Almond Milk…. because I have my own reasons for not drinking conventional milk, even when it’s Organic. Instead of getting on my soapbox (for too long) I figured I could at least share my alternative (nut milk) ideas.
Today, I’m talking about Almond Milk (& not the kind you buy in a box in the store full of ingredients you can’t pronounce.)
I made my first batch of homemade Almond Milk this weekend and it really was super easy.
Now, you can also buy Almond Milk packaged on the shelf at most grocery stores but even though it is labeled as “Almond Milk” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a minute to read the ingredient list. One of the most common additive in all nut milks and soy milks is Carageenan. A chemical derived from seaweed that helps to keep the almond milk combined so that it appears more like milk. This additive has been shown to be harmful and should be avoided at all costs. Without adding carageenan the product will separate and will need to be mixed together again before using. but don’t worry…. there is a great alternative available…. No need to add anything to your homemade nut milks…. just do one thing each time before using. Shake or stir to recombine all the ingredients together, it’s as easy as that!
“Although derived from a natural source, carrageenan appears to be particularly destructive to the digestive system, triggering an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella. The result:
“Carrageenan predictably causes inflammation, which can lead to ulcerations and bleeding,” explains veteran carrageenan researcher Joanne Tobacman, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Chicago. She says the food ingredient irritates by activating an immune response that dials up inflammation. Her previous work showed a concerning connection between carrageenan and gastrointestinal cancer in lab animals, and she’s involved with ongoing research funded through the National Institutes of Health that is investigating carrageenan’s effect on ulcerative colitis and other diseases like diabetes.
The concern over food-grade carrageenan isn’t new. Beginning in the 1960s, researchers started linking the ingredient to gastrointestinal disease in lab animals, including ulcerative colitis, intestinal lesions, and colon cancer.”
Don’t forget, if it is a packaged and shelf-stable food, it will be required to include additional additives to maintain it’s shelf life… not for your benefit, but for the benefit of the company’s profits.
Also, always be cautious of brands that are not labeled as organic for they may contain GMO additives or equally as harmful pesticides. Carageenan is one of the most commonly used additives in Nut Milk due to its gelling, thickening and stabilizing properties, used to make them creamier and have the appearance of “real milk”. However, recent research has shown that Carageenan, an additive in most …soy/nut/rice “milk” products, is not digestible, has no nutritional value, and is linked to gastrointestinal inflammation. Read this article and the excerpt above for more information.
So, getting off my soapbox now… always read your labels and be cautious of additives,…. and be aware of the fact that even the most health conscious of companies still have to put something in it to make it last on the shelf, just be aware of what it is! Eat raw, fresh, homemade ingredients whenever possible so you know exactly what is going into your food and most importantly your body!
- 1 cup raw, blanched almonds
- 4 cups clean filtered water
- – vitamix or any high powered blender
- – large airtight glass jar
- – optional flavoring: vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, dates(pitted) for sweetness
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN NUT MILK
1. Buy raw organic (blanched) almonds (in bulk if possible, its much cheaper!)…. This recipe works with all types of nuts by the way, and I’ve heard that postachio milk is one of the best!
2. Soak ….1cup Almonds in the fridge for at least 2 hours in filtered water… it works best if you have time to soak them overnight for at least 8 hours in an airtight container (I use a mason jar).
3. Blend! ….(I use a Vitamix but you can do this with your normal kitchen blender too) – – – Blend 1cup almonds with 3-4cups filtered water. (or you can half the recipe if you don’t need much)
4. Strain…. into a mixing bowl using a mesh strainer to remove all the small bits. (you might have to do this step a couple of times depending on how smooth you like your milk!) & store in a glass container thats easy to pour, in the fridge for up to a week!
If you like sweeter or more flavorful nut milks you can always get creative and add a bit extra to the mix before blending. I like to add some flavor for milk that I might be adding to my coffee. Ideas include pitted dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract or cacao powder if you want to make it chocolate!
So good! & So easy!
Store in an airtight (GLASS) container in the fridge for up to a week!