When I started acupuncture, and was told that I needed to refrain from dairy, my mouth probably dropped. Actually, I vividly recall listing off all the items I consumed, on a daily basis, that contained dairy. My acupuncturist just looked at me with a blank stare, as if she was supposed to feel sorry for me (she’s actually really sweet and kind, I promise). I assumed that would be the end of so many foods that I love… instead it was the beginning of lots of cooking exploration.
There are so many different diets (I hate to use that word, because if it’s a lifestyle change… then it’s not really a “diet”…) that exclude dairy from consumption. Paleo, Veganism are the two that quickly come to mind. I figured, if they can do it, I can do it. I began exploring dairy alternatives by using nuts (cashews, almonds…) and realized that they were actually a pretty tasty alternative to dairy. I’ve made cashew cream (which acts like a crema) and have found a few dairy free cheeses that I actually really enjoy (I actually think one tastes like Doritos… and who can argue with that??). I follow “no dairy” 95% of the time, because rigid adherence to anything is simply, well, rigid… and I have to make a little wiggle room for my beloved frozen yogurt and pizza with full fledge cheese now and then.
All that being said, I discovered this dairy free chia seed pudding recipe from Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen (I’m not vegan, but since most of the items are dairy free, I try to modify recipes from them). Chia seed pudding was a favorite pre-no-dairy lifestyle, so I was thrilled to find it! I made a few simple modifications, simply because I didn’t have agave nectar on hand. I was a little concerned at first, because the consistency wasn’t like the dairy version, but once I tasted it, I was fully satisfied. Tastebuds, tummy, and mind 🙂
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
6 tablespoons chia seeds
2 diced strawberries
1 teaspoon almond butter
1-2 tablespoons granola
For the pudding, prepare 8 hours prior to eating.
In a bowl, quickly stir together all ingredients, except the chia seeds. In a blender, pour in the combined ingredients, and begin to blend on low. Slowly add in the chia seeds, a tablespoon at a time, being sure the chia seeds don’t end up on the sides of the blender. Once all chia seeds are combined, blend on low for 2-3 minutes.
I simply poured the ingredients into a large bowl, covered, and placed in the refrigerator. After about an hour, I stirred the ingredients again, and then placed the lid on, and left in the refrigerator over night.
I enjoyed it as a snack by combining 1/2 cup of the chia seed, with the above ingredients! It’s about a 190 calorie snack, and keeps me full until dinner (it’s usually my afternoon snack).