My huge NEW reason to switch to homemade almond milk and 1 hilariously easy recipe to make it happen

IMG_0057I know better. I had a light-bulb moment about something I purchase, and it’s a “realization” I can’t find anywhere on the net, so I am really excited to share this with OrganicEater readers! Cartoned almond milk is PASTEURIZED in America.  And not just pasteurized, but high heat pasteurized, which is often called ultra pasteurization.  You can see on this brand’s website that it is pasteurized.  And this brand’s website tells us that ALL of their products are UHT pasteurized, including their soy and coconut milks, which I am deducting is the case for most or all cartoned milks of any kind in the US (but have not yet been able to verify).

So here is my logic:

if I do not usually drink dairy milk because of the pasteurization process (I DO drink raw milk when I can),

and I try to NEVER drink ultra pasteurized dairy milk,

then it only makes sense that I should give up ultra pasteurized almond and coconut (and all the other) milks too.

(if you need to understand why i do not choose pasteurized milk see this link and my good-better-best info).

This dilemma has caused a good bit of stress in my life while trying to research it! It’s tricky and detailed and it was not much fun trying to figure out this pasteurization process and all the terms involved. Different sources had different information, but after many hours, I think I have a pretty good handle on the subject, but am by no means a pasteurization expert, so read all the links for yourself and decide what’s best for you. All information is for American readers. I cannot address the pasteurization processes in other countries, but please let me know if you are familiar with the processes in your country!

Here is the chart I found that was so helpful in describing the different pasteurization processes in the US. There appear to be two different types of ultra pasteurization: one is sold as refrigerated (although I’m not sure it HAS to be, but could not find a definite answer) and the other is “shelf stable” because of the “tetra pak” it’s packaged in, which acts very similar to a can. So shelf stable milk (on the shelves like soup and juice boxes) is very similar to canned milk. You will find information all over the internet that tells you ultra pasteurized milk is “the same milk”, just processed differently. And that may be true, because I have never personally tested the nutritional differences of low heat and high heat pasteurized milk. I also do not know how those tests were conducted or who financed them; likely it was a milk company or dairy association funding the testing. I do not know who funded the tests, but I do know that whoever pays the bills usually gets the answer they’re looking for, so in general, I don’t trust much when it comes to a company telling me their own product is “the same” or “safe”. Call me a skeptic I guess, but my parents taught me to think for myself (and follow the money trail).  The statements saying it is “the same” just don’t make sense to me.  I often read how cooking food on high heat does all kinds of damage and creates changes in food vs eating it raw. My logic tells me that heating a liquid to between 280 and 302 degrees probably changes things somehow. Heat changes things in this world. How much depends on a lot of factors, but it does change things. I’m gonna go with my gut instinct on this and believe that heating milk so high that it kills all the bad stuff also makes it kill any good stuff that’s in there too, and may also change the protein structure, etc. of the milk itself (yes, I found links to support my belief, and others that didn’t, so I’m not including links here. You can google for yourself. I am just going with my gut on this. And you do not need to post any links in the comments that support UHT milk is “the same”. I saw them already.)

And so, if I believe ultra high heat pasteurization is not a healthy process FOR ME, then I have to apply that same logic to the “healthy” milks I drink, like almond and coconut. Oh, it pains me to have to write this, but I need to change something i have been promoting. I promised myself when I created this blog that I would search for truth and pass it along, even if it contradicted a previously held belief.  I am taking a shift on milk alternatives and recommending home-made instead of store-bought for now. I am not saying I will never buy cartoned almond milk again, because convenience is nice,  but because we drink so much of it around our house, it’s important for my family to make this shift to home-made. And with this recipe below, it’s gonna be so easy to do it, I have no excuse!

There are at least three other compelling reasons to shift to home-made milks, but they have already been covered by other bloggers whom I follow, so I am simply going to list the reason and the link to their site with lots more info!

1. Synthetic Vitamins are added to cartoned milks. The Healthy Home Economist has a great post on this. I never knew! Now I know, and you can too! I don’t take synthetic vitamins as supplements, so why would I want them in the milk I’m drinking every day?! Ew.

2. Carrageenan and other mysterious things are added to cartoned milk, even the organic ones, and The Food Babe has a great post and this post is even newer, covering that topic. From some other posts I’ve read, carrageenan may not be the absolute worst thing in the world they can add to milk. There are 2 forms of this seaweed extract and supposedly the food grade is OK, and the other one is not.  It’s still a little unclear to me just how bad the stuff really is. It does not seem to cause any intestinal problems for my family, but it may for others and I often use the “better safe than sorry” mentality, so it’s pretty easy for me to want to be safe than sorry, and avoid unknown additives in store bought milk, especially for my kids.

3. It’s expensive and hard to find organic! Although, the Food Babe link above regarding carrageenan tells me that buying organic doesn’t make much difference anyway.

And here’s a bonus reason for you guys: did you know that all US commercially grown almonds are pasteurized? Yes, even the “raw” ones. Here is a link and here is another to confirm that statement. If you want truly raw almonds, check those links for how to buy them directly from an almond grower. If you buy “raw almonds” from a store that are grown in the US, you need to ask them how their almonds are pasteurized! There is a water/steam method and a chemical (PPO) method.  I have asked Trader Joes, and they use the steam method on their almonds. I hope they told me the truth. If you buy organic “raw” almonds, they will likely be pasteurized with water as well. I am not positive the USDA standards require steam pasteurization, but it seems logical with what I know about organic policy. And that makes me wonder: are all raw almond butters not truly raw because of this pasteurization policy??? (sometimes I wish I could UN-know some stuff) So, here is my logic again… are almonds pasteurized as plain almonds first, and then ultra pasteurized again after being made into milk , making them twice pasteurized and twice “dead”? These are the things that keep me up at night, but I have not had time to find the answers yet.

OH! One more bonus reason to forego the shelf stable UHT milk: Tetra paks are lined with plastic. They are BPA free (yay!) but they still have a plastic coating inside, and they have a metal (like a tin can) sheet within the paper packaging. It does not touch the food, but it is there. Just something to consider if “canned foods” are not your first choice.

I already had those great reasons above for making the switch to home-made milks, but those had not yet convinced me completely (can you say “hard-headed”?!). Now that I’ve realized the UHT pasteurization process too, that was the deal breaker for me. And while we are on the topic, I am also expanding this logic to ALL shelf stable products like juice, soup, creamers, and the myriad of other products available out there as “shelf stable”. It is my understanding at this point, that all Tetra Pak shelf stable products must undergo the UHT Ultra Pasteurization process in order to kill all possible pathogens and increase their shelf life. That’s called “processed food” by my definition, and I try to avoid processed foods. There may be an emergency situation where I may need to make that purchase; I never want to be a food nazi, but I will be generally avoiding them until I learn new information. I’m curious if others will feel the same after reading this post. Please let me know your thoughts. And if anyone is a Tetra Pak expert and can confirm that not all shelf stable foods are UHT processed, please let me know that. That sparks another thought: have ALL canned foods been pasteurized or sterilized at some level? I’m thinking that’s a yes, and another reason to avoid canned foods in general. And I do not know the differences between home canning compared to UHT Pasteurization, but I bet I have some canning expert friends who can give me some more details on that. And even if the processes were the same (but I don’t think they are), home canning is done in glass rather than a can or a plastic lined tetra pak. Oh dear, more rabbit trails for me to explore…. the more I learn the more I realize I do not know……. I need some experts to weigh in on this.

There will probably be someone reading this who will say, ‘but I think it tastes the same, and what about the convenience of it and the way it saves me money because of the long expiration date?’ If those are your reasons for buying a food, that is your choice. Those reasons do not persuade me to purchase. In the least. I completely understand how they convince a manufacturer to produce it, but they don’t hold much value for me to purchase it as a consumer. The “benefit” is all theirs in my opinion.

So, the title said I have a hilariously easy home-made almond milk recipe for you, and I was not exaggerating. Try this easy, quick, and cheap recipe for home-made almond milk, that does not even require a high-speed blender! You will laugh at the simplicity of it! And here is another recipe  from Whole New Mom, that will use almonds to make it. My real food friend Jon, at Nutrition You Can Trust, has nut milk recipes for several kinds of nuts, that you may find helpful.  If you have nut allergies, here is a home made coconut milk recipe for you to use!

home made almond milk

All the best to you as you educate yourself on the many challenges of being a real food shopper!! I know those aisles can be tough! Keep reading and learning by signing up for the OE email subscription (on the home page) so you won’t miss a thing! And contact me if you need more help!

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater

Cantaloupe Icee: Vegan, Paleo, sugarfree, milk free

cantaloupeAfter starting a vegan cleanse today, and looking for this recipe for an hour, I decided I better add it to the recipes here at OE, so I don’t have to search for it again! And you’ll thank me. This is so super easy and yummy, if you love cantaloupe that is. Not sure it would work for any other melons except maybe honey dew, since its texture is similar. So, if you try another fruit, let us know (in the comments).

I am not going to give you amounts because you’re going to make this one according to your tastes. I will give you ingredients:

cantaloupe, cut to fit into blender, maybe start with half a cantaloupe for your first try

ice, about half as much as the cantaloupe

lime, I only use about 1/4 of a lime for a half a cantaloupe, but hubby likes to have more. Lime cannot be substituted and I’ve never made this without it. It’s like the secret key ingredient in this somehow. Just trust me.

mix in the blender until smooth, I use the “smoothie” setting on my Blendtec.

Here are some optional things you can add. My cantaloupe was not sweet enough, so I added a few drops of stevia to help it. If yours is sweet, try it first without the sweetener before you add anything. I have not tried it with honey or any other sweetener, so I do not know if it will change the flavor. You could add a milk of choice to make this more like a smoothie instead of an icee, but the flavor of the milk, will cover the cantaloupe and lime taste.  You can add a drop of vanilla, but it will take away from the tartness of the lime, so choose wisely. Again, hubby prefers the tart. Experiment with it to see what you like. You will want to serve this immediately because it’s just not pretty when the cantaloupe starts separating from the liquid. And that’s all there is to it. So easy. Enjoy!

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater

Betcha Never Done THIS with Your ‘Bucha!

Good things come in small packages!

I cannot believe I’m putting this face on the internet for you readers. Please do not Pin this, for heaven’s sake. That’s what the picture of the KB jar is for!

Do not be afraid! This is only a kombucha blog post! I have not turned into a zombie from Walking Dead!

For those who may have been living in Woodbury lately (that’s a WD reference for those who are fans of the hit TV show, and it implies living isolated from the rest of the world!), let me first introduce you to what kombucha is, before I tell you something you can do with it (besides drink its heavenly goodness!). Kombucha (endearingly referred to as ‘buch by some) is fermented tea. It’s been around “forever”, often seen in traditional cultures the way many fermented foods are. It has skyrocketed in popularity in modern times because of its health benefits (probiotics & lots of other goodies are in fermented foods supposedly, but I’m no fermentation expert) and because it tastes great (of which I AM an expert)! There are a zillion different brands, each one different, and many more home brews. So you can’t (seriously, don’t!) try one kombucha and say, “I don’t like kombucha”, based on the tasting of one. That’s dumb. That would be like trying one eel roll, and saying “I don’t like sushi”. There are only about one million other kinds of sushi you would need to try before you could say you didn’t like it (and who in their right mind would ever say that anyway?!). Yeah, that’s exactly what it’s like, so don’t do that! Try many before you make a decision, and one you should try is KB, Kombucha Brooklyn. I love them for using organic teas, and for also supporting the home-brewers out there, of whom I hope to be a part someday! KB even has a home-brewing kit for those who may be interested in starting their own, and want it to be as simple as possible to start! That definitely looks like the easiest way to get started with doing this at home. But, back to the zombie face…

KB sent me a Kombucha Beauty Clay, after our meeting at Expo East in Baltimore, MD. I can’t believe I’m going to share these pictures with you guys, but here goes. You add Kombucha to a little bit of this KB bentonite clay to create a mask!!! It furthered my belief that anything that goes ON, should be able to go IN, because it’s all going IN you either way! It was amazing! I loved it, and I have to forego my vanity and share the experience in all of its “beauty” with you guys! The label calls for 2 TBS of clay, but unless you have a ginormous face, I think 1 TBS should do just fine. Mix it together and rub it on your face, and leave it until it dries, if you can take it that long. It can get intense when you feel it sucking the yuck outta your face. For real. I was surprised at how awesome it felt! Then I washed it off with warm water. I’m going to show you the picture of my “red skin” after the mask was washed off, because I want to warn those who may have particularly sensitive skin. This is a wonderful process, but it’s not for lightweights. It’s some serious beauty regime. I LOVED it, but I wanted to warn those who may have super sensitive skin. I would also recommend NOT using the kombucha with the chia seeds in it as your elixir for this beauty mask! (don’t ask)

It starts out pretty light. It gets darker in color and tighter in skin sucking tightness, the longer you let it dry.

Oh, the things I do for a good post!

I could barely move my face at this point, and it was only about half dry.

See, pretty red, but it didn’t last for long.

So, now you have something brand new to do with all that lovely kombucha you’re making and buying across America these days! If you haven’t tried it yet, go get some! I’m going to add links below so you can read lots more about the health benefits of kombucha. And if you order the mask and try it, please let me know!

What other unusual things have you used kombucha for??? Anyone want to admit to being a WD fan? It has a great story line, really!!

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater


Kombucha recipe from Anna’s Favorite Things

Note from OrganicEater: If you are in the Charlotte area, the blog post above is by a Charlotte blogger, so you can get cultures from her! If you follow my Instagram account, you know I love me some kombucha. Reed’s Kombucha is my very favorite store bought brand! I am so excited to have found a site that will teach me how to make kombucha (and other healthy fermented goodies). I’m posting this to share the goodness with you guys too!! Let me know if you try this!

Here are a couple others that have great kombucha making information and videos: and she is on YouTube with videos that are helpful

Get your kombucha brewin’,


Anna's Favorite Things

I love ferments!  Our gut has anywhere from 600-1000 different microbials working to keep us healthy.   We tend to do a lot of things that negatively impact these microbials – diet is one and antibiotics is another.   I don’t do antibiotics any more and am grateful that my youngest (12) has never had them and my oldest (14) hasn’t had them since we got her out of the hospital!!

But many of us have taken them over the years and they effect our gut balance for YEARS, some any say generations as we pass our gut issues on to our babies.

One thing we can do to help is to consume a variety of ferments.  There is NO need for expensive store bought probiotics.  Not only are they unnecessary and expensive but really don’t do the job.   Most store bought probiotics only have a few strains and that just…

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Cheery Cherry “Soda” recipe and 3 More Pop Alternatives

When you’re cutting out sugar, the best place to start is ditching sugar-filled soda. Do you need to see this post from Huffington, on how it destroys your health? Oh, but giving it up is harder to DO than it is to read about, huh? Create a doable plan such as drinking much smaller portions, or less often. I went “cold turkey”, and it was not easy, but if I can, you can too! The longer you go, the easier it becomes to live without it, I promise!  You may need some transitional drinks to get you through the hard days. I did.


Zevia (found at EarthFare, Healthy Home Market in Charlotte, and EarthFare and Whole Foods) was  a good way for me to get my “soda fix” as I detoxed off Dr. Pepper. I needed to hear the can pop open and hear that fizzy sound on those days I felt like I was being deprived (just a few weeks). But that stuff is expensive, and I couldn’t keep that much of it in my budget for long. Fortunately for me, I got over the hump in a few short weeks, and I’m quite happy with my daily tea now, instead. Perfectly happy, actually! And this is coming from a girl who drank 1 or 2 Dr. Peppers every day!!

Which brings me to my second suggestion for cutting the soda, try tea. There are only a bazillion different kinds to try, so later I will write an entire post on my love for tea. If you have any questions on it before I can post, please leave a question in the comments and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Tea is beautiful and I love it for so many reasons! Vanessa at Healthy Living How To has a post on her love for tea and how she got off Diet Pepsi. Below is a picture of some of the teas I enjoy, and will post about later.

misc teas

Another healthy suggestion is to try Kombucha. You will need to look at sugar content in the ingredients and decide which is best for you. You can buy it at most health food stores now (it’s all the rage!) or you can Google recipes for homemade kombucha. I have not made any myself yet, so I can’t recommend a recipe for you at this time. If you have a good recipe you would like to share with our readers, please leave it in the comments. It also has a zillion different brands and flavors you can experiment with. It has a fizziness to it, which I really like. Just like with tea, if your first try is one you don’t care for, don’t give up. You may need to try a few before you find one you like.


And now for my recipe for homemade Cheery Cherry “soda”. I was sooo excited to create this. The kids loved it, and it was fun to make in the blender, hence the name “cheery”. If you have a Trader Joes near you, you’re set. If you don’t, try to make it with similar ingredients and please let me know how yours turns out. You will need only 4 things to make sugar-free cheery cherry soda:

sparkling water and tart cherry juice in equal amounts, splash of aloe juice (may be optional), and powdered organic stevia to taste (see stevia explanation here). Throw it in the blender and blend for about 10 seconds. We made small batches of about 12 oz at a time. You could add ice or frozen cherries to make it a slushy instead. OOOOOhhhh, Cheery Cherry Slushy. Love it.

copyright 2012

The aloe juice can be a healthy addition, but it probably isn’t necessary for this recipe. We added it for a specific health benefit.  READ about it here.

Powdered stevia may be necessary to get that frothy head on top of this, which makes it seem so much more like soda. I used one tiny spoonful (spoon included in jar) for every 4 ounces. We tried liquid stevia and it did not work for us.

Dr. Oz has a video on the antioxidant properties of Tart Cherry Juice , which include decreasing inflammation, lowering cholesterol, and helping with sleep.

So, there you have it. So easy! So yummy! So fast! So fun! Cheery Cherry Soda. Yay! Happy transitioning.

You can use the printfriendly button below to cut the fluff and just print what you need.

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater