It has taken me a while to write. While getting back into the swing of things as the kids start the school year, I have learned the art of planning…or an attempt to plan, rather. I wanted share an exciting discovery that I made within the past few months. I have been making my own Almond Milk! Yes, I know. Almond Milk has been around for years and it’s not anything new, but in my dairy-loving household it is a new concept.
I bought my first almond milk about a year ago and to be honest, it really wasn’t that great. I have tried various options but not a huge fan overall. I usually will add almond milk to my smoothies as a plant-based, cholesterol-free option. Cow’s milk comes with cholesterol and not mention the poor cows who sometimes are confined to small living spaces for the benefit of my bones. Seems kinda cruel too me, but that’s neither her nor there. I still eat cheese :), I’m still a work in progress and I have to start somewhere. I try very hard to buy from farmers/grocers who farm responsibly. Since God created this world and put us humans in charge of everything, I figure it’s a good idea to be a good steward of the animals and not take advantage of God’s creation. That’s a whole different post (stay tuned ;).
Let explore the benefits of almonds, shall we? Almonds are a nutrient-dense nut that is rich in fiber, Vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, potassium, iron, and calcium. It has also contains no cholesterol! This important for those of us who are trying to watch the insides of our arteries :). Almonds are kind of pricey too, which can be a hinderance. I found that the average price of almonds around $9.99 per pound. You would pay a little more for organic ones, which is always best to reduce the amount of pesticides. I personally purchased the almonds from Costco’s brand, Kirkland. I paid $16.99 for 3 pounds!
Almond Milk is made by adding water to almonds essentially. A sweetening agent such as dates and vanilla, the possibilities are endless. I was able to make 11 pitchers (32oz each) of almond milk out of these 3 pounds. At Wal-Mart, you could purchase already made almond milk for $2.24 per 32 oz. I would spend $23.87 if I purchased 11 cartons of those. If you factor in other brands and stores, who are more expensive than this, you can save well over 10 bucks. Now, you may say, that’s not enough savings to influence you to make your own almond milk. I understand, but let’s look at the ingredients of what was once my favorite almond milk, Califa Farms: Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds). Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Vitamin/ Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B2, Zinc), Gellan Gum, Carrageenan, Potassium Citrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt. These ingredients sound ok at first glance, however, there is one ingredient that could wreak havoc on your system, if you are the sensitive type.
Carrageenan is a food additive that is used to thicken foods. It has been widely used and has been labeled a GRAS (Generally Regarding as Safe) by the Food and Drug Administration. There have been studies showing that this additive aggravates the intestinal lining of animals during laboratory studies, even causing gastrointestinal (GI)/Colon cancer and GI inflammation. The FDA even states that further research needs to be done in order to obtain more information about its safety. This should be concerning as a consumer because we can not be sure if this food additive is harmful. Again, I would encourage you all to know your health and how your body reacts to certain food items. Additionally, carrageenan has been linked to interrupting a healthy insulin response, according to some research articles.
The bottom line is we have to look out for our health as a consumer because the FDA and food companies want to sell products to us that taste and look good. Ultimately, we may pay higher price for the ill-affects to our well-being.