I've been dairy-free for about 10 years and love it!
After a health scare in 2007, I gave up my dairy-laden favorites like yogurt, milk and ice cream. Though it was a challenge a first, ditching dairy was one of the best things I ever did. Not only were the health benefits amazing. I had better digestion, less bloat, more energy, and clearer skin, just to name a few...
What I loved most about giving up dairy was learning about all of the delicious non-dairy options. These non-dairy options have opened me up to a new world of foods and flavors!
Have you ever tried nut milks? Homemade nut milks, like the commonly known almond milk and cashew milk, are great substitutes for dairy milk in most recipes. Not to mention, each variety of nut lends its own unique flavor to foods like coffee, on cereal, in oatmeal, or enjoyed plain. My favorite among the nut milks is hazelnut milk!
I'm sure it's nothing you haven't heard before but tree nuts are some of the most nutritions snacks on the planet. In a world flooded with fatty, preservative-filled, not-so-good for you snack options, nuts like hazelnuts are a filling, delicious and healthy option.
There is some hesitation when it comes to enjoying hazelnuts because some of us still fear their fat and calories. But in their proper serving sizes, nuts (especially hazelnuts) deliver filling protein, fiber, unsaturated fats, and loads of other important vitamins and minerals.
Hazelnuts can be used in lots of different ways. You can enjoy them roasted, raw, as a hazelnut spread, an alternative flour and over course, just as a delicious topping on healthy dishes. Hazelnuts are tasty and nutritious, so why not make them part of your healthy lifestyle?!
Need more reason to enjoy hazelnuts? here are five:
Hazelnuts can help lower LDL (the bad cholesterol), while helping to increase HDL (the good kind).
Hazelnuts are full of magnesium which has been shown to decrease your risk of diabetes.
Along with magnesium, hazelnuts are full of free-radical fighting antioxidants like vitamin E which is said to help reduce inflammation
Vitamin E also coincides with the reduction of cognitive decline making hazelnuts a brain food.
Hazelnuts can contribute to maintaining healthy skin and hair by improving moisture and elasticity
So eat up! Or should I say drink up? My favorite way to enjoy hazelnuts is in my homemade hazelnut milk and it couldn't be any more simple to make; check out the recipe below.
Homemade Hazelnut Milk
- 1 cup hazelnuts (soaked)
- 4 cups filtered water
Add soaked hazelnuts with 4 cups water in a high-powered blender [I used a Vitamix]. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes. Pour and strain contents through a nut bag or cheese cloth into an empty mason jar or jug. [Discard the hazelnut pulp or stir into baked goods and morning oatmeals for extra protein and fiber].
Refrigerate your hazelnut milk. Because there are no preservatives, this nut milk is best used within 5 days... if it lasts that long.
Want to mix it up a bit? Try adding a dried date, vanilla extract and a dash of cinnamon for a sweeter version - great for your morning coffee, cacao or smoothie.
*If you have to purchase nut milk, just be sure it doesn't contain carrageenan, as it's been shown to irritate the lining of the gut and may cause inflammation. It's also best to choose the unsweetened varieties to keep your sugar consumption low.
*If you're allergic to nuts, try hemp seed or pumpkin seed milk. Both are delicious.