very low in sugars so are a great alternative for when you need that pick-me-up snack.

 

 

 

Inspire me!

Whether you are an energiser bunny and need a boost of protein, rushing out the door every morning so need a quick fix breakfast or looking for something that will fill you up till 1pm, give overnight oats a go.

Packed with all the goodness mentioned above, plus more from the chia and a little energy treat from the peanuts this recipe is a sure thing. Creamy, hearty, naturally sweet and super delicious!

Overnight Oats

Ingredients
1 ½ cups of milk of your choice – I used soymilk
1tbs chia seeds
1tbs maple syrup – honey will also work
2tbs raw peanut butter – I used Yo Good brand
1 ½ cups of oats

Method
In a large mug or glass combine the milk, chia seed, maple syrup and peanut butter until smooth. Pour in your oats and stir through until creamy and fully coated. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight or for a few hours until set. Delicious!

 

Tips & Tricks
Did you know that adding a cup of ground oats (oatmeal) to your bath can help soothe various skin conditions like eczema, sunburn and chickenpox?

While oats are naturally gluten free, there are many products on the shelf today that don’t claim to be gluten free as contamination with gluten during the growing process is common. If you have gluten intolerance, make sure you read the label carefully to ensure you are getting the right product for you.


Have a pet? Oats are a great natural product to feed your animals. Being cheap and full of nutrients for animal health why not give it a go? Mash some up with their current food or soak in milk or water for an afternoon treat!

There you go! Such a simple way to incorporate such a healthy ingredient into your diet.

Try the recipe out yourself !

Sticky
March 10, 2016

Healthy living is a Habit, not a One Time Thing

Many of us will set some sort of self-improvement goals in the beginning of the year like “I will eat healthier this year”, “I will exercise more!”, “I will sleep more.”  Unfortunately, come end of the year, the common sentiment is that we have fallen far short from these goals. If you are anything like me, there’s usually some self-loathing and then another ambitious vow to be better next year.

Come, let’s do a test. It’s nearly mid-February of this new year. How well have you kept up up with your new year resolutions? It doesn’t help that Chinese New Year has arrived and you can’t say no to your grandma’s traditional CNY dishes.

(photo courtesy of http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/78577/file-630836659-jpg/images/failed_resolutions-resized-600.jpg)

Making lifestyle changes doesn’t happen overnight. Good intentions alone without action can only last so far. My first lesson learned about eating healthy is that you need to be prepared.  When hunger strikes, we usually grab what is most accessible to us at the moment, whether it’s that Oreo biscuit lying on the desk or that packet of potato chips in the pantry.

People with healthy lifestyles are prepared.  They often think a day or two beforehand and ensure that they have the right foods and snacks with them at their desks or kitchen.

(Photo courtesy of http://carrotsncake.com/2014/05/sunday-prep-ideas-for-a-week-of-healthy-eating.html)

This is the very reason why we have created the Amazin’ Box –regular delivery of healthy snacks of your choice to your doorstep.  Every Amazin’ Box will come with 4 healthy treats.  We currently have over 50 yummy nutritious snacks that you can choose from.  Moreover, our Amazin’ Kitchen is working hard to add even more choices for you on a monthly basis.

 

You can expect a large selection of healthy snacks including granolas, nuts & seeds, fruit medleys, healthy cookies, power bars, almond balls, home-dehydrated fruits, vegetable chips, superseed crisps, nut & seed clusters and more!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Select snacking preference

There are 4 snack preferences to choose from: Surprise Me, Protein Warrior, Nature Purist and My Pick.

Like its name, Surprise Me snack preference is for people who want to be surprised, wants minimal fuss with snack selection and wants to explore a variety of different snacks on the menu.

Gym bunnies will take to Protein Warrior, with protein-packed combinations rich in nuts and seeds, all crafted in delicious flavours such as Wasabi Almonds, Tom Yum Cashews and Almond Choco Balls.

Nature Purist offers natural and high-fiber snacks such as in-house dehydrated fruit and vegetable chips, trail mixes of nuts, dried fruits and superfoods. Flavouring and processing is minimized so you can taste the natural goodness of the ingredients.

For those who know exactly what they want, the My Pick snack preference is it.  This group of grazers will choose their favourite healthy snacks from over 50 choices and can change their preferences as frequently as they want.

  1. Select delivery frequency

You can choose how often you want their Amazin’ Box to be delivered – weekly, every two weeks or every month.   You can change their delivery frequency easily too by logging into to your account online.

  1. Sign up & check out

After choosing grazing preferences, the last step is to complete your account details, delivery address, any special delivery instructions and then key in your payment details, kick back and wait for our delicious morsels of natural snacks to make their way to you.

Sticky
March 10, 2016

Welcome to our humble abode !

Calling all grazers!

We’ve finally opened the doors at our first brick-and-mortar at D7, Sentul, KL. Our cosy retail space not only stocks AG’s signature granolas and natural snacks, but  also functions as our central kitchen.

After making our rounds in the local market circuit for the past year, as well as selling our goods online via our online store, we have finally stepped up to a fully-fledged production hub that not only enables us to scale up production, but also tinker constantly with creating new flavours and expanding our product range.

We had a little media launch on Thursday where we invited friends from the media and gave them a tour of our kitchen, as our staff demonstrated the meticulous process that goes into producing our handmade, small-batch granola, trail mixes, nuts and fruit medleys. The store was dressed up to resemble a wonder emporium of superfoods, grains, nuts and other raw ingredients that goes into producing all of Amazin’ Graze’s products.

Through this immersive experience, our guests were encouraged to learn about the unsung heroes of our diets. Amy, Sabrina and myself were also on-hand to share about the humble beginnings of Amazin’ Graze, as well as dole out delicious treats for guests to snack on.

The real fun was in the bountiful snack bar, where guests were invited to create their own combination of grain bowls and yogurt pots. A deliciously healthy range of Amazin’ Graze’s customer favourites were available for guests to help themselves to, and get creative with their flavour combinations — all in the name of healthy eating!

Come visit us whenever you’re in the area. We are open Mon- Fri, 9am-6pm and on Saturdays, 10am-5pm!

Hope to see you soon 🙂

Love,

The Amazin’ Team

Sticky
March 10, 2016