Everything You Need To Know About Almond Milk

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Amelia Phillips

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You may already been drinking it by the litre, cafes are now stocking it for your latte, and the media are bashing it.

Almond milk has been taking the world by storm, but it’s not all what you want to hear. Find out why almond milk may not be your best dairy or soy substitute.

  • Unknown ingredients: You may have heard of carrageenan and the argument around its inclusion in some store-bought almond milks. The fact of the matter is that the evidence for or against this ingredient isn’t conclusive. Until then, it’s safer to avoid it.
  • Added sugar: Some store-bought almond milks are worse than soy milk with respect to sugar content. As always, please read the label. If you’re going to go for store-bought, always purchase an unsweetened version.
  • Cost: Some companies charge over $13/L. Enough said.
  • Omega-6: Something to consider with almonds in general, is quantity. Although heart healthy, almonds also contain omega-6, an inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). We need to keep our perspective here, as almonds are natural (and our omega-6 intake can be lowered by removing seed oils, cooking only with saturated fats and eliminating processed food products, deep fried food and refined sugar), but we also need to mindfully consume.
  • Intolerances: Did you know you can develop an intolerance simply by consuming too much of the one thing? Almonds, along with gluten, eggs and coconut are the more common culprits here.

So, what do I drink then?

You’ve already been told to switch to almond milk to avoid the inflammatory effect of dairy and the oestrogenic effect of soy, so you’re no doubt wondering what you’re going to drink now.

Worry not, there’s good news. You don’t have to stop drinking almond milk completely, but rather, add in variety. Try coconut milk, hazelnut milk or cashew milk and to avoid the added ingredients and excess sugar, make your own wherever possible. Homemade always trumps store-bought.

Read on to find out how you can make your own nut milk using any nut you like (e.g. hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts).

Homemade Nut Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup nuts
  • 5 cups water (ideally filtered)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon rice malt syrup (optional)

Method

  1. Soak the nuts for at least six hours in one cup of water.
  2. Drain and rinse the nuts and blend with four cups of water.
  3. Add the cinnamon and rice malt syrup and blend again.
  4. Pour through a strainer into a large bowl.
  5. Pour liquid yield into a tightly sealed bottle and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Not sure what to do with your pulp? Here’s the answer:

Homemade Nut Flour

Ingredients

  • The pulp from your homemade milk

Method

  1. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Spread your pulp out evenly and as thinly as possible.
  3. Bake in an oven on a very low heat for 3 hours, stirring regularly.
  4. Remove and allow to cool before blending in a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix. If you’re not using the flour straight away, simply store in an airtight container in the fridge and aim to use within the week.

 

So nutritious, cost effective and waste free. What will you start with? 

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