17 Feb 2016

GLORIOUS DAIRY-FREE CHOCOLATE MILK


When I was a kid I loved chocolate milk. At my elementary school there would be special lunches once a month or something, and we'd get to choose between pizza and sushi for food, and plain milk or chocolate milk for a drink. I always chose chocolate milk, and usually pizza, until I grew up a little and thought I was really sophisticated by choosing sushi... that sophisticated imitation crab meat. The chocolate milk came in a plastic cup with a sealed tin foil lid, so you'd break the tin foil with a straw then drink up the sweet nectar inside and all was well because life was simple back then. Now life is overwhelmingly complicated but chocolate milk is still amazing, I just make it myself and don't use dairy (leave cow milk to the baby cows). 

Everything I remember about chocolate milk, everything I loved about it, it's all in this vegan recipe. Same story for chocolate milkshakes; I can make a super healthy vegan version that keeps all the things in it I remember loving and none of the things that I've realized are nasty as I've gotten older. I think what it comes down to is sweetness, chocolately-ness and creaminess. Sweetness is easy: use some dates, coconut sugar or maple syrup. Chocolately-ness is also pretty effortless: throw in a heap of cacao powder or cocoa powder. And even the creaminess factor isn't difficult to create: just take advantage of nuts, coconut and bananas. When considering going vegan, or even contemplating veganism without an interest in trying it, I imagine a lot of folks think it's a diet wherein you have to give up all your favourite foods and live off bland lettuce for the rest of your days. This isn't true. Your food options are vast, flavourful, juicy, sweet, salty, meaty, creamy, whatever you want them to be. The fact is: whatever kinds of foods you like, there are vegan versions. I enjoy making up my own recipes inspired by things I loved when I was younger, before I took animal products out of my diet, and I like making the recipes with whole foods because then not only do they taste great, they give me energy too. Having said that, if you wanna go vegan, you don't have to be a healthy vegan, you can do whatever you want. I'm not here to police your food choices. The kinds of vegan foods you eat are not relevant to the environmentalist and animal justice motivations you might be going vegan for in the first place.

When I first became vegan I felt a pressure within the community to conform to a very specific, traditionally-gendered, restrictive body type: thin, fit, glowing and healthy all thanks to my veganism. The implication was that if you were a fat vegan, you were a bad vegan. Or if you got sick a lot, it must be because you weren't doing veganism right. I was caught up in this way of thinking for so long, until the past couple years I started learning about body positivity and deeper ways of self-love. Veganism is not the ultimate answer to solve this world's problems, it's a channel of activism that can play an important role along with other activisms in dismantling the corrupt, oppressive system we all live under and within. Going vegan only in order to lose weight or get fit because of cultural and media pressure seems like a hollow reason when compared with its other tangible effects. You will be lessening your greenhouse gas footprint immensely since animal agriculture makes up 18-51% of all greenhouse gas emissions. You will be making an important step towards ending the needless abuse and killing of animals, and mistreatment of workers in the meat and dairy industry. Being thin doesn't mean you're healthy, being fat doesn't mean you're unhealthy. Live the life that makes you happy and whatever body that gives you, love it. We are all people, deserving of love, respect and freedom and our worth should not be dependant on our weight or how well we conform to binary gender norms. So please: go vegan if it's an option, and eat whatever you want. X


DAIRY-FREE CHOCOLATE MILK

4 cups water
1 heaping tablespoon cacao powder
1 heaping tablespoon carob powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
1/4 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup raw almonds (preferably soaked in water overnight, then rinsed)
1/2 teaspoon Reishi mushroom powder (optional) 
Pinch Himalayan salt

Blend everything together until very smooth. Adjust according to taste: add more dates, nuts, cacao, etc. Strain through a cheese cloth or nut milk bag, then I like to let mine sit in the fridge to chill (in a covered jar). Enjoy!

NOTES: If you don't have a cheese cloth or nut milk bag, use 3 tablespoons of almond butter (or any nut or seed butter) instead of almonds. You can use vanilla extract instead of vanilla powder. You can use any sweetener instead of dates (ex. maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar). 

Did you like this post? Then *subscribe to my blog* and get all my posts by email!