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!

Milk Alternatives-Hemp,nuts, rice etc…

In my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem, the recipes contain milk alternatives such as  Almond Milk. I decided to try all the various milk alternatives such as Hemp, quinoa/millet/amaranth, soy, rice, various nuts, and I found that I really like most of them, but some I like better than others.

I am not a big fan of soy for many reasons-mostly because we get too much of it. If you do choose soy, it is best in its natural form-Organic Edamame beans. Be sure that you purchase Non-GMO or Organic soy. If you want to know more see the film Food Inc.

My new favorite milk alternative is Hemp byTempt Living Harvest. Why? It tastes good and is very high in Omega 3 and 6. Hemp has no known allergens, and is a valuable source of calcium(40%),  protein, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin E, iron and zinc. It is FREE of dairy,nuts, soy, gluten and cholesterol. It has no trans fats, is low in sodium and is vegan, Kosher and Non-GMO! I buy the Unsweetened Original, but it also comes in vanilla and chocolate. It is not inexpensive, so I buy it on sale and stock up. You can find it in health food stores.

Tempt now makes Ice “Cream”-a non-dairy frozen dessert, but I have yet to try it. I am parital to my Ice “Cream” recipes because I have found the texture of my recipes to be closer to that of the real thing than other alternatives. I do buy Coconut Bliss when I don’t have time to make my own. Yesterday, I made a batch of Vanilla Ice “Cream” and it only took me 1 hour and 4-8hours to set-well worth it!

I alternate each week with a different alternative for economic reasons and health reasons. I developed my wheat allergy due to overexposure, and the last thing I want to do is become allergic/sensitive to any of my alternatives! So I alternate between Almond, Hemp, and Hazelnut. Occasionally I will drink rice milk or non-GMO soy milk when nothing else is available when I am out.

Hazelnut is so delicious plain or chocolate! Try it in my Hot Chocolate recipe for an Italian version-Che buono! Hazelnuts are very anti-inflammatory-Dr. Perricone and many others recommend them. Hazelnut milk is high in calcium(30%), vitamin D, riboflavin and vitamin E. You can make your own Hazelnut or Almond Milk from my cookbook too-use organic nuts to avoid pesticides. Pacific Natural Foods makes it and it is Kosher and Gluten Free.

You can find these alternatives in boxes on the store shelves. They do not need to be refrigerated until opened, and last 7-10 days once opened and kept in the refrigerator. I take the individual ones on the road-great for vacation or when I only need a small amount in a recipe. I have been using these alternatives in my breakfast smoothies with a small amount of coconut milk for the creamy mouth feel. A sure way to loose weight is to drink an 8 oz smoothie in place of breakfast or lunch with the soy lecithin(see blog post) which breaks down stored fat-especially in the belly!

Do not use these alternatives for infants because their is not enough of the proper balance of nutrition for them, but it’s great for kids and adults. So, go buy some boxes of these Unsweetened versions of milk alternatives and find your own favorites-chill them and do a taste comparison both alone and in smoothies. See Recipe of the Week for my smoothie. Come back next week to read about my favorite new cream alternative!

Have fun and Be Well,  Chef Lauren