Lactose intolerance. A milk allergy. Ethical veganism. Health-motivated plant-based diet. Environmental concerns about factory dairy farming. Concerns about the hormones and medications in traditional milk. Failure to pick up milk the last time you hit the store because the grocery-list-art-masterpiece your little Picasso created in the car on the way to said store made the list… (eh-hem) adorably un-listy.
Whatever your motivation for hunting down a simple, do-it-yourself, healthy plant-based milk alternative, we’ve “ca-shew” covered!
The Ingredients: Health Benefits
Four whole, real foods are all you’ll need to put together this tasty, nutrient-rich beverage that is perfect for complement for your coffee, your morning cereal, Picasso’s morning porridge, or as a refreshing drink after a hard day of work or play.
While you can use dozens of whole plant foods as a base for plant-based milks, we’re a fan of cashews!
These versatile little nuts are easy to find and, typically, much cheaper than other commonly used nuts, such as almonds. They are fairly soft, so they are easier on your blender (which you will need to dig out for this recipe — no worries, though, it’s the only kitchen gadget involved!) than some other types of nuts. And they are full of nutrition!
The cashews in this milk recipe provide a smooth, rich texture reminiscent of traditional milk and a mild, nutty flavor that won’t overwhelm a dish.
This recipe bumps up the flavor, sweetness and nutrients with the addition of whole dates!
Dates make an excellent, healthy alternative to simple table sugars in recipes that just need a hint of sweetness. While dates are naturally loaded with fruit sugar, study after study shows that they do not drive up blood sugars the way one would expect. This is presumably because the sugar is locked in the complex structure of the entire fruit and is not so easily absorbed into your body.
Additionally, these natural fruit sugars come packaged with all kinds of healthy nutrients, including:
- Vitamin C
Perhaps due to their nutrient-richness, or perhaps due to effects of their unique phytonutrients (molecules plants use to stay healthy that are also healthy for humans), dates are serious health-promoring foods. They are believed to be able to boost kidney function, improve immune responses, lower blood triglycerides, boost fertility, protect liver health, reduce the risk of developing a leaky gut and may even be useful in reducing cancer risk.
Cacao powder adds a rich, nutty, lightly chocolate-y flavor to make this healthy beverage taste down-right decadent.
Made from cocoa beans, cacao is also loaded with tons of healthy plant phytonutrients. These phytonutrients — especially the flavonoids and methylxanthines — are thought to be responsible for the various health benefits associated with dark chocolate treats, including weight loss and improved arterial health, blood sugar and blood fat levels.
Our final ingredient, cinnamon, rounds out the flavor of this plant-based milk alternative and offers one final health-promoting punch!
Cinnamon is essentially free of calories while being absolutely chock-full of nutrients and health benefits. It is among the most antioxidant dense foods on the planet, with nearly 40x more oxidant-neutralizing power than foods you likely think of as “antioxidant powerhouses” – like strawberries or kale!
What’s more, cinnamon is seriously rich in those phytonutrients I mentioned above. Studies suggest the phytonutrients and antioxidants found in cinnamon may be able to:
- Protect you from bacterial and fungal infections
- Reduce blood sugar
- Lower your triglycerides and cholesterol
- Reduce your blood pressure
- Decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Protect your bones from aging
- Protect you from ulcers
- Boost your liver function
- Reduce pain and swelling and speed healing of wounds
Not bad cherries on top of the warm, rich, savory flavor-sundae of a pinch of cinnamon!
- High Powered Blender (We love the Nutribullet!)
- 2 Cups of Cashews
- 4.5 Cups of Water
- 1 Tsp of Cacao Powder
- 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon Powder
- 4 Pitted Dates (If you get them whole, don’t forget to remove the seeds in the middle!)
- Optional: pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
|Cashews||Cacao Powder||Cinnamon Powder||Pitted Dates||Himalayan Pink Salt|
- Soak cashews for 7-8 hours.
- Drain water, and then put cashews in high powered blender.
- Next, in the same high powered blender, add water.
- Add in cacao powder, cinnamon powder, pitted dates and himalayan pink salt.
- Finally, blend until smooth.