If you walk into any grocery store and head to the dairy section, the shelves are populated by a plethora of dairy-free milks which started to become all the rage a few years ago. Veggie lovers now have the options to buy coconut milks, almond milk, hemp or rice milks, in addition to soy based dairy-free milks. In our fast paced world, having these options may allow you to breathe a sigh of relief, but unfortunately convenience on American grocery shelves most likely comes with a major health risk. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I knew something was fishy with some of those nut milks. A large majority of the almond milk available has the ingredient carrageenan, which is derived from red seaweed. At first glance, it may seem like carrageenan should be a healthy ingredient, as seaweed is a very nutrient dense food. Not the case. In fact, carrageenan has been proven by research to be linked to gastrointestinal issues, lesions, and colon cancer! Sigh. So much for an easy way to get nut milk!
Carrageenan comes in two forms: low molecular weight or “degraded,” and high molecular weight or “ungraded.” Degraded carrageenan has been shown to cause inflammation in the colons of rodents which resembles what in humans is called ulcerative colitis. Companies that process carrageenan claim that the food grade version is undegraded, but when tested every single sample was positive for degraded carrageenan and had amounts up to 25% of the cancer-causing carrageenan. Another alternative that can be used is guar gum, which is found in a lot of veg-friendly products. I’m not a huge fan of guar gum either, but it’s by far way less harmful than carrageenan. The latter c-word actually contains bonds that are foreign to human cells. When consumed it elicits from our body an immune response and inflammation which can be chronic and lead to cancer. We live in a toxic world my friends but there are brands that are taking care to avoid ingredients like carrageenan. Please read your labels carefully, and worst come to worse, carve out 10 minutes or less in the morning to blend your own almond or cashew milk. All you have to do is soak the nuts the night before and blend in the morning with water and a natural sweetener. For a little extra fun you can also add in cinnamon or cloves if you like. It may take a few extra minutes of your time but at the end of the day you’ll be cancer-free, and the only ingredients you have to worry about are nuts, water, and a whole lot of love. -XoXo Raw Girl
Raw Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds soaked in water overnight
3 cups water
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
2 dates (optional) OR natural sweetener like grade B maple syrup or agave
Rinse the almonds several times, until the water is clear, Put the almonds, 3 cups filtered water, 1 tsp vanilla, and 2 pitted dates (optional) in high speed blender. Start at low, increase to high, blend for 1 minute. If you have a mesh bag you can strain the milk—by putting blended mixture into the mesh bag, over a tall wide container or a narrow bowl and then squeezing out all the liquid. Serve & enjoy!