Almonds are one of my go-to snacks: delicious with some Greek yogurt or with a small handful of cranberries. However I have never really gone for almond milk even though it makes a fantastic hot chocolate. I never really knew what was putting me off – it wasn’t the flavour for sure, being infinitely ten times better than kefir and more subtle than coconut milk. I just always preferred my almonds the good old fashioned, crunchy way.
Then I came across this article by Tom Philpott. The title is a little antagonising but it definitely does catch your attention. If you can get past Philpott calling almond milk drinkers ignorant hipsters, he does raise some good points about almonds vs almond milk:
Almonds are a precious foodstuff: a crunchy jolt of complete protein, healthful fats, vitamins and minerals, and deliciousness. Given their rather intense ecological footprint — see here — we should probably consider them a delicacy, a special treat. That’s why I think it’s deeply weird to pulverize away their crunch, drown them in water, and send them out to the world in a gazillion little cartons. What’s the point of almond milk, exactly?
… Given that it takes 1.1 gallons of water to grow a single almond in California, where 80 percent of the world’s almonds are produced, drenching the finished product in yet more water seems insane.
Philpott compares a standard serving (one ounce, about a handful) to the 48-ounce bottle of Califia Farms almond milk and concludes that:
A single ounce (28 grams) of almonds—nutrition info here—contains six grams of protein (about an egg’s worth), along with three grams of fiber (a medium banana) and 12 grams of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (half an avocado). According to its label, an eight-ounce serving of Califia almond milk offers just one gram each of protein and fiber, and five grams of fat. A bottle of Califia delivers six eight-ounce servings, meaning that a handful of almonds contains as much protein as the mighty jug of this hot-selling beverage.
(Incidentally it is so nice to see a comparison with like-for-like, unlike this Which? report.)
Ultimately if you enjoy drinking almond milk then don’t change your habits, but if you’re like me and never warmed to it then don’t feel bad about it either.
Image: Flickr, Harsha K R