Sunday, January 24, 2010

When Life Gets Nutty, Make Nut Milk!

I'm into week two with one more week to go of an elimination diet, which entails exclusion of some pervasive food items - milk, eggs, yogurt and cheese. But these culprit foods have, for the most part, been off my plate for months. The elimination diet is definitely making me more diligent and committed, prepping me for the next 365 days sans-dairy-challenge. The good news is that I've consistently, and rather seemlessly, stuck with cutting out cow's milk. Uber yummy nut milks have been my salvation!

I began purchasing processed nut milks, mainly almond-flavored, at Whole Foods. It wasn't love-at-first-sip but in a week's time they became a staple item in my smoothies. Aside from their great (one-week's time acquired) taste, nut milks offer a healthy alternative for people dealing with dairy sensitivities. Until my doctor had advised removing cow's milk from my diet, I had never stopped to think how humans came to regard it as an acceptable and healthy beverage. The milk industry is good at marketing! It is a bizarre notion to think that mother's milk from an animal would be good for anyone other than that mama's baby. Not sure nature intended that it be ours to consume. But then again, agreeing with this wholeheartedly would mean that cheese goes too. That's another topic for another time.

Have I mentioned that nut-milk-makin' is cheap and oh-so-easy? Give it a go!

1) Grab a cup o raw nuts and soak them overnight
2) In the mornin', excitedly rush out of bed
3) Blend the nuts with 2-4 cups of water
4) Strain with a nut milk bag* or filter of sorts
5) Add some sweetener if the mood strikes you

I have yet to experiment but honey, agave, cacao powder and vanilla extract are on my list to add to the nut milks. Some recipes I've seen also recommend pitted dates (pre-soaked and blended in with the nuts and water). I tend to use the milk for smoothies and don't feel the need to sweeten.

Note: If you want to add to the repertoire of milks, check out rice, hemp, and oat. (oat may be an issue for people with gluten allergies).

*A nut milk bag is worth the $10 investment if you don't have a juicer. My friend, who couldn't get her juice-maker to Korea, uses her bag for nut milks and for making veggie and fruit juices.

Time to soak the cashews and macadamias! Go nuts!

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