Photo by Dionna Lee
Plant-based milk can be a great alternative as long as the ingredients are clean. At Agent Nateur, ingredients are most important to us.
Ingredients to avoid in plant-based milk:
Natural Flavors: This is like a trade secret in food products just as fragrance is in the beauty industry. Natural Flavors seem innocent because they use the word “natural” instead of “artificial” but the truth is the one ingredient can contain numerous hidden ingredients that don’t have to be listed on the label such as propylene glycol which is also used an ingredient used in anti-freeze.
Thickeners such as Carageenan, guar gum and other gums: Carageenan has been linked to cancer and intestinal inflammation. Other gums that are added to thicken can cause bloating and intestinal distress.
Soy: Almost all soy is GMO and sprayed with glyphosate and it mimics estrogen in the body which can lead to hormone disruption.
Rapeseed/Canola and Sunflower Oils: One of the most popular Oat milk brands currently lists rapeseed oil as it’s third ingredient on their website. Rapeseed Oil is Canola oil which is extremely inflammatory to the body. Sunflower oil is not always bad, however, it is highly oxidative so it becomes damaged when heated. So unless a company states they are using a cold pressed sunflower oil stay away.
Added Sugars: Most sweetened options contain refined sugars and you will be surprised at how much sugar is actually in one serving.
Pea Protein: Some of the dairy free milk brands have added pea protein as an ingredient to thicken and make the milk creamier, but there are studies that have show pea protein can contain lead. You can always take the extra step and ask a company if they test every batch and for test results, but if you don’t have that information stay away from products containing pea protein.
Rice: Rice can contain high levels of arsenic so unless the brand tests for arsenic and can verify those results it is better to stay away from rice milk.
Non-Organic: Don’t fall for just Non-GMO labels which can be deceiving if the organic label is not by its side. NON-GMO can still contain pesticides, especially almonds. Almond farms are pre-treated with Monsanto’s glyphosate.
What to look for on the label:
Organic: When you choose organic you will be avoiding toxic pesticides.
Sprouted: Most brands don’t use sprouted ingredients but if you can find a brand that does such as MALK that is the brand to choose. Sprouting increases digestibility by breaking down the phytic acid content which can be present in nuts and grains. Sprouting also increases the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals.
Unsweetened: Most brands even organic contain refined sugars which you want to avoid as much as possible. if you prefer your milk slightly sweet you can always add your own honey or maple syrup.
Fewer ingredients are better- If you initially see a huge list of ingredients ion the label just opt out and choose another option because usually those added ingredients are additives and sugars you don’t want.
Nut Milk: MALK, Three Trees, and New Barn
Coconut Milk: Natural Value and Native Forest Plain and Simple
Oat Milk: Minor Figures, make sure it is the organic version without canola oil
It is also worth mentioning that certain nuts are more inflammatory than others because they contain high Omega 6 Fatty Acids compared to Omega 3’s. Most of us already have an imbalanced ratio of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s so adding more foods containing Omega 6’s causes inflammation in the body.
Omega 3 Vs Omega 6 in Milligrams:
- Macadamias– 60 vs 360
- Almonds – 2 vs 3400
- Hazelnuts – 20 vs 2200
- Pistachios – 70 vs 3700
- Brazil Nuts – 5.1 vs 5800
- Cashews – 7 vs 2200
- Walnuts – 2500 vs 10,100
- Pine Nuts – 31 vs 9400
- Pecans – 280 vs 5800
Macadamia nuts have the best ratio and certain nuts such as cashews and brazil nuts rank on the lowest end so drinking cashew milk as your dairy free alternative could just add inflammation to your body.
Homemade is always the best because you have full control over the ingredients and it just taste so much better. Here are a few recipes for you to try that we think you will love:
Jena Covello's Macadamia Milk Recipe:
1 cup of organic macadamia nuts
2-2.5 cups of filtered water (if you use less water the milk literally feels like heavy cream and it is AMAZING)
1 tablespoon of organic maple syrup (optional)
5 dashes of cinnamon (optional)
1 dash of pink Himalayan sea salt
Place all ingredients in the blender and voila! You don't have to strain/soak macadamia nuts because they are so low in phytic acid. Enjoy!
Oat Milk that tastes like Oatly:
1 cup oats, soaked 3-4 hours
2 tbsp walnut or avocado oil
3-4 cups water
Pinch of salt
Rinse soaked oats for about 30 seconds and add to blender with oil, water, salt, and vanilla extract, if using. 3 cups water will be creamy, 4 cups water will be thinner. Blend on high for about 30 seconds. Pour into a bowl through a mesh bag (or fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth) and squeeze it all out. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.
recipe from: goodwitchkitchen.net
Mary Whitlock's Almond Milk Recipe:
4 cups filtered water
1 cup organic almonds (and soaked in water overnight)
3 dates (eliminate the dates for an unsweetened version)
1tsp vanilla extract or inside of 1 vanilla bean
1/8 tsp Himalayan salt or the sea salt
Soak almonds overnight in filtered water. This will increase the digestibility of them by reducing the phytic acid content as well as make them easier to blend. Rinse soaked nuts and add them to your blender along with the 4 cups of filtered water. Blend on high until mixture is completely blended then strain through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth. Add strained milk back into blender and add the dates, vanilla and salt. Blend again then you are done!
By Jena Covello and Mary Whitlock