Alternative Milk Made from Nuts or Seeds

When I got diagnosed with a dairy sensitivity 15 years ago, I had no problem giving up milk. At first the alternatives had a thinner, watery texture to me, but I got use to them. I did not mind the taste of most of them. Well, alternative milks have come a long way in 15 years, and there are a lot more to choose from now. I also love coconut milk and sometimes I add an organic can or homemade coconut milk from a Thai coconut to my nut or seed milk to thicken it, but not every week.

That said, have you read the ingredients on the labels of these milks? First of all, nuts are heavily sprayed with pesticide if they are not organic. I go to great lengths to eat organic so I don’t want to drink hidden pesticides or possible GMO’s that are not labeled. I certainly do not like the added oils either. The only oils I choose to eat are coconut, olive, grapeseed and avocado. Oils to avoid because they cause damage in our bodies for various reasons are: canola, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed. I could write an article on each one of these oils, but you just need to know that they are either toxic or cause health problems or do not have the necessary ratio of omega for our bodies optimal health! To learn more you can go to hear Dr. Tel-Oren at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUS5j39cnFE

Finally, I don’t like the added vitamins(don’t know quality or quantity needed), and many people are sensitive to the thickeners such as carageenan and xanthan gum.

So, what do we do? Make or own and control what you want to consume! Mine only contains raw nuts or seeds and good quality water, then you choose what else to add such as: sweetener of your choice, gluten-free vanilla, Himalayan sea salt etc…

You can find many youtube videos on how to make nut or seed milk. It is important to buy organic raw nuts because once nuts are heated the oils go rancid quickly and become a free radical(correlated with causing cancer). You can buy them online at www.organicfruitsandnuts.com or at your local health food store where they sell them often. Check the expiration dates and if they smell funny they are rancid, return them and find another source.

Finally, we must rotate our food and that includes nuts and seeds. If we eat the same kind of food, in this case nuts and seeds, everyday we can become sensitive and not be able to eat them without causing health problems! Do you know where 70% of your immune system is in your body? Answer: the intestines/your gut! So, we need to take care to not create food sensitivities, especially people who have a leaky gut and many people do! The main cause of a leaky gut is antibiotics and gluten, but that is another post. The solution is a rotation diet and eating seasonally(don’t buy it if it is not in season, just because you can).

Here is what I do, I make a pitcher of alternative milk each week and keep it in a glass or ceramic pitcher in the refrigerator. Each week of the month I use a different seed or nut for example, week 1 almond, week 2 sunflower, week 3 cashew, week for pumpkin seed. I also make sesame, hemp, hazelnut, brazil nut and this is what I use for anything I would use regular milk for, smoothies, in tea or coffee, over gluten-free cereal/GF oatmeal, in my dessert and savory recipes that call for milk. Every other week I will add coconut milk to my nut or seed milk to thicken it up. You can buy organic canned w/out preservatives such as sodium benzoate or ideally, make your own from a fresh Thai coconut, see you tube for videos. They also have coconut milk powder now which is convenient especially for traveling, but nothing is better than fresh Thai coconut. See my article on this blog about the health properties of coconut. Hint: It cannot build up as plaque in our arteries because it’s a medium chain fatty acid and it convert directly into energy when we eat it. There are many other health benefits and it tastes great!

In my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem, I make a white sauce to replace milk in Bechamel with nut or seed milk which is used in other recipes including: creamed tuna, pot pies, macaroni and cheeze, stroganoff. I also use nut or seed milk in cakes, cookies, puddings and much more. For the recipe to make nut or seed milk go to http://nowheatnodairynoproblem.com/recipes/

Let us know by commenting below what nut and seed milk you make and love. Feel free to ask questions too!

Updates for all previous posts

Happy New Year Everyone! I have lots of updated and new information I am excited to share with you. Hope you all had a great holiday season and a have begun a very healthy 2011.

May you have a Valentine’s filled with love and chocolate. No Wheat No Dairy No Problem has an abundance of chocolate recipes for you just in time for Valentine’s Day, but who needs to wait for that? I’ll be making Chocolate Truffles this week and hot chocolate for this rainy Sunday. Those of you who don’t cook or bake can even handle the Hot Chocolate recipe! For those who love to bake; the Molten Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Decadence Cake are a little peice of Heaven, especially with Raspberry Sauce.

Substitutions in No Wheat No Dairy No Problem Cookbook: Yes, you can use low glycemic index Coconut Palm Sugar in my cookbook in all the recipes that call for sucanat, date sugar, maple sugar-just use the same measurement 1 to 1. It is now available at the Beehive and Asian supermarkets and health food stores. Agave has not been proven unsafe, but be sure you use raw blue agave for the least amount of processing. And, make sure to read ingredients and that high fructose/corn syrup has not been added in. The Maple Agave at Trader Joe’s has corn syrup-so, do not use this-buy the blue agave there instead.

Stores: Staff of Life in Santa Cruz is moving across the street on Soquel and is much bigger! I love this store for all the unique and familiar healthy food and the best prices around. It is worth a trip even if you live “over the hill”!

Jones and Bones in Capitola has brought in a line of gluten-free flours-such as sweet potato and mesquite. They have a german line of the healthiest non-stick cookware pots/pans-it has ground diamonds. They are so amazing and don’t scratch. They’re worth the price-not inexpensive but an investment. Jennifer always has one of a kind gifts and gourmet goodies that are fantastic gifts. You can order at www.jonesandbones.com and she will pack and ship it for you. She still has rare olive oils and vinegars too.

Product News: Bob’s Red Mill now has a Gluten Free line-including GF Oats. Well, I have been waiting and now it is here-GF Bisquick! Some Costco locations are now carrying Bison(Buffalo) ground and steaks and roasts for the best price! I found a delicious GF/DF  Chocolate or Carrot Cake, with a fine crumb texture, at Sprouts in Arizona by O’Doughs a Canadian company- It will be carried at Sprouts and the Beehive in San Jose, CA.

Warning: Green and Black’s Chocolate has added Milk Powder to their dark chocolate bars! They have reformulated, too bad. ;(

Bread: You can finally have a baguette that will transport you to France, but it is made in Italy of course!;) It has a crispy crust and soft inside. Makes a great hot dog roll, baguette slices, bruscetta and sandwich roll. It is called Schar and they also have dinner rolls and sliced bread. Yes, it has brown rice flour and psyllium. I don’t suggest you eat it all the time, but it will definately satisfy your yearning without a need to cheat! You just heat it up in a toaster oven or regular oven at 400 degress for 5 minutes.  It is available at the Beehive in San Jose, one of the best gluten free independant health food stores.

Dariy Alternative: Mimicreme has release their Dairy-free/Vegan Whipping “Cream” made with nuts! Yeah, we can have fluffy whipped “cream” again. Try it on top of any of my desserts and my Hot Chocolate recipe-mmm. You can also make the Meringue in my cookbook for a great alternative.

Sad things: Clementine’s Kitchen store in Monterey closed. We wish David and Drew all the best and thank them for providing us with one of the most beautiful cooking stores ever. Lots of Love and best wishes.

New Gluten Testing Lab: Cyrex Labs finally opened! They specialize in the most comprehensive and up to date saliva and blood testing for gluten sensitivity/celiac’s disease  etc…No more endoscopies-that is no longer the gold standard-thank you Cyrex! See the page on this site for Naturopathic Doctors(Dr. Bradley West) who use Cyrex.

Personal News/Blessings & Coming Soon: I will be posting a few of my television apperances on ABC Live in Sacramento and Chicago for you to watch.

Coming Soon: This year I will be filming DVD’s of cooking classes for you to enjoy at your convenience and you can watch them more than once, pause, rewind and fast forward all you like! They will be sold on this site and at my classes/events.

New Page Coming Soon: Dr. Bradley West, a Naturopathic Doctor will be writing a page on this blog for all of you on various subjects-stay tuned for that within the next month.

On a personal note: I’m engaged to be married to a man worth waiting  43 years to share this life together! 🙂

Be Well and share this site with all you know that can benefit from it. “May you live the life you’ve always imagined” by Henry David Thoreau

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.