Some of us look to cut down our dairy intake as a lifestyle choice, and some for health reasons. Enter nut milk: the perfect alternative.
While dairy is an obvious no-no for vegans, as well as for other strict diet-ers, hormonal health can be impacted by dairy intake. Conventional and non-organic dairy, like your average carton of milk, usually contains antibiotics and added hormones. These hormones can be powerful enough to imbalance your body's own hormones. In fact, consumption of milk can cause an increase in the key oil-producing hormone in adults by up to 20%, leading to breakouts and acne. This is due to the insulin spike milk intake can cause in human bodies.
Dairy - whether its conventional or organic - is also a common culprit when it comes to food intolerance. Casein (a protein) and lactose (a sugar) in dairy can cause digestive issues surrounding the actual breaking down of the foods you eat, resulting in bloating and gas (amongst other symptoms). If your digestive system is not properly breaking down the good foods you eat, you won't be absorbing any of their nutrients properly either. In addition, dairy products are also acidic; for optimum health, your body needs a slightly alkaline pH, and too many acidic foods can compromise this.
If you're breaking out, or your tummy's not quite right, and you're considering ditching the dairy... Why not try going a little bit nutty?
Nuts are jam-packed full of healthy fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals, and, when soaked, release enzyme inhibitors for max digestion. Nuts can reduce inflammation, improve energy, support nervous and digestive function, prevent wrinkles, improve blood health, improve skin elasticity, and maintain production of glutathione (a powerful antioxidant) - amongst other brilliant benefits, of course.
To make yourself a beautiful nutty health nectar (known to most as nut milk, but we think the former sounds far more exotic and fabulous), you'll need just a few things...
- N U T S ! Grab two cups of nuts. These two cups can be a mixture, or just one type of nut.
Almonds for vitamin E (a strong antioxidant) and vitamin B7 (supporting metabolism, adrenals, hair & nails).
Brazils for calcium (hello, healthy bones) and selenium (anti free radical damage).
Cashews for copper (vital for nervous function, and great for healthy skin) and magnesium (calming nervousness and relaxing muscles).
Hazelnuts or Pistachios for a vitamin B6 boost (regulate your mood, sleep and appetite).
Pecans for ellagic acid (helping balance blood sugar levels).
Walnuts for iron (for energy and healthy skin, hair & nails), CoQ10 (protecting cells, and fighting chronic fatigue), zinc (anti inflammation, redness and oil over-production) and omega fatty acids (for hormone and mood regulation, plus brain health).
- W A T E R. Four cups of fresh, pure, filtered water.
- A B L E N D E R. A nice, high-powered blender will get that sweet nutty milk flowing in seconds.
- A N U T M I L K B A G. Head to your local health food shop and grab a nut milk bag. This will do all the hard work for you, separating the nut from the milk.
To make your milk:
- S O A K. Soak nuts in water for a good few hours - 2-4 should do the job nicely.
B L E N D. Blend the nuts and water on high in your blender until nice and smooth. This shouldn't take long - usually 30-60 seconds.
You can add some flavouring at this point if your heart desires. We usually add a sprinkling of pink himalayan sea salt and a tiny dash of cinnamon, but we're all up for experimentation.
S T R A I N. Pour your nutty mixture through your nut milk bag and into a bowl, squeezing until all of your delicious milk is free.
Once you've squeezed all you can squeeze, you don't need to chuck your nutty leftovers away - why not keep your nut meal for some delicious, healthy muffin baking (because, hello, have you seen the price tag on almond meal these days?!).
- S T O R E. Funnel your nut milk from the bowl into a bottle, and keep it in the fridge.
How easy was that? Your nut milk should be rich, creamy and delicious, and a perfect alternative to dairy. E N J O Y !
In addition to dairy alternatives like nut milk, or if you're having trouble totally separating yourself from dairy (don't worry, we struggle too!), think about selecting raw, organic dairy products from grass-fed animals (to minimise your intake of hormones). Goat and sheep milk and cheeses are generally more easily digestible than cow's milk, too.
Reference: 'Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside & Out' - J Hart.