Almond milk seemed to appear on supermarket shelves overnight, didn’t it? And not just one or two brands for us to choose from either, the market was literally flooded. I’m still trying to pinpoint the article someone wrote or the event that may have occurred to set the avalanche off.
Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be happier about alternate milks like almond and coconut milks hitting the ‘mainstream’. However, as with all commercial endeavours, profit is one of the main drivers where most companies are concerned. You want almond milk we’ve got almond milk! In a rush to get the next fad product out some have arrived with a stack of unfavourable ingredients. Many of which lend themselves more to preserving shelf life than promoting health so reading labels is a must.
I regularly make almond milk and other nut milks at home and I can assure you all you need are almonds, water, a pinch of salt and maybe a sweetener like dates, honey, maple syrup, rice malt syrup or stevia if you feel like it. That’s it. Three to four ingredients is all it takes.
Which almond milks to buy
Of the now numerous almond milks (that I know of) there are only three I have come across that contain these very basic ingredients. They are Inside Out Nutritious Goods, Pureharvest Organic and Nutty Bruce Plant Milks.
Many of the other brands now on offer contain ingredients like:
- Carrageenan (a seaweed that can cause gut issues and/or intestinal inflammation in some people)
- Maltodextrin (basically sugar, mostly made from either wheat or corn. This of course means it’s not always gluten-free and they may not list which one has been used)
- Agave syrup (much debate about this one as study results are unclear. Some health experts say it’s a healthy sweetener, others say its up there with high fructose corn syrup – my thoughts align with the second camp)
- Vitamin A Palmitate – (often derived from palm oil, which is damaging to the environment)
- Various gums (I tend to think most of these should be avoided by those with digestive issues. They can aggravate sensitive guts and some such as xanthan gum may cause allergic reactions in those with dairy, soy, wheat or corn allergies)
- Lecithin (some don’t say whether its soy or sunflower so may be an issue for those with soy allergies)
- Natural almond flavours (why does almond milk need almond flavours??!)
That is a very big list of extra things when we’ve already established you only need a handful of ingredients, no? To make matters worse some of them have all of these ingredients, not just a few! So, consider your research done. Next time you’re purchasing almond milk all you need to do is grab one of the three brands above and be on your way. If these almond milks are not available where you live, just make sure you read the ingredients of those that are.
So after all that, where can you find these almond milks*? You can buy them from most major supermarkets and/or health food stores but best to check websites for stockists.
* A little note: Some of my three preferred companies sell a number of products and whilst I’m sure they’re all pure and delicious, I have not seen them all nor reviewed their ingredients so please note my support at this point is solely for the almond milks.