Health 2018 || Milk Alternatives

Did you know that after weaning, about 75 percent of the world loses the ability to produce lactase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down milk sugar? Therefore, these people are considered “lactose intolerant.” Despite the popular claims that cow’s milk helps prevent osteoporosis, which is just a false selling point, it does not provide any additional nutrients that cannot be found in a healthier form of food. Unfortunately, dairy products are found in almost everything! Lucky for you, there are many milk alternatives that taste just as good, if not better. Plus, you can easily make these at home that save money and are easier on your body.

Almond Milk (recipe from Minimalist Baker):

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds (soaked overnight in cool water // or 1-2 hours in very hot water)
  • 5 cups filtered water (less to thicken, more to thin)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 whole dates (optional // pitted // or another sweetener of choice // omit for unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional // or sub 1 vanilla bean, scraped per 1 tsp extract // omit for plain)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (optional // for “chocolate milk”)
  • ½ cup berries (optional // for “berry milk”

Directions:

  1. Add your soaked almonds, water, salt, and any additional add-ins (optional) to a high-speed blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Keep it running for at least 1-2 minutes so you get the most out of your almonds.
  2. Strain using a nut milk bagor my favorite trick – a thin dish towel. Simply lay a clean dish towel over a mixing bowl, pour over the almond milk, carefully gather the corners, and lift up. Then squeeze until all of the liquid is extracted. Discard pulp or save for adding to baked goods (especially crackers).
  3. Transfer milk to a jar or covered bottle and refrigerate. Will keep for up to a few days, though best when fresh. Shake well before drinking, as it tends to separate.

Cashew Milk (recipe from Vanilla and Bean):

Ingredients:

  •    1 cup Raw Cashews
  •    2 Medjool Dates pitted
  •    3 ½ C Water
  •    ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  •    1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  •    ¼ tsp Cinnamon optional

Directions:

  1. Soak the cashews in very hot water for 15 minutes (cashews can be soaked in room temperature water for two hours or overnight as well – whatever works for your schedule). Drain and rinse. Add cashews to the blender along with dates, water, salt, extract and cinnamon. Blend starting on low speed and increasing to high until smooth and frothy, about 40 seconds.
  2. Store in a lidded container for up to three days.

 

Coconut Milk (recipe from Small Footprint Family):

Ingredients:

  •    2 cups shredded coconut organic and unsweetened
  •    4 cups purified water hot not boiling
  •    1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste (optional)
  •    6 drops stevia (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place shredded coconut in a bowl of very hot (not boiling), pure water. Let soak for 1-2 hours. Do NOT discard the water.
  2. In the Vitamix or blender, combine coconut, soaking water, and vanilla and stevia, if using. Blend on the highest speed for about a minute.
  3. Strain liquid through a nut milk bag, paint strainer bag or very, very fine cheesecloth, pressing out all the liquid you can.
  4. Discard solids or save them for adding to smoothies or baked treats.
  5. Use immediately or store in the fridge. Good for 3-4 days.
  6. Since there are no preservatives or fillers, the fat in the coconut milk may separate on the top if stored in the fridge. Just shake or stir before using.

 

Rice Milk (recipe from Minimalist Baker):

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup uncooked long grain white rice*
  • 4 cups water (use less water for thicker, creamier milk!)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 whole date, pitted (optional // for sweetness // or 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa or cacao powder for “chocolate milk” (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh berries for “berry milk” (optional)

Directions:

  1. Soak rice in 2 cups (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) very hot (not boiling water) for 2 hours. The rice should be soft but still very raw – you should be able to snap a piece in half with your fingernail without much effort. Drain and add to a high-speed blender.
  2. Add water, salt, and any additional add-ins (optional). Top with lid and cover with a towel to ensure it doesn’t splash. Blend for about 1 minute until the date specks are very small and the mixture seems well combined. It doesn’t have to be 100% pulverized.
  3. Scoop out a small sample with a spoon to test sweetness. If it’s not sweet enough, add more dates.
  4. Pour the mixture over a large mixing bowl or pitcher covered with a thin towel or clean T-shirt. In my experience, it benefits from a double strain through a very fine towel. A nut milk bag lets too much residue through.
  5. Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate. Will keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days (sometimes more).

 

Hemp Milk (recipe from Minimalist Baker)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • 3-4 cups water (use less water for thicker, creamier milk!)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 whole date, pitted (optional // for sweetness // or 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa or cacao powder for “chocolate milk” (optional)
  • ¼ cup ¼ cup fresh berries for “berry milk” (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add hemp seeds, water, salt, and any additional add-ins (optional) to a high-speed blender. Top with lid and cover with a towel to ensure it doesn’t splash. Blend for about 1 minute or until the mixture seems well combined.
  2. Scoop out a small sample with a spoon to test flavor/sweetness. Add more dates, salt, or vanilla as needed.
  3. Pour the mixture directly into a serving container. You can strain it, but it doesn’t need it in my experience. If straining, pour over a large mixing bowl or pitcher covered with a nut milk bag, very thin towel, or a clean T-shirt.
  4. Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate. Will keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days (sometimes more). Enjoy cold (and shake well) for best results.

All of these milk alternatives can be enjoyed in smoothies, granola, baked good, or even straight out of the jar! Have fun with the recipes and dress it up to create different flavors, like berry or chocolate. If you do not feel like creating the milk yourself, try brands like Ripple, Califia Farms, Oatly, So Delicious, and Forager.

juliaJulia Callow | Writing Contributor
B.A | Kinesiology | Cal State Univ, Long Beach
Julia Callow, born in Santa Barbara, CA, is a fourth-year Kinesiology and Gerontology minor at Cal State Long Beach, emphasizing in fitness. Julia aspires to obtain a Master of Science in Gerokinesiology to help older adults become stronger and more independent. She became an AFPA Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Senior Fitness Specialist at the age of 18, then starting teaching spin classes shortly after. Embracing her red hair and love for clean eating, Julia created a health food blog on Instagram named @gingajulia, which emphasizes the importance of eating whole foods, practicing gratitude, and staying active. In her spare time, she enjoys trying out new sports and activities like rock climbing and slacklining, cooking, traveling, and being Blake Griffin and Lionel Messi’s number one fan. Instagram @gingajulia | View My Articles

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