Snack: Aaaamazing Homemade Beneficial Nut Butter

When you have seven people eating out of one fridge, getting creative about cost-savings becomes essential when it comes to snacks. At $10+ for a 12 oz. jar, feeding a family of seven a healthy treat can get expensive — fast!

Almond nut butter

Nut butter is a great to use for a quick spoon full when you feel your sugar-levels dropping. (I sometimes eat two scoops before I make dinner to hold me over until it’s time to eat.) You can use on Life Changing Crackers or even on a slice of Ezekiel Bread toast. I don’t recommend eating this (found in the freezer section in the health food area of your grocery store) sprouted grain bread more than one time a day, 3 times a week at the most. Ezekiel bread is a great transition if you are just starting to go gluten-free, but your goal should be to be off all bread if at all possible if you suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

This recipe makes about 3 small 12 oz. mason jars full.

Aaaaamazing Beneficial Nut Butter

  • Servings: About three 12-oz jars
  • Difficulty: easy
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PCOSbitesNut Butter

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 full cookie sheet of Almonds

• 1/3 cookie sheet Pre-shelled Walnuts or Pecans (whichever you have on hand)

• 2 tsp Finely Ground Pink Himalayan Salt

• 1/4 cup of Date “Sugar” (optional – leave out if going for sugar-free, but this will have a low-glycemic response compared to other sugars)

• 2 TBSP Honey (optional – leave out if going for sugar-free)

• 15 shakes of Cinnamon (a great inflammation fighter)

• 1/2 pkg of Dried Blueberries or 1/3 cup of Craisens or 1/3 cup of dried Cherries (helpful antioxidants)

 

OTHER TOOLS YOU MIGHT NEED:

• High-power mixer/blender

• Bowl

• Rubber Spatula

• Mason Jar

• Small spoon for compacting nut-butter mix into your jar as you add it.

• Knife and cutting board if you’re chopping up dried cherries into smaller bits. No knife needed if you are using dried blueberries or Craisens.

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take a large cookie sheet (the kind with a lip all the way around them) and place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of it. Pour your almonds on top of the parchment sheet, spreading as a layer so that the almonds cover the entire cookie sheet. Place in the hot oven for about 10 min. (This will heat up the almonds/walnuts/pecans and allow the oils to break down faster when you go to break them up.) Nuts for nut butter
  2. When timer goes off, remove almonds from heat transfer your almond/walnut/pecans into your high-power mixer/blender adding 3-4 shakes of cinnamon in-between scoops of nuts as you add until you get to 15-shakes of cinnamon total.
  3. Add you date sugar at this point as well so it can incorporate into the nut blend as it breaks down in your high-power mixer/blender.
  4. It will take about 15-minutes on high for the almonds to begin to turn to a nut butter state; just keep stopping periodically to scrape down the sides and keep things blending.
  5. Begin to blend your nut mix on high. Be sure to pause periodically and “scrape down sides” times and add about 15 shakes of Ground Cinnamon.
  6. It will take several minutes for your nut mix to begin to break down the oils in the nuts to the “butter” stage. You’ll begin to see it change slowly. Keep blending until the entire batch has been converted to a smooth consistency.
  7. Pour in about 2-3 TBSP Honey to preference and add your salt. Mix to incorporate everything.
  8. Pour nut butter into a bowl and fold in 1/2 pkg of dried blueberries (or any other type of add-in you prefer) until they are completely incorporated.
  9. Transfer nut butter to a canning jar or recycle your old almond butter jar. Cap with a plastic lid and place in fridge.
  10. You’re done! Put a lid on your mason jar and keep your nut butter in your fridge. It should be good for about 4-5 days (if it doesn’t get eaten before then!) Our family loves this as a little snack each day!

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Above:Beginning to turn to butter.

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Above: Almost all converted into nut butter

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(Above: Incorporate any mix-ins you desire.)

If you want to try another version, make just as directed above, but instead of blueberries, put in dried chopped cherries or Craisens and 1 tsp of Vanilla.

This recipe is refined-sugar free, gluten-free, corn-free, and lactose-free.

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First Taste: Overnight Oats

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I’ve seen these “Overnight Oats” recipes all over Pinterest and on many a blog. I would stare at the photo of a jar filled with oats, almond milk, and chia seeds and like Goldilocks and the three bears, I would scratch my head as to why it was so popular to eat a cold porridge.

Maybe it was the repetition of seeing it over and over, maybe I was just wanting to try an easy option to break up my two egg and sausage breakfast pattern, but when I saw Angela Liddon’s (Oh She Glows — ohsheglows.com ) recipe for vegan, gluten-free, no bake/raw, oil-free, refined sugar free, soy free overnight oats, I decided to give it a go.

Here’s what I put in mine:

Overnight Oats

  • Servings: 1 Mason Jar
  • Difficulty: easy
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PCOSbites

INGREDIENTS:
• 2 TBSP Chia Seeds

• 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

• 1/2 cup Gluten-Free Rolled Oats

• 3/4 cup Almond Milk

• 1/4 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Add the above ingredients to one mason jar the night before you want to eat them. Stir contents and place a lid on top and put in fridge. In the morning, stir and add more almond milk if necessary. If too runny, she recommends adding more chia seeds. I did not do 1 large banana like her recipe calls for, but that is something a type O can eat. My oat’s consistency was perfect in the morning and I added:

• 1/3 cup Blueberries (I like my blueberries frozen)

• 1 TBSP Pure Maple Syrup (optional)

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enjoy PCOSbites recipe footer

This recipe is refined-sugar free, gluten-free, corn-free, and lactose-free.

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The first time I bit into this concoction I had that split second of thinking oats should be hot, but I quickly reminded myself it is suppose to be cold and soon began to settle in and enjoy my easy breakfast. What’s more, I felt great that I got three highly beneficial foods in at the start of the day: cinnamon, blueberries and chia seeds. Here’s a breakdown of why you should be eating this several times a week if you have PCOS:

CHIA SEEDS

1 ounce (equals 28 grams or about 2 TBSP) serving of chia seeds contains:

  • Fiber: 11 grams (If you subtract the fiber, which may not end up as usable calories for the body, chia seeds only contain 101 calories per ounce.)
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s)
  • Calcium: 18% of the RDA
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDA
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA
  • They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2

Chia seeds are awesome! The fibers are mostly insoluble (95%). Insoluble fibers have been shown to aid in lowering the risk of diabetes (78910).  Chia seeds have a high content of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids — they are even better than beneficial flaxseeds! Chia seeds also contain high-quality protein with all the essential amino acids, and are an excellent plant-based protein source (29). Chia seeds contain a number of beneficial plant compounds. The main ones are listed below (121437).

  • Chlorogenic acid: An antioxidant that may lower blood pressure (3839).
  • Caffeic acid: This substance is abundant in many plant foods, and may help fight inflammation in the body (40).
  • Quercetin: A powerful antioxidant that may reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer (414243).
  • Kaempferol: An antioxidant that has been associated with decreased risk of cancer and other chronic diseases (4445).

And as you know with PCOS, gluten is not tolerated well in our body, so here’s the good news — chia seeds are gluten-free!

BLUEBERRIES

1 cup serving (148 grams) of blueberries contains:

  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Vitamin C: 24% of the RDA
  • Vitamin K: 36% of the RDA
  • Manganese: 25% of the RDA
  • It also contains small amounts of various other nutrients.

Blueberries are made up of approximately 85% water — an entire cup contains only 84 calories, with 15 grams of carbohydrates. Blueberries are believed to contain the highest antioxidant capacity of ALL commonly consumed fruits and vegetables. They protect our bodies from damage by free radicals — unstable molecules that can damage cellular structures to our DNA that create aging and contribute to diseases like cancer. What’s more, blueberries can improve cholesterol levels.  Did you know that a daily 50 gram serving of blueberries can lower LDL oxidation by 27% in obese individuals, after a period of eight weeks (17)? Another study showed that 75 grams of blueberries with a main meal significantly reduced the oxidation of LDL lipoproteins (18). Blueberries have been found to lower blood pressure. In one study, obese individuals who were high risk for heart disease had a 4-6% reduction in blood pressure, after consuming 50 grams (1.7 ounces) of blueberries per day, for eight weeks (19). Other studies have found similar effects, especially when looking at post-menopausal women (2021). Research also suggests that anthocyanins in blueberries can have extremely beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism — this is GREAT for individuals struggling with PCOS. Blueberries have also been found to help with unitary tract infections. And finally, blueberries have been found to improve memory, so if you’re experience brain fog, these are your allies in lifting that fog!  So, bottom line, eat those yummy blueberries!

CINNAMON

Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols (345). In a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon was the clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano (6). Some studies even show that the antioxidants in cinnamon have potent anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of disease (3). It reduces levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while HDL cholesterol remains stable (8).  Cinnamon can also reduce insulin resistance, helping the hormone insulin, to do its job properly (1011). First, cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal. It does this by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract (1213). Second, a compound in cinnamon can act on cells by mimicking insulin (1415). This greatly improves glucose uptake by cells, although it acts much slower than insulin itself. Numerous human trials have confirmed the anti-diabetic effects of cinnamon, showing that it can lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 10-29% (161718). Many women with PCOS who are overweight or obese, are pre-diabetic so adding cinnamon to the food you consume each day is important. The effective dose is typically 1-6 grams of cinnamon per day (around 0.5-2 teaspoons). Just make sure you use Ceylon cinnamon whenever possible for greatest benefits.

IN CONCLUSION…

If you’ve never tried, cold overnight oats, I highly encourage them – especially if you have a tendency to need to dash off to work. But per my doctor, make sure this is only eaten 1x-2x a week at the most as rolled oats can act like gluten in the body.

They can also make an easy lunch option to pack if you have a fridge you can access to work. Drop it off when you get to work and they’ll be chilled by lunch. Let me know what you think if you try these. Or if you have some mix-ins you like, feel free to share!

— Erin