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!

Cream & Whipped Cream Alternative!

I love finding out about new products that are delicious and healthy alternatives, don’t you?

There is a new product on the market-it’s a dairy-free substitute for heavy cream. It is called Mimicreme and is made from almonds and cashews. The consistency is thick and similar to heavy cream. The only drawback is that it does NOT whip into whipped cream, but the company is working on formulating it so it will in the near future.

It comes in unsweetened, sweetened and sugar-free. I only like the unsweetened because I do not eat refined/white sugar and I try not to consume things with the least amount of ingredients.Here are the ingredients:

MimicCreme Unsweetened—Purified Water, Almonds, Cashews, Sodium Bicarbonate, Rice Starch, Non-Iodized Salt

MimicCreme Sweetened—Purified Water, Nut Blend (Almonds, Cashews), Sugar (Vegan), Maltodextrin (Corn Based), Tapioca Starch, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Bicarbonate Soda, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt

MimicCreme Sweetened Sugar Free—Purified Water, Erythritol, Almonds, Cashews, Maltodextrin (Corn Based), Tapioca Starch, Guar Gum, Bicarbonate Soda, Non-Iodized Salt

It contains 10-25 calories per Tablespoon, 0-1 gram of fat and no trans-fat(bad fats) and very little else. It’s low in sodium and doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value. That said, it is much healthier than the other “dairy alternatives”. I do wish they would use organic ingredients especially almonds since they are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Let’s hope they will offer an organic version soon.

Healthy Whip-is made from the same ingredients and is a whipped cream alternative. It whips up fluffy and stiff and stays firm for at least a week. It does have a little bit of a funny aftertaste, which can be masked with vanilla, almond or lemon extracts. Excellent in place of whipped cream and delicious on top of fresh fruit or cake.

I have seen it for sale at Draeger’s Markets(Bay Area), Staff of Life(Santa Cruz), Clark’s Nutrition(Southern California). I am sure many independent health food stores are carrying it and if not you can request it. It is not in Whole Foods yet(as of the time of writing this article).

I must say that I love Mimicreme Unsweetened for making a very frothy topping for a warm cup of chai or cappuccino or hot chocolate. It’s so similar in texture to frothed milk that you may even fool your friends. I heat up a 1/2 cup until it is warm and use a hand-held frother (available at  Jones and Bones, Sur la Table and kitchen stores) or the steaming arm of a cappuccino machine works terrific. I slowly pour/spoon the froth over my hot beverage of choice. Try the Chai or Hot Chocolate in my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem, which personally autographed copies are  for sale on this site Only. See Recipe of the Week.

I am experimenting with using it for other recipes and will probably use some in my next cookbook. For more information and recipes to directly to their website www.mimicreme.com and let us know how you like it by posting a comment on this blog under this article/post.

Enjoy and Be Well, Chef Lauren