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Chef Wendell: Almond milk and nutrition

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For a variety of reasons, many people today are seeking alternatives to dairy milk. Almonds are highly nutritious but what about that almond milk your drinking? You can purchase almond milk easily enough, but along with those comes lots of not-so-natural ingredients. Let’s make our own. Some brands contain as little as 2.5 percent almonds. That’s about six almonds per container. Or, is it better to eat a handful of almonds?

1st Segment: Talking about today’s dairy milk and non-milk alternatives on the grocer’s shelves. What to avoid. The health concerns over Carrageenan in many milk alternatives. Soaking nuts and prepping for almond milk demo. Almond vitamin and fiber content.

2nd Segment: What equipment do I need? Blending, straining and tasting the milk.

  • Many people today are seeking alternatives to dairy milk. (Soy, almond, hempseed, coconut, cashew)
  • The China Study found a strong connection between dairy consumption and cancer growth.
  • Milk consumption on steady declining, dropping 25% from 1975 to 2012, according to USDA.
  • If you’re going to skip cow’s milk, make sure you find a good source of calcium and protein elsewhere in your diet: leafy green vegetables, tofu, chia and flax, beans, or supplements that include vitamin D.
  • Almonds are an excellent source of heart-healthy unsaturated fatty acids, protein, vitamin E, riboflavin, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc.
  • Almonds are good source of fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, antioxidant flavonoids and phytosterols
  • Major Brands of Almond Milk: sugar, Carrageenan, artificial flavors, preservatives, stabilizers, and other not-so-natural ingredients.
  • 1 Oz. almonds contains six grams of protein (about 1 eggs’ worth) along with 3 grams of fiber (a medium banana) and 12 grams of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. (half avocado)
  • A jug of almond milk containing roughly 39 cents worth of almonds, plus filtered water and additives, retails for $3.99.
  • 8 ounces serving of Califia almond milk offers 1 gram each of protein and fiber, and 5 grams of fat.
  • So, supplement with calcium / magnesium and protein.
  • Carrageenan is a seaweed used as a thickener and emulsifier in foods such as ice cream, candies, vitamin supplements, and plant milks!
  • Recent research: carrageenan can cause gastrointestinal inflammation, lesions and even colon cancer in animals.
  • People suffering from inflammatory bowel conditions are advised to avoid products containing carrageenan.

What you’ll need for homemade almond milk:

  • Bowls for soaking almonds
  • Strainer
  • Measuring cup
  • Blender or food processer
  • Fine-mesh nut bag or cheese cloth

You’ll need to:

  • Place almonds in a bowl, cover and soak at least 24 hours up to two days. They will plump as they absorb water. The longer the almonds soak, the creamier the milk.
  • Drain almonds and rinse thoroughly under cool running water. (almonds should feel a little squishy when you pinch them.)
  • Place the almonds in the blender / Vita-Mix and cover with 1.5 cups of water.
  • Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes. Pulse the blender a few times to break up the almonds, then blend continuously for two minutes. The almonds should be broken down into a very fine meal and the water should be white and opaque. (If using a food processor, process for 4 minutes total, pausing to scrape down the sides.)
  • Line the strainer with either the opened nut bag or cheese cloth, and place over a measuring cup. Pour the almond mixture into the strainer.
  • Press all almond milk from the almond meal. Gather the nut bag or cheese cloth around the almond meal and twist close. Squeeze and press with clean hands to extract as much almond milk as possible.
  • Taste the milk. If a sweeter drink is wanted, add sweetener to taste.
  • Refrigerate and store almond milk in sealed containers in the fridge for up to two days.