This personal choice has to do with a few things:
- Dairy is an inflammatory food, which causes inflammation in the body, and inflammation is at the root of most (if not all) illnesses and diseases that we experience.
- Most farming practices are vey unethical, including harm, distress and abuse to the cows, as well as the use of growth hormones, antibiotics and steroids, all to increase milk production while falsely keeping the cow “healthy” enough to do so. All of these chemicals then end up in our cartons of milk, and drinking milk from a sick, distressed cow filled with hormones, antibiotics and steroids does not sound all that appetizing to me.
- Dairy is a common food allergy, and although it may not cause extreme allergies in all people, it can be linked to an increase in mucous, digestive upset, inflammation, slowed digestion and decreased energy.
- I like homemade nut milks.
*Disclaimer: I understand that some people may thrive off organic, raw, local dairy, feeling really satiated and energized by it, and I support that. However, I do believe that dairy is not for everyone.
So, now that we have that out of the way, we can get on to the good stuff.
Nut milks are a GREAT WAY to swap out dairy without missing out on any of the fun. The thing we have to be careful about (like we always do) is unwanted ingredients and unnecessary sweeteners that often occur in packaged, store-bought foods. But because making homemade nut milk is super easy, we can just skip the need to memorize the list of hard-to-pronounce harmful additives and just make nut milk ourselves!
Do you have a blender? Great, then you can do this!
1 cup of nuts (almonds, cashews, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, brazil nuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, etc…)
4 cups (preferably filtered) water
Sweetener of choice (this can be a few pitted medjool dates (which can be soaked to soften), 1-2 tablespoons raw honey, 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, or no sweetener at all).
*Note about sweetener – this is going to be based on preference, as some people enjoy their nut milks much sweeter then others, so experiment and adjust to your preference.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (for chocolate milk)
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
There are some great recipes on the Food Matters website that incorporate a lovely mix of ingredients.
Place all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. In my vitamix, this usually takes about 2 minutes, but each blender is different. Be careful not to overheat your machine, allowing it breaks if necessary.
*Note about consistency – to make a creamier milk, simply cut down on water or increase amount of nuts.
If your blender is not a super-powered machine, it is not a problem! You can soak your nuts overnight to soften them up, usually about 8 hours. Discard the soaking water, rinse the nuts, and then blend as needed.
To get a smoother feel, you may want to strain the pulp out of your blended nut milk (a step that I never do but wanted to let you know about). You can purchase a nut milk bag or simply use a cheese cloth and a colander to strain out pulp.
Store your homemade nut milk in a jar in the fridge and it will stay good for about 4-5 days (although I am sure it won’t last that long). Use your nut milk in smoothies, soups, desserts, for baking, or in any other way you would use regular dairy milk.
And please, share any delicious recipe ideas in the comments below!
with a love for being nutty,