Why non-dairy milk?
Commercial cow’s milk is difficult for many people to digest. The pasteurization process kills the enzymes that would otherwise help us break down the sugars and proteins in the milk. (Conventional milk also contains antibiotics and hormones, which are not health-promoting or good for a struggling GI tract.)
Cow’s milk is also high in FODMAPs, which can exacerbate symptoms of bloating, gas, and pain for many people with functional GI disorders. In general, I believe that the emphasis on non-fat dairy products in a traditional GP-friendly diet isn’t ideal for symptom management.
Why homemade non-dairy milk?
Store-bought non-dairy milks contain many more ingredients than you’ll find in the recipes below. Synthetic vitamins, stabilizers, thickeners, preservatives, sweeteners. At best these things are unnecesary, at worst they can negatively impact our digestive health and function. Carageenan, for example, is found in most commercial non-dairy milks and is known to increase inflammation within the GI tract. Your GI tract has enough to do without these added ingredients and it’s really quite simple to make your own additive-free milks.
Almonds, rich in vitamins A and E, make a really tasty milk that be used in smoothies, on cereal, or as a substitute for cow’s milk in most recipes. If you’ve have store-bought almond milk, I assure you that homemade is much better.
- 1 cup of almonds
- 8-10 cups of water, divided
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, optional
- maple syrup or honey (high FODMAP) to sweeten to taste, optional
- Put almonds in a bowl and add about 4 cups of water (I use a 1-quart mason jar and just fill it to the top). Place in the fridge and soak overnight or up to 24 hours.
- Drain and rinse almonds
- Place almonds in a Vitamix with 2 cups of water and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Continue blending while adding 2-4 more cups of water until it reaches the desired consistency (I usually add closer to 4 cups).
- Add in salt, sweetener, and/or extract, if desired.
- Strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Be patient! This is the most time consuming part of making almond milk.
- Store the milk in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is an ancient seed that’s rich in manganese, tryptophan, phosphorus, folate, and magnesium. It’s also a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids (unlike most other plant-based proteins). One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein. Unfortunately for those of us watching our fiber intake, one cup of cooked quinoa also contains 5 grams of fiber.
Solution? Make milk out of it, removing the fiber but keeping most of the health-promoting nutrients! (Similar to juicing our fruits and veggies.)
Though I was excited about the thought of quinoa milk, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I know most people say quinoa tastes nutty, but it tastes (and smells) grassy to me. The milk, however? Not bad. I’m not drinking it out of a glass, but I am using it in my daily green smoothie and I don’t detect any quinoa flavor at all. And it’s really quite easy to make.
- 1 cup quinoa (I use Tru Roots Organic Sprouted Quinoa)
- 6-8 cups of water, divided
- 1 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Rinse quinoa thoroughly in cold water to remove the bitter, soapy coating. (The sprouted quinoa doesn’t need to be rinsed.)
- Add quinoa and 2 cups of water to a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Place the cooked quinoa and 2 more cups of water into a blender. Blend until smooth, about a minute.
- Add the remaining 2-4 cups of water while blending, until it reaches desired consistency (I use all 4 cups of water).
- Add maple syrup and vanilla extract, if desired.
- Strain the milk through a nut milk bag (I use this one) or piece of cheesecloth. (I strain through a fine mesh strainer first to speed up the process.)
- Store the milk in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.