If there was one thing I’d really like to convince you to start making in your kitchen, it would be nut milks.
Making my own nut milk changed my life. I know, it may sound like a bold statement, but I’m not even kidding. There’s nothing more satisfying than enjoying a delicious, creamy milk that you’ve made yourself from your favorite nuts. And trust me, it’s SO incredibly simple.
Nut milks are a delicious, highly nutritive, natural, protein-rich alternative to cow’s milk, which raise important health concerns.
Did you know that milk is the world’s most common food allergen?
Casein, the protein contained in dairy products, is very difficult to digest. When casein gets into our system, it may not be completely broken down by our digestive system, which can cause bloating, gas and constipation. An undigested protein can then cause the body to create antibodies. These antibodies attack the protein, which is viewed as a foreign invader. This causes inflammation and leads to food allergies.
Nearly half of the world’s population are lactose intolerant. People who are lactose intolerant don’t produce the lactase enzyme, which is required to break down lactose (the milk sugar), causing digestive issues whenever they consume dairy products.
The production methods of conventional dairy also raise some serious concerns. Conventional dairy cows are often raised under very unnatural conditions, they are fed with GMO crops, are given antibiotics and growth hormones. The pasteurization process depletes the milk of important nutrients, while homogenization interferes with the body’s ability to digest and absorb the fat content in milk. If you decide to consume dairy, make sure to buy high-quality organic products. It’s really worth the few more dollars.
Needless to say, there are many reasons to consider giving up milk, and if you decide to do so, nut milks will become your new best friend.
I used to buy tons of those almond milk cartons that are sold in grocery stores. I thought I liked the taste of almond milk back then…that was before I discovered what REAL almond milk really tastes like. It’s incredibly creamy, rich and velvety.
While the store-bought nut milk is a better option than conventional cow’s milk, it still contains additives and artificial flavours. Most commercial almonds milk contain carrageenan, a stabilizer agent that has been linked to digestive issues and can irritate the gut.
The amazing thing in making your own nut milk is that you know exactly what’s in it. No preservative, no artificial flavours, no sugar, no weird ingredient you can’t pronounce. And it’s much better for the planet, as you can reuse your own jars to store it.
All you need is:
- Nuts or seeds (the magic here is that you can use the nuts you have on hands, go with your preferred nuts, mix and match, and discover your favorite combinations! Some of my favorites include almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and hulled hemp seeds)
- Water (pure distilled water is always best)
- A good blender
- A nut milk straining bag like this one (or cheesecloth or fine mesh filter)
Nuts or seeds with creamier textures like cashews or hulled hemps seeds don’t require straining because they contain very little pulp, so those are great go-to options for when time is an issue.
Soaking nuts is necessary to eliminate their enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid content. Phytic acid (or phytate) is the storage form of phosphorus found in many plants, especially grains, beans, nuts and seeds. It’s a natural protection mechanism of the plants which prevent them from sprouting and growing in conditions that are not ideal (without water, sunlight, etc.).
Phytate cannot be digested by humans because we lack the enzyme phytase. Phytic acid is also considered an “anti-nutrient” because it binds to minerals (such as iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium) and prevents us from absorbing them. In order words, it reduces the nutritional value of the food we eat. Phytic acid also interferes with the enzymes we need to digest our food, making it more difficult for our body to digest food properly.
Thankfully, phytates and enzymes inhibitors are greatly reduced through the soaking process (fermenting, sprouting and cooking also reduces the phytic acid content). It activates the nuts by initiating the sprouting process, makes them a lot more easier to digest and increases their nutritional content. In short, wonderful things for our digestive system and our health!
Here is a chart indicating the recommended soak times for nuts and seeds.
How to make your own nut milk
- 1 cup nuts or seeds
- 4 cups filtered water
- pinch of sea salt
- stevia honey or maple syrup to sweeten
- 1 or 2 dates pitted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 drop cinnamon oil preserves the milk longer, usually up to a week
Start by soaking the nuts according to their required soak time, or overnight. Drain and rinse well.
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until you get a smooth milk.
Place a nut milk bag or cheesecloth over a large bowl and pour the milk into the nut milk bag/cheesecloth. The nut pulp will remain in the cloth. Form a ball with the cloth and press with your hands to squeeze. Squeeze until there is no more liquid pouring out of the cloth.
Store in an air tight glass container or a mason jar in the fridge.
Keep the nut pulp (or freeze it for later) and use it in desserts, granola, etc.
Add a drop of cinnamon essential oil to the milk, it will help preserve it for a longer period of time. I usually do it and it lasts up to one week. Without the cinnamon, the milk usually keeps for 3-4 days in the fridge.
I like my milk fairly skim, but if you like yours thicker, use 3 cups of water instead of 4.
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.