Nuts for Nut Milks
Nut Milks!? Make your own? Are you nuts? That’s what I used to think. I thought people were kind of Nuts for Nut Milks. I read the ingredients, and decided that there was too much nothing for the calories and the fat to be worth my time. I went Nuts for Nut Milk in the wrong way. I silently chuckled at how many friends rushed to order soy milk lattes thinking it was better than plain old milk. The stuff in boxes is just not that much better than cow milk.
Yesterday, with the right music and the right video everything changed. I think I can now be classed Nuts for Nut Milk! On top of everything else, nuts have an anti-inflammatory property that just makes it all the better. I have spent the last 4 hours on nut milk. Researching, writing and making some fun images for this post. The simple recipe couldn’t be easier and I bought no special bag for it. You can, I just didn’t. Yet. I am suddenly nuts over nut milk. When I was in nutrition school, my fellow foodies were all talking about making your own nut milk. You had to buy a nut milk bag, but it was super easy and super good. I don’t even like milk, can’t stand soy milk, and almond milk doesn’t have enough protein to make me want it as a milk substitute. That’s how MY thinking went.
And then it happened. I watched a video showing how to make a slightly flavored almond milk. With just the right music, I watched it in awe.
The basics are so easy it’s ridiculous.
1 cup raw nuts
3 cups water (some say hot water makes creamier milk. have yet to try it)
dash of salt
honey, maple syrup or other natural sweetener
Place nuts in a large bowl and add water to cover by 2”. Let stand at least 12 hours (this is key for silky, nongritty results; the longer the nuts soak, the smoother the milk will be).
Drain nuts; discard soaking liquid. Rinse Nuts and put in power blender with water.
Purée nuts, water (hot water yields creamier milk) high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing down on solids; discard nut pulp or put aside. Thin nut milk with water as necessary to reach desired consistency.
Add any optional ingredients. I love the lightly refreshing taste of a teaspoon vanilla and cinnamon.
Transfer to airtight container and chill until cold.
I did a bit of research on who was doing what with DIY recipes for home made goods that are better for you and better tasting that store bought. There is a huge difference in taste and quality. The reason more natural foods are also more expensive: Better. More nutritious. Made in smaller batches. When I think about it, I ponder whether its a simple bit of math. The more love and the less preservatives
Cultures for Health offers some fantastic recipes including this most basic nut milk recipe:
Cultures for Health Homemade recipes
Wendy Myers is a health coach like me — and evidently went to the same school for she has the same CHHC behind her name. She also does some kind of functional nutrititional diagnositcs and promotes a Mineral Power program which I know NOTHING about and am not promoting. (fair warning – I don’t have a clue whether it is worth the $399 she charges, but it is sure interesting.) Anyway, Here’s what Wendy says:
Wendy Myers on Nut Milk
On Nutrition Stripped, a wonderful blog about the facts on nutrition, the blogger writes on all kinds of nutrition things. It takes after a focus of mine on myth versus fact about foods, health and nutrition. Here is what she says:
Nut milks are simply non-dairy containing milks made out of 1) filtered water, 2) nut or seed of your choice, and 3) possible flavor additions. Nut milks are a perfect way to still enjoy the versatility of cows milk without the dairy proteins involved (which are typically the cause of inflammation/allergic reactions); it’s easier on digestion, tastes great, humane, environmentally sustainable, easy to make, affordable, and did I mention tastes great? Yes, well it’s delicious!
For many, trying to figure out what to do about milk is a tough one. I grew up allergic to milk and living on soy milk, which I hate to this day. There is very little that gets me to drink it. But milk is not good. Inevitably, I can drink a glass or eat some yogurt with no trouble. The problem comes in when I fail to limit myself to ‘just a little bit’. Now, I don’t like the taste of soy milk, but it’s also heavily processed and has added stuff that makes the body unhappy. And the same for most processed milks and milk alternatives. The biggest culprit is the Carageenan — a substance we see on so many labels that we fail to remember it’s a chemical. But what food naturally contains carageenan?
What’s Carrageenan? Here you go, straight from Wikipedia:
Carrageenans or carrageenins are a family of linear sulphated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. They are widely used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. Their main application is in dairy and meat products, due to their strong binding to food proteins. There are three main varieties of carrageenan, which differ in their degree of sulphation. Kappa-carrageenan has one sulphate group per disaccharide.
So it is from a plant. BUT it’s not just a plant. I’ts a heavily processed extract of a plant. That’s the difference. There is a movement amongst the organic authorities to have carageenen removed from foods. In the meantime, here’s a great chart on how to avoid it even in organic foods:
My bottom line on milks is this: If you feel bloated, get headaches, cramps, or brain fog — look into your foods. If you have these symptoms, check not only for food allergy, but consider chemical sensitivity. We ALL have some sensititivy. But when the body and mind start to revolt, if you can catch it sooner, with a change in your diet, you can conquer the beginning of some more serious problems. Doctor’s don’t tell you about it because they probably don’t know. They are trained to treat disease after the fact. Nutrition experts try to work with doctors, but doctors don’t always listen. So — you alone can take control of what you put into your body.
Nuts! It’s really nuts! But you can do some simple, fast things that amp up your health and help you live better now.