Almond Milk

almonds - healthy ingredient of almond milk

Almond milk is a healthy and delicious milk substitute that you can use to make the best non dairy smoothies.

Never heard of it? Just a few months ago, I was in the same boat. Here’s my story...

Or jump ahead to any of the other sections on this page:

What is it? | Health Benefits | Types | Where Can You Find It? | Make Your Own | Non Dairy Smoothies | Your Opinion | Other Liquid Smoothie Ingredients


How I Discovered Almond Milk

I had been living in Spain for a year teaching English. I was struggling with the lack of health foods available but survived by making daily chocolate soy milk smoothies to keep myself healthy.

But then I came back to California, and I re-discovered Trader Joe’s!

Going to Trader Joe’s for the first time as a new vegetarian was like being a kid in a candy store.

I was overjoyed by the abundance of vegan foods, vegetarian foods, and general health foods and couldn’t resist the temptation to buy a lot of it. It was definitely one of the nice things about coming back to California.

And that’s when I discovered almond milk...


What is It?

Almond milk is one type of plant milk (soy milk is in the same category). It’s very different from dairy milk. Unlike cow milk, it has no lactose or cholesterol.

In fact, it’s probably about as simple as it gets when it comes to milk: it’s made from ground almonds.

You can even make it yourself at home: all you need is ground almonds, water and a blender!

Although this milk substitute is new for me, people have actually been drinking it since the Middle Ages.

Why? Unlike cow’s milk, it didn’t spoil very fast. Also, medieval Christians could drink it during Lent because it didn’t come from animals.

That shows how natural it is—humans have been drinking it for a looong time.


Health Benefits of Almond Milk

There are several nutrition benefits of this milk substitute:

  • Extremely low in calories
  • No cholesterol or saturated fat
  • Lactose free - no animal products whatsoever
  • Source of plant protein - great for vegetarians, vegans and raw foodists who don’t eat animal protein
  • Soy free - add variety to your plant foods diet and avoid an over-emphasis of soy

That’s for the regular kind.

But it gets even better. You can buy it enriched, to get even more health benefits.

For example, the Silk brand has 50% more calcium than dairy milk!

And many varieties have extra antioxidants, which serve to:

  • Combat free radicals in your body
  • Boost overall health
  • Improve heart and brain function
  • Improve your complexion

Those are some pretty impressive characteristics, from a drink that tastes so good!

Extra bonus: This drink pairs very well with other anti-oxidant rich fruits in smoothies, such as berries, so you get even more of those powerful nutrients :)


Types of Almond Milk

There are two basic types of this milk substitute: plain (unsweetened) and flavored.

  1. Regular, unsweetened
  2. Plain almond drink has a very neutral taste. I honestly prefer it over dairy milk.

    It goes especially well in cereal and tropical smoothies.

    I don’t really drink it straight from the glass (or any type of milk for that matter), but I love adding it to my cereal and smoothies.

  3. Flavored
  4. It doesn’t stop at plain.

    You can also buy in vanilla, chocolate, even dark chocolate!

    Be careful though…with extra flavor also comes extra sugar and calories, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to lose weight. Consider buying the fat free version for weight loss.

    But this plant milk is so low in calories that even the chocolate flavor can fit into a healthy eating and weight loss plan. Especially if you use it to make your own healthy chocolate frozen dessert smoothies.

    I personally see no point in buying the vanilla flavor. The taste is not that much different than plain, so why add the extra sugar calories for nothing?


Where Can You Find It?

Almond milk is still not as popular as soy milk or rice milk, but I believe it’s becoming more and more common.

Although I first discovered it at Trader Joe’s, I’ve noticed that it is very easy to find in most average sized grocery stores in America.

You can usually buy it in a box, in the non-refrigerated section of the supermarket, often alongside coconut milk and soy milk.

Don’t be weirded out by the idea of buying milk that’s not refrigerated. Remember, this is plant milk, unlike dairy milk that comes from animals. Also, in many parts of the world, such as Spain, all milk is sold in unrefrigerated boxes, including cows milk, so it’s not that abnormal.

I still have not found it in other parts of the world while travelling, such as Europe or North Africa.

What’s YOUR experience finding almond milk? Have you been able to find it in your part of the country/world? Share your tips here.


Make Your Own Almond Milk

Can’t find this plant milk where you live? No problem.

You can make your own!

Just blend almonds, water and ice in a blender. Add some honey or vanilla if you want to make it sweeter.

Check back soon...I'll be adding a recipe on this site for making your own almond plant milk :)


Non Dairy Smoothies

So why is almond milk such a good smoothie ingredient?

It’s one of the healthiest milk substitutes, making it a perfect choice for vegan smoothies or non dairy smoothies.

The chocolate kind in particular is great for making smoothies have that creamy texture, similar to a milkshake, without all the calories of a milk shake.

For healthy milkshake non dairy smoothies, this plant milk simply can’t be beat.


Now it’s your turn: What Do YOU Think of Almond Milk?

What’s your story? How did you discover almond milk?

Have you ever tried it? What do you think?

How does almond milk fit into your diet?

What’s your favorite almond milk smoothie recipe?

Share your comments today!



What Other Smoothie Lovers Have Said

Click below to see comments from other visitors to this page...

Organic Almond Milk at Fresh and Easy 
In California I have seen organic Almond Milk at Fresh and Easy, in the refrigerated section.

Almonds are manna from heaven 
My opinion is that almonds have ravished me :) I love almond milk and have one or two almond-based smoothies every day. I am vegan btw.

Click here to write your own.


Related Links

This is part 3 of the Liquid Smoothie Ingredients series. Remember, a liquid base is the foundation of any good smoothie recipe.

Almond milk makes a fantastic liquid base for non dairy smoothies, but there are also other options:

Click any of the links above to learn about your other smoothie ingredient options!


Sources referenced in researching this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almond_milk


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