Seemingly, everybody. But me.
Ever discover something new and exciting only to realize the whole world got the memo two weeks ago?
That was my relationship with Dooce. I came across Heather Armstrong’s blog from a Google search. I read for an hour, and thought, this woman and I could be friends. We are totally the same kinda people. I almost sent her an email to that effect. Turned out, she’s only the most famous mom blogger in all of existence.
I bought some almond milk on a whim last week after seeing some blog posts about it. I have issues with milk, so I usually try to make up the calcium with cheese and yogurt and cruciferous veggies. You know what? Dang, almond milk is tasty. I had cereal with milk for the first time in decades. BOOM. Easy calcium.
It was sort of awesome.
Maybe I live in a cave or something- did you know you can buy almonds in different flavors? Real flavors, not just honey roasted vs dry roasted like peanuts. I picked some Blue Diamond Almonds up, taking the Roasted Salted and Smokehouse almonds for a test drive (literally. I left the cans in the car for emergency snacking). Really super good, people.
So I’ve been all enthusiastic and trying to talk about this new milk replacement/snack choice… and everybody else is like, are you for real? Yes, almonds are good. I’ve known that since I was knee high to a grasshopper.
OK, wise guy. Did you know this?
- A serving of almonds is a handful, or 23 nuts, which is a pretty impressive snack if you don’t shove the whole lot in your mouth at once.
- They’re full of good stuff like monounsaturated fat (that’s the the good kind, and it may be good for brain health and memory, too), fiber, vitamin E, calcium and other important minerals, and phytochemicals (which might help protect against some common diseases).
- They have a high protein content, which aids in lean muscle development, works to fuel my running, and generally helps you feel fuller, longer.
Not bad for something I can use to satisfy that urge for something crunchy (chips have always been my downfall).
Almonds are heart-healthy
You can find the AHA Heart-Check mark on the packaging of:
- Whole Natural
- Roasted Salted
- Low Sodium
- Sea Salt
- No Salt
- Honey Dijon
meaning that these almonds have met specific guidelines set forth by the AHA. Specifically for nuts it means:
Total Fat: No limit
Saturated Fat: 4 g or less (per 50 g only)
Trans Fat: Less than 0.5 g (also per label serving)
Cholesterol: 0 mg per label serving
Sodium: 140 mg or less (also per label serving)
Beneficial Nutrients: 10% or more of the Daily Value of 1 of 6 nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or dietary fiber)
Keep in mind that heart disease is American’s number one killer. Which is depressing because heart disease is completely preventable by following some common sense measures: eating better, moving more, maintaining a healthy weight, improving your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Can snacking on almonds make that much of a difference?
Well, maybe. I think this is fascinating.
One study that I thought was fascinating found that subjects, when asked to turn to almonds as a snack instead of a less healthy option but given no other diet restrictions, opted for healthier food choices in addition to and independently of the required almond snacks. Their levels of good things like fiber and vegetable protein increased, and their overall levels of bad things like trans fats, cholesterol and sugars decreased significantly.
The implication is that if you swap less healthy foods for almonds as a snack, you’re more likely to become the sort of person who will opt for other good-for-you foods. Pretty cool, right? I’ve read about similar conclusions when it comes to vitamins: if you take them regularly, the real health benefit may be less about the specific supplements received and more about how you become the sort of person to make choices that positively impact your health.
This goes back to my discussion of how a healthy diet and lifestyle is analogous to the green lifestyle: it all starts with one small change. Then another. You keep building until it becomes second nature, and before you know it, you’ve become an eco warrior. Or you’ve managed to lose 25 pounds by making a bunch of small changes.
So that’s my latest small change. Snacking on almonds and increasing my calcium intake and cereal enjoyment with almond milk. A simple step with surprising health benefits.
Wanna learn more about the health benefits of almonds and get some cool almond recipes?
FitFluential is holding a #BlueDiamond chat on the Twitter tomorrow night, 5/21, at 9EST. Join us! Prize details are still a secret, but I hear they are awesome.
Blue Diamond Growers have been growing almonds in the US of A for over a century. There are over 3,000 California almond growers shipping their deliciously nutty wares all over the world. If you haven’t discovered the joy of almonds yet, check ’em out on their website, on the Facebook and of course on your grocer’s shelves.
Disclosure: I’m the VP of Community over at FitFluential and the woman behind the curtain… er, @FitFluential handle. Blue Diamond is a client but I bought my own almonds and almond milk with my own cash moneys. My opinion is my own and springs from my own brain, whole and fully formed, much like Athena from the brow of Zeus.