Raw almonds are full of complete protein, healthy fats and antioxidants. Their skin also contains phenols, flavonoids and phenolic acids. Normally, these compounds are only found in fruits and vegetables.
But the almond milk you buy at the grocery store doesn’t have these benefits because of how it’s made and what it contains:
- carrageenan (a thickening agent)
- fortified nutrients like vitamins A, D, and E.
Contrary to popular belief, store-bought Almond milk doesn’t contain a lot of almonds. Business Insider said it well: “If almond milk closely resembles any beverage, it’s a glass of water and a multivitamin.” (1).
How Many Almonds Make It Into A Container?
UK almond milk brand Alpro’s products only contain 2% almonds (2). That’s no more than a small handful per carton! According to the Almond Board of California, the same can be said about American-made products.
That’s why a cup of almond milk only contains 30 calories. In comparison, a 1-ounce serving of raw almonds has 160. To quote Business insider : “to get the nutritional value of a handful of almonds, you’d have to drink not just a few cups of the almond milk but an entire carton of it.”
It’s better to just make it yourself! (Recipe at the bottom)
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How Do Other Non-Dairy Milks Compare?
90-95% of American-grown soy is GMO. Soy crops grow well on their own, but they aren’t very resistant to pesticides. Genetically modified crops can survive the most toxic herbicides on the market, including glyphosate.
This herbicide is very harmful to the human body, especially for women. It affects female hormones and disturbs women’s reproductive cycles. It’s also very toxic to the placenta and can lead to miscarriages (3). Glyphosate exposure is also linked to autism (4) and is considered a carcinogenetic (5) by the World Health Organization.
In addition, unfermented soy can lead to malnutrition, cognitive decline digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid problems and much more.
Similarly to almond milk, rice milk is made of water, rice, and added vitamins. Unfortunately, it also contains dangerous levels of arsenic (6). Rice contains 10 times more arsenic than other grains. This is mainly due to its growing environment and grain physiology.
“In 2012, the independent, highly regarded Consumer Reports research organization made public tests indicating that arsenic concentrations commonly exceeded 100 parts per billion in rice, rice flour, crackers, pasta, hot and cold breakfast cereals, and infant cereal… Arsenic levels in rice milk often surpassed 10 parts per billion, the maximum allowed in drinking water.”(7)
Arsenic is also a carcinogenetic and can cause abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea as well as neurological disorders (8).
Coconut milk ranks among the top 10 best things you can drink. It contains 50% coconut fat, which boasts lauric acid (9). The body converts this acid into monolaurin, which can destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV and herpes influenza, measles, gram-negative bacteria, and protozoa.
Lauric Acid is a medium chain fatty acid, meaning it’s easy to digest and easily absorbed by cells. The liver quickly converts it into energy instead of storing it as fat. Studies show the medium chain fatty acids reduce body fat and improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance (10).
Coconut milk is also full of antioxidants and nutrients, including vitamins C, E and B vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and iron (11).
But in case you really love almond milk…
Here’s How To Make Your Own Almond Milk
- Soak one cup of organic, raw almonds in cold water overnight
- Blend the almonds with about three cups of water
- Strain mixture through a cheesecloth
- Stir before drinking
- Store in the fridge for up to 3 days
Bonus: Keep the pulp (high dietary fiber) left in your cheesecloth. It’s great to add in smoothies and baked goods.
Soaking your almonds gives them a smoother texture for blending. It also eliminates phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that protect nuts as they grow. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient that blocks the absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc.