Why I Avoid Carrageenan + How To Make Homemade Almond Milk
I really do not know why it took me as long as it did to begin making my own almond milk. Not only does it taste fantastic, but it actually is very easy to make, and the best part is that you get to control the ingredients going into the milk. What many people don't realize is that almond milk, and many other non-dairy milks can actually be loaded with sugar, gums, and my least favorite ingredient carrageenan. Who wants a side of food additives with there morning smoothie? Not me!
While carrageenan actually has no nutritional value, it is placed in our foods as an emulsifying agent in order to keep some foods from separating. The use of carrageenan in foods would be entirely un-necessary if companies would print "shake well before use" on the label, but the food industry is very caught up in appearances, so we find ourselves consuming additives that really do not need to be there in the first place.
I began to do more research into carrageenan after learning more about its potential negative GI affects. As someone who has struggled with healing my GI tract for years, the fact that this common food additive could be harming my GI instantly alarmed me, and I made a point to stop purchasing any products that used carrageenan in their ingredients.
At this point in time, there are many scientific articles that have been published by GI doctors, and researchers looking at the negative side affects of carrageenan on the body, and yet the FDA still claims its safety. If you are interested, the Cornucopia Institute published an extensive report on the potential negative affects of carrageenan and why we should try our best to avoid it. Because I use almond milk on almost a daily basis, and many brands add carrageenan to their nut milks, as well as yogurts, ice cream, cheese, meat products, the list goes on and on, I decided to educate my family on where to look for this ingredient, how to avoid it, and began making my own almond milk, which was mainly the only product I was consuming that had carrageenan as an ingredient anyway.
If you are interested in learning more about where carrageenan is hiding in your favorite food products, and safe alternatives, check out this Shopping Guide To Avoiding Foods With Carrageenan.
Now that I have hopefully swayed you to at least begin thinking about what this additive is in your food, we can get to the fun part of this post, which is how to actually make your own almond milk!
How to Make Your Own Almond Milk
This almond milk has a delicious creamy flavor, with a touch of vanilla and cinnamon, and is bound to have you reaching for your blender the next time you need almond milk, rather than a grocery store cartoon.
Prepare to have your mind totally blown by home simple, and delicious homemade almond milk is. Not to mention it is kind of fun to quickly see what once was your soaked almond, become a bright white beverage. I have to admit that I felt strangely proud of myself after making my first batch of homemade almond milk, even though it is the simplest recipe ever. You can also get creative and make a variety of almond milk flavors if you like, and the best part is that you can control the level of sweetness (if any) that you want in your milk. I personally love the vanilla/cinnamon combination I have below, but you could also make a chocolate version by swapping the cinnamon for some raw cacao powder.
- 3.5 cups water
- 1 cup soaked raw almonds
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
- Optional: 1 tsp honey or maple syrup to sweeten
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Large Bowl
- Cheese Cloth
- Take one cup of raw almonds and place them in a bowl of water, and allow to soak overnight (8-12 hours).
- Once your almonds have soaked add all of your ingredients into your blender, and blend on high for about 1-2 minutes, depending on the quality of your blender.
- Your "milk" will begin to form as your almonds are pulverized, and the mixture in your blender will turn bright white.
- Next place your cheese cloth over a large bowl, and pour your almond milk mixture over the cheese cloth.
- Take the cheese cloth in both hands and begin to squeeze the liquid out of the mixture. Most of the liquid will come out on its own, but to get down to just the almond pulp you will have to squeeze it with your hands.
- Pour your almond milk into a glass container, and store in the refrigerator.
- Almond milk will last for about 3 days, but it can last longer. If it begins to taste sour you know that it is time to throw it out.