If you really want the skinny on milk, a healthier alternative is homemade almond milk. Almond milk is a non-dairy beverage made from finely grounded almonds mixed with water, and is suitable for people who are lactose intolerant, weight conscious, as well as vegans and vegetarians who avoid dairy products. Moreover, if you don’t like the taste of cow’s milk most definitely you will like almond milk, it is low in calories, rich in vitamins and minerals, is smooth and creamy, and has a light nutty flavor.
The history of almond milk dates as far back as the 14th century. At the Bibliotheque nationale de France there’s a collection of recipe books titled Le Vianidier which has a recipe recommending the use of almond milk as a substitute for cows’ milk during the lentil season. Almond milk was, however, first introduced during the same period by French bakers as a substitute for cow’s milk, because cow’s milk spoiled easily. As a result, most households quickly embraced the use of almond milk; not only did it last longer, but it became common for household to store bags of nuts, making them available for milking as needed.
How to Make Almond Milk
Almond milk is quick and easy to make and the benefits exceedingly outweighs the cost, time and effort. As mentioned, two ingredients are all that's needed to make almond milk, but you can add other ingredients to enhance the flavor if desired. Depending on the required amount, the ratio and process involves soaking 1 cup of raw almonds in cold water for about 6 hours; adding just enough water to cover them, or you can soak them overnight. Drain and rise almonds, pour into blender adding 4 cups of cold water; filter or spring water is best.
Optional: dates, vanilla beans, cocoa powder, honey, maple syrup or a pinch of salt are some of the ingredients that will enhance the flavor; and don’t throw away the pulp it adds a nice flavor and texture in making desserts and cookies.
Nutritional Facts Benefits
Homemade almond milk is not only a healthier choice for the lactose intolerant, vegans and vegetarians, but also for the weight conscious, those losing weight and those with health issues such as high cholesterol, and diabetes. Almond milk does not contain lactose; a sugar found in milk and in particularly dairy products. It does not contain casein a type of protein found in the milk of mammals and accounts for 80% of the protein found in cow’s milk.
To highlight the major nutritional contents, an 8oz serving of pure homemade almond milk has 40 calories, 1grams of protein, 2.5-3 grams of unsaturated fat, 1g of fiber and is rich in vitamins and minerals. The low-calorie and fat content makes it ideal for those losing and watching their weight. The fats in almond milk are healthy fats which are known to ward off fatigue and protect the heart The protein content is considerably low in comparison to cows’ milk; however, you can add protein powder or get your daily nutritional needs from other foods. Substituting almond milk will help in lowering cholesterol levels and the risk for heart disease
Almonds contain has an exceptionally high amount of vitamin E which is known for its antioxidant properties that protects our skin cells by warding off free radical thus reducing damage to the body. Additional vitamins such as Riboflavin, vitamin B6, foliate, and niacin are also nutrients found in almonds. The mineral contained in almonds are potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc
Side Effects of Almond Milk
Well it’s not all up for almond milk. As wonderful as it is, there is one common risk associated with this drink. Almond milk is known to interfere with thyroid functions because almond is a member of the goitrongenic foods family. Goitrogenic foods are foods which contain goitrogens a compound that interferes with the thyroid’s ability to create hormones. Doctors say people with low thyroid function should limit consumption of foods which contain this compound. In addition, to limiting consumption, the best news is: you can eradicate the harmful effects by cooking your foods properly, which will break down compounds thus keeping your intake within range. Lastly, those who susceptible to tree nut allergies, should avoid almond milk altogether.
Making your own almond milk is best; it is more nutritious, delicious and you know it’s pure. Commercially produced almond milk has additives such as sweeteners, gelling agents etc. Cows milk is known to contain some of the hormones, chemicals and antibiotics associated with raring them.