by Julia Sementelli
Spoiler: It’s so much better than the stuff you’ll find in the grocery store
Almond milk is one of the more popular food trends of the past ten years. It is a great option for individuals who are lactose-intolerant, vegan, or choose not to consume dairy for religious reasons. Moreover, it is an alternative to soy milk. While the jury is still out on soy’s high estrogen levels, we do know that it is best to consume it in moderation. For a food like milk that we consume multiple times per day—in our coffee, granola, or as an addition to a smoothie—it may be best to select a less controversial non-dairy substitute.
Almond milk has risen to the top of the “milk” hierarchy, but commercial almond milk has an undeserved health halo. Nearly every brand of almond milk contains fillers, thickeners, preservatives and added sweetener. Like most processed foods, these additives preserve almond milk cosmetically (it naturally separates) and extend its shelf life (the fats from the almond cause it to spoil rather quickly). But is the trade-off worth it? The solution to limiting your intake of chemical and preservative-laden almond milk is: make your own!
Homemade almond milk is a game-changer. It is creamier than almond milk from a carton and it actually tastes like almonds. While making all of our food from scratch is a Sisyphean task, homemade almond milk is so easy and so much more wholesome than processed almond milk, that you have no excuse not to make your own.
Recipe: Homemade almond milk
1 cup raw almonds (preferably organic)
4 cups filtered water (plus more to soak the almonds)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Add almonds to a jar, then fill the rest of the jar with water to cover the almonds
- Refrigerate for 24 hours
- After 24 hours, drain and rinse the almonds
- Add almonds, 4 cups filtered water, and vanilla (if using) to a powerful blender
- Blitz for 1-2 minutes until almonds are pureed (make sure to keep your hand on the lid)
- Place nut bag or cheese cloth over a large bowl and pour almond milk into the bag or cheesecloth to strain
- Squeeze the bag/cheesecloth until all of the milk has been extracted
- Transfer almond milk to glass jars or other container and refrigerate
- Almond milk will remain fresh for up to 3 days
Julia Sementelli is a second-year Nutrition Communication & Behavior Change student. She is also a Registered Dietitian who is passionate about REAL FOOD. When Julia is not studying, you can find her searching for the perfect lighting to photograph her breakfast for Instagram (follow me @thejuliasementelli) and her blog (http://www.juliasementellinutrition.com/girlversesfood/).