Alternatives to Milk!

Almond/Hazelnut Milk: High in Calcium! Water and almonds or hazelnuts blended together and used as a milk substitute. Unsweetened, Plain Rice Milk or Soy Milk can be used as a substitute if you are allergic to nuts. Buy organic almonds because they are heavily sprayed with pesticides. I prefer to make my own almond milk, but companies such as Blue Diamond and Pacific Foods make a good unsweetened version. Be sure to use the unsweetened, plain or vanilla flavor. Available at Whole Foods Market, health food stores, Trader Joe’s or online at Blue Diamond.

Almonds are very nutritious and the least acidic of all nuts. They are high in magnesium, manganese, copper, arginine, potassium, vitamins E and B2, fiber and tryptophan. They also contain high amounts of monounsaturated fat, which reduces the risk of heart disease. Almonds provide a high level of energy to our bodies. No wonder why they are often in trail mix!

Almonds come in both sweet and bitter. The sweet is most palatable. The bitter is used to make liqueurs and almond oil/extract. Raw organic almonds are the healthiest form. Nuts have an enzyme inhibitor, which make them difficult to digest. However, if you soak the raw almonds in fresh water for 12 hours and then drain them, this will break down the inhibitor making them much easier to digest. This process does make the texture a bit softer. If you are an advocate of eating raw, eat them as is-which is the healthiest. If you really need that crunch, you can heat them in a 350 degree oven until golden brown and crunchy again. For flavor, sprinkle with fine sea salt or spray with tamari (wheat-free soy sauce).

See recipe of the week page on this blog site for Fried Chicken using Almond Milk in place of Buttermilk! Learn to make your own Almond Milk too!

Hemp Milk, Sunflower Milk and Flaxseed Milk are all good too. See article on dairy alternatives for more information.

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Nuts about Coconuts!

Have you ever had the pleasure of eating a fresh Thai coconut? The first time I enjoyed one was in Costa Rica, and I thought I was in heaven. It has a sweet, soft, gelatinous flesh surrounded by refreshingly clear water with the exotic taste of coconut! Delicious!

Did you know coconuts have lots of health benefits?

Coconut milk: Coconut milk is the combination of coconut water and coconut oil. Light is available which has half the fat and calories of regular. Coconut water is very hydrating due to naturally occurring electrolytes, enzymes and vitamins; and is used in place of blood plasma in some countries. The water filters itself through the tree for nine months which makes it a sterile source of hydration. Coconut milk contains No Trans fat or cholesterol, and actually helps to balance cholesterol levels. Some sources recommend it be eaten in moderation, and others say it’s abundant with healthy properties including breaking up accumulated fats in the system and metabolize them. This oil contains the highest amount of lauric acid next to mother’s milk, which is anti-viral and anti-microbial! See website links for more information.

Coconut oil: Coconut oil is a raw saturated fat containing mostly medium-chain fatty acids, which the body can metabolize efficiently and convert to energy quickly. The refined coconut oil has a more neutral flavor than the unrefined which has a distinctive coconut flavor. See website links for more information.

According to recent scientific studies coconut can be beneficial for heart disease,lower cholesterol is anti-microbial/anti-viral.

http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/coconut-oil-studies.html

Another publshised articles shows that coconut is rich in antioxidants/anti-aging, promotes thyroid function, promotes weight loss and protects against cancer.

http://www.aja.org.br/oleos/coconut_oil_good_saturated_fat.pdf

Many recipes contain coconut milk in my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem, available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in mid-June 2009.  See Recipe of the week on this blog site for a Strawberry/Fruit Smoothie containing coconut milk!

Enjoy and Be Well, Lauren