Comparing Milks and Making Your Own Milk Alternatives

June is national dairy month so in the spirit of this month let’s take a look at the different milk options that are available. This is a big conversation with my food sensitivity clients and we really try to make milk out of pretty much anything! Even if you are not a milk drinker per say (like me) it is always nice to have a type of milk around for smoothies, baking and cereals.

Before we started getting creative and blending up everything into milks we only had cow’s milk, well I guess goats milk too but that is not very common.

 

Cow’s Milk

Cow’s milk comes in many varieties: whole, 2%, 1%, skim (fat-free) and lactose-free. The component that makes each of them different is their fat content and therefore the calories as well.

Each type of cow’s milk has the same protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals however, choosing fat-free milk will affect the absorption of some of the vitamins that require fat (vitamins A, D, E and K).

Lactose-free milk is processed in a way that breaks down the lactose sugar that is found naturally in milk. It still has all of the nutrients listed above. About 65% of the population is lactose intolerant, meaning they do not make adequate amounts of the enzyme, lactase, to break down the milk sugar. Symptoms of a lactose intolerance include abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, nausea, and diarrhea 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming a lactose-containing product. For these people, lactose-free milk would be a great option.

 

Soy Milk

Soy milk is made from soybeans and water. It is a plant-based milk and therefore it is free of cholesterol and very low in saturated fat. It is naturally lactose free.

Soy is a controversial topic because of its estrogenic effects but the current thought is that it is still ok in moderate doses. I would limit to 1 serving of non-GMO organic soy per day but I have heard others say 2-3 servings per day.

Too much soy can be a problem for those with thyroid conditions and may prove harmful for women with a history of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. Other than that, moderate consumption of soy products are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and can be part of a heart healthy diet.

There is a great recipe from Rasa Malaysia (hint: its only soybeans + water)

 

Don’t have time to make your own? Here are a couple brands that I recommend to make your lives easier 😊. They are all made from whole, organic non-gmo soybeans and water.

  • Westsoy organic unsweetened soy milk
  • Edensoy organic unsweetened soy milk
  • Pacific organic unsweetened soy milk

 

Almond Milk

Almond milk made from almonds and water. It is lower in calories than most other milks and also free of saturated fat. It is naturally lactose free.

Even though whole almonds are a good source of protein, almond milk is not a good source of protein or calcium.

Store bought almond milk often contains carrageenan, a thickener and emulsifier. Some studies have linked carrageenan to increased inflammation in the body and often stomach problems.

Since it is not recommended to buy the cartons of almond milk at the store, here is a very simple recipe from Danette May to make your own!

 

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is made from unsulfured, unsweetened coconut meat and water. It is a plant-based milk however, it does contain more fat than other milk alternatives. It is naturally lactose free.

The type of fat found in coconut milk is medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which have gained in popularity over the past several years.

Just like other store bought milk alternatives, coconut milk often contains added thickeners and other ingredients like carrageenan which has its negative effects.

Making your own coconut milk is as easy as 1-2… that’s it! Wellness Mama has a great recipe that I use!

If you choose to skim off the fat from your coconut milk you can make it into a wonderful coconut whipped cream for dessert.

 

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from rice and water. It has very little protein and fat but is higher in carbohydrates than the milk alternatives discussed above.

This is a good choice for those who are lactose intolerant and/or have allergies to milk, soy, or nuts.

Rice does contain higher levels of arsenic that is taken up from the soil while it is growing. Because of this it is not recommended to rely on only rice and rice products. Be sure to focus on consuming a variety of other grains throughout your day.

As with other store bought milks, you can expect to see added thickeners and preservatives to improve shelf life and consistency. For this reason it is best to make your own and it is very easy!

Money Saving Mom  has a great recipe that helps you plan ahead so that you don’t have to cook rice every time you want to make your milk!

 

Other Milk Alternatives

If none of those sounds appetizing or work with your food sensitivities here are 9 other milks that you can make at home!

Sunflower seed milk

pecan milk

oat milk

banana milk

cashew milk

hemp seed milk

flax milk

hazelnut milk

pea milk

 

Resources:

My dietetic degree

https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/lactose-intolerance

https://www.healthyeating.org/Milk-Dairy/Nutrients-in-Milk-Cheese-Yogurt/Nutrients-in-Milk.aspx

http://www.pcrm.org/health/cancer-resources/ask/ask-the-expert-soy

https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/food-safety/is-carrageenan-safe/

Apricot Cherry Vegan Protein Bars

Vegan Protein Bars – Cherry and Apricot

Apricot Cherry Vegan Protein BarsAfter my month long hiatus I’m coming at you with some pretty amazing vegan protein bars. This month has been busy and I have not had much time to try new recipes or even cook much!
 

So many things that happened this month:

  1. WE’RE MOVING! I accepted a great job in Phoenix, AZ as an Integrative Dietitian. I will be working at an Integrative Oncology Center associated with MD Anderson. *Pinch me!*
  2. I became a consultant for Beautycounter. This company blew me away when I learned about them! They are growing fast and making a huge splash in the beauty industry. They have high standards for their products. One thing I loved was that they placed 1500 chemicals on a Never List. This is a list of chemicals they will never use because of their harmful or potentially harmful effects on the body. (More on this later I’m sure!)
  3. I recently came back from a trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It was a blast but talk about a challenge for those us of with IBS! I was sick with stomach pains for a good part of the trip but I tried not to let that interfere with the fun. My food sensitivity test results allowed me to make smart choices. It was difficult when I didn’t know the ingredients in meals and sometimes it was hard to avoid. Nevertheless, I have a new love for cassava/yucca because that’s what I ate most of the time. I’m excited to experiment with it now that I’m home and make some awesome recipes!
 
Whew! That was a lot but now I’m back and getting back into the swing of things 😊
 
Okay so back to these amazing vegan protein bars that I touched on early. I wish I could claim this recipe but I have adapted it from Lindsay Cotter at her blog: Cotter Crunch. She specializes in healthy, gluten free cooking and has some pretty amazing recipes!
 
I try to post recipes that contain ingredients found on our food sensitivity blood test – there are 120 different foods so we try to stick with that. This recipes veers off a little. The one extra ingredient that is not tested is chia seeds. They add 6 grams of protein to the batch and some healthy fats but if you can’t have them then take them out! I will list them as optional in the recipe below.
If the recipe doesn’t 100% work for your food sensitivities make sure to scroll all the way down. I try to make my recipes very general so that they work for everyone. There are so many substitutions that can be made for this recipe so that it works for you!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cherry Apricot Vegan Protein Bars
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1-15oz can whole chickpeas (rinsed and dried)
  • ½ C rolled oats
  • ⅓ C dried apricots (sulfite free if necessary)
  • ⅓ C dried cherries
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 4 Tbsp allowed liquid sweetener - see substitutions for ideas
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ⅔ C allowed milk - see substitutions for ideas
  • dash of cinnamon (optional)
  • dash of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a food processor (or blender) combine oats, chia seeds and apricots. Blend until chopped. Empty contents into mixing bowl.
  3. In same food processor (or blender) add chickpeas. Blend until finely chopped (not pureed).
  4. Add chickpea meal to same mixing bowl.
  5. Mix in allowed sweetener, allowed milk, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, dried cherries. Batter will be very wet.
  6. Pour batter into greased 9x9 pan and spread out to even mixture.
  7. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until edges are golden brown and center is no longer soft.
Notes
Nutrition information is not provided due alterations that can be made to accommodate food sensitivities.

Vegan Protein Bar

Alternatives:
Oats – you can substitute with any rolled grain like quinoa flakes, barley flakes, rye flakes, spelt flakes, wheat flakes.
Dried fruit – this can also be other dried fruit. Dried apples, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, etc
Liquid sweetener – the recipe originally calls for 100% maple syrup or honey but if you cannot have either of these you can also use rice bran syrup, coconut nectar, corn syrup, cassava syrup
Allowed milk – this can be cow’s milk, any nut milk, oat milk, soy milk, etc

 

 


Products:


What’s your favorite homemade bar?

Enjoy!

Crockpot Quinoa Enchilada

Crockpot Quinoa Enchilada

Crockpot Quinoa EnchiladaA couple of months ago I started part time consulting at a local migrant Head Start program. As their nutritionist, I plot all of the kids on a growth chart to identify where they fall in terms of weight for length (height). For the kids that plotted above the 85th percentile I was able to sit down one on one with the parents of the overweight/obese kids and discuss the importance of exercise and a healthy diet. Majority of these kids are getting multiple sweets per day and limited vegetables. Just a few weeks ago I was able to host a meeting with all of the parents to share my role at the school and answer any questions.

During the meeting we were raffling off a crockpot so I made a healthy twist on the classic mexican dish – enchiladas. The director of the school told me that the kids are given quinoa and really seem to like it. Quinoa cooks very similar to rice but if a complete protein – meaning that it can replace meat in a meal.

Try this recipe with: crusty dutch oven bread!

Crockpot Quinoa Enchilada
 
Author:
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
Crockpot Enchilada
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 - 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 15oz can corn, drained
  • 2 - 15oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce
Enchilada Sauce
  • 3 cups broth
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp allowed oil
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • Optional: start with ¼ tsp cayenne pepper for spice. Add more to taste.
Instructions
Enchilada Sauce
  1. In a small bowl, mix flour, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.
  2. In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.
  3. Add tomato paste and bowl of spice mix.
  4. Cook 1 minute, whisking continuously.
  5. Whisk in broth, increase heat, and bring to a light boil.
  6. Reduce to simmer. Cook about 8 minutes until slightly thickened, whisking occasionally.
  7. Add salt/pepper to taste.
Crockpot Enchilada
  1. Place pinto beans, corn, tomatoes and quinoa in a crockpot. Stir everything together and top with enchilada sauce.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8 hours.
Notes
Nutrition information is not provided due alterations that can be made to accommodate food sensitivities.

Quinoa Enchilada


Products:

Here are other great recipes to make in your crockpot: Crockpot Whole Chicken


Would love to know what you think and if you made any alterations!

Enjoy!

Crusty Dutch Oven Bread

How to Make Crusty Dutch Oven Bread

Crusty Dutch Oven BreadI found this dutch oven bread after several years of trying to perfect the art of making bread. And it truly is an art. The right amount of yeast, salt, flour and time to rise all contribute to flavor and texture of your bread. Some batches were too dense or they didn’t rise enough to look like a fancy artisan bread – more like a flat disc…

Finally, I found this recipe that is fool proof! This crusty dutch oven bread is almost impossible to screw up. It is simple – mix the ingredients together and leave it alone for about half a day. Bake it and its delicious 100% of the time.

The hardest thing about this recipe is just letting the bread sit and doing nothing!

As you could probably guess by the title, this bread is made in a dutch oven. This is the dutch oven that I use, it was a hand me down from Brandon’s mom and I make everything in it now! Bread, soups, stews, etc. Having a heavy bottom cast iron pot is great for all sorts of cooking and would be a great investment if you don’t have one already. In doing a quick google search it looks like they range in price from $25-$300+ if you want the fancy name brand Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven.

Need something to eat with your bread? Try our 5-ingredient cauliflower soup! I like to make croutons out of my bread to add a nice crunch to this soup.

Crusty Dutch Oven Bread
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 6 C all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 C water (warm)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix together flour, salt and yeast. Pour water into bowl and mix ingredients together until incorporated. Cover bowl with a clean towel and let sit in a warm place for 15-20 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add dutch oven and lid to the oven during the preheat time. You want the dutch oven heat up as well
  3. Flour your work surface and hands. With floured hands gently remove the bread dough from the bowl. The bread can be very sticky. I find that it helps to sprinkle some flour over the top of the dough, especially around the edges of the bowl so that it drops down the sides as you pick up the dough.
  4. Shape your dough into a ball and drop it into the hot dutch oven. Put the lid back on and place it in the oven.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Notes
I have a very large (6.5Qt) dutch oven so this recipe makes a lot of bread. If you have a smaller dutch oven you can cut the recipe in half and it still works great!

**Nutrition information is not provided due alterations that can be made to accommodate food sensitivities.

 

Alternatives:
Flour – I wouldn’t get too crazy with gluten free flour blends unless you have a blend that you use as all-purpose flour. I have not had a chance to experiment with gluten free bread at this time. You can use whole wheat flour for a different flavor profile. This would be used in the same quantity.

Additions: 
If you are feeling fancy, add some spices/herbs to your bread like garlic, basil, oregano, etc!


Products:

Here are other great recipes to make with these products: Cauliflower Soup


Did you add any other flavorings? We would love to know what you tried!

Enjoy!

5-Ingredient Cauliflower Soup

5-Ingredient Cauliflower Soup

5-Ingredient Cauliflower SoupGrowing up my dad would always make soup with the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers or after having a roast chicken for dinner. They were always so good! I was intimidated by making soups but one day I just decided to jump in and try it out. At first I made a green chicken chili and then I royally screwed up a black bean chili (who knew a whole can of ancho chiles could be SOO spicy… whoops!)

There has been a big kick with cauliflower lately. Roasted cauliflower. Cauliflower “mashed potatoes”. Cauliflower pizza crust. etc. etc. etc. Well you should try my cauliflower soup! I wish I could get Brandon (remember.. the veggie hater) to even give it a try but because he knows the ingredients he won’t even give it a shot.

I like to cut up all of the ingredients first so that I can throw them all in the pan at the right time. After the soup cooks for about 20-25 minutes you will need to blend the soup so your cuts don’t have to be beautiful but they should be relatively uniform so that they cook at the same pace. It is not good to have some super mushy and others raw… been there, done that!

 

Heat 1/2 T of the oil of your choice in a heavy pot/dutch oven. For this recipe I would use a mild flavored oil: olive oil, unflavored coconut oil, sunflower oil, rice bran oil, corn oil.

Brown garlic and onion in the pot. This process takes about 5-7 minutes. Be careful not to burn them. Browning the onion and garlic gives the soup an additional depth of flavor.

Once brown, add broth and chopped cauliflower. I prefer to use my own broth if I have some available but in a pinch I do keep some clean broths on hand.


Here a couple of brands that I like:
Swanson Chicken Cooking Stock: chicken stock, salt, carrots, cabbage, onions, celery, celery leaves, parsley
Progresso Vegetable Stock: water, celery, onions, carrots, cabbage, salt, parsley, leek, sugar, garlic, thyme, bay leaves

The Progresso brand is not approved for the initial phases of the LEAP diet but is a great clean broth if you are past phase 5 or not following the LEAP diet!


After the soup contents are soft add everything to a blender and puree until creamy. I had to do this in batches because my blender is not big enough to hold all of the soup. If you have an immersion blender, this would be the perfect time to use it. When everything is blended pour back into the pot and heat back up to serve!

I enjoy croutons with my puree soups so I made some homemade croutons with crusty dutch oven bread. The soup is also great with cut up scallions.

 

5-Ingredient Cauliflower Soup
 
Easy 5 Ingredient Cauliflower Soup that the pickiest of eaters will enjoy!
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ T oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 32 oz clean broth or homemade broth - chicken or vegetable
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. In dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until slightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add broth and cut up cauliflower. Bring to a boil and cover. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until cauliflower is softened.
  3. In batches, pour contents of pot in blender. Blend until smooth. Continue until whole pot is smooth.
  4. Pour each batch back into dutch oven. Add salt and stir.
  5. Heat soup and serve with sliced green onions or homemade croutons.
Notes
Nutrition information is not provided due alterations that can be made to accommodate food sensitivities.


Products:


Here are other great recipes to make with these products: Crusty Dutch Oven Bread and Zucchini Pizza Bites


What’s your favorite homemade soup?

Enjoy!