My name is Anne Marie, and I have a love-hate relationship with (cow’s) milk.
Yea that’s right, I said it. After years of denying that I literally felt like a cow for days after I drank it, I have reluctantly have seen the light. The cows have come home, people.
I am lactose intolerant. Loud and proud.
But see, there’s this problem. I kinda sorta have a life-long addiction to cereal…and milk. I love it in the morning and in the afternoon, I love it in the evening and when the sky is blue, gray, pink, purple, etc. Basically… “I GOTTA HAVE MY POPS!” Well, these days, I gotta have my Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls and Multi-Grain Cheerios.
(Although what I wouldn’t give to shred all of my health standards and dive into a box of Lucky Charms or Cocoa Puffs. Just once, I swear. I think I’m still scared from my childhood memories of three older brothers eating every grain of the “good” cereal in sight before I elbowed my way to the cupboard. And no, Ma, a packet of sugar over Rice Krispies isn’t going to cut it.)
So…what’s a girl to do? I know, I know…find an alternative milk that I can stand and settle.
I must admit that ever since we have become vegetarians, I’ve been watching my dairy intake anyways, as the same reasons for avoiding meat translate pretty well into the avoid-dairy camp. (I really thought about going vegan for all of 2.5 minutes until I realized that I would have to give up fro-yo. Nevermind!) Therefore, I had tossed random cartons of almond milk, coconut milk and soy milk into our shopping carts every week or so, determined to find one I liked.
Thing was, I liked all of them…mixed in smoothies. But by themselves? And more importantly, over cereal?! This was going to take a while.
Just as I thought I was acquiring a taste for non-dairy alternatives, I read this article from Angela at Oh She Glows about this little ingredient named Carraegeenan. Derived from red seaweed, Angela explains that carrageenan is used as a “thickener, stabilizer and/or emulsifer” in many dairy and non-dairy products, including almond, coconut and soy milk. While it may sound like an island in the Mediterranean, research proves that carrageenan is actually linked to serious stomach problems such as gastrointestinal inflammation, lesions and can make already-known disorders, like IBS, even more pronounced. And as someone who has dealt with a life-long belly ache from regular milk, I was obviously not happy to hear that non-dairy milk could make me feel the same way. Especially since I had five cartons of Trader Joe’s Almond Milk in my cupboard, one of the surprising offenders.
So here I was, already on the fence…and learning about carrageenan certainly didn’t help persuade me to jump on over. And as that girl with the three older brothers, I certainly know how to jump a fence or two.
Thankfully, a week later, Angela posted her recipe for favorite homemade almond milk. With an ingredient list of just almonds, water, medjool dates, vanilla and cinnamon, I had to try it. (Plus, every.single.recipe I have ever made from her blog has been nothing short of flipping amazing!) Although I was still a bit nervous that, like the other non-dairy milks I’ve tried, I wouldn’t be ‘cray ‘cray about it –in my gut, I knew it was the one.
And guess what? As I’m typing this, that gut is filled with homemade almond milk. HOLY (NON) COW!
Creamy, caramel-y and crazy-smooth, this almond milk really blew me – and my skeptical husband – out of the water. So much so that we’ve already made it three times in the past five days. Matt even made the last batch while I barked the instructions from the tissue-filled couch two days ago, suffering from a sudden sniffly-sneezy-so freaking miserable-attack. No one wants germy almond milk, and I wasn’t about to let a bowl of soaked nuts go to waste.
Bahaha okay, I admit…the best part about making homemade almond milk, besides the finished product, is the excuse to say things like “nut milk bag” and “I’m just soaking my nuts” as many times as your immature heart desires.
Again…I grew up with three older brothers.
This almond milk has also been cereal-tested and highly approved. So now I can have even MORE mugs of cereal in my life, without any regret. Which will make this weekend’s planned Downtown Abbey season two marathon oh so much better. (Because…cough, cough…I’m still recovering) Maybe I’ll delicately eat cereal out of a tea cup instead of my giant SBU mug..seems more fitting.
Anyways, go soak some nuts, squeeze a nut milk bag and make some homemade almond milk this weekend! Your taste buds, tummy and inner teenager will thank you.