We've all heard that almond milk is a great alternative to cows milk. In fact, most of you reading this probably drink it. But as we try and nourish our bodies and make healthier choices in our diet we have to wonder, how truly “healthy” are these options? As the demand for almond milk rises, brands must find ways to mass produce it. Unfortunately, making a product shelf-worthy can diminish its nutritional value and may contain unhealthy preservatives in them.
Let's take a look at some ingredients in store-bought almond milk and why they may be better left alone:
By Definition:Carrageenans or carrageenins are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. They are widely used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties.
Why you should avoid it:Although derived from seaweed, carrageenans are not digestible and have no nutritional value. It can be particularly destructive to your digestive system, triggering an immune defense response and leading to inflammation. In fact, it has even been linked to gastrointestinal cancer in lab animals.
Synthetic Ingredients such as Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Calcium Carbonate and DI-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E)
Why you should avoid them:These ingredients come with a myriad of reactions including birth defects, abdominal cramps, kidney stones, increased risk of hip fractures, increased risk of prostate cancer, and a general weakening of the immune system. Your body does not recognize man-made synthetic ingredients in vitamins and supplements. While it may sound healthy, your body reacts to these synthetically produced chemicals much like it would react to toxic chemicals. Your immune system believes it is being invaded and responds accordingly.
The Simple Solution
Make it yourself! It is surprisingly easy to make your own almond milk. The taste is far superior to store bought brands and does not contain preservatives. You can enjoy the recipe below or search on the internet for hundreds of great DIY recipes.
Soak the almonds overnight or up to two days in a bowl. Submerge the almonds with about an inch of water and let stand on the counter covered with a cloth. The almonds will plump as they absorb water. The longer the almonds soak, the creamier your almond milk will be.
Drain and thoroughly rinse the almonds, running them under cool water. The almonds should feel a little squishy if you pinch them.
Blend almonds and fresh water. For every 1 cup of raw almonds, you should add about 2 cups of water, blending at the highest speed for 2 minutes. We recommend letting your water diffuse in your DYLN Bottle for 15-20 minutes and then pouring that water into the mixture. The almonds should be a very fine meal, and the water should be white and opaque.
Strain and press the almond mixture with the nut bag or cheesecloth into a large bowl.
Sweeten to taste. You can use agave, maple syrup or another sweetener of your choice.
Refrigerate. Your fresh almond milk will last up to two days in a sealed container, so drink up!
Now wasn't that nutritious and delicious? What other foods can you think of that are marketed as healthy, but because of mass production may actually be harmful?