My nutritional health diet includes a lot of smoothies and blending; I have a protein smoothie each morning after working out, and usually have a protein-greens smoothie for lunch. And for the liquid used when blending, I like to use coconut water with coconut milk or almond milk – I don’t drink milk, and stay away from dairy in general.
The almond milk that I most often buy is the Blue Diamond-Unsweetened, which includes the following nutrition facts per cup:
- 40 calories
- 1g protein, 2g carbohydrate, 3g fat – fat from almonds is good fat
- Good source of vitamin A D E, and calcium – the vitamin A D have been added
- Lactose free
- It is relatively high in sodium – although raw almonds aren’t
I like the taste, and although I could definitely do without having any vitamins or natural flavors added, I am ok with this product nutritionally.
However, it also seemed like it could be very easy to just make my own, and be able to control exactly what ingredients were included – and raw almonds are a good source of riboflavin and a number of important minerals that don’t show up in the Blue Diamond Almond Milk.
Homemade Almond Milk Recipe
The basic recipe for making your own almond milk uses a proportion of 1-1.5 cups of raw almonds to 4 cups of water, and then you can add additional ingredients like dates, cacao powder, cinnamon, stevia, or vanilla extract to adjust the taste and sweetness.
So, I decided I would give it a try, and used the following for my first attempt at making my homemade almond milk:
- 1 cup almonds
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 4 cups water
To begin with, use raw almonds that have not been dry roasted or had salt added to them. And when you do make your almond milk, it is best to soak the almonds in water for around 4 hours first. When you do this with any nuts or seeds, it tends to release any of the enzyme inhibitors and make them more available to be ingested – do rinse them off with fresh water before blending.
I use a Vitamix for blending and after 2 minutes on high, I got finished almond milk, where the nuts had been ground so finely that I didn’t feel the need to strain it. Although, I am using the almond milk for smoothies instead of drinking by itself, and may feel differently if I was. In that case, or if you do find that you still have small pieces that you want to get rid of, then just strain the milk through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag or even a fine strainer.
My home made almond milk came out well. It tasted fine, and I think from a nutritional health standpoint it was actually better. But, I was not happy with a big difference in calories, and did not want something that I was going to drink or use as a liquid for blending multiple times a day, to be 200 calories per cup.
So, it was back to the drawing board, with the objective of getting the calories down – and while I was at it, I decided to go to my ‘super foods’ and see what else I could add for increased nutritional health and taste for something that I would also drink by itself.
Here is the almond milk recipe that I decided to use – and also look at the 2 charts below that compares the first almond milk recipe to blue diamond, and then compares the 2 homemade recipes to each other:
- .25 cup almond
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup coconut water
- 4 cups water
And here is my homemade almond milk. You can see how the 1/4 of almonds in the first recipe compares to the blue diamond, in terms of nutrients and calories. Maybe that is just a coincidence, but since the grams of nutrients are higher, I liked that for a starting point in trying to reduce the 200 calories from a cup of almonds.
My second recipe tastes better than the batch with the 1/4 of almonds and water plus cinnamon only. But I am still ‘playing’ with it to get more taste, but without increasing the calories too much – you obviously miss the richness from the full cup of almonds.
I do like the chocolate flavor, and the extra nutrients from the hemp seeds and coconut water – and at 69 calories a cup, am fine drinking this through out the day by itself. Although I am still going to work on the recipe for other nutrient combinations and taste, this is absolutely fine as it is for using in a smoothie.
The raw whole almonds I used are from Trader Joes, and here are links for my Cacao Powder, Coconut Water, and Hemp Seeds:
What I do miss from the blue diamond milk is how it was thicker and creamier, which probably comes from the xanthan gum and sunflower lecithin that I saw was added.
But hose were the kind of things that I was looking to eliminate with the homemade almond milk recipe – the things we give up in the name of natural nutritional health 😛