If you’ve mastered making almond milk—almonds, water, dates, blend—it’s time for an upgrade. By soaking your organic almonds for three hours (or overnight), the almonds are converted to a living food with greater nutrient bioavailability. The process of soaking the almonds removes the protease inhibitors, which stop the nuts from germinating. Concurrently, it increases the protein content, decreases the fat content and enables greater absorption of the almond’s minerals, including calcium and magnesium. All of this with very little effort—just add water! The food scientists will be jealous.
Balance Your pH
Once you’ve soaked the nuts, slip off the almond skin and use the activated almonds to make the almond milk. Since we’re in upgrade mode, look for an alkaline-enhanced water (Fuji, Wholefoods 365 and Mountain Springs): the body functions better in an alkaline state. A pH between 7-8 is best. Anything above 8 is too alkaline and will make you thirsty.
If I’m making a lighter almond milk, I strain the nut milk to catch the pulp. A fine mesh strainer (which you can find on Amazon for less than $10) works best. If I’m making a richer nut milk, I don’t strain it—I simply add the nuts, water, dates and superfoods together.
Vanilla For Flavor, Spirulina For Energy + Liver Health
The vanilla and spirulina combination is one of my favorites. Spirulina is a blue-green algae which is incredibility rich in chlorophyll and beta carotene. Both are powerful antioxidants and help protect the body and brain from free radical damage. Chlorophyll also enhances vitality as it oxygenates the blood, plus it’s a liver protectant and helps remove heavy metals from the body. I’ve written more about the benefits of chlorophyll here. While vanilla may have some health properties, the amount you are using will be too small to induce any effect. I use it more for taste.
Because the sweet dates assuage sugar cravings and the spirulina fights afternoon sluggishness, this is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
THE RECIPE: ACTIVATED ALMOND MILK WITH SPIRULINA
This recipe makes four servings, and will last for three days if stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight glass bottle.
1/2 cup organic raw almonds
32 oz of alkaline water (7-8 PH)
1/2 Tsp Spirulina (such as Pure Planet)
1 cardamom pod
1 inch vanilla bean
Handful of spinach leaves
Pinch ‘pink’ salt
To make activated almond milk, soak nuts in water for three hours, or overnight. Once the nuts are soft, rinse the almonds in water and remove the skin. Put peeled almonds into blender with the filtered water and blend for 60 seconds. Using a fine mesh strainer, pour the almond milk through the strainer into a glass container. Return the almond milk to the blender. Add dates, vanilla bean, cardamom pod, spirulina, spinach leaves and ice. Blend for 30 seconds. Enjoy!
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Dana James is a Charlotte’s Book Premiere Provider and founder of Food Coach NYC—she’s one of our go-to experts for all things nutrition.
Originally written by Dana James for her blog, FoodCoachNYC. Photo credit: Dana James