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    Archive for the ‘almond milk’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Nut Butters, Nut Milks, Protein, and Satiety

    04314l1395I understand that nuts are filling because, in part, of their protein. Do nut milks (e.g., almond milk) possess similar properties? Are they as “filling” or have as much protein?

    Also, what is a good protein replacement for nut butters? I like nut butters and love the idea of “bulking up” a piece of bread to make it more satisfying, but sometimes find it hard to digest nuts in large quantities. Is there something else I can put on my breads, muffins, etc. that will make me feel as full for as long as nut butters do?

    — Lizzie (Last Name Withheld)
    (Location Withheld)

    Nut milks offer different nutrient values than nut butters because they have have a much higher water content.

    If you make nut milk the traditional way (straining the liquid through a chinois and/or a nutmilk bag before consuming it), most of the “nut mush” (along with its fiber and protein) is caught and does not make it to your beverage.

    This helps explain why the average cup (1 serving) of commercial almond milk has 1 gram of protein, while 1 serving (2 tablespoons) of almond butter has 7 grams of protein.

    In terms of a good replacement for nut butters, you could always do a combination of nut butters with fruit.

    For example, if you normally put 2 tablespoons of nut butter on bread, try 1 tablespoon (or even 2 teaspoons) and then add some sliced bananas or mashed berries.  The fiber in the fruit will help you feel full, while the decrease in fat will make the total snack easier to digest.

    You could also put a small amount of nut butter on bread and add a sprinkling of hemp, chia, or flax seeds for easier digestion.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Nutritional Content of Homemade Almond Milk

    Measure-and-soak-almondsIs there any possible way to calculate the nutritional information (calories, fat, fiber, etc.) when making homemade almond milk?

    It’s been asked across the web a few times and I was wondering if maybe you knew of a way to do so.

    — Daniel Clausen
    Location Unknown

    Here is how I would calculate it:

    1. Look up nutritional information for whatever amounts of almonds you put into blender (i.e.: 1 cup)
    2. Measure how much almond meal is left at end of process.
    3. Look up nutritional information for that amount of almond meal, keeping in mind that since there is some water in that meal, figures are going to be slightly lower (ie: 1 cup of almond pulp may be 80% meal and 20% water or so).
    4. Subtract nutritional values of almond meal from whole almonds and, voila, you have estimated nutrition facts for your homemade batch!

    Let’s do an example right now!

    Let’s suppose you made 6 cups of almond milk using 1 cup of almonds.  That amount of whole almonds amounts to:

    • 827 calories
    • 72 grams of fat
    • 17 grams of fiber

    Let’s say you then have one cup of almond meal left.  One cup of ground almonds contains:

    • 549 calories
    • 48 grams of fat
    • 11.2 grams of fiber

    However, since this is almond pulp (almond meal with some absorbed water) let’s decrease those figures slightly to 500 calories, 40 grams of fat, and 9 grams of fiber.

    That means the batch almond milk you just made contains:

    • 327 calories
    • 32 grams of fat
    • 6 grams of fiber

    Divide those figures by six (since you made six cups and we want to determine how much you are getting per cup) and you come up with:

    • 55 calories
    • 5 grams of fat
    • 1 gram of fiber

    Commercial almonds milks have a higher almond to water ratio, so they offer half the fat content.

    To put that “5 grams of fat” figure into context, it’s equal to half a tablespoon of almond butter.

    One of the wonderful things about making your own batch of any nutmilk is that you can tailor it to your palate and nutritional needs.

    PS: A higher-fat version of almond milk is a wonderful way to add heart-healthy monounsaturated fats to your diet!

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    Quick & Healthy Recipes: Almond “Milk”

    july-09-almond-milkAlthough almond milk is becoming widely available in supermarkets across the country (especially now that Silk sells its own variety), nothing beats the taste of a homemade batch.

    Almond milk recipes have been around for decades and can be found in a variety of books and websites.  By no means is this an original concept of mine.

    That said, the version below is the one I have found to be ideal for me in terms of taste and texture after much experimentation.

    YIELDS: 4 cups

    INGREDIENTS:

    1.5 cups soaked raw almonds (see note about soaking after recipe)
    4 cups cold water
    1/8 teaspoon salt

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    Combine almonds, water, and salt in blender.  Process for at least one minute.

    Place a cheesecloth, fine sieve, or nutmilk bag over a large container.  Pour “milk” into cheesecloth, sieve, or nutmilk bag.  For smoothest results, repeat this step one more time.

    That’s it!

    VERY IMPORTANT NOTES:

    • You can make this with any nut or seed.  I have made pecan milk (delicious!), cashew milk, hazelnut milk, and hempseed milk.
    • The ratio of nuts/seeds to water determines the texture and consistency of the final product.  For a creamier milk, decrease the ratio.  For a thinner liquid, increase it.  Experiment!
    • Try different flavorings!  One of my favorites for this recipe is to add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and half a teaspoon of cinnamon before blending.  For chocolate nutmilk, add 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder.  Strawberry milk?  Throw in a small handful of strawberries into the blender after you’ve made the milk.  Other sweet suggestions that I have used in the past: half a banana; one or two figs/pitted dates.
    • The fat and fiber content in this milk is not equal to the amount in the number of almonds used to make it.  After you strain the milk, you will have a significant amount of solid almond lump left behind (which, by the way, you can combine with cocoa powder, a tablespoon of the sweetener of your choice, and some shredded coconut in a food processor and then spread over a baking sheet and bake for a delicious granola-like snack).
    • For easier blending in conventional blenders (and for better flavor), I highly recommend soaking the almonds in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours first (any container will do, just make sure to completely cover the almonds in water).  If you are using soaked almonds, drain the soaked liquid from the container, rinse two or three times, and then go ahead and make your milk.
    • Almond milk lasts 3 days in the refrigerator.  It is super versatile; I have used it in coffee, over cereal, and in smoothies.
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    You Ask, I Answer: Giving Up Dairy

    lecheI’m seeing a nutritionist who has given me a regimen to follow. I’m a little skeptical of it, so am researching each of the items one by one.

    One of the items is forgoing milk. She said cow’s milk is particularly bad because it’s pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, and our stomachs aren’t meant to digest the milk of another animal.

    If I must have some milk, she recommended small amounts of goat’s or sheep’s milk (or cheese), because those animals aren’t fed as many antibiotics and hormones as cows are. (This last part makes me think that organic milk would be no worse than goat or sheep milk, but anyway…)

    I know many people are lactose-intolerant because we aren’t meant to digest milk after childhood.

    However, if I’m not lactose-intolerant, is it still possible that milk is affecting my digestive system negatively? Do you ever recommend to your clients that they drop dairy entirely?

    Should I care that all of the substitutes for dairy milk (soy, almond, rice) are highly processed and don’t really occur in nature?

    — Meredith (Last name withheld)
    (Location withheld)

    Wonderful questions, Meredith.

    First of all, not all cow’s milk is pumped full of antibiotics and hormones.

    While, sadly, that is the norm, it is possible to purchase organic milk from cows that have not been fed either of those two things.  You can also purchase milk from grass-fed cows (that have also not been pumped with antibiotics and hormones) in most health food stores.

    As for the arguments that our stomachs aren’t meant to digest the milk of another animal — it depends.  That is certainly true for some individuals, but not for others.

    For information on the digestibility of goat’s milk (it goes far beyond lower lactose levels!), please read this post.

    Bottom line: if you are not lactose intolerant, there is no reason why dairy products would affect your digestive system negatively.

    I would never recommend that a client of mine who is able to digest dairy products completely eliminate them (I do think it is a good idea for omnivores to get calcium from a variety of different foods and not rely solely on dairy, though).

    Similarly, I would never tell a vegan client (or one who is lactose intolerant) that their diet is inferior because it does not include dairy.

    The mere presence — or absence — of dairy does not make a diet any healthier.

    From a purely nutritional standpoint, there is nothing wrong with having it or eschewing it.

    Ultimately, your body knows you best.  There are people who, while not allergic or intolerant to dairy, feel better without it in their diet.  Others feel better when they consume dairy on a daily basis.  Both experiences are valid.

    In terms of dairy milk substitutes — I enjoy making different nut milks at home.  It’s easy, inexpensive, and less processed than some products out there.

    That said, if you are buying unsweetened varieties that consist of two or three ingredients, you don’t have anything to worry about.

    FYI: One of my favorite home-made nut milks is cashew milk.  In a blender, mix a  half cup of cashews, two cups of water, a pinch of salt, and some vanilla extract.  This makes two cups of cashew milk — delicious by itself or over cereal.

    For a chocolate version, add a tablespoon of cacao powder!  You can also try substituting cashews with almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, or hazelnuts.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Almond Milk

    I am trying out almond milk and wondering why calcium is listed [on the nutrition label] as 0% [per serving] when it is made from almond base made from almonds.

    What are your thoughts about almond milk, anyway?

    — Dennise O’Grady
    Bay Head, NJ

    “Almond base” is basically a combination of almonds and water.

    In order to save money, many companies that sell almond milk use a pretty high water to almond ratio.

    Consider the following: 23 almonds contain 7% of the Daily Value calcium.

    Thereby, if your brand of almond milk contains zero percent of the calcium Daily Value per serving, it’s fair to conclude that each serving probably contains two or three actual almonds (eleven almonds provide 3.3 percent of the Daily Value, 6 almonds provide 1.82 percent, and three almonds provide .91 percent.)

    Almond butter, meanwhile, lists almond as its sole ingredient.

    It is no surprise, then, to see that two tablespoons provide ten percent of the calcium daily value (this means that it takes approximately 35 almonds to make two tablespoons of almond butter!)

    My thoughts on almond milk aren’t particularly strong either way.

    I enjoy the taste quite a bit myself, but I wouldn’t suggest that anyone specifically seek it out or avoid it.

    I do, however, recommend that people choose varieties fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

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