Chicory Almond Milk Latte (Vegan & Caffeine-Free)

I recently did a 3-week cleanse, eliminating all gluten, dairy, added-sugar (including alcohol) and caffeine from my diet. In the end, caffeine (or the lack there of) seemed to make the biggest impact on my mental and physical sense of well-being. It’s not that I was drinking 5+ cups of coffee a day–in fact, I rarely had more than one–but as someone who is admittedly type A and stress-prone, the stimulant effect of caffeine was doing more harm than good.

Without caffeine I fall asleep faster, wake up feeling more rested and have far fewer spikes in anxiety throughout the day.

That being said, I’m someone who loves a latte from time to time and while decaf espresso is better than regular, it still contains caffeine. Everything in moderation, I still intend to have my decaf almond milk latte’s from Whole Foods every now and again, but on a more regular basis I’ve devised a delicious caffeine-free alternative loaded with superfoods.

Here are the highlights of three nutrient-dense ingredients in my caffeine-free, vegan latte:

Chicory Root:

  • detoxifying coffee-substitute
  • naturally caffeine-free
  • antimicrobial and antifungal properties
  • phenolic antioxidants  help reduce inflammation and prevent disease

The taste isn’t a dead ringer for coffee, but as someone who loves(/d) black coffee it comes pretty darn close.


  • regulates blood sugar
  • reduces LDL cholesterol
  • anti-inflammatory properties which reduce cytokines linked to arthritic pain
  • reduces chronic inflammation linked with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors and meningitis
  • alleviates menstrual pain
  • may be effective for infertility because it contains cinnamaldehyde, which studies show increases the hormone progesterone and decreases testosterone production in women

Coconut Oil

  • contains lauric acid (a medium chain triglyceride or MCT) which increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels
  • rich in antioxidants, which helps boost immunity
  • when MCT breaks down helps liver break down fats and increase metabolism
  • may help regulate blood sugar and reduce abdominal fat

Chicory Almond Milk Latte

Vegan Caffeine-Free Latte

What You’ll Need:

{makes 2 servings}

  • 1 Tbs chicory root tea
  • 10-oz water
  • 8-oz unsweetened almond milk (see recipe for my Homemade Almond Milk below)
  • 2 medjool dates
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp each ground cloves, nutmeg, cardamon and white pepper

How to Make It:

  1. Steep 1 tablespoon of roasted chicory root tea in 10-oz of boiling water for 3-5 minutes.
  2. In a blender, add 8-oz unsweetened almond milk, 2 medjool dates (pits removed), 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and all the spices.
  3. Once tea is steeped, add tea to blender and blend on high for 1 minute until frothy.
  4. Serve in two coffee mugs with a dash of cinnamon or cocoa powder on top.

Note: if you like your lattes extra hot, give this a nuke in the microwave for 30-40 seconds or heat your almond milk on the stovetop in advance of putting it in the blender.

Homemade Almond Milk

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 4 cups filtered water

How to Make It:

  1. Add almonds and water to blender and mix on high until smooth.
  2. Optional: strain liquid through cheese cloth to remove any pith.

Note: You can also add 1 tsp of vanilla extract to make it an unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

Q&A: Dairy vs. Non-Dairy Milk, The Calcium Showdown

Source: English Tea Blog by A.C. Cargill
A good friend of mine, recently got in touch to say she loved my Greenie recipes but was used to making her morning smoothies with skim milk or Greek yogurt. What follows is the a little MOARyoga Q&A and the first in an ongoing series of Nutrition FAQs that will appear on my blog over time. Let the edification begin!

(Q): Is almond milk or rice milk healthier than skim milk? And is there still calcium in those?

(A): I prefer almond milk and almond milk yogurt due to my dairy allergy.

Soy and rice milk are also common alternatives used in smoothies. I like almond milk because it has less calories and more vitamin E than the others. Plus, given the debate surrounding the pros and cons of soy products, I tend to steer clear of soy milk.

In terms of calcium, our RDA (that’s “recommended daily allowance” in nutrition vernacular) is between 1000-1300 mg. Here’s a little breakdown per 8 oz serving:

  • Skim milk: 300 mg
  • Soy milk: 50 mg
  • Almond milk: 2 mg
  • Rice milk: 1 mg

On its own, milk is clearly the winner when it comes to being a natural source of dietary calcium, so if it agrees with your system I say stick to skim or 1% milk (just be sure it is fortified with Vitamin D which your body needs in order to absorb this important mineral). If you’re trying to cut back on calories, fortified almond milk is the way to go because it will save you about 50 calories per serving. Whether you’re watching your calories or you suffer from lactose-intolerance like myself, after fortification cow, soy, almond and rice milk are pretty much equivalent to milk (and sometimes surpass it) in calcium and vitamin D concentrations, delivering about 30% of your daily need for calcium and 25-45% of vitamin D per serving. Just make sure you shake the carton because these fortified nutrients tend to settle at the bottom (precipitation).

I’m a fan of Almond Breeze and Silk‘s PureAlmond unsweetened vanilla almond milks. Most brands will come in both the small, rectangular cartons (which are not refrigerated in grocery stores but need to be once opened) and the bigger pour cartons that should be available in your grocer’s dairy section.

If you have a question you’d like to submit for a future MOARyoga Q&A post, contact me at I’d love to hear from you!

My Top 5 Green Smoothie Recipes

It’s officially Cherry Blossom season here in the District, which means spring (real spring, not teaser spring) is just around the corner! To honor the onset of my favorite time of year in DC, I thought I’d share 5 of my favorite “Greenie”recipes. My Greenies are healthy vegan  smoothies that bring together fruit, dark leafy greens, plant-based protein and nutritional superfoods in one tasty and satisfying blend. At under 400 calories for 16oz of smoothie (that’s two full glasses!), all of these recipes are are great way to start your day. They’re also packed with dietary fiber (thanks to the flaxseed and chia seeds in there) and protein to keep you full and focused. Best of all, they have anywhere from 3 to 5 servings of fruits and veggies so by the end of breakfast you’ll have either met or surpassed your recommended daily intake. Now, that’s no excuse to eat junk for the rest of the day, but it is mighty nice to know that you’re giving your body much of what it needs for optimal function from the get-go. Also, studies show that if you start your day with a healthy breakfast you’re less likely to be obese, more likely to have good/stable blood glucose levels (and consequently more energy and less moodiness), and less likely to be hungry later in the day.

If you’re not a fan of almond milk substitute your favorite unsweetened rice, hemp, soy, coconut or skim milk, or try fat-free plain Greek, soy or coconut yogurt in lieu of almond milk yogurt. Coconut water is another good liquid to swap, just beware of its sugar content. Several brands really jack that up. My favorites are Blue Monkey, C2O, and–la crème de la crème–100% Raw Coconut Water.



(1) Banana-Berry Breakfast Greenie:

  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen whole strawberries
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 tbs almond butter
  • 2 tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

287 calories, 14g of dietary fiber, and 10g protein per serving.

(2) Blueberry-Kale Protein Greenie:

312 calories, 22g of dietary fiber, and 27g of protein per serving.

(3) Blueberry-Beet Power Greenie:

  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 medium beets (boiled)
  • 1 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 tbs grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbs hemp protein powder
  • 2 tbs ground flaxseed

319 calories, 21g of dietary fiber, and 25g of protein per serving.

(4) Pineapple-Mango Vitamin-C Greenie:

  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple
  • 2 handfuls of kale
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

341 calories, 13g of dietary fiber, and 10g of protein per serving.

(5) Dark Cherry Goji Greenie:

381 calories, 21g of dietary fiber, and 25g of protein per serving.

10-Day Cleanse: Smoothies

Here are the recipes you’ll need for breakfast, days 1 through 4 of my 10-Day Cleanse.

Blueberry Beet Smoothie w/ Ginger:

Amy’s 10-Day (Moderate) Cleanse: Breakfast, Days 1 and 2

To Make: Blend together 1-2 medium raw beet (cleaned with skin on, roughly chopped), 1 cup frozen wild blueberries, 1 tbs grated fresh ginger, 2 tbs fresh lemon juice, 1 cup water, and a handful of ice. (Optional: substitute half of that water for a 1/2 cup almond milk)

  • This energizing smoothie is bound to put some pep in your step. The blueberries boast a high concentration of antioxidants and the raw beets are full of folate, vitamin B, and fiber.

Pineapple Banana Kale Smoothie:

Amy’s 10-Day (Moderate) Cleanse: Breakfast, Days 3 and 4

To Make: Blend together 1 cup fresh pineapple (cubed), 1 banana, 2-3 kale leaves (chopped with stems removed), 2 tbs ground flaxseed, 1 cup water, and a handful of ice. (Optional: substitute half of that water for a 1/2 cup almond milk)

  • This powerful smoothie is not only naturally sweet, but packed with dietary fiber, two powerful antioxidants (carotenoids and flavonoids) that are proven to help prevent cancer, and vitamins A, K and C.

Keep in mind this is a cleanse, so while these will taste refreshing and healthy they won’t be as sweet as a typical smoothie. If you are really struggling, try adding in the optional almond milk and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or raw honey to these recipes–with the sweeteners these would also be great non-cleanse smoothies too.

Blueberry Banana Muffins

If you liked my healthy Banana Bran Muffins, you’re going to love these Blueberry Banana Muffins. Like that recipe, this one is made dairy-free by substituting banana for oil or butter, and almond milk for yogurt or cow’s milk. If you don’t have lactose issues I’d skip the almond milk substitution and use non-fat, plain Greek yogurt for a slight protein boost.

These muffins are easy to make, friendly on your waistline, and yummy to boot. Three of my fabulous lady friends tried them out a few weekends ago and can attest that they’re a mighty tasty alternative to the traditional blueberry muffin which can pack a serious caloric punch at an average of 450 calories a pop. Mine will set you back less than 1/3 of that.


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • ¼ cup agave or honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas (mashed)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen wild blueberries

How to Make Them:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F; spray 12-muffin pan with oil or line with fun paper liners
  2. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flours and almond meal, baking soda and powder, and salt)
  3. In a separate, large bowl (or KitchenAid mixer if you have one), vigorously whisk together sugar and eggs. Add in your mashed banana, almond milk, and vanilla extract)
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing as you go
  5. Once combined, gently fold blueberries into batter until just combined
  6. Fill each of the muffin pockets 2/3 full; bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean

Try them out for yourself and let me know what you think!