How To Choose Almond Milk

How to choose almond milk

A few days ago I got asked a seemingly simple question -

“What kind of almond milk do you drink?” 

Instead of simply responding with Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Vanilla, I chose to respond with a few paragraphs (via email) detailing how I’d come to choose this particular almond milk. Don’t worry – I did warn the person it was a loaded question before I answered.

Anyway, it got me thinking about all the different varieties of almond milk out there (and other non-dairy milks too) and how confusing it can be to stare at the shelf in the dairy case, not knowing what to choose. In fact, I once helped a women with a puzzled look on her face choose an almond milk for her daughter. Seriously… I love talking to people at the grocery store… and I hope her daughter liked the milk!

Over the past year or so, I’ve started buying almond milk exclusively although my husband still drinks dairy milk, so I do use it for cooking from time to time. The decision to eliminate dairy milk is a personal one, so I’m not going to preach about how wonderful it is. For me, the decision came because I didn’t drink a lot of milk in the first place (don’t really care for the taste) and I knew I was having sensitivities to dairy and was trying limit how much I consumed. Milk was out… cheese had to be in.

I began drinking shelf-stable Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla. It tasted pretty good, but the bottom of the glass (and carton) tended to have a chalky residue that was less than appetizing. A few months in, I noticed it contained the additive carrageenan which is derived from seaweed and added to many products as a thickening agent. Research has shown it may cause digestive issues in some people so even though the research isn’t definitive, I choose to avoid it where I can.

On to almond milk number two (Trader Joe’s) and three (Whole Foods), both unsweetened vanilla flavor (refrigerated). I like the flavor and texture of both of these almond milks and they are both carrageenan free. The deciding factor for me is the higher calcium content in the Trader Joe’s version. Since I don’t eat that much dairy (a good source of calcium, though there are others), the added calcium is what sets it apart for me.

I think it’s worth saying I much prefer refrigerated almond milks to shelf stable almond milks. The texture is smoother and I don’t have the chalky residue problem. Also, in the matter of full disclosure, I’ve never tried Silk brand, but I believe it is carrageenan free as well. I can’t provide any information on the nutrition facts either.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could make your own almond milk too. Here’s a step-by-step guide from Oh She Glows if you’re interested. I’ve never made my own, but maybe someday!

Do you drink almond milk or other non-dairy milks? What’s your favorite?

WIAW 62: Sunday, Sunday

Happy Wednesday and welcome back for a full day of eats! This week’s edition of What I Ate Wednesday is going to be a little different than most because I’m showcasing my meals (I use this term loosely, you’ll see why) from last Sunday. I don’t know about you, but eating on the weekends can sometimes look a lot different than a typical weekday.

During the week, I follow a pretty structured eating pattern. I make batch salads/meals to eat for lunch. Breakfast doesn’t change too much from day to day. Most of the time, I’d say I do better eating healthy during the week. Weekends tend to be for going out and enjoying restaurants and drinks with friends.

Part of the reason I wanted to share a day of weekend eating (and will probably do it again) is to once again hit home that you can’t judge a person’s diet on a snapshot of their choosing. Remember, WIAW is all about having fun and getting food inspiration, not comparing yourself to others.

Let’s roll with it…


I love sitting down and enjoying larger breakfasts on the weekend. This week, that meant scrambled eggs, leftover grilled veggies from the night before and some fresh pineapple.


Due to running some errands and being home by myself on Sunday afternoon, I didn’t really have a proper lunch (whatever that means). Instead, I snacked here and there until I was full. First up was a mango-strawberry yogurt smoothie from Red Mango. It was delicious! I also munched on some leftover guac-kale-mole from Whole Foods (you got to try that stuff!) and some trail mix from TJs.


More errands and a hungry belly meant stopping at a local restaurant for dinner. I like to eat something really enjoyable for dinner on Sunday nights. For me, it helps ease in to the next week by finishing the last one off on a high note. That night I was being festive… grilled cheese in honor of National Grilled Cheese Month.


What did you eat this week?

This Week: Fuel & Fitness + An Honest Message

I need to be honest for a minute – over the past few months maintaining this blog has been a struggle for me. Not because I don’t want to write it, but rather because I’m re-learning how to juggle life. Working, taking class and having at least a shred of a social life is tough, but worth every stressful minute.

For the first time since graduating college, I finally feel like I know what direction  I want my career to head and somewhat of a plan to get there. Creating a meaningful healthy-living blog is part of that journey for me, so I’m going to take a step back and hold myself accountable for a little less in order to hopefully move forward.

From now on, you can expect three blog posts per week: Monday (Weekly Snapshot), Wednesday  (What I Ate) and Friday (Wildcard). I’m hoping this schedule helps give me the structure I desperately need right now to move this blog forward. Enough of the serious stuff. Let’s talk about this week!

cajun fried rice from cook smarts

Cajun Fried Rice from Cook Smarts


In terms of food, this week is looking pretty typical. I’m trying to eat more protein at breakfast and right now adding a scrambled egg to my Ezekiel toast is doing the trick. This week I bought the cinnamon raisin bread – delicious!

Lunches will be salads. I find lunch to be one of the best times to load up on my veggies for the day. As for dinner, I dug back in the Cook Smarts archives to pull out a few meals for this week. One new to us recipe and two we’ve tried before and loved. Here’s what’s on the menu in case you are interested!

Monday: Greek yogurt mac n cheese with added spinach (Cook Smarts)

Tuesday: Lemon shrimp, spaghetti squash & asparagus

Wednesday: Pulled BBQ chicken tacos (Cook Smarts)

Thursday: Vegetarian summer chili (Cook Smarts)

Friday: Grilled pizza – trying this for the first time!

Weekend: Not planned yet!

Running happy outdoors

Running happy outdoors


This week I’m still focusing on building a base for my half marathon training. I’ve also been testing out the website Grokker for at-home yoga workouts. I’m hoping to try a power yoga workout this week.

Monday: At-home power yoga (Grokker)

Tuesday: 3 mile run

Wednesday: 40 minutes cross-training (elliptical or maybe another yoga video)

Thursday: 2 mile run + strength training

Friday: Live music yoga

Saturday: 3.5 mile run

Sunday: Rest/riding bike outdoors

What does your week look like?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.


If you want to be happy, be.

100 Happy Days

Scrolling through my Twitter feed this morning, I came across the 100 Happy Days challenge. I know I’ve seen the #100HappyDays hashtag being thrown across Instagram, so I decided to check it out.

The premise is this – take a picture of something that makes you happy every day for the next 100 days. Seems simple enough, right? The website says 71% of people who sign up for the challenge don’t complete it due to lack of time. No time to be happy?! That’s sad…

Generally I think of myself as a pretty happy person, but I know I tend to focus more on what will happen in the future than what’s going on in the present moment. While I know it’s important to keep my goals in mind and to keep working toward them, I signed up for the challenge as a way to help me cherish the little things (and the big things too).

My challenge starts tomorrow and you can follow my photos on Instagram if you’re interested. I’m sure some will make an appearance on the blog too. To get things started, here’s a happy moment from this weekend

Chef Jimmy Bannos from Heaven on Seven

Chef Jimmy Bannos from Heaven on Seven

Sound Off:

How do you keep yourself happy? Have you ever tried the 100 Happy Days challenge?

Recent Finds: Pinterest Workouts

Strength training has never been my strong suit (pun intended). Not because I don’t like it, but rather mostly because I can’t ever figure out what to do. Lacing up a pair of gym shoes and heading out for a run takes minimal thought.

When I was younger, I was on a competitive dance team which kept me active and strong, but it never felt like traditional exercise. I think this is why I enjoy yoga so much. I’d much rather move my whole body than use weights at the gym. Lately I’ve been searching Pinterest for workouts I can do either at home after an outdoor run or at the gym after some intervals on the treadmill.

Here’s a handful of my “must-try” pins.

30-Minute Bodyweight Interval Workout


workout of the week - nutritionella


Printable Total-Body No-Equipment Workout


What are your favorite strength training workouts?