It seems like they are making milk out of everything these days...almond, soy, hemp, rice, you name it, they've milked it. My personal favorite is cashew for it's taste and the simplicity of making it at home. A few important notes about this creamy treat:
Soak Cashews to Access Nutrients
Many traditional cultures have soaked nuts for centuries, but this practice has been lost in modern society. Raw nuts, seeds, and legumes all contain small amounts of enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid. Phytic acid helps protect nuts and seeds so that they can grow and germinate. Enzyme inhibitors bind nutrients, preventing them from sprouting too early. This serves the nuts well, but when consumed by humans, they can be hard to break down without light processing, like soaking. Without this process, you may notice digestive irritation and your body won’t pull out all of the nutrients nuts contain. This isn't just true for cashews - all nuts, seeds, and grains like rice and quinoa will benefit from this process and your digestive system will thank you!
Simplest of Nut Milks
Unlike some other nut and seed milks, cashew milk is made with the whole nut. While I think all homemade milks are worth the extra effort, cashew is particularly simple since no straining is required – just a quick blend and you’re done! This also means that all of the nutrition is consumed since you aren’t draining the meat out, so you get all of the fiber with your milk. Fiber is crucial for maintaining digestive health, warding off chronic disease, and improving skin conditions like acne by helping remove toxins from your system.
Cashews for Maintaining a Healthy Weight
I'm really glad we've ditched the idea that fat makes you fat - probably my least favorite food trend of all time. Cashews are full of good-for-you poly and monounsaturated fats as well as four grams of protein per ounce, and including them in your meals will increase satiety, so you don’t overeat. They also help sustain you longer between meals and snacks, so you won’t find yourself mindlessly snacking or starving by your next meal. Sometimes I use cashew milk as a base for my matcha tea (I blend it with matcha, a bit of collagen protein, vanilla, and a date) for a delicious morning ritual that keeps me going until lunch. Yum!
1 cup raw cashews
3-4 cups filtered water
2-4 Medjool dates, pitted
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt (and optional 1 tablespoon for soaking)
Step 1: Place cashews and dates in a bowl and cover with one inch of water (with optional 1 tablespoon of sea salt to further break down phytic acid). Let soak for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Step 2: Drain and rinse cashews. Place cashews, three cups water, dates, vanilla, and a pinch of salt in blender. Blend for 60 seconds, or until completely smooth. Test thickness of cashew milk, and if you prefer thinner consistency, add up to one cup of additional water and blend until smooth.
Step 3: Pour cashew milk in an airtight container. Stored in the refrigerator, it will last up to a week.