The Weston A. Price Way

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rice and Almond Milks...What's Their Story?

"So, Clee, tell me something good," you say. 
And I say, "Okay!"

Although it's been proven that much of our 'milk allergies' don't come from the milk as much as they come from what our milk has become after pasteurization, there do remain those that cannot abide animal milk in any form, even the genteel and gentle goat's milk. This is usually a case of gluten or casein intolerance, as in celiac disease. These folks need a substitute that doesn't compromise their health in other ways. 


...A good homemade recipe for almond milk. This one is not from Nourishing Traditions, although they have one as well. This one comes from Dr. Ben Kim. I'm adding his site to my links, at the bottom of this page. 

All-Natural Almond Milk
1 ½ cups of raw almonds, soaked in water overnight [Do NOT skip this part!]
4 cups of filtered or spring water
3-5 dates (optional)
Blend 1 ½ cups of raw almonds that have been soaked overnight in 4 cups of water. Blend with dates if you like your milk with a hint of sweetness. Strain once to remove almond granules...Keeps for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Why did I add this? Because commercial brands usually mean additives.

But before I go there, a short word specifically about rice milk. It comes from rice, which is a grain, which is often an additional problem for those who already have intestinal problems.

Next, it is refined rice. (I've wondered lately how we ever came up with that word? How do you 're' something that's already 'fine'?) 'Refined', especially when speaking of food, merely means changed. Adulterated from what it was to start with. Now that I've learned of the things that happen to our food in the process of refinement, that word always makes me a little suspicious. The truth is, refined rice is inferior rice, and nutritionally, not much more than a filler.

It brings to mind an analogy...

We have a beautiful woman. She is 'fine', and she knows it. She also has a bit of an attitude because she is so confident in who she is. 

A big shot producer comes along and says, 'Oh, yes, you ARE fine, but I am going to REfine you to make you look even better to my audience!" 

But this gal, knowing her own beauty, is offended and tells the producer to hit the road. 

"You keep your 're' to yourself, Jack. I am FINE and foxy and fabulous just as I am!"

But regarding these alternative milks, the main problems are that so many are made with polyunsaturated oils and sweeteners...both artificial and 'natural'. 

What's the problem with polyunsaturated oils? Well, that's a whole different subject and yet an important part of this subject as well, so in a nutshell:

Scientific study and research has brought much documented evidence that polyunsaturated vegetable oils are a major cause of cardiovascular disease because they can create an imbalance of essential fatty acids in the body.

Check labels. Sorry, but nowadays, it's a must if we're going to get serious about health. And if you haven't been reading them, you may be surprised when you start. We have to take responsibility for what we are feeding ourselves and not expect media commercials to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It's a funny thing, but when we break the law unknowingly, we are still guilty of breaking the law because the lawmakers expect us to know what we are allowed to do or not do. The list of the laws of our land is ever changing and certainly daunting, yet we do not flinch much at the fact that we are expected to be responsible to follow them. 

If we can be conditioned by outside sources to so easily accept this responsibility, why do we flinch, or even become angry at the mere suggestion of accepting responsibility for our own health and that of our families?  (Clee shakes head in bewilderment.)

Polyunsaturated oils will show up on labels in a variety of ways: canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, soybean oil or sunflower oil. This may not mean much to you right now, but as you gain more information about truly healthy fats from people who have been teaching the truth for years, (the same ones who helped reveal and educate the masses regarding the truth about trans-fats), it will come to mean much.

Check out the Weston A. Price Foundation for more information on healthy/unhealthy fats.

And about the sweeteners? Artificial ones are a product of the devil in my opinion. They are more addictive than the real thing, trigger appetite, and cause problems to health to which no other natural sweetener can compare-not even the infamous white sugar. I am also personally convinced, without knowing if anyone has documented anything similar, that both Aspartame and Splenda regularly ingested, can  cause severe muscle cramps. These are opinions I speak from personal experience, which of course I understand are subjective.

Many traditional health advocates warn us to stay away from all sweeteners, even those we consider 'natural', such as evaporated cane juice. They do place heavy stress loads on the liver and the pancreas and raise insulin levels. This in turn, can lead to side effects such as high blood pressure and heart disease, weight gain, and even premature aging. My thoughts aren't yet fully developed on sweeteners such as organic maple syrup, raw honey and coconut sugar from the sap of the coconut flower, (currently our household's favorite sweeteners). We are currently using them in limited amounts.

The final rundown on substitute milks? Soy, no. Rice, no, but not as no as soy. Almond, no to additives, but better than rice and heads above soy. Homemade almond as in the above recipe, YES!

Please see the first 2 comments below to address thyroid disease in relation to almonds.

Next blog: Goat Milk...Are you kidding? No, I am not.

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