ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: October 10, 2016; UPDATED: August 27, 2018
A question I am asked every single day, without fail.
"What about almond milk?"
Let's just dive in right in with the spoiler alert: I'm generally not into almond milk for a few reasons. The first of which is this:
This is a "natural" brand of almond milk I found at my regular old non-fancy, non-organic grocery store. You can see that the front of the package (left) tries to hint at this being made with Real Almonds!
Unfortunately the ingredients list on the right betrays the health claims on the front of the pack. This is a crap product. Most store-bought almond milks are not a clean product. Not by a mile.
Why do you Even Need Almond Milk?
My main question is WHY do you need any milk or milk-like product in your life?
This is the question I usually start with, whenever I'm asked this question. Most often, people choose almond milk because it's a non-soy replacement for dairy. A noble crusade. Here are the top places people seem to be using almond milk, and my thoughts on the matter...
Swapping out the milk, half and half or, even worse, the flavoured oil-based coffee creamers for almond milk is a good idea in theory, and I like the spirit in which it's intended. A clean almond milk is a wonderful way to wean yourself off of your daily milk-in-your-coffee habit. If this is your one and only almond milk transgression, I salute you - and encourage you to find the cleanest almond milk you can find, or buy a small blender, crusher or food processor and create your own. Since the quantity of milk in coffee is usually quite small, I'm not worried about people overdoing it. A note: I've heard that almond milk doesn't steam or froth up very well for those of you into lattes or cappuccino, but coconut milk kind of does... sometimes. If you go the coconut milk route the same rules apply: find or make one that has precious few ingredients. Preferably coconut and nothing else.
As a smoothie base, I'm not into almond milk. It's more calorically dense than a smoothie base needs to be. My favourite smoothie bases are water, coconut water, and cold brew coffee. I have a lot more to say about smoothies, but I'll leave it at this for now. In the meantime, you can download my Smoothie Cheat Sheet here.
If you're still eating cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, you are kicking off the day with a fairly enormous dose of straight, quick-burn carbohydrates that will leave you hungry, hangry and craving jellybeans by 9am - in which case the almond milk you're pouring in there is the least of my concerns. I'd rather see you have a different breakfast altogether.
It's amazing to me that there are people out there who like to drink milk - and I only say that because I can't remember the last time I drank a glass of milk. 25 years ago? If you love to drink milk and have swapped almond milk in as a non-dairy replacement, much like the coffee peeps mentioned above: I commend your effort. But recognize the caloric impact of drinking a glass full of crushed nuts. My favourite drinks, in case you were wondering, a water, sparkling water, black coffee and herbal teas. If you're drinking anything other than that those four items, you are probably drinking more fat/sugar/calories than you realize.
Almond Milk: You Don't Really Need It
I simply don't see many instances where almond milk is a necessity. I don't even see many instances where almond milk - even a clean one - is a good alternative to something else. There is simply not a lot of love in my heart for almond milk except in very small doses.
Instead, I encourage people to take a good hard look at where/why they're using almond milk in the first place, and decide if there is a greater, healthier behaviour change to be made instead.