Should you swap cow’s milk for almond milk? We find out its benefits and all the ways you can incorporate it into your diet
We’re willing to bet that going dairy free is an idea that sits a little uncomfortably with most people. After all, it’s what most of us have grown up drinking. However, if you’re suffering from lactose intolerance, dairy intolerance or other digestive problems, there are alternatives that are now more widely available which could be a better option.
One of those choices is almond milk and it could be the healthy replacement that you’ve been looking for. Versatile and pretty tasty (once you get used to it), but somewhat still an unknown entity, we asked author, founder and creator of Honestly Healthy Natasha Corrett to breakdown the almond milk benefits down for us, her favourite almond milk recipe and some great ideas to make it more interesting.
GTG: How do you make your own almond milk?
NC: Making almond milk is so easy and involves three steps:
1. Soak the almonds (preferably blanched almonds if you can), for around 4 hours.
2. Blitz the almonds in a food processor or blender until smooth.
3. Strain the liquid through a very fine sieve or muslin bag into your jug or container and enjoy.
GTG: What are the health benefits of almond milk?
NC: Almonds are the most alkaline of the nuts. They are packed with magnesium which helps to soothe and calm the mind. Being full of good fats, they are known to help lower cholesterol and even help with heart disease. They are also a fantastic source of vitamin E which helps to get the skin glowing!
GTG: How does it differ to other types of milk?
NC: Being dairy free, it is a fantastic option. After the age of four, humans are not designed to drink cow’s milk and certainly not in the quantities that we currently do. In addition, it is really important to limit your intake of soy based products such as soya milk, as generally they are highly processed and are thought to have a very strong effect on our hormones. We should only really be having soy products once or twice a week.
GTG: What can you add to almond milk?
NC: All SORTS of things. We have a completely delicious Almond Butter Milkshake recipe on the site that could be made with almond milk. I also love having a warm cup of almond milk with a Pukka 3 Cinnamon Teabag - it turns into a deliciously creamy chai latte. I love poaching fruit like pears in almond milk too for breakfast - I then sprinkle them with freshly grated cinnamon. Matcha lattes are also another favourite and packed with green goodness from the matcha.
GTG: What was your inspiration for your book on the alkaline way?
NC: My second cookbook Honestly Healthy For Life was all about finding healthy alternatives for every day events and special occasions - be it a Sunday lunch with the family, a movie night, a lovely summer picnic or healthy ideas for kids’ parties. There is always a healthier way to enjoy the things that you love, the classics, so this book was all about showing people how to do this the healthy, alkaline way.
GTG: Are there any almond milk recipes that you would recommend?
NC: There are so many things that you can do. I love it with Bircher Muesli (recipe below) in the morning or over my new favourite Raw Beetroot & Ginger muesli from Primroses Kitchen . I also have a panna cotta recipe in my second book which is actually made with coconut milk, but making it with almond milk would be just as delicious. Milkshakes and lattes are a real favourite, while I have been playing with an almond milk based ice cream too with velvety almond butter and cinnamon swirled through it too - so delicious and I will be posting a recipe on my site for this soon.
Recipe for Bircher Muesli
Number of servings: 2
235g (8 1/2oz/2 3/4 cups) gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
20g (3/4oz) coconut shavings
2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
75g (2 3/4oz/1/2 cup) raisins (or substitute chopped dried figs, dates or apricots)
480ml (161/4fl oz/2 cups) warm water
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Simply add the warm water to the dry ingredients and give the mixture another good stir. Leave to soak for a couple of hours or overnight in the fridge.
If it’s really sticky after 2 hours, add a splash of extra water to loosen up the muesli; some oats are super-absorbent and others aren’t, so it’ll depend on the type you use.
Top with fresh fruit of your choice and enjoy.
Honestly Healthy For Life: Healthy Alternatives for Everyday Eating by Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson. Photography by Lisa Lindner. Published by Jacqui Small, £25.