Almond milk is a great paleo substitute for cow’s milk. I find I use it mostly in smoothies, sauces, purees, and coffee or tea. It’s not nearly as complicated as you might think. I bet you can even make it right now with all of the tools you have in your kitchen. All you need is water, almonds, a blender, a large bowl and a clean kitchen towel. Let me show you how!
First, why would you want to make your own almond milk? Store-bought almond milk is a good choice if you’re transitioning into a paleo diet. It’s most definitely a better choice than cow’s milk if you’re trying to see how your body reacts to a whole foods diet. However, there’s actually a lot of ingredients in store-bought almond milk (and coconut milk for that matter) that aren’t paleo.
Store bought almond milk will have one or more of the following ingredients: guar gum, locust bean gum, gellan gum, carrageenan, sunflower lecithin, potassium citrate, and calcium carbonate. Most of these things are added as thickeners. Manufacturers want to emulate the mouth-feel and viscosity of traditional milk to make their products most appealing to consumers. Some of these things are emulsifiers. Emulsifiers keep all particles evenly suspended throughout the liquid so it doesn’t separate out into layers… homogenous if you will. Lastly, some of these things are preservatives that keep the product stable for longer, allowing you to open it and keep it in the fridge for weeks without spoiling.
The most offensive of these is the thickeners. Most of these are made from legumes, and thus aren’t paleo. Is it the worst thing in the world? No. Is store-bought still a better choice than cow’s milk for paleo? Yes. Is store-bought almond milk okay if I’m just using 1 cup a day in smoothies? Yes. It is strict or clean paleo? Unfortunately, no. Is homemade almond milk the best choice that should be used whenever possible? Yes.
Just like most cases, when you make things yourself you control what goes in it and sometimes more importantly, what doesn’t. When you make your own almond milk, the only two ingredients are water and almonds. Sounds good to me!
- 3 cups water, cold or room temperature
- 1 cup almonds, raw
- large bowl
- clean kitchen towel
- Fill your blender up with the water. Add the almonds.
- Place lid on blender and puree on high until almonds are pulverized and no large chunks remain, about 1-2 minutes. (If using a Vitamix, turn on to "smoothie" setting.)
- Line a large bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Pour the almond-water mixture into the towel-lined bowl.
- Gather the four corners of the towel and twist the towel, squeezing the water out but capturing the pulverized almonds or almond pulp. When you're done, you're left with almond pulp and your glorious homemade almond milk!
- Pour almond milk into a storage container and store in the fridge.
How do you enjoy your almond milk? How does it fit into your paleo diet?