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After spending a week in Italy, they are BIG fans of all things dairy including lots of cheese and ice cream. I was pleased to see some dairy and gluten free ice cream shops, using rice or soy instead. With so many people noticing intolerances or allergies to dairy products the range of free from products is ever increasing. Milk alternatives, such as nut milks, have been well stocked for a long time but what is actually in them?!

Well in many the number 1 ingredient after water is sugar, with a 200ml glass containing 6g of sugar, in some cases. If you have watched Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Manifesto then we all know the importance of reducing the sugar in our diets and waking up to those hidden sugars. See below for the recommended guidelines for children:

• Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g or 5 teaspoons of free sugars per day

• Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g or 6 teaspoons of free sugars per day

• Children aged 11 years and upwards, as well as adults, should have no more than 30g or 7 teaspoons of free sugar per day

The second surprising factor is that Almond Milk can contain as little as 2% in almonds. As they need to retain the shelf life of these products many contain stabilisers and emulsifiers.

So with this information it isn’t surprising that many people are turning to make there own and it really is simple. So what do you need:

• Stainless steel air tight container to store

• Fine Sieve or muslin bag (I use the sieve)

So this week I will look at different nut milk recipes and share them with you I have to say the homemade ones are much creamier and taste delicious, far better than the shop bought ones, with the added benefit of being good for you.

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Walnut Milk

200g walnuts

600ml of filtered water

Optional 3 dates – if you really do need a bit of natural sweetness then add these to your milk.

Method

1- Soak the nuts overnight in a covered container

2- Place all the ingredients in a blender and process on high until smooth

3- Strain through a muslin bag or fine sieve.

4- The remaining pulp can be used in smoothies, added to porridge or used in homemade granola. If you don’t have time to use straight away then you can always freeze.

The nut milk will keep up to 3 days if kept in an air tight container in the fridge.

Health benefits of Walnuts: Well there are so many and I will focus on just a few which stand out to me! Walnuts are great for brain health and contain several neuroprotective compounds including vitamin E, omega 3 fats, folate, melatonin and antioxidants. They also contain l-arginine that is great for heart health.