Almond Milk: Why you may want to start making your own.
By Wilfredo Benitez, www.EatRunandDone.com
You like almonds. You like milk. Naturally, almond milk makes sense to you. As a plant-based vegan, but also as someone who cares about the environment and animals, I’m glad you choose or are looking to choose a nondairy milk when you are at the grocery store.
I’m here to tell you, though, that you now may want to start thinking about making your own nut milk every once in a while. You may love the fresh, flavorful taste so much that you decide to only make your own nut milk and that’s cool too.
Absorption of nutrients
Making fresh nut-milk generally involves using freshly soaked almonds and soaking your almonds reduces the phytic acid in them. Phytic acid is an "anti-nutrient" that sucks or leeches certain nutrients from the body and is found in mostly all plant-based foods. Soaking the almonds and reducing that phytic acid content increases the nutritional profile of the almonds and the almond milk you are about to prepare.
The soaking process also reduces the enzyme inhibitors which are natural in nuts and seeds but can affect our own enzymatic activity. Reducing these inhibitors makes the nutrients more bio-available and thus easier and more likely to be digested and absorbed. If you don’t soak your almonds, fear not; you will still be getting many nutrients from consuming this amazing plant food.
Speaking of nutrients, fresh almond milk is going to deliver much more nutrition than store-bought versions. Over the past few years, it has been reported that most store-bought almond milk is actually mostly water and significantly less almonds than you would think would be in almond milk. It is for this reason, as is being claimed, why the calorie content in almond milk is so low compared to actual almonds. A serving size of almonds is going to have about 6g of protein and 15g of healthy fats, yet a cup of store-bought almond milk has only 1g of protein and 3g of fat. And even if these reports are not true (though they likely are), making your own nut milk is going to result in removing much of the fat and protein than what is in whole almonds anyway, but that is why you would reuse the leftover almond pulp…more on this in another blog post!
With regards to nutrients, it is important to note that most store-bought almond milks are fortified with vitamins such as Vitamins A, E, D2, B2 and maybe B12. The absorption rate of these fortified vitamins is not exactly clear, but it is certainly going to be better to get nutrients from whole foods rather than synthetically.
If you're a vegetarian or vegan consumer, you may want to consider that fresh nut milk is not going to provide Vitamins A, D, or B12, but almonds are a good source of Vitamins E and B2 and soaking them makes these vitamins more available. There a many other foods from which to get Vitamin A and fortified nondairy milks should certainly not be relied on for adequate intake of Vitamin B12.
Next reason…No additives! Store-bought nut milks require additives, but fresh nut milks don't need to add additives. Not having additives means your almond milk won’t keep fresh for as long as store-bought versions, but your milk should keep in the fridge for 5-7 days just fine. If you don’t drink milk regularly; just make less of it! Trust me…the taste is worth the lower fridge-life.
And lastly, making your own nut milks allows you to use your own sweeteners, if you choose to sweeten. Instead of cane sugar, you can use a couple dates or perhaps maple syrup. Don’t want the sugar, but you want some flavor? Add some pure vanilla extract or some cinnamon for an enhanced flavor profile.
You like almonds. You like almond milk. Great…Milk them yourself!