I had a great question on Friday on my Facebook page about what type of dairy-free ‘milk’ we like to use. First of all, it would be great if we could all make our own everything! The reality for us is that time doesn’t allow for that. I want to be spending time with my family instead of slaving away in the kitchen for hours on end. Don’t get me wrong – I really like my kitchen and preparing healthy foods for my family and friends. I also like other parts of the house – you know the parts with a comfy chair and a good book! So while I do think it is a great idea to make your own nut milks, I am okay with purchasing them with a few safe guards in place.
So far, we have experimented with almond, coconut, brown rice & hemp milk. I avoid the soy milks due to the phytoestrogen content. Phytoestrogens mimic the body’s natural estrogen hormones which can lead to hormone imbalances. Read this for more information.
I think that purchasing a processed food with minimal ingredients and processing makes the most sense. There are many choices out there to pick from – look for the ingredient list that you feel good about. The kind we use has 3 ingredients. Carrageen is commonly used as a thickener or stabilizer in many health foods. It comes from red algae. The concerns around this additive mostly stem from the modern practises used in processing. Here’s another very informative article.
As in all things, I think variety is the key. These ‘milks’ should be enjoyed in rotation. I think we are far better off in general, drinking a big glass of water rather than milk or commercially prepared juice of any kind. Back to the milk thing… We also like raw milk from regular old cows too. Make the dairy free alternatives if and when you can & buy it when you need to. Confession time – I’ve never made it myself. I’ve seen recipes for it – looks easy enough – I just haven’t tried it yet. At this point, I like to buy it from the refrigerator section. Europeans have bought their milk from shelves in the grocery aisles for years…it seems to work for them. I just like to buy mine cold.
The next thing I always look for is the unsweetened version. Some of the ‘milks’ are so sweet that even my 9 year old complains about the sweetness. I secretly give a fist pump because I’m glad that he can acknowledge that sensation and doesn’t like it! It is the sweetened versions that come with the longer ingredient list.
So…drum roll please! What kind do we like? The almond & coconut milk were the most pleasing to the palate – rich & creamy. The rice & hemp milk didn’t taste the greatest by itself but was great in baking & waffles. I haven’t tried flax milk but hear that it works really well in baking as well & is a source of Omega 3s.
This is what is in our fridge right now…