With more and more people discovering that they are lactose intolerant or desiring to eat a vegan diet, the popularity of dairy-free milk continues to increase. However, many commercial brands of dairy-free milk are not always a healthy choice as they contain carrageenan, GMO soy, and other additives. Another alternative is to make your own nut milk. It’s actually not as hard as you might think!
But first . . .
What’s wrong with carrageenan and soy?
Carrageenan is made from red and purple seaweed and is used as a thickening agent in some brands of dairy-free milk. Although seaweed doesn’t sound so unhealthy, carrageenan can actually be quite inflammatory to our digestive systems, especially when consumed regularly.
Soy has been touted as a health food in the past, but recent research shows this isn’t necessarily true. Soy contains phytoestrogens which may contribute to hormonal imbalance particularly for women. In addition, ninety percent of the soy grown in the US is genetically modified and heavily sprayed with pesticides. This is the soy found in most conventional store-bought products which is unfermented and not organic, therefore it doesn’t contain the same benefits as naturally fermented soy products such as miso or tempeh.
If you would still prefer to buy dairy-free milk for the sake of convenience (I completely understand that!), check out my post on healthy food substitutions.
A healthier (and cheaper!) option is to make your own nut milk.
How to make nut milk
It’s best to use raw nuts if possible, or at the very least, nuts that are unsalted. Raw nuts are a healthier choice because they have not been heated – heating destroys important enzymes. Roasting can also damage the polyunsaturated fats in nuts and cause oxidation. Oxidated nuts account for rancidity – rancid oils are carcinogenic and pro-inflammatory.
If you’re worried raw nuts may be contaminated, you can roast them yourself (a healthier option than buying conventionally roasted nuts coated with unhealthy oil). Stir raw nuts in a heated skillet or bake them at 350 degrees. Be sure to use roasted nuts quickly as they’ll oxidize faster.
When using raw nuts it’s best to soak them for several hours or overnight first to remove their phytic acid (a protective enzyme of the plant). Phytic acid can block our bodies ability to absorb the nutrients from the nuts and high phytic acid consumption has been linked to nutritional deficiencies. (Be sure to store raw nuts in the refrigerator.)
Two of the tastiest nuts to use for nut milk is almonds and cashews.
1-2 cups of nuts
2-4 cups water
maple syrup or stevia (optional – if you prefer a sweeter milk)
high-speed blender or food processor
nut bag or cheesecloth
2 glass jars with lids
Soak nuts overnight if using raw nuts (the longer you soak them, the creamier your milk will be!)
Drain and rinse the nuts well.
Blend nuts and milk. The ratio is 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of nuts. If you want a creamier milk, use less water. If you want a thinner milk, use more. Pulse a few times first to break up the nuts and then blend on high for a couple of minutes. You want the nuts broken down into a very fine meal.
Once your nut milk looks white and opaque, pour the milk through a strainer lined with a cheesecloth or nut bag into a glass jar. You want to get all the little chunks out. To do this, keep running the milk through your strainer until you feel confident the chunks are gone. (You may still see flecks of almond skin in your milk – not a big deal.) Be sure to squeeze out the nut bag/cheesecloth to get every last drop of that nut milk goodness!
Taste your nut milk and sweeten with stevia or grade B maple syrup if desired.
Refrigerate your nut milk in a glass container for up to 2-3 days. Because fresh nut milk doesn’t last that long, you’ll want to use it up quickly and make fresh batches.
That’s it! Your own simple and nutritious homemade nut milk.
How did this recipe work for you? Have you ever made your own nut milk before?
Hi! I’m Liane, mindset coach and holistic nutritionist in training. I have a passion for all things natural, healthy and holistic. My aim is to inspire you on your healthy living journey by sharing simple, everyday holistic habits that can transform your well-being and life.