Almond milk has many health benefits. According to The Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen, it helps pacify insomnia and anxiety and is a wellness tonic for reproductive health. And making your own almond milk is surprisingly easy, I learned when I tried it this week.
The basic steps are: soaking raw almonds overnight, rinsing them, blending them with fresh water in the blender, and straining the milk through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth.
People with a predominantly vata constitution, which I am, should peel the almonds before blending them because the skins can apparently irritate our digestive tracts. If you don’t know if you have a vata constitution or not, a good explanation of the various constitutions, or metabolic types, as she calls them, can be found in Maya Tiwari’s The Path of Practice: A Woman’s Book of Ayurvedic Healing.
I used the almond milk recipe in The Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen, which includes nuts, water, vanilla extract, and salt, and gives several options for sweeteners. Since it’s maple syrup season, I went with maple syrup. I made two batches, and in the second I also added ginger extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg, which was delicious. I didn’t have a nut milk bag, so I got cheesecloth to strain the milk at the Dual Specialty Store in the East Village.
Aside from peeling the almonds, which was a bit time consuming, making almond milk was a very quick and simple process. And I actually found peeling the almonds to be a very meditative and pleasurable experience; once you get the hang of it, as long as the almonds have been properly soaked, the skin just pops right off.
After I finished, I had a whole lot of almond pulp left over. I mixed it with rose hip seed oil and used it as a facial scrub, and it made my skin feel very clean and soft.
From now on, rather than buying my almond milk at the store, since the processed variety tends who have a lot of additives in the ingredient list, I’m planning to make my own almond milk at home every week, and my own facial scrub from the pulp.
Lutzger, Talya. The Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen: Finding Harmony through Food. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Publishing Company, 2012.