Some people tolerate dairy, but many of us don't. If you are someone that doesn't, the good news is nut, grain and seed milk alternatives are now available at most supermarkets and health food stores.
When purchasing your milk from the store it's always a good idea to check the label and see what density of nut, grain or seed the milk actually contains. You'll also want to take a look at what other ingredients are included, as many are loaded with sweeteners or include nasty preservatives.
At BePure many of us choose to make our own, so that we can control these variables and we've had lots of questions lately about how to make dairy free milks our BePure Facebook Community Group. Making your own is easy, fun and affordable, not to mention they taste pretty good too.
In this blog we'll look at the properties of nuts, seeds and grains commonly used in nut milk, the importance of soaking (for nutrition and taste!), our favourite recipe combination and several ways to flavour your nut milk.
Almonds: Great source of vitamin E, copper, magnesium and high-quality protein, reducing your risk of heart attacks, protects artery wall from damage and improves cholesterol.
Cashews: High in magnesium and antioxidants helping the body to utilise iron, eliminate free radicals, develop bone and connective tissue and production of melanin for skin and hair pigment.
Brazil Nuts: Are exceptionally high in selenium which is an important co-factor for the anti-oxidant enzyme glutathione-peroxidase. Just 1-2 nuts a day provides enough of this trace mineral. Adequate selenium is important to prevent coronary artery disease, liver cirrhosis and cancers.
Macadamia Nuts: A high-quality source of healthy fats – even compared to other nuts they are higher in our favourite anti-inflammatory omega 3 and lower in the pro-inflammatory omega 6s. They contain high amounts of manganese which helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors and sex hormones.
Hazelnuts: Rich in unsaturated fats (mostly oleic acid), high in magnesium, calcium and vitamins B and E. Hazelnuts are good for your heart, help reduce the risk of cancer, and aid in muscle, skin, bone, joint and digestive health.
Coconut: Great creamy addition to nut milk. Coconut is high in healthy saturated fats as well as medium chain triglycerides which are metabolised differently to normal fats and have a therapeutic effect. One of the fatty acids, lauric acid, has anti-microbial products.
Sunflower seeds: Provide Vitamin E, Thiamine (B1) and copper, helping the heart, activating enzymes in the cells and improving your hair and nails.
Pumpkin seeds: Provide magnesium for heart health, stress relief and detoxification, along with an abundance of zinc for immune support, plant-based omega-3 fats, prostate health, liver health and tryptophan for restful sleep.
Rolled oats: Probably the most well-known whole grain with the highest proportion of soluble fibre and insoluble fibre, helping in keeping you full, balancing your blood sugars, improving digestion and transit time. Just beware to source non-contaminated gluten free options.
Brown rice: Brown rice (compared to white rice) retains the hull and bran providing natural wholeness, making it rich in protein, thiamine, calcium, selenium, magnesium, potassium and fibre.
Nature has set it up so that the nut, grain and seed may survive until proper growing conditions are present. Nature’s defence mechanism includes nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances that can be removed naturally when enough water is provided to sustain a new plant after a nut, grain or seed germinates.
By soaking our nuts, seeds and grains we mimic nature and provide an environment that removes or reduces phytic acid (which otherwise binds with and blocks the absorption of magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in the intestinal tract).
"By soaking our nuts, seeds and grains we mimic nature and provide an environment that removes or reduces phytic acid..."
Depending on the nut, seed and grain, the first measure is to rinse thoroughly to remove any dust and or sediment.
"Not only does soaking unlock the nutrient bioavailability, it also gives your finished nut milk a lovely, creamy taste."
We place ours in a mason jar as this seems to be easiest, then cover with filtered water and soak anywhere from 20 minutes (if you're in a rush), to overnight (ideal). When ready, drain off the soaking water and rinse again thoroughly.
Not only does soaking unlock the nutrient bioavailability, it also gives your finished nut milk a lovely, creamy taste.
Laura is part of the BePure team and is a bit of an expert when it comes to making delicious, nutritious, homemade nut milk. This is her ultimate recipe that combines nutrition, cost and taste. This recipe makes 1.5 litres of nut milk.
1/2 cup soaked almonds
1/2 cup soaked cashews
1/2 cup soaked coconut flakes
1.5 L of filtered water
Nut milk bag, muslin, cheesecloth or other fine-mesh cloth
Pinch of sea salt
1. Drain almonds, cashews and coconut, rinse and place in a blender.
2. Add filtered water and blend on high speed for 1 - 2 minutes or until smooth.
3. Strain through nut milk bag to separate the pulp from the liquid. Save pulp for later. (See below for ideas on how to use this).
4. Pour nut milk back into blender and add salt. If you'd like to flavour your milk, see options below and add flavouring now.
5. Blend on high for 20 - 30 seconds, pour into jars and store in the fridge for up to one week.
NOTE: The recipe is very flexible and you can mix and match the nut, seed and grain combination as you like. Laura has found that the best ratio for a thick, creamy nut milk is 1/2 cup of nuts, seeds or grains to 500ml of water.
If you give it a go, we'd love to see how it goes! Tag us in your pictures on Instagram @bepurebenwarren or use #bepurebenwarren for your chance to be featured.
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