Trying to make healthy decisions that are right for oneself and the planet can be very difficult to accomplish in this world where the grocery shelves are changing and updating constantly. Navigating the daily new and exciting food options available in grocery shelves can be incredibly difficult. Even picking the right milk for the morning’s coffee seems an impossible task! Luckily this article is here to inform all of the untold truths regarding one of today’s most popular products: almond milk! Continue reading for some fascinating things that many may not know about the new and popular beverage!
10. Almond Milk: Hero or Villain?
Almond milk is an incredibly divisive food. Although it is beloved by many, it has nearly as many critics! Many question the true benefits of the milk in terms of public and environmental health, while others argue that although not perfect, the benefits of almond milk far outweigh its downfalls – especially when it is compared to cow’s milk. Although environmentally it uses vast amounts of water, many argue that this is a necessary evil compared to the processes involved in alternative options. Many argue that the water is not enough of an issue in comparison to the water consumption of dairy cows, the health detriments from factory farmed dairy cows, and the animal cruelty that is associated with the dairy industry. Almond milk can be incredibly beneficial to lactose free individuals, those attempting to cut dairy, and potentially even those suffering from diabetes. Regardless of the amazing benefits, almond milk is still not recommended for young children and those with certain nutrient and immune decencies. It is crucial that every citizen examines their own personal needs and it is recommended that people contact their physicians or nutritionists before making any major diet changes
9. So, where’s the milk?
One of the more negative aspects of almond milk consumption relates directly to its impact on the environment. Almond milk production uses obscene amounts of water in various stages. To begin, the simple growing of almonds uses immense amounts of water just to yield enough almonds to produce the almond milk. In addition to the growth process, the almonds need to be soaked in vast containers of water overnight in order to soften the almonds for the final stages of production. After this water is used, fresh water is once again added along with flavorings and additives to create the traditional almond beverage before being strained one final time, removing the majority of the actual almonds themselves. Although this leftover pulp can be utilized in certain recipes, the majority of the actual almond is lost in the process of production. In fact, one almond milk review mentions that most traditional almond milk brands available at the store contain only 2% of actual almonds. Considering the price point, the nutrient deficiency potentials and the environmental impact, it is difficult to imagine why so many have switched to the flavored dairy alternative with so many other options available. When one considers the amount of water that is really in a jug of almond milk, the price point may seem a little steep. There’s no doubt that nothing beats that taste of almond milk if someone is really craving it, but maybe consider making your own at home next time to get the full use and benefits of the almonds.
8. Best Selling Dairy Alternative in the World
One of the most surprising facts about almond milk is it’s immense popularity! Although almond milk was invented nearly 1000 years ago in the Middle East, the popularity of the beverage has only reached its peak of popularity in the last decade. The non-dairy aspect of almond milk made it an incredibly delicious substitution for varying religious ceremonies. Now that the non dairy movement encompasses more than religious reasons, environmentalism and personal health choices, it has seen an increase in popularity and therefore an increase in sales. While other non-dairy alternatives do exist such as soy milk and coconut milk, the popularity of almond milk allowed for the product to establish itself as the number one dairy alternative in the world as of 2013. Apparently in 2014 the product was responsible for 60% of all milk alternative sales. Considering the vast options for vegan alternatives, this increase in popularity is impressive! Furthermore, the increased popularity for beverages like almond milk have had a significant impact on the closing of thousands of dairy farms across the United States due to changes in demand. For many who choose a vegan route for animal activism reasons, this is another win for the almond! No beverage is perfect and despite the immense popularity of the drink, there are still a few factors that must be considered when purchasing your next jug of milk at the grocery.
7. Steer Clear of Store-Bought
Despite there being a plethora of positive aspects to the use of almond milk, it is crucial to bring special attention to some of almond milk’s shortcomings. These shortcomings are typically specifically related to the production and use of mass quantity batches of almond milk, such as the brands currently being sold at stores across the world. These shortcomings typically fall into two major categories: those relating to personal health and environmental health. Personal health wise, store-bought almond milk typically advertises well beyond the truths in some cases. Although almond milk does bring an excellent non-dairy alternative to the market, the product is arguably much less nutritious than its dairy counterpart. With considerable deficiencies in both the protein and calcium nutrients – a key component and main reason for many milk drinkers – almond milk alone is unable to constitute for much of the nutrients available in regular milk and dairy products. In addition to this, almond milk brands typically use additional sugars and sweeteners in order to alter the flavor of the almond milk in order to make it more palatable to the masses. Although this largely increases flavor and mass-marketability it also decreases the nutritional value. Never fear though, homemade options are easy to make and can always satisfy that delicious almond milk craving!
6. Keeping Healthy With Homemade
The good thing is, although the grocery store brands have been reported to be lacking in many effective nutrients, home-made alternatives offer up all of the fantastic qualities of almond milk, while skipping out on the potentially negative side effects. The best part is that in addition to providing an incredibly healthy dairy alternative, the process of creating homemade almond milk is incredibly easy! Simply soak almonds overnight to begin. In the morning, drain the almonds and place into a blender with clean water, a pinch of salt and any other flavors (such as vanilla or honey) as desired! After blending for 1-2 minutes, strain through cloth and voila! Almond Milk à la maison! Afterwards the strained pulp can be used to create almond hummus, flour, smoothies and more! While the store bought version typically offers up the quickest and cheapest route, in the case of almond milk, all directions point home! Skipping out on the mass-marketed version and making homemade almond milk will provide the healthiest, best tasting and cheapest option. One of the only downfalls with this path involves the lack of protein and calcium available in an almond milk diet. The good part is that many other non-dairy alternatives can replace the nutrients lost while someone devours glass after glass of their own delicious homemade beverage.
5. More Than Just Milk!
Many already utilize almond milk as their everyday substitute for dairy in terms of their coffee creamers, cereal fillers, smoothie makers and simply cold over ice. However, what many do not realize is that almond milk has a plethora of uses far beyond the simplest aspects of a dairy substitution. Nearly every recipe that calls for milk can be substituted with the almond beverage alternative! No measuring required, simply substitute quantities directly and enjoy! This means that every meal of the day and all the snacks in between can be made with the lactose free and vegan option! Everything from baked goods like cakes and muffins to entrees themselves like shepherd’s pie or broccoli-cauliflower soup, to add a delicious creamy vegan take on any dish! Be careful to watch baked goods a little more closely when substituting with almond milk as the increased amount of H20 causes the cake to rise and cook at a bit of a faster rate. Besides all of this, the flavor can’t be beat! Move beyond the simplest aspects of almond milk and explore its many different uses at any time of day or occasion! Almond milk has opened up many doors for individuals who struggle with the daily use of normal dairy products. Exciting and creative recipes are being developed by both companies and individuals every day. Always be sure to continually search for the latest almond milk recipes and get creative with this product that goes way beyond a coffee creamer!
4. Flavor Options are Endless!
One of the most exciting aspects of almond milk is the endless list of flavor options! Besides the original and unsweetened flavors that many are using for everyday dairy substitutes, almond milk has branched into a wide variety of flavors that are available for sale. Vanilla and chocolate varieties are longtime favorites that are fantastic for adding to cereal, coffee or in a glass over ice. In recent years new flavors have began to emerge such as hazelnut, caramel, date caramel, hot chocolate, dark chocolate, banana, coconut-milk almond blends, strawberry, latte, and matcha, among others. Almond milk creamers have even hit the market to help satisfy the publics massive demand for the occasional non dairy beverage. Imagine the creative recipes that could be discovered using those deciduous flavors! Although that seems like a great deal of flavors, if one pursues making homemade almond milk, then the options become infinite. With the only ingredients in almond milk being almonds, water and salt – the recipe can be modified or sweetened to any taste! If the store isn’t able to offer the flavor you’re craving, it’s as simple as it can be to create exciting and personalized almond beverages in one’s own kitchen! Simply add any flavoring imaginable to the blender and enjoy a delicious and fantastic beverage.
3. Almond Milk: All Natural Beauty Secrets!
Besides the numerous health benefits and the endless list of recipes that can be used that incorporate almond milk, there is a surprising additional use to almond milk that many may not be expecting. Almond milk happens to be one of the best natural beauty products. It’s effects on the skin are well-documented and there is factual science to back up the effects. Almonds are abundant in nutrients, which is why they can be such an excellent option as a dairy substitution. One of the most important of these nutrients is Vitamin E. Besides its effects on the skin, nails and hair through consumption, almond milk has amazing effects if it’s applied physically to the outer body. It works at strengthening the skin, hair and nails by the absorption of Vitamin E, and the antioxidants help to keep skin healthy by reducing the skin cell oxygenation rate, clearing dead skin cells away and leaving bright, healthy and smooth looking skin. Besides the direct application of almond milk to the skin, there are hundreds of recipes online to create personalized spa treatments from home. Some include the addition of rose water to the almond milk while others suggest creating a mixture of almond milk and oats for a natural face mask. Who knew that almond milk was good for the body in so many ways? Once again the natural aspects of almond milk make it a fantastic product to experiment with different beauty recipes! Just another clear reason why almond milk has become so popular!
2. Almond Milk & Friends
In recent years, almond milk has moved beyond the simple liquid milk substitute that consumers are familiar with, and has branched into other aspects of the dairy realm. The pantry, fridge and freezer section are all being taken over by almonds! While in the past those who wished to experiment with different almond milk options would have to try and get creative at home, the grocery store is now offering new almond milk alternatives that will be sure to excite consumers. Both yogurt and ice cream made using almond milk are now available in grocery stores across North America! Besides the common chocolate and vanilla ice cream that fans are expecting, almond milk ice cream – an exciting and niche product in itself – is breaking boundaries in terms of phenomenal flavors. Chocolate chip, mocha fudge, peanut butter, berry cake, cappuccino, cake, cookie dough, and maple are just a few of the incredible flavors that can be found. Sometimes it seems the almond milk brand may be more desirable than traditional ice cream! The yogurt flavors are equally as exciting and offer up a great quick snack and an easy way to make a simple dairy substitution in anyone’s day. Silk has created yogurt made out of almond milk in delicious flavors like vanilla, strawberry and peach. Switching to a non-dairy option does not mean switching to a non-flavor option!
1. A Canadian Invasion: The Tim Hortons Almond Milk Arrival
While many coffee shops such as Starbucks have been ahead of the curve in terms of offering dairy substitutes, Tim Hortons has fallen behind while attempting to cater to the fast-paced majority, instead of niche requests that can be more time consuming. Although this has been successful in the past, even Canada’s potentially most recognizable brand can no longer ignore the cries of the public for vegan alternatives. As dietary needs continue to diversify while people learn more about their bodies, restaurants must make necessary changes in order to keep the consumers happy. In this case, the culprit has been almond milk. With 5% of milk consumption in the U.S. held by the almond milk market, restaurants are realizing that the rates and mindsets have changed greatly since the first coffee restaurants opened up. Despite almond milk having a long and complex history in the world, it has taken until the 21st century for citizens to see the amazing benefits that come with adding almond milk to their diets. As Tim Hortons welcomes the new product to the menu, it will be fascinating to see if Canadians’ love for almond milk will continue to grow!