Alternative milk products are getting a ton of hype throughout the blogosphere, in the grocery store, and in the media recently. I have to be honest; I think soy milk tastes like plastic, have never attempted rice milk, and only recently gave almond milk a whirl. Why; because I’m just not a big beverage drinker. The act of chewing brings me more pleasure and so I’m even lax about drinking tea or smoothies ( I know I know…sinful). Water is my preferred choice.
On that note, I still occasionally enjoy an ice cold glass of milk, but it’s not always the easiest on my digestive system. After reading several sites about how delicious and healthy almond milk is, I had to give it a try.
I chose SILK Pure Almond Unsweetened brand because without any other knowledge, I could see it was extremely low in calories per serving and contained ZERO artificial or regular sugars. Upon further inspection, I also loved that it contained 45% of our calcium needs, 25% of our vitamin D needs, and had a fairly easy to read ingredient list. The purchase was made.
Taste: A fairly taste-less beverage with a subtle hint of almondy chocolate that I can’t really explain. I felt it to be a beverage much like milk or coffee in that it is an acquired taste; the more you drink it, the more you enjoy it. Definitely much better than soy milk!! A-
Texture: With a slightly thicker texture than milk, I actually really enjoyed the consistency and think it would probably work excellent in smoothies (for those smoothie lovers). A+
Ingredients: All natural almond milk (filtered water and almonds), Calcium carbonate, sea salt, Natural Flavor (check out my post about natural flavors on Andrew Wilder’s site!), locust bean gum, gellan gum, sunflower lecithin, d-Alpha tocopherol (Vitamin E), Zinc gluconate, Vitamin A palmitate, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D2. A-
Locust Bean Gum: extracted from the seeds of the carob tree, is a vegetable gum used as a thickening agent.
Gellan Gum: “a water-soluble polysaccharide produced by Sphingomonas elodea, a bacterium” the Google definition, used as a gelling agent.
Sunflower lecithin: Alternative to soy lecithin is the only lecithin that can be obtained raw and chemical free, used as an emulsifying agent. Want more information about the benefits of sunflower lecithin over soy lecithin?
Calcium Carbonate: Alkaline based form of calcium, better absorption if consumed after meals because it requires extra stomach acid for the best absorption. Contains more elemental calcium than calcium citrate, which means more calcium is getting absorbed per serving than other kinds of calcium.
Nutrition: With only 35 calories per cup, 2.5 grams of healthy fats, and 0 grams of sugars, almond milk is an excellent selection for those with lactose intolerance or milk allergies, diabetes, or those looking to lose weight. On the flip side, with only 1 gram of protein and 1 gram of fiber, it’s not the ideal choice for a snack, let alone post-workout, unless you follow it up with a good source of protein and carbohydrates. B+
Overall, I think that the SILK Pure Almond Unsweetened is a great dairy alternative! I would highly recommend this beverage to those who may struggle with digestive disorders or those who do not believe in consuming dairy, especially since it is such an excellent source of calcium and Vitamin D!
Things to be Cautious Of When Choosing Almond Milk
SUGAR: Although almond milk does not contain sugar naturally, many manufacturers will add loads of sugar (20 + grams) in order to enhance the flavor. Be cautious and check the sugar content before making your purchase! Unsweetened brands are best!
GOITROGENIC FOOD: Almonds are a goitrogenic food, like soy, cabbage, broccoli, and flax, which contain chemicals that block the intake of iodine, causing your thyroid to expand and possibly form a goiter when consumed in large quantities. Not to make goitrogenic foods sound harmful because they are healthy and beneficial; however, use particular caution if you have low thyroid function. It is probably best to consume low quantities of goitrogenic foods and avoid almond milk if that is the case. If you have a normal functioning thyroid, moderate daily consumption is safe.
NOT FOR BABIES: Working with children and infants on a daily basis, I hear about Mother’s substituting alternative milks to feed their babies. Breast milk and formula are not comparable to almond milk, cow’s milk, soy milk, etc. Studies from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition have even demonstrated autoimmune thyroid disease in babies who drink almond milk. Why? Goitrogenic chemicals naturally found in almonds contain concentrations that are much too high for infants. Breast milk is best!!
I had some comments from readers on my facebook fan page (ARE YOU A FAN YET? HELP ME GET TO 1000 FANS!), who liked drinking the vanilla Almond Breeze. I would definitely also recommend this variety. Check out the nutrition and ingredient list here!
I hope this post gave you a better perspective on almond milk and encouraged you to try some! I really enjoyed it! Health or Hype?? HEALTH!!!
Question: Have you ever tried Almond Milk? If so, what is your favorite brand? What is your opinion on almond milk?Print