I was the kid who chugged milk out of the jug when no one was looking.
My choices were extremely limited. My sisters and I begged for pop but my parents weren't swayed. All we could ever find in the fridge were orange juice and low-fat 2% milk. And my sisters weren't fans of the white stuff which totally baffled me.
I remember my first glass of real milk.
I was 16 years old and we were spending our winter break in Jamaica. My sisters, cousins and I were hanging out at the outdoor restaurant at our resort near Ocho Rios. My cousins ordered pop, and as I knew that wouldn't fly with my parents I ordered milk. Our server brought it out in a tall glass. It looked extremely thick and was frothy at the top. My small sip was immediately followed by a large gulp. It was the best beverage I had ever consumed—cold, sweet, I couldn't imagine anything tasting better. It was almost as if the milk had an opiate effect on my brain.
I no longer drink milk.
Cow milk that is. I drank it for years—first the unfortunate 2% commercial milk I found in my parent's fridge, then Horizon's full fat organic milk and lastly raw milk delivered weekly through a cow share I purchased from Ebert Family Farm.
I don't miss the 2% or Horizon's. But I do miss the raw milk—it tastes exactly as I remember that first real glass of milk I had in Jamaica. It comes from happy cows that are milked only once a day. Cows that spend a lot of time grazing. And it is not pasteurized—meaning that it packs a much more solid nutritional punch.
But my husband begged me to stop. He told me it made me too "juicy."
Even though I limited myself to two small glasses each week it was enough to mess with my system. When I am "on" milk my post nasal drip comes back. And with that my chronic cough. I spend a lot of time clearing my throat. And every evening I get stuffy and have trouble breathing through my nose. I have done experiments where I have been dairy-free for months, and then ever hopeful, reintroduced the raw milk only to have my symptoms reappear in a matter of days.
White poison for me, liquid gold for Randy.
Randy told me that he planned to continue drinking milk himself. He feels good on it—no unfortunate side effects for him, lucky guy. So each Friday I pick up our raw milk and raw yogurt for the week. And then I watch him enjoy it in his smoothies everyday. But I miss milk! And I don't dig the almond milk that comes in a carton—which has very little almonds and comes with preservatives, thickeners and sweeteners.
So we make our own. It's so easy even a 5 year old can do it. Specifically, my 5 year old Will Riley—who also has unfortunate side effects with dairy from cows. Feeling courageous? Want to feel empowered? Try making it for yourself.
1. Soak raw almonds in filtered water overnight. The longer you soak them, the creamer the milk will be.
2 The water the almonds are in should have turned murky. That murkiness is Phytic acid, which is found in the coatings of nuts and is tough on our digestion. Ever have a belly ache from eating too many nuts? According to Doctor Mercola, Phytic acid is an "anti-nutrient" responsible for leeching vital nutrients from your body. This is no bueno. So rinse your nuts well my friends.
3. Pour the soaked nuts into your blender. Fill the rest of the blender with filtered water. The ratio that works best for me is 1 cup almonds to 3 cups water. If you want it creamer, use less water. Add in some cinnamon and a few mejodal dates.
4. Turn the blender on for 30 seconds. Pulse until it looks like everything is blended well. Pour the milk through a nut-milk strainer bag into a large bowl. I spent $12 on mine. I read about using nylons. That seemed like a lot of work to me. Wring out as much milk into the bowl as you can. The pulp will remain in your bag and can be used for other recipes.
5. Pour the milk into glass containers. Mason jars work well if you do not have milk specific containers.
6. Chill in the fridge for a few hours and then enjoy!
Making almond milk is an easy way to get kids into the kitchen.
Generally young kids will want to participate as long as you make it fun. Deep down, we all have a curious inner scientist—tell the kids you want to do an exciting experiment with them.
The gift that keeps on giving.
If you decide to make the milk I recommend doing something with the remaining almond flour. Unless you like things going to waste. ;) In our case we use it to make banana zucchini bread. And the milk? We drink it plain. And we also love having it as a base for our chia pudding.