Do you buy almond, soy, or coconut milk? Check this before you buy!
Now of days we all have to be savvy food labeling detectives. If you don't know what you're doing, you could be harming yourself. One ingredient that has been researched for over 10+ years is carrageenan. What is that you ask? Its a food additive that derives from red seaweed- sounds harmless right? Actually, researches say it has no nutritional value and could have potential harmful effects on our intestinal tract. The additive is used as a thickener or emulsifier which gives the food added texture. Carrageenan is found in non-dairy milk, ice cream, organic foods and alternative "healthy" food. Ironically, it's anything but healthy.
Dr. Andrew Weil, a world renowned MD who teaches how to minimize the risk of inflammatory disease agrees with me. On his website he talks about this dangerous additive. He writes, "When I first wrote about carrageenan on this site 10 years ago, I reported that some animal studies had linked degraded forms of it (the type not used in food) to ulcerations and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. But around that time, a prominent researcher in the field, Joanne K. Tobacman, M.D., now associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, conducted studies linking undegraded carrageenan - the type that is widely used in foods - with malignancies and other stomach problems. (Degraded and undegraded carrageenan differ by molecular weight with undegraded carrageenan having the higher weight.)
Over the years Dr. Tobacman has published 18 peer-reviewed studies that address the biological effects of carrageenan and is convinced that it is harmful to human health. In April 2012, she addressed the National Organic Standards Board on this issue and urged reconsideration of the use of carrageenan in organic foods.
In her presentation, Dr. Tobacman said that her research has shown that exposure to carrageenan causes inflammation and that when we consume processed foods containing it, we ingest enough to cause inflammation in our bodies. She explained that all forms of carrageenan are capable of causing inflammation. This is bad news. We know that chronic inflammation is a root cause of many serious diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and cancer.
Dr. Tobacman also told the board that in the past, drug investigators actually used carrageenan to cause inflammation in tissues in order to test the anti-inflammatory properties of new drugs. And she reported further that when laboratory mice are exposed to low concentrations of carrageenan for 18 days, they develop "profound" glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action, both of which can lead to diabetes.
She maintains that both types of carrageenan are harmful and notes that "degraded carrageenan inevitably arises from higher molecular weight (food grade) carrageenan." Research suggests that acid digestion, heating, bacterial action and mechanical processing can all accelerate degradation of food-grade carrageenan.
All told, I recommend avoiding regular consumption of foods containing carrageenan. This is especially important advice for persons with inflammatory bowel disease."- Andrew Weil, M.D (www.drweil.com).
What are some options you can do if you are lover of non-dairy milk? Try my almond milk recipe!
½ cup blanched Raw Almonds (blanch means to soak almonds and then remove the skin)
1 cup spring water
Soak almonds for at least 4 hours in spring water. Take each almond and squeeze the outer layer of almond to take off the brown shell.
Place white almonds in blender with water. Blend until smooth. Take cheese cloth and drape it over a small bowl. Pour almond milk in the bowl and strain with cheese cloth. Repeat if necessary. The milk will froth on top of the milk.
*Make sure to smell the almonds, look at the texture and color of the almond to ensure they are good. It only takes 1 bad almond to make the entire batch go bad.
Try adding ¼ tsp of vanilla extract to add more flavor!