It’s official – almond milk is now the #1 preferred alternative to non-dairy milks. A title that soy milk used to have bragging rights to now goes to America’s second favorite nut.
What’s a good thing for the almond industry could also be a good thing for consumers since 93% of soybeans in the United States are genetically modified. A scary, and sobering thought to consider too is that the soy milk, tofu or even soy lecithin you’re eating is lab-grown…
Which reminds me of this article discussing lab-grown beef. Would you eat a hamburger you knew didn’t come from a cow?
Yet some continue to eat and drink soy products that we can’t be sure came from a natural source? That would make a good water cooler topic, in case you needed one.
Almond milk being the sixth non-dairy milk I’ve researched in the past month, reading and deciphering labels has nearly become a piece of cake. It’s just unfortunate that I’m having to research these foods in the first place, you know? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to turn a blind eye to the labels and trust that the food we eat is actually food? Believe that products deemed safe by the governmental powers that be are actually safe to consume?
Commercial Almond Milk
I really want to say that commercially made almond milk is the best of the non-dairy milk alternatives available. My friends drink it, my dad drinks it… heck, I was buying it regularly until the end of last year when I started using kefir in my smoothies instead!
Unfortunately, commercial almond milk looks no different than many other non-dairy milks:
- Coconut milk contained synthetic vitamins, minerals and carrageenan. Oh, and it’s EXTREMELY expensive.
- Hemp milk contained synthetic vitamins, minerals and carrageenan. Although less than coconut milk, it’s still too rich for my blood.
- Cashew milk likely has unhealthy canola oil added to help with the consistency, in additional to synthetic vitamins and minerals. It costs more than hemp milk too, so it’s definitely not a frugal option.
- Rice milk, like the others, contains synthetic vitamins and minerals too. It may contains lots of sugar as well, and the price is marked up nearly 300%.
- Peanut milk isn’t widely available on the commercial market, which is probably a good thing. If you do find a container on the shelf, be wary: it appears that peanut milk is mainly produced in China (which doesn’t have the same standards as the U.S. and isn’t inspected well (if at all) upon import).
Do you see the pattern here?
- fake, synthetic vitamins (which our bodies don’t recognize nor know how to process)
- carrageenan (a known toxin that causes inflammation in the body)
- unnecessary additives (oils, sweeteners)
Almond milk is just the same. Although unsweetened, this brand contains carrageenan and four artificial vitamins. This brand is organic, and you’d expect it to be better, but it too has carrageenan and artificial vitamins. In fact, the only leading brand that DIDN’T have carrageenan is this one, but there’s seven synthetic vitamins and minerals to make up for that.
Trader Joe’s carries a few brands of almond milk for $2 or less per 32oz container. That’s way better than any of the prices on Amazon, but there’s no guarantee that any of the brands at TJ’s don’t contain the same dangerous additives. The only way to avoid the toxins is to make it yourself.
Homemade Almond Milk
The process for making homemade almond milk is very much like other non-dairy milks with one big exception – straining is a must. Almonds will not completely grind up in the blender, even if they’re soaked, so you must strain out the larger pieces to achieve a smooth, chunk-less milk.
The resulting almond meal can be dried (in an oven or dehydrator) and used in homemade granola bars, muffins, oatmeal or almond hummus! It will add an almond flavor without having to actually use whole almonds.
- 1 cup almonds
- 4 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking
- Measure almonds into a container and cover with filtered water. Allow to soak overnight. This softens the nut considerably and makes it easier to blend, leaving less particles of nut in the finished milk (plus you get some of the benefits of soaking nuts too!).
- Drain nuts and place in a blender. Add 4 cups of filtered water and blend until smooth, approximately 1 minute. A second blend may be necessary, since almonds are a tough nut and are hard to completely grind.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer or nut bag. The pulp is great in homemade granola bars!
- Store milk in the refrigerator and enjoy cold.
For one cup: ¼ cup almonds, 1 cup water
Additional Recipe Notes
The resulting, strained almond milk is pretty thick on its own. Add additional water if you prefer thinner milk, or create vanilla almond milk by adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. You can even mimic the specialty milks by combining almond and coconut milk together.
Here’s a rundown of how much it costs to make homemade almond milk:
- 3lb almonds in bulk (Costco) @$4.23/lb
- 3 cups in one pound
- 1 cup per quart of homemade almond milk
- total cost $1.41
Other non-dairy milk alternatives that may interest you: