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What’s this toxic ingredient doing in your organic food?

With dairy allergies on the rise, and as people learn more and more about the artificial growth hormones and antibiotics in our milk supply, companies are offering an array of alternative milks that people are turning to in their diets. I have always been kind of a health nut, and remember back about 12-15 years ago buying rice milk because I came to the realization of just how bizarre it was to drink the milk of a different species. That’s not to say I don’t consume some dairy products today, and that isn’t the focus of this post. The focus is to educate you on how processed the “healthier” alternatives you are choosing may be! And how they are wreaking havoc on your digestion! Believe me, I was one of them and horrified to find out that the milk I was buying for myself AND my daughter had such a toxic ingredient in it!

I always look at labels. The name “carrageenan” stuck out to me with I used to buy my hemp and almond milk from the health food stores. It sounds like “carcinogen,” but when I looked into it it seemed pretty natural (later finding out it in fact IS a carcinogen!).

Carrageenan is a  red seaweed extract, and it is used to thicken things like non-dairy milks, yogurt, ice cream, infant formula(!!),  some cows milks, cottage cheese, alternative cheeses, deli meats, juices, coffee, nutrition bars, flavored coconut water, and even some natural organic frozen foods. At first glance it seems harmless, but let’s take a closer look into this additive, and why you should remove it from your kitchen! It’s another example of how the FDA is putting profit over the safety of consumers. The carrageenan found in your food is food-approved undergraded carrageenan, but this report shows how it is contaminated with non-approved degraded carrageenan, which is extremely harmful to your health!

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Is Carrageenan Making You Sick?

Here are the health concerns associated with carrageenan:

  • gastrointestinal problems
  • it’s a cancer causing carcinogen
  • studies have linked it to colon cancer & tumors
  • toxic to the liver
  • lowers immune health

Carrageenan causes an inflammatory response in your GI tract. Pretty much what poison ivy does to your skin, carrageenan is doing that to your intestines. Lovely, right?

We cut out all carrageenan during Freevive, and this is why! We have had people post-Freevive used their old almond milks in a pinch, only to learn just how badly it affected their digestive system. You don’t really know just how bad a food is harming you until you cut it out! Sometimes these symptoms, that you may not even notice, just seem like the norm. It is so sad that we have to worry about this. Processed foods get scarier and scarier every day. And yes, your boxed almond milk IS a processed food. Sorry to tell you!

We understand you’re busy, and you don’t have time to make all this food, and you have allergies and don’t have many alternatives, and that these boxed alternative milks have been a life-saver. We get it. But, think about the long-term and short-term potential side effects that these milks are causing you and your family? Try making your own…it really is NOT as time consuming as you think! Some you can just blend and pour, no straining necessary! Each of these recipes last about 4 days in the fridge if you don’t drink it up before them! No preservative, a short shelf life, but SO worth it!

Cashew Milk

Here are a few of our favorite recipes. Once you get into a routine of soaking the nuts/seeds, it is seriously the easiest thing ever! With straight hemp milk you cannot even soak that and make it in a pinch! All of these recipes work best in a high speed blender, if using a regular blender you may want to soak things a little bit longer.

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Homemade Cashew Milk:
ingredients:

  • 1  cup raw cashews
  • 3 1/2-4 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • a pinch of nutmeg (optional)
  • a pinch of sea salt

Soak cashews for 6 hours in water. Add all ingredients to a blender. Pour into a glass jar with a lid and refrigerate. No straining necessary!

Homemade Cashew-Hemp Milk
ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • cinnamon, to taste

Soak cashews overnight or for at least 6 hours in water. Add all ingredients to a blender. Pour into a glass jar with a lid and refrigerate. No straining necessary!

Homemade Hemp Milk
ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • nutmeg, to taste
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP coconut butter (optional, adds creaminess and flavor!)

Blend seeds with the rest of ingredients, pour and serve! Store in fridge.

Homemade Almond Milk (Can also do Brazil Nuts, Macadamia Nuts, Walnuts, etc)
ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 3-4 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • (cinnamon and other spices optional, we do not sweeten our milks for Freevive so this helps in place of dates or other sugars)

Soak almonds overnight. Add almonds and water to your high speed blender. Strain liquid through a cheese cloth or a nut milk bag and set aside the almond pulp to use later or discard it. Add liquid back into the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Store in refrigerator.

Home Made Pumpkin Spice Milk

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 3-4 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • a pinch of sea salt
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