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I use cashew/almond milk in coffee and green smoothies, but after close examination of the Ingredients Lists of many brands, I was left displeased and scratching my head.
Now, I either buy one brand (see below) or make my own!
Allow me to explain why…
The ingredients in most store-bought nut milks stink.
Most non-dairy milks contain carrageenan, emulsifiers, preservatives, “natural flavors,” added sugar, and/or gums.
Here’s some illuminating information about carrageenan from a 2001 research review:
Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1982 identified sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of degraded carrageenan in animals to regard it as posing a carcinogenic risk to humans, carrageenan is still used widely as a thickener, stabilizer, and texturizer in a variety of processed foods prevalent in the Western diet . . . [E]xposure to undegraded as well as to degraded carrageenan was associated with the occurrence of intestinal ulcerations and neoplasms . . . Although in 1972, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considered restricting dietary carrageenan to an average molecular weight > 100,000, this resolution did not prevail, and no subsequent regulation has restricted use. Because of the acknowledged carcinogenic properties of degraded carrageenan in animal models and the cancer-promoting effects of undegraded carrageenan in experimental models, the widespread use of carrageenan in the Western diet should be reconsidered.
The jury is still out on carrageenan, so why be a guinea pig?
“Natural flavors” may sound harmless, but the term is really a catch-all for a slew of unregulated chemicals. The Washington Post published a great article expanding on this idea:
Many of the chemicals that make up natural flavors fall under a category called ‘generally recognized as safe,’ or GRAS. An estimated 3,000 chemical food additives are in this category, yet this does not mean that these chemicals have been widely studied and approved by the FDA. Food companies do not need to disclose the ingredients of a natural flavor if all of the ingredients, which can be up to 100 in one flavor, fall into the GRAS category.
Certain emulsifiers, preservatives, and gums may be safe in small quantities, but my thought is always this: I want to eat real, whole ingredients as much as possible, so why consume synthetic additives when I don’t need to?
If you’re gonna get nut milk at the store, buy Malk!
Flashing back to the first sentence of this post, notice I said most alternative milks contain unnatural crap. My favorite brand of nut milk—Malk Organics—only uses the good stuff!
For example, check out the ingredients in Malk’s unsweetened almond milk:
Ingredients: Organic almonds, Himalayan salt, filtered water.
Like I said, Malk’s products are purely the best!
Here’s the catch: Sometimes, it’s not easy to find Malk, and when you do it can be quite pricey. I’m always willing to spend a bit more for the highest-quality products, but I got to thinking…since Malk can make almond milk with just three ingredients, why can’t I do the same?
I gave it a go and the end result was the creamiest, most delicious dairy-free milk!
If you can’t find Malk in your local grocery store or if it’s too expensive…
Make your own nut milk using this simple, foolproof recipe!
Simple, Creamy Cashew/Almond Milk Recipe
- 1 cup organic raw nuts*
- Filtered water
- 1 date (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- Soak nuts in water overnight (at least 8 hours).
- Rinse nuts.
- Add nuts and 4 cups filtered water to blender. (Or, if using an immersion blender, add nuts and water to 64 oz mason jar.)
- Add date (remove seed first) and/or vanilla. (Optional)
- Blend about 2 minutes, or until creamy.
- Strain milk through nut bag, fine mesh strainer, or cheesecloth. (Optional)**
- Refrigerate in covered pitcher for up to 5 days.
Warning: You’re likely going to become addicted to making your own nut milk! It’s just soooo easy and gratifying! Enjoy 🙂
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