The Easiest Nut Milk

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I’ve never liked cow’s milk. My mother used to make my brothers drink glasses of the stuff when we were little, but for some reason (I’m not sure why) she never made me. Dairy has just never seemed to sit well in my body, never seemed to do me much good. For years I used to have rice milk on my cereal, which is delicious, but fairly sugary, if only made up of natural sugars from rice. I still have it sometimes, along with unsweetened soya milk, which is great as it has a fair bit of protein in it, but it can be tricky to find a soya milk that is literally just soya beans and water, without added sugar or things like monopotassium phosphate or gellan gum. The latter is supposedly a ‘stabiliser’ – something to artifically make all the ingredients blend and stick evenly together to make sure it ‘looks’ nice for consumers.

The best kind of milk, hands down, is nut milk. Almond milk is probably my favourite, but hazelnut milk and cashew milk are also scrumptious. When you take a sip and get that faintly sweet, nutty taste, it’s divine, especially splashed over porridge. But like soya milk most of the ones you find in supermarkets have those mysterious added ingredients which aren’t actually food, and most people have no idea what they are or stop to question them or what they might be doing to their bodies. Just the way food companies and corporations like Alpro and Tesco like it.

The freshest and most nutritious nut milk you can drink is (as with everything) the homemade from scratch kind. And when you make it at home, you know it’s literally nuts and water. When I have the time, I soak nuts overnight and then blend them with water before straining out the milk through a cheesecloth. But a lot of us in this 21st century world don’t have the time, especially first thing in the morning, or else we forget to soak the nuts the night before or often feel lazy. I’m guilty of all those things. That’s why a couple of weeks ago, I had a light bulb moment.

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I adore nut butters, forever spreading them on rye bread or rice cakes or just licking them straight off a spoon. Like nut milks I try to make them as often as possible but most of the time I live off nut butters bought from my local health food shop. I always either get Meridian or Carley’s. Carley’s is so great as they supply raw white almond butter, so it’s full of nutrients, having not been heated and lost some of its goodness. You can’t beat the creaminess of Meridian nut butters though. Either way, they’re both fantastic as they are literally just nuts, completely natural and with no added ingredients. You may be surprised that almost all shop bought peanut butters have added palm oil – for some reason (even the Whole Earth brand which purports to be sustainable and environmentally friendly) the people making peanut butter feel the need to take the natural peanut oil out and put palm oil in. Which just seems totally crazy to me.

But the crucial point here is that you can use these nut butters to make nut milks. Simply by scooping a couple of teaspoons of the butter out and then whizzing it up with water. Done in under a minute and voilà! You’ve got nut milk. And, especially if you use raw nut butter, you have a natural, delicious, nutrient-rich, protein-dense, sugar free milk to enjoy and gulp down whenever you like.

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Makes one small jug of nut milk:

  • 2 teaspoons of nut butter (almond, cashew, hazelnut or a mix)
  • 1 cup of water

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Place the nut butter and water in a blender (or, even easier, in a container for using with a hand blender) and blend for 10 seconds. Pour the mix out into a jug or bottle and seal, and store in the fridge. Most importantly – enjoy!

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Blackberry, Sunflower Seed & Chlorella Smoothie

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Blackberries are still in season in Britain, so I couldn’t resist creating another recipe with them. It’s amazing that they’ve been growing in hedges all round the countryside for almost a month and a half now, and whenever I go running with my loony little dog (happily named Bramble – sometimes I sneak her one of her namesakes) I always pause momentarily to pluck a few off.

Bramble 2  Bramble 1

There’s nothing better than freshly picked fruit and vegetables – honestly. They’re full of flavour and nutritional goodness, their vitamin and mineral content as potent and nourishing as can possibly be. Compare this to vegetables and fruit you buy in the supermarket, which are almost always at least five days old, probably flown in from a country on the other side of the world, and so their beneficial nutrients will have deteriorated and been lost – if you’re lucky you’ll be getting about 40% of available nutrients and 40% of what your body actually needs. So the more local, seasonal and fresh fruit and vegetables you can eat the better.

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Smoothies are such a great way to wake up in the morning. They’re full of energy-giving goodness, and are so satisfying and delicious. Even better – they’re so easy to make, you just throw it all into a blender and you’re done, which is ideal for all of us who are on-the-go and need a quick brekky before we dash out of the door to start the day. A creamy smoothie is hard to beat, with the combination of banana, blackberries and cashew milk creating a thick, sweet consistency. However, by adding oat flakes, sunflower seeds and chlorella, this smoothie is given that extra health boost, making it a protein-filled superfood treat.

Chlorella really is one of the world’s most amazing foods – it’s a microscopic freshwater plant and is one of the most nutritionally dense foods in nature, containing key vitamins, macro-minerals, trace minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, proteins, nuleic acids and much more. It is 58% protein which is so great for vegetarians and vegans – I have to make sure I get enough protein in my diet and stirring chlorella into water or whizzing it into a smoothie is one of the best ways. Chlorella is also packed with readily bio-available chlorophyll and is an alkaline food which counters the over-acidity of all the processed food stocked on supermarket shelves. It does have a slightly funny, grassy flavour which many people don’t like but mixed into this smoothie you can barely taste it – promise!

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Serves 1:

  • 1 small banana
  • ½ cup of blackberries (either frozen or fresh – I’ve got loads frozen from my last picking spree)
  • ½ cup of cashew milk (look out for a post on the easiest way to make your own nut milks soon!)
  • 2 tablespoons of oats (porridge or jumbo)
  • 1½ tablespoons of sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of chlorella

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Simply peel the banana then place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Then pour into a glass, pop in a straw if you like, and enjoy!