Lactose intolerance is the most common food intolerance amongst Asians. In fact, according to a study by the National University of Singapore (NUS), it is estimated that a whopping 95% of Singaporean Chinese suffer from lactose intolerance! For the uninitiated, lactose intolerance is a dietary condition that results from the body’s inability to digest foods containing the common sugar, lactose, due to a lack of the lactase enzyme. Some symptoms include bloating, abdominal cramps, nausea, gas and diarrhea 30 minutes to 2 hours after taking foods containing lactose.
I LOVE dairy… and I don’t think I suffer from lactose intolerance (not yet, or maybe I’m in denial), but I do know of people around me who feel uncomfortable after consuming too much dairy. My husband is one of them so he tries as far as possible to avoid consuming too much cow’s milk. How much is too much? Well it depends on the individual and his/her level of intolerance. But even for those who don’t yet suffer from lactose intolerance, it is always best not to overload your body with too much of a potential allergen. So what are the alternatives? Plenty! Choose from soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk, quinoa milk, and almond milk (if you’re not allergic to tree nuts). The only downside to this pretty exotic list is the price tag that comes along with it.
So recently, I experimented with making my own almond milk and was pleasantly surprised at how effortless it is! All u need is a good blender, a cup of almonds, and a cheese cloth. Period. I used the Panasonic MX-AC400 mixer grinder for this because it has a sturdy stainless steel wet grinder that breaks down the almonds really fine. And then I went on to use the blender jar to make a yummylicious decadent but low-fat, high-fibre, dairy-free chocolate banana almond smoothie.
Because good things should always be shared, I’ve also invited a couple of my friends, FLY entertainment artistes Nadya Hutagalung and Stephanie Carrington, to share their favourite healthy dairy-free concoctions with you!
Homemade Almond Milk
Yields: 2 cups
1 cup raw almonds
2 cups filtered water
1 tbsp honey (optional)
1. Place almonds in a bowl and cover it completely with water. Cover and soak in the fridge for 12-48 hours.
2. Drain the soaked almonds and rinse them lightly with fresh water.
3. Blend almonds and 2 cups of filtered water in a blender until almonds are no longer in chunks.
4. Strain using a cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the ground almond meal.
5. If using, stir honey/agave/maple syrup in to sweeten the almond milk and it’s done!
6. Enjoy on its own or use it to make smoothies!
Here’s one of my fave smoothie recipes using almond milk. For chocoholics who wanna lose weight like me, using cocoa powder adds the much-needed chocolate boost without the unnecessary fat and calories. Also, I like blending in sun-dried pitted prunes because somehow it complements the chocolate flavour well, thickens it nicely, and ups the fibre content of this delicious drink! And yes, your kids don’t have to know 😉
Mag’s Chocolate Banana Almond Smoothie
1 cup almond milk
3-4 dried prunes
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth.
2. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Since we’re on a roll here with healthy dairy-free smoothies, here are two more great recipes for you to attempt at home! They are created by two of the healthiest and most beautiful ladies I know, fellow Fly entertainment artistes Nadya Hutagalung and Stephanie Carrington. They juice and create their own healthy smoothie concoctions regularly and I am so excited to have them share their favourite smoothie creations with you!
Mango Sesame Smoothie by Nadya Hutagalung
Nadya Hutagalung is one of Asia’s most stylish and gorgeous trend-makers. She is well-known for her work as a model, MTV VJ, and more recently as the host of Asia’s Next Top Model. But she is also a mother, eco-activist, ambassador for World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour, founder of Green Kampong and she assumes all these roles and more with such grace and poise one can only watch and marvel. Talking to her always inspires me for she not only advocates for a sustainable planet and the protection of wildlife with such passion and compassion, she also walks her talk even when it often means taking the route less travelled. She juices daily and often shares pictures of them on Instagram (@nadyahutagalung) under the hashtag #juicingwithnad
She was craving Thai dessert mango sticky rice when she created this smoothie as a healthier alternative. She likes freezing fruits when they are just about to over-ripen and then uses them for smoothies to add creaminess without adding milk. The addition of sesame seeds adds a slight nutty taste and these little seeds are small but mighty as they are packed with manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vit B1, zinc and can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and is good for the liver.
Nadya’s Mango Sesame Smoothie
1 frozen mango
1 large frozen banana
2 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds
1 cup rice milk (use more or less depending on your ideal consistency)
Blend until smooth and enjoy!
Spinach Smoothie by Stephanie Carrington
Korean-American model Stephanie Carrington never fails to turn heads the moment she enters a room. She is elegant, sophisticated, charming and the girl-next-door all rolled into one. Which explains why she is in such high demand as a TV and event host, including being the paddock host for the live telecast of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix. After which, she was at one point the most searched personality on Google search (Sep 2012)! She calls herself a beauty junkie and a health nerd, and shares her health and beauty tips on her blog – Sprinkles of Goodness.
Steph likes to start her day with this smoothie that’s packed with loads of vitamins and nutrients. She uses dragon fruit because it adds sweetness, is high in fibre and Vit C but low in calories. Also, she adds flaxseed oil to give it that extra burst of Omega 3 & 6. It is the perfect ‘grab and go’ meal for this busy health junkie!
Steph’s Spinach Smoothie
Handful of spinach leaves
1/2 large banana
1/4 cup blueberries
1 tbsp flaxseed oil
1/2 cup water
Blend until smooth and serve!
With this many delicious healthy smoothie recipes to choose from, I’m sure you’ll be spoilt for choice the next time you blend your own smoothie. If you have a healthy dairy-free smoothie that you’d love to share, pls share it with all of us in the comment box below. Happy smoothie-ing everyone!
p.s. Thanks to your support, fait maison is one of the finalists in the Singapore Blog Awards 2013 Panasonic ‘Best Cooking Blog‘ category. Final results will be out on July 6!