For years, all talk of “milk” has meant “dairy milk.” Addictively creamy and subtly sweet, the calcium-rich stuff has been a diet staple for people who want to look after their bone health for decades. But while dairy milk comes with its fair share of nutrients, consuming it isn’t totally risk-free. Besides being a no-go for those with lactose intolerances and allergies, dairy milk can also contribute to high cholesterol, acne, and various cancers. Lactose, the naturally-occurring sugar in dairy, can also spike blood sugar levels and lead to diabetes.
But if you love milk, who can blame you? Not only is it tasty on its own, it’s also an important ingredient in so many of our beloved foodstuff. So what do you do if you can’t give it up? Well, as with everything, there are always better-for-you alternatives. Our favorite so far: the ultra smooth, nutty, and easy-to-make almond milk!
WHY SWITCH TO ALMOND MILK?
Now, almonds themselves come with plenty of benefits: they’re packed with anti-inflammatory healthy fats, digestion-assisting fiber, and muscle-building protein. Homemade almond milk, meanwhile, contains just as much calcium and vitamin D as its dairy counterpart, minus the saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, and sugar. Plus, it’s also lower in calories, averaging just 60 calories per 8oz. serving vs. cow’s milk’s at 90 to 130 calories.
However, almonds by themselves are still superior to almond milk. After all, much of the protein and fiber stays in the almond pulp after the nuts have been “churned” into milk. Keep in mind if you munch on almonds to load up those!
Overall, almond milk has proven itself a viable option for those who want to cut back on dairy, either for health and/or ethical reasons. Pre-packaged almond milk, though a little pricier than dairy milk, could be a great new addition to your diet. Just remember to scan their ingredients’ lists for any harmful additives!
HOW TO MAKE ALMOND MILK AT HOME
Of course, if you want to be extra sure that everything that goes into your almond milk is 100% pure, you can always try making a fresh batch at home. It’s so easy, we did it ourselves in our little pantry. Here’s everything you’ll need:
This recipe makes 32oz. or 1L of almond milk
- 350g raw almonds
- 3-4 cups pure filtered water
- A blender or food processor
- A cheesecloth or any fine cloth towel
- A strainer
- A large bowl
- A container for storage
STEP 1: Soak almonds in water for 12 hours or overnight, if possible. This not only helps the almonds soften up, it also breaks down the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors in them to make it all easier to digest. Plus, this step makes the finished almond milk extra creamy!
STEP 2: After soaking, drain the almonds and rinse them well.
STEP 3: Transfer the softened almonds into your blender or food processor. Fill the container up with water and any optional flavorings you want to add.
STEP 4: Blend everything together until you achieve your desired level of smoothness or creaminess. You may add more water if necessary.
STEP 5: Strain the blended mixture with a cheesecloth (or any fine cloth towel on hand) to separate the almond “milk” from its pulp. If necessary, strain twice to get rid of any stray solids in the milk.
STEP 6: Transfer the milk to your chosen container, and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Be sure to check on it frequently as homemade almond milk can spoil quickly under the wrong conditions!
OTHER NUT MILKS TO TRY
Of course, if you’re sensitive or allergic to almonds, then this recipe is not for you. Consider trying out other plant-based or nut milks instead! Pili nuts are a good option if you’re in the market for something ultra creamy and more affordable than almonds. Cashews can also be turned into milk using the same process outlined above. Plus, the end-product is a great base for non-dairy cheese, if you want to experiment with that!
So, will you be giving almond milk a swig?
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