The plethora of dairy-free milks available in today’s shops, cafés and health-food recipe outlets almost makes it impossible to choose one. From a time when soy seemed to be the only alternative, we sure have come a long way. Though finding the right milk to stick to can be a bit tricky, and usually the best way to land on a winner is through trial and error.
Even with all the health benefits that come with the various options available, how do you know which one is going to meet all of your needs? If you’ve got no specific dietary deficiencies or conditions, then they’re all going to be majorly beneficial in their own special way in replacing cow’s milk.
Did you know? In the past two years alone, the non-dairy milk market has grown by a staggering 155% in the UK!
The best way to go about making your final decision should be purely by preference of taste and texture. Baring in mind, it’s always best to consult with your doctor or a nutritionist when moving to a dairy-free lifestyle. If you are interested in kicking the cows milk for good, you’ve got a lot of choices available to you…
Good source of vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, and B vitamins.
Good source of vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, bioflavinoids and phytochemicals, as well as being high in antioxidants.
Good source of healthy fats (lauric acid), manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and potassium.
Rice milk and brown rice milk
Good source of B vitamins and antioxidants.
Good source of fibre, calcium and vitamins B2, B12 and D.
Good source of omega-3 fatty acids, 22 different amino acids, protein, and gamma linolenic acid.
Creamier than cashew milk, though featuring an almost identical nutritional profile.
Good source of lingnans, antioxidants and omega fatty acids.
The best source of protein out of all the milks.
Good source of vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
Nutritional experts advise that the most important step to choosing the best milk, is looking for how the product has been processed. As a general rule of thumb, look for minimal, easy-to-pronounce ingredients on the carton. Of course, homemade milks are the best way to go, as this will avoid any sweeteners, thickeners or preservatives making their way into your health plan. However, if making your own nut, oat or seed milk just doesn’t fit into your prep schedule, then try to go for an organic, honest brand.
If you’re still not sure where to begin, or have tried store-bought alternative milks and disliked the taste, we highly recommend starting again. Try making your very own almond milk to begin with, and see how different freshly homemade milk tastes versus packaged store-bought brands. Here’s the recipe we go by time and time again at the School of Natural Health Sciences, we hope you love it too!
DIY Almond Milk
Makes 2 cups | Recipe by Emma Christensen
- 1 cup raw almonds, preferably organic
- 2 cups water, plus more for soaking
- Sweeteners like honey, sugar, agave syrup, or maple syrup, to taste, (totally optional)
- Measuring cup
- Blender or food processor
- Fine-mesh nut bag or cheese cloth
- Soak the almonds overnight or up to 2 days.
- Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with about an inch of water. They will plump as they absorb water.
- Let stand on the counter, covered with a cloth, overnight, or refrigerate for up to 2 days. The longer the almonds soak, the creamier the almond milk.
- Drain and rinse the almonds. Drain the almonds from their soaking water and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water. At this point, the almonds should feel a little squishy if you pinch them. (It’s best to discard the soaking water because it contains phytic acid, which inhibits the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.)
- Combine the almonds and water in a blender. Place the almonds in the blender and cover with 2 cups of water.
- Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes. Pulse the blender a few times to break up the almonds, then blend continuously for two minutes. The almonds should be broken down into a very fine meal and the water should be white and opaque. (If using a food processor, process for 4 minutes total, pausing to scrape down the sides halfway through.)
- Strain the almonds. Line the strainer with either the opened nut bag or cheese cloth, and place over a measuring cup. Pour the almond mixture into the strainer.
- Press all the almond milk from the almond meal. Gather the nut bag or cheese cloth around the almond meal and twist close. Squeeze and press with clean hands to extract as much almond milk as possible. You should get about 2 cups. (See Recipe Note for what to do with the leftover almond meal.)
- If you’ve got a sweet tooth, sweeten to taste, you can also add a subtle sprinkle of vanilla essence if you want to get really fancy. Taste the almond milk, and if a sweeter drink is desired, add to your hearts desire.
- Refrigerate almond milk. Store the almond milk in sealed containers in the fridge for up to two days.
Authors notes: Using the leftover almond meal: The leftover almond meal can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, and muffins as it is. You can also spread it out on a baking sheet and bake it in a low oven until completely dry (2 to 3 hours). Dry almond meal can be kept frozen for several months and used in baked goods.
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