I recently started my second round with a diet/food-cleanse called Whole 30, in which you eat nothing but unprocessed, unrefined, sugar-free food, while also cutting out entire food groups such as dairy, soy, and grains (oh and booze too). I am sure to many it sounds a bit crazy, but I will share that throughout the 30 days I woke up easier and stayed awake throughout the day, my body felt physically and mentally alive in a way it had not in years past and I felt stronger when I worked out.
Cutting out dairy, sugar, grains and booze? Ok, I could do it. But I could never do without my coffee, which thankfully you are allowed. In order to enjoy my one permitted cup of coffee, I needed to make my own almond milk since almost all sold in stores contain added sugar. I also wanted to find a natural way to sweeten the almond milk to make my coffee a little more enjoyable. So I added 1 medjool date when making the almond milk for the sweetness I craved with my coffee, but without any sugar.
I have come to love making my own almond milk so much that I do it even when I am not on the diet. There is something gratifying about knowing exactly what is in your food and drink. If you are going to try your hand at this I highly recommend buying a nut milk bag, but if you have a cheesecloth available that will work fine.
Homemade almond milk is for more than just crazy diets: it is great for baking, especially when making nondairy desserts, for making smoothies, in your cereal or oatmeal or just drinking too.
For the almond milk:
1 cup raw almonds
3 cups water
1 pitted medjool date
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
For the vanilla banana smoothie:
1 ¼ cup home made almond milk
1 ½ frozen banana
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp honey
To make the almond milk:
Soak the almonds in 3 cups of water for 12-24 hours. Drain the water from the almonds.
Place the almonds, 3 cups of water, the date, cinnamon and salt in a blender. Start on a low speed and quickly accelerate to high speed until all the nuts are completely pulverized. Pour the nut milk into the bag to strain.
Tip: Don’t waste the almond meal left after straining the liquid. Save it and dehydrate it. It becomes perfect almond flour.
To make the smoothie:
Place almond milk, frozen banana, cinnamon, vanilla and honey in the blender and pulse until smooth. Sprinkle some cinnamon or unsweetened cocoa powder on top.