Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Alternatives to Cow-milk

Okay. So after reading the extensive amount of evidence showing how unhealthy dairy is for us, such as from T.Colin Campbell's ground-breaking book "The China Study" we know that it is best for us--and best for the planet, to ween ourselves off the bovine breast-milk.
After finally getting off the dairy, about seven years ago, I went to my friendly Co-operative market here and perused the dairy-free 'milks'. I've of course had soy milk many times, but then tried almond, hemp, hazelnut and coconut. Some of these are unflavored, sans carob, chocolate or vanilla, but still most have added sugars and some have many ingredients.
Even before reading Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "Food Politics," by Marion Nestle, which were two very influencial books to me, I have been avoiding foods with a paragraph for an ingredient list and opting for those with perhaps five ingredients or less. I definitely avoid those with very long names that many dietitians cannot even identify. With much of the soy milk sold in stores being of the GMO variety, I would of course avoid those. Illegal to be sold in Europe and in Canada due to safety concerns, but safe for Americans? No thanks.
So there are some decent options in the store that I use on occasion, such as unsweetened coconut milk but I would rather make it fresh. Besides, stocking store shelves on the east coast with cases of almond milk, that came all the way from California and which probably includes 1/2 cup or less of non-water ingredients per quart, well, is almost like buying those wasteful little plastic bottles of water. There are better ways!

There are some decent options in the store that I use on occasion, such as unsweetened coconut milk. But I would rather make it fresh. Even in the stores though I haven't seen Walnut milk. Perhaps it would be much more expensive than other milks, but I have been making my own.

After viewing a recipe online at Eat Raw Vegan, I of course modified it significantly, so here is my recipe:

Vanilla Walnut Milk

1/2 cup Walnuts, raw (organic if possible)
1/4 cup Dates, pitted
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla bean powder*
(vanilla beans cut open and scraped out, so much better than an "extract")
5 cups water

Soak the walnuts for several hours (or just overnight) in enough water to cover them completely. Discard the water and rinse well to reduce the tannins and bitterness. Also soak the dates in another container in 1/2 cup water (of the 5 cups). Start blending with some of the remaining 4 1/2 cups of water on full power and gradually add the rest of it. If it is blended well enough there will be no residue to filter, it should be smooth and ready to go!

Stay tuned for additional recipes for dairy alternatives!

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