I’m no hardcore “dairy-free” fanatic and still like certain dairy products, such as organic Greek Yogurt and Kefir (plus I love a sneaky cappuccino here and there… maybe every day). But dairy is definitely not for everyone and many people struggle with digestive issues and skin disorders because of an allergy or intolerance to dairy often without even knowing it.
Here are a few facts: Human ability to properly digest lactose (milk sugar found in dairy) actually starts decreasing in the first years of life and continues to decrease as we age. Some people however, have higher levels of lactase (the enzyme responsible for digesting lactose) than others, and in northern countries, such as Scandinavian, there is overall a higher tolerance for lactose than in Asian and African countries, where more than 90%(!) of people do not digest lactose properly. Poor tolerance for lactose can cause digestive upsets, such as gas, bloating, diarrhoea and infrequent bowel movements etc., as well as skin outbreaks and rashes. That said; certain dairy products are better than others; Kefir, cultured yogurts & aged cheeses, all contain healthy probiotic bacteria which help digest lactose while also promoting healthy intestinal flora.
What are good alternatives to milk? I’ve tried many dairy substitutes and never really liked any… until I made my own almond milk! It is so simple and after trying it I am never going back. Almond milk is my favorite but you can make quinoa, oat, cashew or walnut milk as well. The process is the same and it is very simple.
- 1 cup (145 g) raw organic almonds
- 4 cups (960 ml) filtered water
- 2 dates (stevia, coconut nectar or honey work as well)
- vanilla extract (I prefer the alcohol free one to avoid the aftertaste)
- cheese cloth or nut milk bag
Soak almonds overnight. Add water and blend in food processor until smooth. Add dates and vanilla to taste and mix again. Strain milk through the cloth (or other fine sieve) and store milk in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Almonds are very nutrient dense and have generous amounts of many essential vitamins & minerals such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium and phosphorus.
- Contains no cholesterol (as opposed to regular milk). Studies actually show that almonds have cholesterol lowering effects due to the presence of antioxidants (vitamin E), magnesium and healthy monounsaturated fats.
- Contains no lactose or casein.
- Contains healthy amounts of fiber, especially if you skip the straining and leave the ‘pulp’ in there.
- Help regular our blood sugar levels, which is helpful for preventing diabetes and maintaining a healthy weight & weight loss.
- Promote healthy hair, skin & nails due to the presence of the beauty vitamin (vitamin E) as well as mono and polyunsaturated fats.
Have any of you tried making your own almond milk? What are your thoughts?