05/19/2013 11:58 EDT | Updated 07/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Dairy got ya down? Try These in Your Smoothie



Come see me make this LIVE at my upcoming "Intro to Raw Food" Culinary Workshop on May 26th. Seats on sale now for $40!!

It's smoothie season! Well, wait. Every season is smoothie season as far as I am concerned. But the seasons of spring and summer certainly do inspire lighter eating in many of us. I know that personally, I do tend towards more raw food and liquid lunching this time of year, and even though I have recently retired my hat as a vegan, I do still prefer using a non-dairy base in my blended concoctions. Why? Well I often puree up more than one beverage in the morning, enjoying one straight away for breakfast, and toting the second in my bag to work to enjoy as a midday pick-me-up. And I don't like the idea of my smoothie greens marinating in dairy all day long...I don't know is that weird? Not to mention, I also like to add fresh or frozen fruit to my smoothies too, and the combo of dairy and fruit can wreak some real havoc on my digestive system!

I prefer to make my own rather than purchasing one of the many tetra pack products from the store as this way I can control what goes into the recipe; non of the additives or preservatives that mass produced beverages often require.

Regardless of reason, I think we can all stand to ditch the dairy every now and then, and replacing your cows' milk with one of these plant-based options in your daily drink is a great place to start. Nut and seed milks are packed full of protein, and make for nutritious and delicious snacks any time of day.

Classic Almond Milk

1C Almonds, soaked at least 6 hours

4 C water

2 dates or 1 T agave syrup

2 t vanilla

Drain almonds from soaking water. Add to blender with water, dates and vanilla. Process for two minutes. Strain through nutmilk bag. You can save the remaining pulp, dehydrate it and use it as flour for other recipes.

ALTERNATIVE: If you do nut have a high powered blender or nut milk bag, or are simply in a pinch, combine 4 cups water & 2 tablespoons raw nut butter and blend. No straining necessary!

Coconut Milk

3 C coconut flakes or unsweetened dried coconut shreds

5 C water

Blend, strain, enjoy! Store in the fridge, and bring to room temperature, and re-blend before serving for best consistency.

Be aware that homemade milks do separate upon rest. Shake vigorously prior to serving!