Many individuals are avoiding dairy milk for various health or environmental reasons. As a result, there are now so many options for non-dairy milk alternatives on the supermarket shelves, including soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk and oat milk. It is fantastic that there are many available alternatives, however, it pays to read the labels carefully as many of them may not be as healthy as you think!
Why make your own?
- Reduce sugar: Many commercial non-dairy milk alternatives are sweetened with sugar. Making your own means you can either add your own healthy sweetener or keep it completely unsweetened.
- Avoid additives: When you make your own you are avoiding the nasty additives which are found in commercial brands. One of these additives is carrageenan, an extract from red edible seaweed. It sounds harmless but it has actually been found to be highly inflammatory, destructive to the digestive system and void of any nutritional value. If you want to read more about carrageenan then check out this link.
- Reduce soy consumption: Soy contains high amount of phytoestrogens which can cause oestrogen dominance when consumed in high amounts. It can also impair the functioning of the thyroid, lowering metabolism. If you currently consume soy milk as your dairy-free milk alternative, making your own nut milk will reduce your level of soy intake, positively impacting your health.
- It is cheaper: The amount of almonds you are actually getting in store bought almond milk is very minimal, about 2%. It is cheaper to make your own (especially if you buy your nuts in bulk) and will contain a lot more almonds and therefore nutrients!
- Reduces waste: Making your own decreases the amount of waste you create by eliminating the need for packaging. So many wins!
I used to drink a lot of almond milk. I stockpiled cartons and cartons of the stuff to put into my daily smoothie. Then one day, it occurred to me...why am I buying so much of this stuff when I can blitz it up in two minutes in the Thermomix?!
And so, I started making my own and it was so easy! I must admit, these days I am a little lazy and tend to just throw soaked nuts straight into the smoothie and skip the straining part!
Making your own almond milk is easy! All it takes is some almonds, water, a blender, strainer and a little preparation.
ALMOND MILK RECIPE
- 1 cup almonds
- 4 cups water (plus water for soaking)
- Sweetener, such as maple syrup, soaked dates or honey (optional)
1. Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with water. Make sure you cover them well as they expand quite a bit. Let them soak overnight.
2. Drain and rinse the almonds in a colander with fresh water.
3. Put the almonds into a blender and add 4 cups of filtered water. Blend on the highest speed for approximately 2 minutes.
4. Strain the almond milk by placing a nut milk bag over a jug and then pouring the liquid into the bag. (If you don't have a nut milk bag you can place a piece of cheesecloth over a strainer). Close the nut milk bag and squeeze the almond meal to extract as much of the nut milk as possible. You can use the leftover almond meal to make cakes, crackers, muffins or bliss balls. I often freeze it until I am ready to use in baking.
5. Return almond milk to blender and add sweetener if using.
6. Pour into a glass jar or sealed jug and refrigerate. Will keep for approximately 5 days. Use it in smoothies, baking, hot drinks or with your morning granola.