Diary / Wellness / Sep 26, 2022
What You Need to Know About Nut Milks
Written by: Lauren Slayton
Photography by: Henry Leutwyler
Remember when milk was milk? Now, “milk” may refer to something made from almonds, coconut, oats, hemp, and according to People Magazine, even avocados. (We haven't tried avocado milk yet.) And while we acknowledge there are way more important things to think about than milk, have you ever stopped to think if almond milk was good for you?
Is almond milk healthy?
The wakeup call for us was a *Business Insider* article five years ago that suggested almond milk was only 2% almonds. Most almond milks on the market are mostly water, with added vitamins. I have read articles where nutritionists praise the nutrient content of almond milk, despite the fact that these vitamins are added. Bragging about the nutrients in fortified almond milk is like bragging about your boobs after a boob job. Just saying.
Avoid iffy ingredients
If you’re buying any non-dairy milk, best to avoid these ingredients:
Carrageenan: A thickener and potential carcinogen. After facing backlash, many brands have removed this from their products.
Sugar: The last thing you want to do is avoid cow’s milk (no added sugar) and end up with something that has 16 grams (4 teaspoons) of added sugar per serving.
GMOs: These are one reason, of many, I suggest skipping soy milk.
__Gums, such as guar gum: __Best to avoid if you have GI issues.
Canola oil: Also known as rapeseed oil and often found in oat milks. Poor versions of vitamins: We mentioned added vitamins above. The vitamins added are often inferior forms such as vitamin D2 (not nearly as absorbable as D3).
Foodtrainers’ Favorite Non-dairy Milks
Elmhurst: This brand is unique in that it uses more nuts than any other brand. For example, their almond milk (only ingredients are almonds and water) contains 5 grams of protein, many brands contain 0-1 gram. But we do wish Elmhurst was organic.
Milkadamia____: When it comes to taste people tend to rave about oat milk. We’re not oat milk fans, but vote Milkadamia macadamia milk the delicious-est!
Aroy-d Coconut Milk: They make BPA-free little boxes of coconut milk, sold on Amazon. These are great for making cold or hot soups or to cook with. The size results in less waste.
Malk____: An excellent organic option, it contains no soy, gluten, GMOs, carrageenan, or binders.
DIY Nut Milk
It’s so easy to make nut milk yourself. One of the reasons we make nut milk is that you can use nuts such as Brazil nuts (excellent for thyroid and brain health) or walnuts (the only nut with omega 3s).
We've tweaked this Basic Nut Milk recipe from Amy Chaplin to create the most delicious Brazil Nut Milk.
Makes 4 cups nut milk
- 1 cup Brazil nuts, soaked
- 4 cups filtered water
- Tiny pinch of sea salt
- A large pinch of Ceylon Cinnamon
- 5-10 drops Nutstevia, optional
__Supplies: __ Blender, strainer and nut milk bag, cheesecloth or thin dish towel.
Soak the Brazil nuts in filtered water for 10-12 hours in a cool place. When ready, drain and rinse nuts. Place in an upright blender with 4 cups water, salt, cinnamon and stevia. Blend on high speed until completely smooth.
To strain: Place a strainer over a medium bowl and line with a nut milk bag, several layers of cheesecloth, or a thin kitchen towel (we go the thin dish towel route). Pour milk through cloth and gather edges. Gently squeeze out as much milk as possible. It's kind of fun.
Store fresh nut milk in the fridge in a clean jar or bottle for up to five days. Shake well before using.
So, inspect the ingredients in your milks. Maybe you have the time to try DIY? Or if you see your nut milk has zero protein and zero fat, it might be a zero. You can save money and use water in your smoothies.