Boom of Dairy Milk Alternatives
Dairy milks alternatives are all the rage nowadays (You can learn all you need to know about vegan milk in our blog aptly titled - Vegan Milk: Types, Benefits, and Brands – Vegan Dukan). The reason behind this massive and rather sudden increase in the demand of such alternatives can be attributed to 2 major factors: Increasing awareness amongst consumers about the harmful side effects of dairy consumption along with the benefit of switching to a plant-based lifestyle, and consumers with concerns such as lactose intolerance, looking for alternative ways to enjoy their favourite beverages. One of the most popular products to have come out from this increased demand is Almond Milk.
What is Almond Milk?
If you’re hearing about almond milk for the first time, then you must be perplexed about how milk could possibly be extracted from almonds cause almonds don’t give milk, right? Well, you’re absolutely right, Almonds don’t secrete any sort of secret milk which we humans have just recently discovered. Instead, Almond milk is made by blending almonds and water. This blended mixture is then strained to remove the pulp and leave behind, you guessed it, Almond Milk. If your milk is store bought, then it’ll also have some added preservatives, thickeners and flavourings to improve the shelf life, texture and flavour respectively.
Making Almond milk at Home
The process of making almond milk, exactly as per your requirements, is extremely easy and can be done within the comfort of your home. Listed below are the steps for making your own almond milk.
- Soak approx. 2 cups of almonds in water for approximately 10 hours.
- Drain all the water before use
- Add Almonds and approx. 1 litre of water to a blender
- Add flavouring such as vanilla extract if desired
- Blend it for 1-2 minutes till the water becomes cloudy
- Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer, into a bowl that’s covered with a cheesecloth.
- Press the extract caught in the cheesecloth to extract as much of the almond milk as possible.
- Transfer the milk from the bowl to a container of your choice and refrigerate.
1 cup or 262 grams of unsweetened and shelf stable almond milk gives you the following in terms of nutritional values -
Benefits of Almond Milk Consumption
Almond milk is one of the best dairy milk alternatives and as such, has multiple benefits over its dairy and non-dairy counterparts:
- Low Sugar concentration in Unsweetened varieties - Consumption of added sugar is a point of concern for many consumers, as it promotes weight gain and can even lead to some chronic diseases and cardiovascular diseases. However, it is imperative that this benefit is restricted only to the unsweetened varieties of almond milk as their sweetened counterparts can have extremely high sugar concentrations
- Rich Source of Vitamin E - Almond Milk is also a great source of Vitamin E, which promotes eye and skin health and also protects cells from potential damage from free radicals.
- Caloric Count - The low caloric count of Almond Milk in comparison to dairy and other plant-based milks, makes it a good option for people looking to reduce their calorie intake.
- Makes transition easier - Almond Milk has a rich texture and flavour, which makes its consumption much more palatable for consumers who’re switching from dairy milk.
Negatives of Almond Milk
While Almond milk is an extremely appealing option for anyone looking to switch to a milk alternative that’s healthier than dairy, it does have its deficiencies and drawbacks.
- Low Protein Content - Almond milk has very low protein content unless specifically fortified. This can be a bummer for people who’re into exercising or body-building, as meeting one’s protein consumption targets with almond milk would require one to consume very large quantities of it. However, the same is not true for all vegan products. Check out our blog - Vegan Protein - An Oxymoron? – Vegan Dukan.
- Insufficient for an Infant’s developmental needs - Almond milk does not contain enough protein, fats and other nutrients to properly support the healthy growth and development of an infant. However, a vegan deit is actually very good for your kids. Check out how in our blog - Vegan Nutrition for Kids – Vegan Dukan
- Unsuitable for consumers with Nut Allergies - Consumers with nut allergies would have to look for other alternatives to dairy milk as almond milk is a definite no-go for such consumers.
Incorporating Almond Milk into our daily lives
While switching to almond milk for direct consumption is an obvious first step, there are a few other aspects through which you could incorporate almond milk into your lives even more deeply. It can be used in almost any area where dairy milk was used regularly, right from cooking to desert creation. Almond Milk can be used to make your favourite beverages, ice-creams, chocolates, sweets, dishes, smoothies and cereals.
Almond Milk Vs Soy Milk
Almond Milk and Soy Milk are 2 competitors looking to pull in customers on the basis of their respective advantages. These advantages can be categorised into 2 broad categories: Nutritional Content and Taste.
Almond Milk is either comparable or better than soy milk in most nutritional parameters apart from its magnesium and iron content.
Now when we talk about their respective tastes, it is important to point out that taste is subjective in nature and hence its perception may vary from person to person. That being said, we’re of the opinion that almond milk has a much more palatable taste and texture profile when compared to its soy counterpart.
Almond Milk vs Dairy Milk
When it comes to their nutritional values, Dairy Milk has a lot more macro nutrients and total fat than Almond milk whereas Almond Milk is richer in Vitamins. As far as Mineral content goes, while Dairy milk has much more Potassium and Magnesium, Almond milk has more Calcium and Iron.
When we talk about taste, again emphasizing on the subjectivity of the topic, we feel that while both these options do not differ a lot in taste and texture, dairy milk consumers may find it difficult to switch to almond milk if they expect it to have the exact same taste and texture as dairy milk.
Now that we’ve discussed the various aspects of Almond Milk in detail, we’ll list a few brands which sell almond milk.
So Good - So Good offers a range of dairy milk alternatives which includes almond, coconut and soy milks, all of which come in a variety of flavours and in sweetened and unsweetened varieties. All their products have no lactose and gluten and are a great option for anyone looking to switch to a healthier dairy milk alternative.
137 Degrees - Their Almond Milk comes in the unsweetened variety. It has as much calcium as its dairy counterpart, while being Lactose, Carrageenan, Gluten, Dairy & Soy free. It is made from California Almonds and is great for tea and coffee.
If you found almond milk interesting and would like to find some other vegan dairy products as well, check out our blog - Dairy Alternatives – Vegan Dukan
We at VeganDukan wish to be your one stop shop for switching to a healthier lifestyle and as such have a wide variety of 100% products from you to choose from, including almond milk options from the brands mentioned above.