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Watch out for these ingredients in non-dairy milk!

July 19th, 2018 | no comments

Plus:

  • Mel’s weekly food pick:
    Native Forest Simple Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
    Fruity Tropical Whip


Not everyone can digest cow’s milk and some people outright avoid it for health reasons or due to specific dietary patterns they’ve adopted (read my thoughts on dairy products HERE).

That’s where non-dairy nut milk comes in. 

Stroll down the dairy aisle of any grocery store and you’ll find everything from almond milk to macadamia nut milk. But what should you really be looking for in a non-dairy milk? What ingredients should send up a red flag and make you put it back on the shelf?

I’m going to keep this really simple and then offer you an easy breezy solution for making your own non-dairy milk.

Two classes of ingredients that don’t belong in non-dairy milk (or cow’s milk for that matter):

  • Sugar and zero-calorie sweeteners: Listed on the ingredient label as sugar, cane sugar, cane syrup, monk fruit, reb A (stevia extract).

   WHY? Seriously…I don’t think you need me to answer that.

  • Emulsifiers and thickeners: Listed on the ingredient label as lecithin, carrageenan, guar gum, locust bean gum, tara gum, gellan gum, gum arabic, xanthan gum, corn dextrin.

    WHY? These ingredients have been known to cause digestive upset, including gas and bloating. While a little bit of gas won’t kill you, there is no reason for these additives to be in your food. Additionally, carrageenan—an additive extracted from red seaweed and used to thicken dairy (and dairy alternatives, along with many other processed foods)— is of particular concern. Undegraded carrageenan—the type widely used in foods—has been associated with inflammation, malignancies and other stomach problems. (1)

It’s not easy to find non-dairy milk without at least one of the above ingredients, that’s why many people are making their own nut milk! Personally, I haven’t gone as far as to “milk” my almonds…yet. If you are interested in making your own nut milk using whole nuts, check out this recipe.

Still, it can be super convenient to just pick up a carton of non-dairy milk, so if you choose to go this route, I would recommend to first avoid carrageenan, then aim for unsweetened milk. For this you’ll have to look at the ingredient label because even the milks labeled “Original” still have added sugar. Choose milk specifically labeled “unsweetened”.

The best brand I’ve found so far…

Is Elmhurst—specifically their unsweetened varieties. Although a bit pricey, they’ve managed to create a non-dairy milk with only two ingredients: filtered water and almonds. So in my opinion, it’s worth it. Elmhurst also makes an unsweetened hazelnut milk too!

How to make your own coconut milk in seconds….

If you don’t want to spend the money and have three minutes to spare (Yes…you DO have three minutes to spare!), crack open a can of Native Forest Simple Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk (see below for why I think this brand is the best), mix with four cans of water, shake/blend, and serve!

 

Mel’s weekly product pick:
Native Forest Simple Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk

 

When shopping for canned coconut milk to use in recipes, you will notice that most brands contain additives, such as guar gum…which could cause bloating and gas in sensitive people. No thanks!

Native Forest Simple Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk is a brand of BPA-free canned coconut milk with only one simple ingredient: Organic Coconut Milk. And because it is certified organic, it’s also free of GMOs! 

If you would like to make your own coconut milk for using in smoothies and such, you’ll have to dilute canned coconut milk with water. Simply mix one can of coconut milk to 4 cans of water and blend or shake until combined!

Looking for a sweet treat to cool off this summer that isn’t ice cream? Whip up a quick batch of my Fruity Tropical Whip! It’s a nice dairy-free alternative to ice cream using coconut milk. 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Fruity Tropical Whip

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