From both a health and environmental perspective there are many good reasons to either reduce the amount of animal milk you drink or to stop drinking it all together. Many illnesses are associated with the frequent consumption of milk and milk products, including allergies, autoimmune diseases and even cancer. Many humans do not produce the enzyme, lactase that is needed to break down the sugars in milk, which leads many people, myself included, to the conclusion that we aren’t supposed to be drinking milk from other animals. People who are lactose intolerant can suffer from digestive distress that can be embarrassing, uncomfortable and even painful.
More importantly in my mind are the environmental and animal welfare aspects. Commercially produced dairy milk comes from large breeding and feedlot farms where the animals never see fresh grass, nevermind having a pasture in which to roam. Not only are the lives of animals very grim they are fed unnatural diets and are given steroids and hormones to increase milk production. Because of the high numbers of animals in the feedlot, the manure and urine from the animals can contaminate soil and groundwater.
A healthy and very tasty alternative to dairy milk can be made from spelt, oats and different types of nuts or seeds. While many of these types of milks are available in the supermarket they are expensive and can contain stabilizers and artificial ingredients.
Making your own milk is surprisingly easy. You need two basic ingredients to make milk: water, and a grain, a nut or a seed. Some nuts and seeds you can use include cashews, almonds, pecans, or sunflowers. You can also make a thicker creamier milk by simply using less water. Once you have your basic milk you can add a sweetener, a pinch of sea salt, some pure vanilla extract or even cinnamon if you want more flavor in your milk. Sweeteners you can use include maple syrup, xylitol, honey, or even dates or bananas.
Homemade Milk Ingredients
- 80 grams / 3 ounces of Organic Oats, Spelt, Nuts or Seeds (for example these)
- 1 liter / 5 cups of Distilled Water
- Sweetener or Flavoring (eg Banana, Dates, Xylitol, Honey, Vanilla, Sea salt, Cinnamon)
- Blender (we use this one)
- Nut Milk Bag or Fine Mesh Strainer
- Container to Store Your Milk
To filter the drink, the best choice is a nut milk bag, a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. The nut milk bags are large bags with fine mesh, through which you can quickly strain large volumes of milk. After use, just wash the bag and use it for your next go around.
Making your own grain milk is simple
- Soak grains, nuts or seeds for at least 12 hours in the distilled water
- Place the soaked grains, nuts or seeds and the water in a blender and blend on medium high for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth.
- Strain the milk.
- Sweeten and flavor to taste
- Pour into bottles
- The finished product is a very tasty substitute for cow’s milk, and also much healthier! Your homemade milk can be kept in the fridge for up to one week, if it lasts that long.
Here a quick step by step video tutorial:
Homemade Plant-Based Milk – Healthy and Tasty
The ingredients in homemade milk are impressive: In addition to valuable vegetable proteins and fats you get essential minerals such as sodium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus. Plants contain essential vitamins and antioxidants but lack the unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol of dairy milk.
Saver Tip: Save the leftover pulp and add it to muffins, pancakes or other baked goods.
If you are gluten intolerant homemade milk can be a good choice for you. You can use gluten free grains or nuts and seeds to make delicious gluten free milk.
Is it worth it?
In a three ounces of spelt cost about $ 0.50 So a quart of milk cereal costs less than 60 cents. In retail, the cost of spelt milk often exceeds $ 2.00 a quart. Of course you have to also consider costs such as mixer, filter bag and time to prepare, but overall this should work out to good value.
Uses for grain milk
You can use your homemade milk just like you would use any milk. Almost everything that requires milk can also be made with homemade milk:
- Breakfast Cereal
- Shakes and Smoothies
- Baked Goods
- Coffee Cream
- Ice Cream, Yogurt & Cheese
You can find many more delicious recipes in the book DIY Nut Milks, Nut Butters, and More: From Almonds to Walnuts:
What types of milk do you make yourself? Do you have special recipes? Share your ideas in the comments!