Black Sesame Seed Milk
We're all familiar with the ever popular nut based milks that get a LOT of hype from those who prefer an alternative to conventional dairy. Almond & cashew milks line the shelves of the natural foods section of the grocery store, & with so many options, it can be challenging to choose which plant based milk is the best one for you! One important thing to keep in mind when buying store bought nut milks is that not all are created equal! Don't be drawn in by the attractive packaging or sneaky catchwords like smooth & creamy, uses real almonds, 5x the protein, premium, fortified ... & so on. In recent news, Silk and Almond Breeze have been the target of a class-action lawsuit claiming that they only contain 2% almonds. Unfortunately, labeling requirements in the USA allow manufacturers to withhold the percentage of almonds in the beverage. You'll also want to scan the ingredient list for fillers! These may include thickeners and gums which can be problematic for those who have issues with digestion, since most are undigestible. Carrageenan is my number one no no! It's a common food additive that is extracted from red seaweed, has no nutritional value, & is used as a thickener to improve the texture of refined foods (to thicken & stabilize). It is also found in many natural food brands sine it's considered a 'natural' food additive. Look for it in tofu, yogurt, tooth paste, ice cream, cottage cheese, & soy milk. The problem, carrageenan could be causing inflammation, gut irritation, and even cancer. Joanne K. Tobacman, MD, has published multiple peer-reviewed studies that address the biological effects of carrageenan. Her research has shown that exposure to carrageenan causes inflammation and that when we consume processed foods containing it, we ingest enough to cause internal inflammation. Be sure to look for carrageenan on the ingredient list, since it must be listed if it is an ingredient of the product! But whats the BEST way to control exactly what you're ingesting? Make it yourself people (don't worry, i'll explain how)! Even if you don't follow a plant-based diet, many people still enjoy plant based milks from time to time, and there are some great perks to doing so. Nut & seed based milks provide the body with omega-3 fatty acids, which have mood boosting & anti-inflammatory properties, are soothing to digestion & help combat internal inflammation! Typically they are recommended for those who have an allergy or intolerance to lactose, which may be identified through a food allergy test or unpleasant symptoms experienced after consuming lactose containing foods. If you think you may have a lactose intolerance, but 100% sure, here are a few symptoms that may indicate an intolerance or allergy: constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headaches or migraines, acne (face/back/chest), sinus infections, severe allergies or nasal congestion, hives, rashes or joint inflammation. These symptoms don’t necessarily arise immediately upon consuming dairy, but rather are symptoms of general consumption of dairy & can appear days after. If you are trying to determine if dairy has a negative effect on you, I'd recommend keeping a food journal, tracking what foods you eat & what symptoms are immediately present after consumption & those with a delayed response.
If you're interested in making your own nut milk, starting out with almond or cashew is a safe place to start. These both have a nice neutral flavour, & can be enhanced with so many natural foods to change the taste. If you've masted those two nut milks & are wanting to experiment with less familiar nut & seed options, this black sesame seed milk may be the perfect place to start! Use it in muffins, smoothies, soups & to cook grains in.
what you'll need:
1 cup black sesame seeds
4 cups h20
2 tbsp raw honey (substitute with dates or maple syrup)
1 tsp natural vanilla extract or paste
pinch of sea salt
In a high speed blender, add the black sesame seeds & h20. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes, until smooth.
using a nut milk bag or cheese cloth, strain the seed milk over a glass jar to remove the pulp (don't discard the pulp, save & see below ways to use it!).
Pour the strained milk back into the blender & add remaining ingredients. Blend on high to incorporate.
Pour into a glass bottle & store in the refrigerator 3-4 days.