When I got diagnosed with a dairy sensitivity 15 years ago, I had no problem giving up milk. At first the alternatives had a thinner, watery texture to me, but I got use to them. I did not mind the taste of most of them. Well, alternative milks have come a long way in 15 years, and there are a lot more to choose from now. I also love coconut milk and sometimes I add an organic can or homemade coconut milk from a Thai coconut to my nut or seed milk to thicken it, but not every week.
That said, have you read the ingredients on the labels of these milks? First of all, nuts are heavily sprayed with pesticide if they are not organic. I go to great lengths to eat organic so I don’t want to drink hidden pesticides or possible GMO’s that are not labeled. I certainly do not like the added oils either. The only oils I choose to eat are coconut, olive, grapeseed and avocado. Oils to avoid because they cause damage in our bodies for various reasons are: canola, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed. I could write an article on each one of these oils, but you just need to know that they are either toxic or cause health problems or do not have the necessary ratio of omega for our bodies optimal health! To learn more you can go to hear Dr. Tel-Oren at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUS5j39cnFE
Finally, I don’t like the added vitamins(don’t know quality or quantity needed), and many people are sensitive to the thickeners such as carageenan and xanthan gum.
So, what do we do? Make or own and control what you want to consume! Mine only contains raw nuts or seeds and good quality water, then you choose what else to add such as: sweetener of your choice, gluten-free vanilla, Himalayan sea salt etc…
You can find many youtube videos on how to make nut or seed milk. It is important to buy organic raw nuts because once nuts are heated the oils go rancid quickly and become a free radical(correlated with causing cancer). You can buy them online at http://www.organicfruitsandnuts.com or at your local health food store where they sell them often. Check the expiration dates and if they smell funny they are rancid, return them and find another source.
Finally, we must rotate our food and that includes nuts and seeds. If we eat the same kind of food, in this case nuts and seeds, everyday we can become sensitive and not be able to eat them without causing health problems! Do you know where 70% of your immune system is in your body? Answer: the intestines/your gut! So, we need to take care to not create food sensitivities, especially people who have a leaky gut and many people do! The main cause of a leaky gut is antibiotics and gluten, but that is another post. The solution is a rotation diet and eating seasonally(don’t buy it if it is not in season, just because you can).
Here is what I do, I make a pitcher of alternative milk each week and keep it in a glass or ceramic pitcher in the refrigerator. Each week of the month I use a different seed or nut for example, week 1 almond, week 2 sunflower, week 3 cashew, week for pumpkin seed. I also make sesame, hemp, hazelnut, brazil nut and this is what I use for anything I would use regular milk for, smoothies, in tea or coffee, over gluten-free cereal/GF oatmeal, in my dessert and savory recipes that call for milk. Every other week I will add coconut milk to my nut or seed milk to thicken it up. You can buy organic canned w/out preservatives such as sodium benzoate or ideally, make your own from a fresh Thai coconut, see you tube for videos. They also have coconut milk powder now which is convenient especially for traveling, but nothing is better than fresh Thai coconut. See my article on this blog about the health properties of coconut. Hint: It cannot build up as plaque in our arteries because it’s a medium chain fatty acid and it convert directly into energy when we eat it. There are many other health benefits and it tastes great!
In my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem, I make a white sauce to replace milk in Bechamel with nut or seed milk which is used in other recipes including: creamed tuna, pot pies, macaroni and cheeze, stroganoff. I also use nut or seed milk in cakes, cookies, puddings and much more. For the recipe to make nut or seed milk go to http://nowheatnodairynoproblem.com/recipes/
Let us know by commenting below what nut and seed milk you make and love. Feel free to ask questions too!