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Healthy Recipe Series

If you are trying to find an alternative to dairy products like milk, nuts can definitely be the answer! Whether to drink with your coffee or tea, or to make a delicious healthy breakfast, nut milks are the perfect choice in terms of nutrition and health.

But before we jump into that you may have some questions, like:

Isn’t milk good for me? 

Animal milk is often full of antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, due to the high demand of production required from farmed animals. Dairy also contributes to increased inflammation in the body, is related to several skin conditions (acne, eczema and psoriasis) and, more concerning, has been associated with higher risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. Not to mention the numerous cases of lactose intolerance and allergies to dairy products.

What about the calcium I get from dairy?

Dairy products do not provide adequate calcium. In truth, dairy is extremely acidifying, and the human body requires calcium to buffer this increased acidity. Hence, dairy ends up being a cause for calcium leaching from the bones.

Raw food diets provide plenty of calcium from vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Furthermore, most raw foods are highly alkalizing, which means the body can keep its calcium stores and use this mineral appropriately.

 

Nut Milks

We will offer four options of milks, using different bases: almond, pecan, hemp (actually a seed) and coconut. 

Read through to the end, because you will get one extra milk recipe and one extra cream recipe! 😊

 

Almond (Prunus dulcis)

We have introduced you to the health benefits of almonds in our Cauliflower Crust Pizza recipe, so here are some of the highlights!

Nutritional Profile and Health benefits of Almonds1,2

  • Very balanced nutrient profile, rich in vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. 
  • Good sources of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) like oleic and palmitoleic acids that contribute to healthy blood lipid profiles. 
  • Great source of vitamin E (about 25 mg per 100 grams of almonds), a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant.
  • Good source of B-complex vitamins that work in conjunction as cofactors for enzymes in cellular metabolism. 
  • Very good source of minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)

Pecan nuts (in reality fruits) are a rich source of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Pecans3,4

  • Excellent source of vitamin-E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol (about 25 g per 100 grams of pecans), a vital antioxidant. 
  • Great source of plant phytochemicals with antioxidant action, such as the polyphenolic compound ellagic acid, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin, which help prevent free radical damage. 
  • Ellagic acid has anti-proliferative properties: it inhibits the binding of carcinogens, such as nitrosamines and polycyclic hydrocarbons, to the DNA, protecting it from damage.
  • Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) like oleic acid, contributing to a healthy blood lipid profile.
  • Rich source of B-complex vitamins: thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), and folate (B-9), essential for macronutrient metabolism. 
  • Pecans are also a good source of minerals like manganese, copper, zinc, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and moderate sources of potassium, calcium and selenium.

Hemp seed (Cannabis sativa)

Hemp seeds are actually botanically a nut, and come from the hemp plant. Hemp seeds have a mild, nutty flavor, and are often referred to as hemp hearts.

Hemp seeds are exceptionally nutritious and rich in healthy fats, especially unsaturated fatty acids, essential amino acids and several minerals.

Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds5

  • Exceptional source of healthy fat, with over 30% of calories coming from fat. 
  • Excellent source of two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3), in an excellent 3:1 balance, and also contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). A balanced fatty-acid profile has been associated with many health benefits, including reduced inflammation6
  • These healthy fats contribute to a stronger immune system and have antioxidant and neuro-protective properties7.
  • Exceptional source of protein, around 25% of total calories are from high-quality protein. Contains all the 20 amino acids, including all of the nine essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the body.
  • Whole hemp seeds (not de-hulled or shelled) are a great source of fiber (about 4 grams of fiber per 100 grams of whole hemp seeds), containing about 20% of soluble and 80% of insoluble fiber, which contributes to a healthy digestive system.
  • Good source of certain vitamins, mainly B-complex, such as thiamin (B-1), niacin (B-3), and vitamin B6, which play a crucial role in energy metabolism.
  • Rich source of several minerals, such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron.

Coconut (Cocos nucifera)

Coconuts are also botanically fruits, and a very versatile food. They are rich in saturated fats, and nutrients like vitamins and minerals, and a great source of energy. The kernel is the “coconut meat.”

Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Coconuts8,9

  • Coconuts are a great source of energy (354 calories per 100 grams of kernel), mostly from protein and fat. 
  • Most of the fat present in the coconut kernel, around 89%, is saturated fat. These fats are constituted largely by medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which can be absorbed intact in the small intestine, and an excellent source of energy.
  • MCTs have many health benefits, including anticarcinogenic, antiviral, and antifungal effects10.
  • The most relevant saturated fatty acid is lauric acid (1:12 carbon fatty acid). Lauric acid helps increase HDL cholesterol levels in the blood, considered the “good cholesterol”, and reduce LDL “bad cholesterol”, contributing to healthy lipid profiles.
  • Good source of B-vitamins such as thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), and folate (B-9), required from food and essential for macronutrient metabolism.
  • Excellent source of minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Coconut meat is a good source of potassium (356 mg per 100 grams of fresh meat; 7.5% RDA).
  • Rich source of fiber (9 grams per 100 grams of fresh meat; 24% RDA). Most of this fiber is insoluble fiber, which means not digestible by the body, but helping with bowel health.

If you have been craving your favorite “milk containing” beverages and looking for the best alternative, look no further! Here are the recipes for 4 different Nut Milks and the bonus Oat Milk and Cashew Cream!

 

Nut Milk Recipes

  • Makes: 1 Quart • Prep time: 10 minutes • Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

Almond Milk: 

  • 1 cup almonds 
  • 4cups water

Pecan Milk*:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 4 cups water

Hemp Milk*:

  • 3/4 cup hemp seeds 
  • 4cups water

Coconut Milk:

  • 1 cup dried coconut (unsweetened)
  • 4 cups water

BONUS IDEAS

Oat Milk:

  • 1 cup gluten-free oats 
  • 4 cups water

Cashew Cream*: 

  • 2 cups cashews
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

Place your ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds or longer (depending on the power of your blender).

Pour mixture into a straining bag (nut milk bag). Strain the mixture by twisting the top of the bag closed with one hand and squeezing the bag with the other hand.

Store in a glass mason jar in the refrigerator for up to three days (separation is normal).

*These milks do not require straining.

Enjoy 😊

REFERENCES

  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, almonds. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170567/nutrients, accessed Jul 11, 2022.
  2. Nutrition and You. Almonds Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/almonds.html, accessed Jul 11, 2022.
  3. United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, pecans. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170182/nutrients, accessed Jul 13, 2022.
  4. Nutrition and You. Pecans Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pecans.html, accessed Jul 13, 2022.
  5. United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Seeds, hemp seed, hulled. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170148/nutrients, accessed Jul 13, 2022.
  6. Sergeant S, Rahbar E, Chilton FH. Gamma-linolenic acid, Dihommo-gamma linolenic, Eicosanoids and Inflammatory Processes. Eur J Pharmacol. 2016 Aug 15;785:77-86. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2016.04.020. Epub 2016 Apr 12. PMID: 27083549; PMCID: PMC4975646.
  7. Zhou Y, Wang S, Ji J, Lou H, Fan P. Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Seed Phenylpropionamides Composition and Effects on Memory Dysfunction and Biomarkers of Neuroinflammation Induced by Lipopolysaccharide in Mice. ACS Omega. 2018 Nov 30;3(11):15988-15995. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.8b02250. Epub 2018 Nov 27. PMID: 30556022; PMCID: PMC6288804.
  8. United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, coconut meat, raw. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170169/nutrients, accessed Jul 15, 2022.
  9. Nutrition and You. Coconut Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/coconut.html, accessed Jul 15, 2022.
  10. Narayanan A, Baskaran SA, Amalaradjou MA, Venkitanarayanan K. Anticarcinogenic properties of medium chain fatty acids on human colorectal, skin and breast cancer cells in vitro. Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Mar 5;16(3):5014-27. doi: 10.3390/ijms16035014. PMID: 25749477; PMCID: PMC4394462.

Vanessa Pinto graduated with a degree in Biology and Masters in Ecology from Lisbon University. After graduating, she underwent a series of professional and personal growth experiences, including being an officer in the Portuguese Army, working in countries as diverse as Iceland and Costa Rica.  Vanessa became certified as a Yoga and Meditation teacher in rural India.

Being a compassionate person by nature, Vanessa is able to bring her connectedness when working with others while enhancing the importance and practicality of a pragmatic evidence-based approach to facilitating lasting and permanent change. Vanessa is a certified health coach whose specialties are nutrition, exercise, and mind/ body connection.  She works both in Portugal, Thailand and USA, where she develops her work closely with people diagnosed with cancer, mainly in the areas of nutrition, movement and health education.

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