Almond milk was one of the first foods I introduced when I began to transition to a whole-foods diet. The taste is mild and gentle compared to soy and rice alternatives so I found it an easy switch. I originally bought it from the grocery store with my focus always on organic and unsweetened varieties. However, I was disappointed to see additives even in those organic brands, which is why I started making my own. When you make your own you can control what goes into it and that means no artificial sweeteners and thickeners like starches and carrageenan. Carrageenan is a 'more natural' food stabilizer that has been shown to irritate the digestive tract and hinder proper motility in large doses. When you are able make your own almond milk you also know the product is unpasteurized (provided you use raw, spanish almonds). This means the product has not been heated to increase shelf life and the enzymatic properties of the almonds still exist so your body will be able to better utilize the vitamins and nutrients in the nut.
- Almonds are amazing! They are a great source of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce oxidative stress (cell damage) within our bodies. Oxidative stress has been linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, and asthma. This protective action is also seen in the reduction of ultraviolet light damage when vitamin E is applied topically to the skin.
- Like olive oil, almonds also contain a high concentration of monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Almond Milk Ingredients:
1 cup unpasteurized almonds, soaked overnight and rinsed
4 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey (optional)
Combine the almonds and half the water in a high-speed blender for two minutes or until almost smooth. Strain through a nut bag or layered cheese cloth and sieve. Gently squeeze out the liquid and add remaining water, vanilla, and maple syrup. You can save the leftover almond pulp for another recipe. Consume almond milk within 4-5 days.