Is Almond Milk just famous for what it is NOT? Let's take a look.
Is almond milk just famous for what it’s NOT? Does it stand up nutritionally in its own right? Let’s get to the nuts and bolts of it. Almond milk is saaaaaa hot right now, it is doing a great job at leading the market when it comes to dairy alternatives (a force that is reckoning with dairy, and in the States has already lead to marketing changes to the industry).
But first and foremost, I’d like to share with you what is almond milk isn’t…
It is not dairy, it is not soy. People seem to really like that (I’m one of them).
It is also not a calcium source, nor a vitamin D source. It is not a protein source, nor a fat source. It won’t keep you feeling full either.
So, it would seem to me the very reasons that love almonds - they are a great source of fats, protein and fiber (and taste delicious) - are lost when we jumped on this alternative.
Almond Milk. It is not milk, it is not a nutritional substitute for milk. It seems it’s not a lot of things.
According to Wholefood Market’s recipe, Almond milk has the following nutritional profile per serving (1 cup): 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 5mg sodium, 0g carbohydrate (0g dietary fiber, 0g sugar), 0g protein.
Oh dear. Is the the same 'food-like substances' saga of the low fat era popping its head up again?
However, almond milk is low in energy and, when it is a reality that you need to go dairy free, it can be an easy swap as something to pop on your cereal, or have in your coffee – especially if you don’t want everything tasting like coconut (!).
Almond is more ‘real’ than skinny milk, so I think it has its place as a great substitute for skinny milk drinkers who are yet to see the light when it comes to how we should approach fats in our diet (or approach highly processed foods). I will happily vouch for anyone moving away from highly processed food, and skinny milk is certainly that – but almond milk lacks , well, pretty much everything!
So what are we supposed to do?
I’m not uncovering a pretty picture here. It is not like almonds are inexpensive – particularly organic ones.
Just how expensive is it to create the nothingness that is almond milk? And how much waste do you create?
For a 1L you are looking at 200g almonds and 1L filtered water. Standard almonds are around $20 per kilo…and an organic almond is about $40 per kilo. @@That’s $4-7/L with around 45g of protein and 8g of fat and 24g of fiber being thrown out.@@
You read that right, we are throwing out calories, energy and nutrients straight into the compost or bin.
When I worked that out I wasn’t too impressed, kinda sad, but I quickly thought – ‘Nah, come on, but I use that almond pulp!’ …well, sometimes I do!
- I have made a Zucchini bread – but maybe the chia eggs didn’t cut it and it kinda fell apart.
- I did make that body exfoliant – but it wasn’t on the day I clean my bathroom so that was just a pain, and not really user friendly.
- I did freeze it with good intention but last week I parted with it because it was simply going to take too much time to do anything with it. (I’m not saying these are the only option, but you can see the point I am trying to make here).
So maybe, when I’m honest with myself, I don’t use the pulp as much as I’d like which means I am wasting a lot, and when it comes to sustainability and being a conscious consumer everything doesn’t seem so peachy.
So it was time to check in - why did I decide to use almond milk in the first place? How did it become a part of my repertoire?
Did I just wake up one day and decide? Or was it really necessary?!
For me it was an alternative to dairy occasionally, and liked it in my chia pudding as an alternative to coconut cream (diluted with water). There was no REAL need it was fun to play around with for a while but as for its place in my lifestyle as a kitchen staple? It is safe to say that those days are gone.
Keep eating almonds, in a smoothie as a snack and by all means if you need it for a really good reason then awesome – don’t be shy about trying just plain water in your smoothie, or maybe cooled tea (I love coconut water but that ups the price of my daily goodness straight away – plus I already get a nice dose in my soaked oats!).
Whilst we are in the thick of real food trends that are changing every minute it is important to check in and not get washed up in the wave and forget where your head is at! I love all things wholefood but we need it to be put into context. I am not saying that it doesn’t have its place I just put it out there that maybe we have put too much emphasis on this little guy.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Til next time,