Almond Milk’s downfall

Almond Milk Isn’t As Great As You Think

With the almond milk industry skyrocketing, it seems as though more and more people have made almonds their non-dairy, plant-based milk of choice. It’s quite understandable. Almond milk has a terrific nutty flavor that beats rice and hemp; it doesn’t bear the negative phytoestrogen stigma of soybeans, and it isn’t remotely as calorie dense as coconut milk. What’s not to love? A lot, apparently.

According to Tom Philpott of Mother Jones, commercially available almond milk is simply “a jug of filtered water clouded by a handful of ground almonds.” This is an issue on two levels.

1) Overpriced. Commercial almond milk is grossly overpriced for how few nutrients are actually inside. In Philpott’s estimates, an entire 48 oz. jug of almond milk contains the same amount of protein as a 1 ounce handful of whole almonds, while costing 6 to 10 times more (assuming the almonds cost between 39 and 66 cents an ounce, versus $4 for a jug of nut milk)! So if there is a 1 ounce protein equivalent of almonds in a jug, what else are you paying for? Extra additives like potentially inflammatory carrageenan, preservatives, and hidden sugars. No thanks.

2) Wasteful. It takes 1.1 gallons of water to grow one single almond in drought-prone California. That is an extraordinary amount of water for one single nut, not to mention the impact that the immense monocultures of almond farming operations have on the bees. And after all of that, we just blend and strain these little miracle nuts in more water? Since almonds are tiny nutritional powerhouses, it does seem wasteful to buy commercial almond milk, especially as you don’t know what they do with the “waste” meal, aka the actual nutritious almond meat.

So, what’s a smart way to get your almond milk fix? Make it at home. Drink the superior, freshly made milk, and use the tasty almond meal in baking. Instead of going out and spending an additional $10 on a bag of almond meal in addition to your jug of milk, you can get it all in one at a better price point.

Try to respect your food. Consider how much work went into cultivating that plant, and how far it had to travel to get to your table. Enjoy your entire almond, because almonds are a divine delicacy, even if they are a part of your day-to-day life. If you want to make almond milk, more power to you, but be sure to use the entire nut; otherwise, you’re robbing yourself of precious nutrients, your wallet of precious greenery, and the Earth of precious resources.

By Jordyn Cormier – July 22, 2014

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