Thursday, February 14, 2013

Home-made Almond Milk

Almonds are one of the most nutritious nuts, full of healthy fats, protein and fibers! A 1/4 C serving contains 4g of fiber and 7 grams of protein! They help lower cholesterol and even have anti cancerous properties. Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E as well, a potent anti-oxidant that we all need more of! The latest trends of alternative milks have their benefits but there's nothing like making your own, fresh, properly prepared almond milk. No additives, no processed sugars, no preservatives. Just plain raw almonds, fresh dates and pure water.

Almonds would best be consumed in their original raw state but because the Almond Board of California prohibits the sale of raw almonds in the grocery store you will only find truly raw almonds at your local farmer's market. They can even be labeled 'raw' in the grocery store, but they are actually not raw, they are just 'not roasted'. They are always flash pasterurized unless you buy them directly from the farmer. Flash pasteurizing destroys most of the nutrients they originally contained so be sure to find truly raw, fresh almonds!

Properly preparing your food is another step towards better health. Soaking your nuts, seeds and grains helps improve your bodies ability to break down and utilize more of the nutrients, particularly minerals. These foods naturally contain phytic acid which is bound to the minerals they contain. Your body can not break down phytic acid all on it's own, but soaking naturally starts to break down the phytic acid. It's not bad to consume nuts, seeds and grains that haven't been soaked but you will certainly increase the digestibility and absorption of nutrients if you get in the habit of soaking them. And who doesn't need more nutrients?

The Recipe:
1/2 C raw almonds, soaked
2 dates, pit removed
3 C filtered water

Step 1: Soak almonds in a bowl covered with water, they will nearly double in size so leave plenty of room. 
Step 2: Cover with a plate or towel and let sit overnight or anywhere from 8-15 hours.
Step 3: Place in a high powered blender with dates and water. Vitamix or Blendtec works best.
Step 4: Blend on low for a minute or so then blend on high until smooth. Drink as desired!

Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days, if it's just for one you may want to half the recipe. Shake well before pouring each time. Add to coffee or tea, use for a smoothie or simply a nutritious beverage! You can even add a pinch of stevia, vanilla extract or cinnamon for a delicious treat :)

Trust me, you will never settle for store bought almond milk again, plus you're getting all the fiber and more nutrients this way!

Recipe courtesy of Sheryl Rhoades.

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