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Coconut milk or Almond milk for babies/toddlers?

by (144)
Updated about 7 hours ago
Created January 05, 2012 at 3:17 PM

My almost 3 yr old has been on raw milk for 2 years, but our source has run dry and we have just recently gone to strict paleo (whole30 challenge). I've had her on Almond milk for a few weeks now and I'm thinking, "is this really all that good for her? I mean she is consuming alot of almonds." Then I thought maybe coconut milk would be better??? I just don't know. I'm somewhat new to this whole family paleo plan and want her to get the best nutrition.

Also, I have a 6 month old who is breastfed and I was wondering for him too what would be best when we move him off breastmilk at a year old.

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24528 · September 07, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Mel, why are you yelling?

C14be44ee257fa9cf76d99231b63d6bf
0 · July 11, 2012 at 1:10 AM

see my link below - I'm transitioning my baby to "milk" - been using almond and coconut combo. Thinking about goat's milk but we're trying to avoid animal products.

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0 · July 11, 2012 at 1:09 AM

I was thinking the same . . .

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24528 · May 02, 2012 at 8:02 PM

It can be pretty irritating to the digestive tract.

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78407 · April 10, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Also "fortified" with guar gum. No thanks. INGREDIENTS: ALMONDMILK (FILTERED WATER, ALMONDS), COCONUTMILK (FILTERED WATER, COCONUT CREAM [COCONUT EXTRACT, WATER, XANTHAN GUM, CARRAGEENAN, GUAR GUM]), CALCIUM CARBONATE, NATURAL VANILLA FLAVOR WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS, TAPIOCA STARCH, POTASSIUM CITRATE, SEA SALT, CARRAGEENAN, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIN D2, D-ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL (NATURAL VITAMIN E).

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78407 · February 19, 2012 at 7:00 PM

How about bone broth?

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3280 · January 07, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Yes, the taste is so very different!

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144 · January 07, 2012 at 1:44 PM

We don't have a source for goat milk in the area. Our options are store bought organic milk, almond, or coconut

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144 · January 07, 2012 at 1:37 PM

I don't think she needs it to be healthy. It's just her daily treat. She never drinks juice, just water and milk. She gets tired of just water and I think offering another liquid source keeps her from getting tired of just water.

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144 · January 07, 2012 at 1:35 PM

I wish we had a Whole Foods! We just have a few grocery stores that carry organic milk. I'm leaning towards that. I'll see if she will even drink it. Last time it was offered to her at her grandparents house she called it gross milk. I can taste pasterization, as can she!

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144 · January 07, 2012 at 1:34 PM

I don't have a Whole Foods. We are very limited where we are. We do have 2 grocery stores that well organic whole milk. I just need to get her through the winter season till our cows start producing again. Understand now more about the coconut milk. I will get the organic milk instead. It's just a daily treat as she eats a very healthy well balanced meal

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15226 · January 06, 2012 at 7:24 AM

Also, all that growth promoting stuff in milk (like IGF-1) is what babies need to grow!

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1288 · January 06, 2012 at 4:56 AM

Yes I would say organic milk is better than coconut milk - Coconut milk as nearly 4 times as many calories - unless she is underweight and not thriving ( you say she is perfect health) she does not need such calorie dense food - I would save the cal for real solid protein source like meat!

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11682 · January 06, 2012 at 2:11 AM

Go for goat milk, don't give to a baby overdosing amounts of almonds (even if it's in milk form). Coconut might be gentler, but overall, goat milk is the best bet.

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3280 · January 06, 2012 at 2:05 AM

Strauss is the brand of non-homog, low-temp milk at my WF. Good stuff, delicious. I get it when I can't get raw.

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3217 · January 06, 2012 at 12:57 AM

Just read your other comment that it's more of a treat and less a replacement. Never mind the second half of my comment!

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3217 · January 06, 2012 at 12:56 AM

Do you have a Whole Foods near you? My Whole Foods sells a non-homogenized, very low temp pasteurized milk that might be an OK sub, especially. It's in glass bottles, but I can't recall the name.

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3217 · January 06, 2012 at 12:54 AM

Jackie--that's really awesome that you made it to a year with him! I think, then, in your case, I'd forget about milk as a staple. Almond milk and coconut milk are treats, to me, and not acceptable substitutes. Focus on really nutrient dense foods that you can give him.

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2954 · January 05, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Oh good, looks like almond milk is a decent choice then. I think both coconut milk and almond milk work well in that case :-) I still think coconut milk would be better for a kiddo if she likes it, but you know what, you seem to feed your kid a really nice diet, I'm sure almond milk doesn't hurt once in a while.

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144 · January 05, 2012 at 5:22 PM

So you would say organic whole milk is better than coconut milk? I've never given her pasterized, homonogized milk.

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144 · January 05, 2012 at 5:14 PM

that's what I'm leaning towards right now.

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144 · January 05, 2012 at 5:06 PM

As for the goat/cow milk...the source we used ran dry and all that is available is what is in the stores (homonogized, ultra pasterized, CRAP)

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144 · January 05, 2012 at 5:06 PM

I wish I could do extended nursing! My 6 month old is on 100% DONATED breastmilk. You can read his story here that went FB viral: http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=10150459691362013&set=a.10150227259932013.317213.611082012&type=1&theater It's been a challenge to find him donated milk and my first goal was to make it to 6 months...now a year (fingers crossed)! So, he will most likely be wean onto cows milk at a year old as donors usually give priority to babies.

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2913 · January 05, 2012 at 5:02 PM

I'm inclined to agree with organic whole cow's milk. Children have an abundance of the enzyme that allows them to process dairy when they are younger, and most lose it when they are older. Their brain needs the fat.

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144 · January 05, 2012 at 4:22 PM

I considered almond as a temporary replacement because the cows that we get our raw milk from have run dry. There is no where in my area that has raw goats milk. She gets bone stocks from me already. She has 2 glasses of milk a day of raw milk until 2 weeks ago when the cows dried up. And I'm hoping by the time I wean in 6 months that the cows will be producing again. I just am looking for a temporary fix. The milk is not a meal. My 2 yr old is very healthy and just enjoys her milk when she wakes up from bed and nap. I'm not concerned about fat...I cook very balanced and all from scratch.

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144 · January 05, 2012 at 4:15 PM

She has only had raw milk. I'm a little timid to give her pasterized because she was thriving on raw. I just am looking for a replacement during the winter season when the cows are dry.

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144 · January 05, 2012 at 4:14 PM

My daughter has been thriving on raw milk! In fact, the Dr. said she is the pinnacle of what a 2 yr old should be. But, like I said, our source for raw milk has run dry. The cows are not producing right now cause of the winter season and I'm looking for an alternative for my 2 yr old. She only drinks 2 glasses of milk a day so, the bulk of her nutrition comes from my food I make her.

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5043 · January 05, 2012 at 3:39 PM

I was gonna say, what about goat's milk? I never saw any almonds with teats. doesn't make sense to me.

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11099 · January 05, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Pasturized and homogenized milk, especially cow has the tendency to lead to dairy allergies in people with already leaky guts...best to consume raw when tolerated.

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17 Answers

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3217 · January 05, 2012 at 4:40 PM

I know I'm probably opening up a can of worms, and I'm not trying to criticize your choices, but... in traditional societies (ie, the roots of paleo) children aren't moved off of breastmilk at 1 year, and are generally still nursing at 3 years. I do extended nursing myself (nursed my first until she was four, and 20 month old is going strong) so I don't worry about a dairy substitute for them: they drink water. But, I do realize that in our culture, extended nursing isn't the norm for a variety of reasons.

With that all that in mind (and to actually answer your question rather than proselytize), I would personally really reconsider the idea of "strict paleo" for children. I would look at goat's milk, probably, or non-homogenized, low-heat pasteurized cow's milk. I wouldn't consider almond milk an acceptable substitute at all, and coconut milk would be fine for other uses, but once again, not as a substitute.

Stepping off soapbox now...

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3217 · January 06, 2012 at 12:57 AM

Just read your other comment that it's more of a treat and less a replacement. Never mind the second half of my comment!

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3217 · January 06, 2012 at 12:54 AM

Jackie--that's really awesome that you made it to a year with him! I think, then, in your case, I'd forget about milk as a staple. Almond milk and coconut milk are treats, to me, and not acceptable substitutes. Focus on really nutrient dense foods that you can give him.

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144 · January 05, 2012 at 5:06 PM

As for the goat/cow milk...the source we used ran dry and all that is available is what is in the stores (homonogized, ultra pasterized, CRAP)

B6f67db02819f9d418e20beee9915be1
144 · January 05, 2012 at 5:06 PM

I wish I could do extended nursing! My 6 month old is on 100% DONATED breastmilk. You can read his story here that went FB viral: http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=10150459691362013&set=a.10150227259932013.317213.611082012&type=1&theater It's been a challenge to find him donated milk and my first goal was to make it to 6 months...now a year (fingers crossed)! So, he will most likely be wean onto cows milk at a year old as donors usually give priority to babies.

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15226 · January 05, 2012 at 3:30 PM

I don't have kids, but my thought would be to avoid almond milk. I don't see much of a problem for a 3 yr old to be on organic whole milk, even if it's pastuerized.

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144 · January 07, 2012 at 1:34 PM

I don't have a Whole Foods. We are very limited where we are. We do have 2 grocery stores that well organic whole milk. I just need to get her through the winter season till our cows start producing again. Understand now more about the coconut milk. I will get the organic milk instead. It's just a daily treat as she eats a very healthy well balanced meal

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661
15226 · January 06, 2012 at 7:24 AM

Also, all that growth promoting stuff in milk (like IGF-1) is what babies need to grow!

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212
1288 · January 06, 2012 at 4:56 AM

Yes I would say organic milk is better than coconut milk - Coconut milk as nearly 4 times as many calories - unless she is underweight and not thriving ( you say she is perfect health) she does not need such calorie dense food - I would save the cal for real solid protein source like meat!

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc
3280 · January 06, 2012 at 2:05 AM

Strauss is the brand of non-homog, low-temp milk at my WF. Good stuff, delicious. I get it when I can't get raw.

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef
3217 · January 06, 2012 at 12:56 AM

Do you have a Whole Foods near you? My Whole Foods sells a non-homogenized, very low temp pasteurized milk that might be an OK sub, especially. It's in glass bottles, but I can't recall the name.

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144 · January 05, 2012 at 5:22 PM

So you would say organic whole milk is better than coconut milk? I've never given her pasterized, homonogized milk.

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2913 · January 05, 2012 at 5:02 PM

I'm inclined to agree with organic whole cow's milk. Children have an abundance of the enzyme that allows them to process dairy when they are younger, and most lose it when they are older. Their brain needs the fat.

B6f67db02819f9d418e20beee9915be1
144 · January 05, 2012 at 4:15 PM

She has only had raw milk. I'm a little timid to give her pasterized because she was thriving on raw. I just am looking for a replacement during the winter season when the cows are dry.

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493
11099 · January 05, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Pasturized and homogenized milk, especially cow has the tendency to lead to dairy allergies in people with already leaky guts...best to consume raw when tolerated.

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11099 · January 05, 2012 at 3:34 PM

How was your daughter doing on raw milk? If she was doing well and thriving, you may want to consider keeping her on it. It can be tricky to get enough nutrient dense foods into young children, and I think that if they digest dairy well, especially goat milk, then there's not really a reason to give it up. Almond milk is not a replacement nutritionally, plus almonds are pretty rich in omega 6 fatty acids to consume frequently. My kids are a bit older, but they both do well on raw goat milk, and love it, so they still get it, and I feel good about it...

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144 · January 05, 2012 at 4:14 PM

My daughter has been thriving on raw milk! In fact, the Dr. said she is the pinnacle of what a 2 yr old should be. But, like I said, our source for raw milk has run dry. The cows are not producing right now cause of the winter season and I'm looking for an alternative for my 2 yr old. She only drinks 2 glasses of milk a day so, the bulk of her nutrition comes from my food I make her.

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5043 · January 05, 2012 at 3:39 PM

I was gonna say, what about goat's milk? I never saw any almonds with teats. doesn't make sense to me.

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2954 · January 05, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Why would you even consider almond milk (I like it, but not for children).
Have you searched for raw goats milk, if you can't find cow milk?

How about bone stocks? Wouldn't it be comforting to drink it warm? Hmmm! :-) You can also give it to your baby, but probably not as a main meal. If you're looking or breastmilk replacement when you wean your baby, try http://www.westonaprice.org/search/search?q=baby+formula+recipe (scroll down)

By th way, is this milk meant as a meal, as in breastfeeding, or is it meant as a comforting snack, before bed, before nap, when upset, for example? Or are you just concerned about getting enough fat into your toddler's diet? If so, feed more animal fat when cooking her fatty meats, and coconut oil and coconut milk in curries.

If coconut milk vs almond milk is your only choice, then I think coconut milk it is! Make sure it's got as little ingredients as possible, specially make sure to avoid guar gum.

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2954 · January 05, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Oh good, looks like almond milk is a decent choice then. I think both coconut milk and almond milk work well in that case :-) I still think coconut milk would be better for a kiddo if she likes it, but you know what, you seem to feed your kid a really nice diet, I'm sure almond milk doesn't hurt once in a while.

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144 · January 05, 2012 at 4:22 PM

I considered almond as a temporary replacement because the cows that we get our raw milk from have run dry. There is no where in my area that has raw goats milk. She gets bone stocks from me already. She has 2 glasses of milk a day of raw milk until 2 weeks ago when the cows dried up. And I'm hoping by the time I wean in 6 months that the cows will be producing again. I just am looking for a temporary fix. The milk is not a meal. My 2 yr old is very healthy and just enjoys her milk when she wakes up from bed and nap. I'm not concerned about fat...I cook very balanced and all from scratch.

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592 · September 07, 2012 at 5:44 PM

I would strongly advise against consumption of storebought almond and coconut milk. Vitamin D2, frequently an ingredient, is highly problematic. Plus, I'm sure the almonds in storebought almond milk haven't been soaked to reduce antinutrients.

For more information, see: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/coconut-and-almond-milk-in-cartons-not-a-healthy-buy/

There is nothing in raw milk that can't be obtained from a nutrient-dense diet. I'd stick to just that until you can get raw milk again. If your daughter must have some sort of milk, try the homemade almond/coconut milk recipes found in the above link.

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2029 · September 07, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Keep in mind that the preference against dairy in the paleo society is not that dairy is inherently bad, but that the majority of us grow out of the ability to tolerate it with age. Also, from an anthropological perspective, milk is not typically fed to adults, as it is the food preference for infants and young children. With this in mind, I'd rethink a non-dairy approach to feeding young children. The Weston A Price website has some interesting information on how/what to feed young children as they're being weaned and in the event one can't breastfeed.

However! You pointed out that the milk issue for your elder was more a matter of a treat. In such a case, I'd say if he's getting plenty of nutrients from other sources, then coconut milk wold be preferable over almond. Native Forest is a good BPA-free variety but contains guar gum. Other generic brands are gum-free, but are in BPA-lined cans. Personally, I think the risk of BPA on young children outweighs the risk of gut irritation by gums, but this is a personal choice. It is also possible to make your own coconut milk, if you're into DIY stuff like that...

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10 · September 07, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Try milk kefir. You can make it from pasturized cow milk--changing the milk into a very healthy probiotic, a healthy form of milk intake. We are doing the Paleo diet as well, and our only dairy consumption is milk kefir which we make from live kefir grains--we blend fresh kefir milk with frozen fruit for breakfast every morning. It is delicious...and really helps to curb unhealthy cravings. (If you're opposed to using dairy, there is also the option of water kefir)

Health benefits of milk kefir as quoted from a google search: "The cultures' chemical changes make the milk much easier to digest, allowing the body to absorb more of the naturally present nutrients. The transformation of lactose to lactic acid allows people, even t hose with lactose intolerance, to digest kefir and get its full benefits.Kefir is high in calcium, amino acids, B-vitamins and folic acid. Kefir can play a vital role in the development of a healthy digestive tract in babies, as it protects against negative effects of radiation and helps improve the immune system. Kefir's friendly cultures also produce specific antibiotic substances which can control undesirable microorganisms and act as anti-carcinogenic factors. Kefir also helps to enhance bowel function and control candida - a condition where there is an excessive growth of yeast cells."

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10 · April 10, 2012 at 4:10 AM

My son is 15 months and gets a mixture of 1/2 goats and 1/4 almond, and 1/4 coconut. The almond and coconut milk actually is now made in a mixture by "Blue Diamond" and I make sure to get unsweetened and fortified for the vitamins.

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78407 · April 10, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Also "fortified" with guar gum. No thanks. INGREDIENTS: ALMONDMILK (FILTERED WATER, ALMONDS), COCONUTMILK (FILTERED WATER, COCONUT CREAM [COCONUT EXTRACT, WATER, XANTHAN GUM, CARRAGEENAN, GUAR GUM]), CALCIUM CARBONATE, NATURAL VANILLA FLAVOR WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS, TAPIOCA STARCH, POTASSIUM CITRATE, SEA SALT, CARRAGEENAN, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIN D2, D-ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL (NATURAL VITAMIN E).

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10 · February 19, 2012 at 4:38 PM

My daughter is almost a year and im going back to work part time soon so i have to try and figure outa substitute for her. So i went to planet organic and spoke to a very knowledgeable woman about my non dairy options and she reccomended unsweetened coconut milk, but im sure for ur 2 year old u can do original. She said to first do a bottle of half breastmilk, half coconut milk (So Delicious organic brand). Also she said for extra essential oils we can add a teaspoon of udos oil to the bottle, and to help with digestion, pureed (or already in power form) Pineapple. but she said the straight coconut milk is a great choice on its own. i give her vitamin D anyways so i will continue doing that too. it doesnt really have any flavor (the unsweetened one, original has some sweetner of some sort) but i love coconut milk! for cooking, tea, everything! and most importantly, My daughter likes it. I wanted to go non dairy because 1. I was lactose inteolerant as a child, 2. when i would try some dairy with my daughter, she would get an upset tummy and be gassy and poop a lot (some were liquidy)

anyways Its great that ur able to get donated milk for ur son, and hope u are able to keep doing it as long as possible!

=)

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60 · September 07, 2012 at 6:37 PM

You could give her whole yogurt, even dilute it with water. You can at least find that organic at most food co-ops. Since she's good with dairy you can replace the milk with goat cheese or some kind of organic cheese. I've heard of ppl melting butter in regular milk to add more fat for toddlers... Not sure if any of that would work for you though. You might have to go online and find powdered goats milk, I know there are organic sources for that on the internet.

Also it's sort of funny to me all these people saying how we're the only animals to drink other animals milk. No one has ever seen the surrogate tiger letting piglets suckle her? And pigs are actually her prey. So there you go, nature doesn't have hard and fast rules. If you can tolerate dairy and enjoy it then eat it, if not than don't.

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8 · June 01, 2012 at 2:37 AM

HI I DON'T KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT RAW MILK BUT WHAT I DO FOR MY 18 MONTHS OLD WHO IS ALLERGIC TO MILK IS I MAKE HOMEMADE ALMOND MILK AND ADD KIDZ SUPERFOOD CHOCOLATE KIND (SOLD AT WHOLEFOODS)TO IT, TASTE DELICIOUS! MAKING HOMEMADE ALMOND MILK IS SUPER EASY JUST SOAK A CUP OF RAW ALMONDS OVERNIGHT, BLEND IN A GOOD BLENDER WITH 4 CUPS WATER, DATES( TO ADD SOME FIBER, AND 1TBP AGAVE SUGAR) ORGANIC ALCOHOL-FREE VANILLA (IF WANTED) AND DRAIN WITH A NUT BAG STAYS GOOD FOR 3 DAYS. I KNOW IT SEEMS LIKE ALOT BUT SERIOUSLY IT TAKES ME LESS THAN 10 MIN TO MAKE. IT IS SOOO MUCH BETTER THAT STORE BOUGHT ALMOND MILK WITH ALL THE JUCK IN IT AND IT TASTE AMAZING MY SON LOVES IT AND HE IS ONE OF THE PICKIEST KIDS OUT THERE. BEST OF LUCK I REALLY HOPE THIS HELPED:)

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24528 · September 07, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Mel, why are you yelling?

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0 · May 02, 2012 at 12:18 AM

Hi. I'm new to all of this. Could someone explain to me why Guar Gum is considered bad? Thank you.

C14be44ee257fa9cf76d99231b63d6bf
0 · July 11, 2012 at 1:10 AM

see my link below - I'm transitioning my baby to "milk" - been using almond and coconut combo. Thinking about goat's milk but we're trying to avoid animal products.

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0 · July 11, 2012 at 1:09 AM

I was thinking the same . . .

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24528 · May 02, 2012 at 8:02 PM

It can be pretty irritating to the digestive tract.

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0 · April 12, 2012 at 11:07 AM

She doesn't need to be relying on liquid foods at that age. If you give her it as an added part of her diet then go for coconut milk IMO. It's packed with fats (good) and is very nutritional.

I would be more in favor of goats milks to almond and cows milk, but I don't understand why we give our children other animals milk in the first place. Where the only species in the world who drink other animals milk. We wouldn't give our children rats milk so why give our kids cows and goats milk etc.

I give my child coconut milk and have had no problems to date and also drink plenty of it myself.

Jay

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808 · January 06, 2012 at 4:30 AM

The flaw in your logic is thinking a 3 year old needs liquid food to be healthy.

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78407 · February 19, 2012 at 7:00 PM

How about bone broth?

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144 · January 07, 2012 at 1:37 PM

I don't think she needs it to be healthy. It's just her daily treat. She never drinks juice, just water and milk. She gets tired of just water and I think offering another liquid source keeps her from getting tired of just water.

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3280 · January 06, 2012 at 2:08 AM

The Whole Foods near me carries a non-homogenized, low-temp-pasteurized milk, brand name Strauss. I use it when I can't get raw.

That's in central California; not sure how far they distribute.

I hate that it's so hard to find milk that's not UHT (ruined) and homogenized (double ruined). Good luck!

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3280 · January 07, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Yes, the taste is so very different!

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144 · January 07, 2012 at 1:35 PM

I wish we had a Whole Foods! We just have a few grocery stores that carry organic milk. I'm leaning towards that. I'll see if she will even drink it. Last time it was offered to her at her grandparents house she called it gross milk. I can taste pasterization, as can she!

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189 · January 05, 2012 at 4:58 PM

i'd go with coconut milk, if she'll drink it. My kids (ages 2 and 4) aren't fond of either of them!

B6f67db02819f9d418e20beee9915be1
144 · January 05, 2012 at 5:14 PM

that's what I'm leaning towards right now.

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