Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil

Lessons with Lucy: Leche de Alpiste (Canary Seed Milk)

March 27th, 2013 | Posted by Brianna in Food | Mexico

Our hosts, Lucy and Sergio, are incredibly sweet and sincere. Sergio’s family has lived on the property for more than 100 years, and Lucy, originally from Mexico City, is who makes their house a home. They have made every effort to ensure that we have everything that we could possibly need, greeting us with warmth and kind conversation when we see them, but fully respecting our time and privacy otherwise. Throughout the month, I have had the privilege of spending a few evenings with Lucy, learning small lessons from her amidst laughter and conversation in our cozy yellow kitchen.

Lucy and I had plenty of time to chat while we waited for our corn cake to bake during our first lesson. We covered a wide variety of topics not the least of which was the deliciousness of Oaxacan quesillo, a cheese produced here in the state and sold in decent sized blocks for just 10 pesos ($.80 USD) in the store across the street. This, however, led to the unfortunate conversation regarding my inability to consume dairy products without an oppressive response from my digestive and respiratory systems, and in turn, a review of available alternatives. Avocados, for example, in their creamy and decadent glory, are my preferred replacement for the fatty richness of cheese, and we eat them with nearly every meal. Soy milk though, the only milk substitute we’ve seen thus far in Mexico, has proven to be quite expensive at 30-40 pesos ($2.40-3.20 USD) per quart which comes out to $10-12 USD per gallon. In response to this, Lucy recommended leche de alpiste. Of course, I had no idea what she was talking about, but she fetched a bag of seeds and commenced to educate me.

Alpiste or canary seed.Alpiste is identified throughout most of the English-speaking world as canary seed and is used almost solely as bird food. In Mexico and other parts the Spanish-speaking world though, the seeds, which are very similar to flaxseeds, are well-known as a natural ingredient which can be made into milk. Lucy recommended the concoction to me as simply a replacement for dairy milk if I wanted one, but with a quick Google search on nutritional value, I found that many proponents of alpiste also attribute a number of health benefits to the seed, such as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, controlling diabetes, and acting as a diuretic. Perhaps most important to us personally is the markedly high protein content that many sources claim it contains, as that is the primary reason we drink soy milk in the first place. Keeping in mind that non-scientific, web-based articles are our only current source of information, the general consensus is that 5 tablespoons of alpiste (enough to make a couple of glasses of milk) contain 9 grams of protein. Contraindications include a warning that silica fibers on the outside of the seeds can be linked to esophageal cancer; however, as one forum participant pointed out, most such claims appear to be sourced from one or two decades-old studies and the wide circulation of their results by a company that sells conveniently silica-less canary seeds. As the corporate culture of food and pharmacueticals in the United States has taught us, the source of data and information requires consideration, and that goes for both the benefits and negatives of a product.

Lucy's bag of alpiste.Lucy left me with a bag of alpiste and a set of instructions on how to make my milk. The final product was a bit watery, which is probably a more difficult transition for those currently drinking dairy milk than those who already consume alternatives like rice or soy milk, but some recommendations suggest mixing it with soy milk anyway which likely thickens it up a bit. I added only honey and cinnamon to mine and found the flavor to be quite decent and the beverage easy to drink. No sugar should be added to the milk, and it should be consumed within a day or 2 of making it. Ready to give it a go?

Oaxaca Lucy’s Leche de Alpiste


  • 5 tablespoons of alpiste
  • 1 liter plus 1 cup water


1. Rinse alpiste.

Rinse alpiste.

2. Put alpiste in a cup or bowl with 1 cup of water. Let soak overnight.

Soak alpiste.

3. Drain alpiste.

Drain alpiste.

4. Put alpiste in blender with 1 cup of water. Blend.

First blend.

5. Add remaining water. Blend more. Let settle.

Second blend.

Let settle.

6. Strain milk into a pitcher once or twice. Most solids will remain in the blender. An extra round of straining with a cloth strainer would be best, but I don’t have one of those, so I just drink mine with some swimmers.


Blender extras.

Leche de alpiste!

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42 Responses

  • Missy Hubert says:

    I am sorry, gross.

  • Jo says:

    Looks delicious. Have you tried it with chocolate yet? :) Where can I get some of these seeds and how do you pronounce it?

    • Brianna says:

      Great questions! I have not tried it with chocolate yet, but that is a fabulous idea. Alpiste is pronounced “all-pee-stay”, accent on the pee. There is a chance that they sell the seeds at health food stores, but your best shot in the US is via, the company that sells the silica-free variety. Personally, I prefer this to the corn cake, but you tell me what you think. I can see you not liking it because it lacks a certain richness of flavor. :)

  • Charles says:

    Swimmers! LOL

  • Bibiana says:

    Can this products help you loose weight ???

    • Brianna says:

      I’m not sure, Bibiana. As part of a well-balanced, plant-based diet, I would guess that it wouldn’t be bad for weight loss, but I also wouldn’t make any claims about it being a “quick fix” either. Most of my reading made me think that more research is needed on the product’s health benefits.

  • maria galatti says:

    I buy the powder milk from…….it is in the neighborhood of $11.00 per package, instructions are two tablespoons in water twice a day. The package states “alleviate pancreatic ailments, liver psoriasis, hypertension, lower cholesterol levels, gout, edema, gastritis, stomach ulcers, constipation, help build and tone muscle, aid in fat burning, purify fat in the veins naturally repair glands and organs in the body and help with TYPE 2 DIABETES..

    A friend told me about it and I decided to try it. WOW,
    I am 80 years old, and my body ached all over, about the third day, I knew something good was happening to my body, now a month later my body aches are almost gone. I went for a one mile walk yesterday, something I have not been able to do for 5 to 6 years. Only a month ago, I was lucky to painfully walk a couple of blocks .
    I have a sense of well being and believe it or not my belly pot is shrinking. Contact me if you wish.

  • Chony Maxwell says:

    I purchased 5 lbs. of seed thru Amazon and I have taken it for two days now. I would like to find out how you can make the seen into flower so the morning process is faster. If any one knows, please send or port here.

    Thanks a lot.

  • Chony Maxwell says:

    Should use spell check… “seen” should have been seed and “flower” flour. “port” should have been post. Promise to do better next time.

  • Brianna says:

    Lots of good questions that I don’t know the answers to. Perhaps someone with more expertise can respond.

  • Carlos says:

    hello, i think its best to have the seed intact and not into ground flour, because when you soak you are starting germination, and will produce the enzimes for best digestion and assimilation, i like to make it for my son, hes 3, if you find it too watery you can add more seeds or less water. good stuff.

  • Heather says:

    If you have a Mi Pueblo grocery store in your area, they carry it. Or look for another Mexican/Spanish store.

  • Sandra says:

    I have been doing the powder canary seed mixed with fat free milk and my sugar levels has dropped to normal, I lost weight, and I feel great!

  • Mia says:

    Consuming bird seed is not something new. How about Millet seed? People used to thrive on a porridge made from this I believe.

  • paul says:

    I just purchased some of this product called solus leche de alpiste.I’m a regular milk drinker, so the taste was a little difficult to get used to. I’ll use it and see what happens.

  • pat says:

    This stuff is gr8. I have been taking it for 2 weeks now. My blood presure is down significantly. losing weight slowly but surely. It’s a godsend!

  • Dawit says:

    Alpiste milk is wonderfull ,I was reluctant ,but after 6 weeks I have to stop with metformine and glisemide tablets, I
    am still taking insuline once per day. Now my sugar level is 5.5 but my blood pressure is with little improvement
    I am still taking the local dose.It helped me too to remain calm less with stress oh I love Alpiste milk.

  • sally ong says:

    i have been taking alpiste for more than 2 months already. we use more seeds to make it thicker instead of watery. then it tastes like soya. it certainly helps your bowel movement. i am type 2 diabetes. i find if i take it 3 times a day, it helps with the reading, and i am not so thirsty at night. it should be drunk within a day cos it will start to have a smell.
    hope this comment helps.

  • Shree says:

    hi , I am diabetic for last 2 years with blood sugar level 250+. I just happened to know about canary seed properties through internet literature and I bought it started drinking the alpiste milk every day twice ( morning before breakfast & during night after dinner). its about only 10 days now and I prepare the milk as you explained above. I feel very energetic and feeling comfortable to walk 3-4 kms now ( I was finding it difficult before).
    I am very optimistic about its properties to cure diabetes. when I checked my fasting Sugar level after one week it was about 130.
    I feel truly it is wonderful & magical drink. I will write again after a month or so

  • Donna says:

    I was wondering where can I get the alpiste seeds. I want to try this.

    • Esthela says:

      El alpiste se consigue fácilmente y a muy bajo precio en los sitios que venden pajaritos por que es la comida de ellos, es maravilloso el producto, y es una proteína natural recomendada para las personas con cáncer que deben eliminar la proteína animal (carnes rojas), para aumentar su potencial debe ser mezclado con semillas de ajonjolí, y linaza.

  • javier says:

    I had better results using the seed rather than the commercial

  • Sandra says:

    Hi from Texas

    I found the “Canary” seed at our local feed store. It was sold by the pound at $1.50/LB. Will soak the seed tonight, try the milk in the morning for first time.

    • I read your comment where you found Alpiste at your feed store, please do not do this. Alpiste has little hairs that are microscopic formed during growing. These hairs are 98% pure Silica and it can cause Cancer. It can be removed. After the Silica has been removed it is safe for human consumption. You can buy the alpiste Seeds at Amazon and at health food stores that are fit for human consumption. I have had diabetes since 1970. The diabetes has caused the loss of all of my fingers. I found about Alpiste too late for me. But the Alpiste has cured my diabetes. My blood sugar is normal and I have lost 28 pounds so far. Two and one half hours after I ate, I measured my blood sugar and it was in the normal range. As long as I am taking Alpiste milk I will be OK. My diabetes was caused by the U.S. Government. I served in the USAF and I was sprayed by a chemical Posion. Used by the Airforce to destroy foliage.

  • Sandra says:

    oops, the price I found was $3.00/lb. Sorry. Thanks Brianna

  • I found Alpiste (canary Seed) at Amazon, be careful what kind you buy they have different sellers, some are not for human consumption what I buy is labeled Canary Seed/Alpiste. Read what others are saying about this product. You are getting 4.5 pounds / five pounds packaged weight for $8.99.

  • I found some alpiste seeds at a Latin grocery store, but I don’t know if they’re silica free or not; I will try at least one little bag, though.

  • Kim says:

    I have heard some great things about Alpiste milk. Is it safe for children? I would love to give to my 9 year old daughter

  • MYTHIC says:

    Started Alpiste a few days ago. Can the solids that remain after making the milk, be eaten? Looks like it would make a great cookie!

  • MYTHIC says:

    Can the Alpiste solids that are left after the milk has been made, be eaten? The solids look like they would make a great cookie?

  • Sarita says:

    You should not consume the leftover hulls, however it makes great plant food !!!!

  • Penni Resendiz says:

    You can buy leche de apistle already ground…i like to add it to my almond milk with flax and berries. It is pretty good! Dont knock it until you have tried it.

  • Susan says:

    Can anyone gelll me the correct amounts of seed to water? Will the benifits work if I use raw milk instead of water?
    I saw a you tube video where it said to use 8 spoonfuls of seeds with some water. It was not spacific as to what size spoonful and how much water. It also said to mix the seed and water then put in frig for 24 hours then take out, replace the water with fresh water and mix up in a blender really well then strain and drink the milk. Is this the correct method? Does anyone know the actual correct amount of seed and water? Do you let it sit in frig for 24 hrs before bleeding and drinking as video stated? Please help by responding.

  • Raul says:

    I buy the powder Leche De Alpiste from Amazon. Pros and Cons anyone?

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