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EELPIE Posts: 2,700
1/23/14 2:55 P

ha ha Russell - that would be nice!!!

I don't do soy - only because I saw the film The World According To Mansanto.

DIDS70 Posts: 5,368
1/23/14 1:59 P

a snippet about carageenan-- something that i will not buy or make sure it is not in my products. though seaweed is an excellent benefit to your systems- carageenan is not

Over the years Dr. Tobacman has published 18 peer-reviewed studies that address the biological effects of carrageenan and is convinced that it is harmful to human health. In April 2012, she addressed the National Organic Standards Board on this issue and urged reconsideration of the use of carrageenan in organic foods

further carageenan causes chronic inflammation. Inflammation is the cause of many diseases including cancer.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
1/22/14 12:54 P

EELPIE - when the idea of these " milks " fades back into obscurity, it won't be a bad thing for you. Most likely it will just mean the price will drop as demand does too.There will always be lactose intolerant people,and others to keep it on the shelves, but the price is inflated right now, due to the high demand, because it is the cool thing to do.

I read an article a couple weeks ago about how people in some South American country were having trouble feeding their families, because the price of quinoa was so high, because it had become a fad food in America. The growers can make more money selling it here, so they just don't sell any in their own country. These fads never last long though. Some other food will become the new cool food to eat, and people move on. The quinoa, or almond milk will still be there, just more affordable.

EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
1/22/14 12:20 P

Yes, making your own is the best option. It's not hard. And you know exactly what's in it.
The label "natural" means mostly nothing. In fact, very many labels mean mostly nothing. The only small variant to that is the "certified organic", and only that means the animal wasn't fed GMO feeds.

So far as additives... the commercial nut milks I buy have a very short ingredient list. The nut, water (usually filtered), and some "natural" stabilizers and emulsifiers. The three on my cartons are
1 - guar gum...
a bean containing polysaccharides. It's used as a stabilizer, emulsifier, and thickener (8 times as effective as cornstarch). It's common in gluten-free diets and products. It's used in many medicines, such as laxatives, and to bulk diets for patients with dysphagia (swallowing disorders). It lowers cholesterol (it's a soluble fiber). It increases calcium absorption.
I see nothing "unnatural" about a bean extract.
2 - carrageenan...
seaweed, a polysaccharide, also present in gelatins and many food products for its stabilizing, thickening, and gelling properties. You can make carrageenan gelatin if you're vegan/vegetarian. It's already in most commercial non-veg gelatins.
I see nothing "unnatural" about seaweed.
3 - lecithin...
in my nut milk, it's sunflower lecithin. Lecithins come from animal and plant sources. It's a phospholipid used as an emulsifier. It's an additive to both animal and human foods. In chocolate, for example. It's a good source of choline, an essential micronutrient, and is higher in choline than liver and many other foods. It decreases cholesterol .
I see nothing especially "unnatural" about lecithins, especially since we're getting them from all sides anyway.

Yes, there are some ingredients which are not simply "almonds", or "coconut". But that doesn't mean the product is full of unnatural or additive chemicals. There is some sugar in the commercial nut milks I buy, but I could opt for the unsweetened and be rid of that, too.

I love nut milks.
I avoid soy for its antinutrient properties, and yet that aspect raises little concern for many others concerned with health and nutrition. Curiously enough.
I never developed a taste for animals milks -- in fact, they seem distinctly "unfood" to me. I will use rare and small amounts of cows' milk in cooking, but never directly or to drink. If I'm mixing a drink (shake), I always use almond, coconut, or one of the blends.
Nut milks are *thin*, as made. They need something to give them a bit more texture - and so the additives listed above.

Just because an ingredient is unfamiliar to you, or has a weird-sounding name, doesn't mean it's "unnatural". If you're worried, simply make some yourself.
Here's a bit of info I found on making nut milk... to the best of my knowledge, it came from a message board/forum somewhere, and public commentary like that isn't ©.

Looks pretty easy to me, and inexpensive, too!
"Nut Milk Bag
Go to a hardware store and ask for a paint strainer. One of those will do the job perfectly, for example the one gallon size made by Workforce (available at Home Depot, etc.). They have an elasticised top, so after you have blended your soaked nuts, just put it over the top of your blender like a shower cap. Carefully pour the liquid out, then grab the strainer and squeeze a bit to extract all the nut milk. Wash the strainer with your laundry and re-use.
Here's the link to the almond milk recipe that I like. I always add vanilla and sometimes a date (or a little pure maple syrup) if I'm looking for sweeter.

I teach a class on making non-dairy milks and yoghurts and I can guarantee the paint strainers for a couple of dollars work just as well as the 'nut milk bags' sold on the internet or in specialty uber-hippy stores for up to $25. I've made walnut, pecan, peanut, hazelnut, and sunflower kernel milk with same method. Works fine."

happy "nutting"!

Edited by: EXOTEC at: 1/22/2014 (12:24)
EELPIE Posts: 2,700
1/22/14 10:18 A

Wow, I never thought of trying to make it myself! It's not even hard to do.

MISSSVJS SparkPoints: (40,972)
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1/22/14 10:14 A

I can't speak for the store bought almond milk, but I can guarantee the almond milk I drink is all natural - I make my own using nothing but raw almonds that have been soaked in filtered water overnight, drained and blended in my Vitamix blender with more filtered water. I don't add any sweetener or anything else - can't get much more natural than that! FYI - almond milk is actually higher in calcium that cow's milk. I personally don't tolerate cow's milk very well, so I use almond or coconut milk instead (and I make my own coconut milk too).

ITSABSURD SparkPoints: (18,393)
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Posts: 713
1/21/14 7:11 P

That's really awesome! I can't wait to get a food processor or blender so I can do the same!
I love almond milk!

DIDS70 Posts: 5,368
1/21/14 5:36 P

my almond milk is completely natural. I make it myself so there are no stabilizers, etc. I come up with many different flavors-- not just plain and vanilla.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
1/21/14 3:23 P

I hope almond milk doesn't fall back into obscurity - I've been using vanilla almond milk for years now!!

I always hated milk - even when I was little - uuuugh. Vanilla almond milk is the one thing I can use in my tea - and the rare bowl of cereal. It helps me, too, because it has more calcium than milk.

lol - It's not really milk, though. It's pressed almonds filtered in water, thickened and sweetened.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
1/21/14 2:29 P

We are just used to drinking milk, and advertisers seized up that, and marketed it well. We tend to eat what is considered popular. Soy or almond milk are foods that were rare, but right now are popular, so everyone is trying them. In a year or two, they will fall back to obscurity, since most people are just eating them because of a friends suggestion, or the fact that someone praises them for eating healthy.

What will be left is lactose intolerant people who were the people eating these before, because they can't handle cow's milk. In the U.S, we tend not to think about this as much, since most of us can handle cow's milk, but worldwide it is a major percentage of the population.

I personally don't have the need for milk. I choose to get my calcium from other sources, including harder cheeses, low in lactose, but also from other sources. I need calcium, not milk. Here is a list of foods that you can eat, if you are lactose intolerant, which is really the only reason you need to skip cow's milk.

Other than that, it is just preference. As far as I know, there is nothing wrong with almond, or soy " milk "

Personally, I would prefer collard greens, almonds, kale, or oranges.

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 1/21/2014 (14:30)
SIMPLYME80 Posts: 406
1/21/14 2:13 P

I don't understand why it is called milk in the first place, almond soy or whatever. Its Juice, extract or whatever, Mammals give milk, not Plants. It is overprocessed oils, juices, etc, combined with ingredients to make it more appealing to drinkers by looking like real milk. Liquid plain refrigerated Coffee Mate has exactly the Same ingredients as most soymilks! Its just about marketing and advertising. I use plant "milks" at times and they taste ok, although no taste resemblence to real milk other than color. I like the almond/soy milk in coffee. Not really for me or my family on a daily basis, but would be great for vegetarians and those who can't drink real milk. Of course I prefer the milk appearance rather than the unprocessed "green juice" of soybeans and other plants used for "milk".

REBECANOLA Posts: 3,285
1/21/14 12:48 P

I use almond milk 1) because it's not dairy. I'm lactose intolerant and also trying to cut down on dairy. 2) It's not soy. 3) It works really well in smoothies and has fewer calories than yogurt, kefir, cow's milk, etc. (30 cal per cup) 4) the kind I buy has more calcium that cow's milk, and a person who's lactose intolerant can often use another source of calcium.

I don't really use it because it's "natural" but I don't buy any that have added sugars.

1/21/14 8:32 A

If it has thickeners, stabilizers and calcium carbonate added to it, it's not "natural" to me. But as many others have noted, "natural" does not have any specific meaning in the food industry. It's a personal thing. To me, almond milk is practically flavorless.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,247
1/21/14 8:17 A

because natural has no legal definition and marketers have found that people see natural on the label and toss it in their carts without any further investigation. it's just like if they put a big green circle on their product that said "good."
if you like what milk you're already using, there isn't any need to swap. if you don't and you're getting your protein elsewhere or you just want to reduce calories without a big change, it can be a calorie saving swap. my plain unsweetened almond milk has 30 cals a cup. i drink it because i can't stand the taste of cow milk, it's readily available and cheap.

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
1/21/14 1:43 A

I am not sure why the label of "natural" matters to you so much. It means very little.

If almond milk doesn't fit how you want your diet to be, don't consume it.

REBECANOLA Posts: 3,285
1/20/14 3:10 P

My almond milk basically is almond milk with a thickener and stabilizer and vitamins. Short of making the almond milk myself, it's pretty much as good as it gets.

1/20/14 1:41 P

Nothing about a "pure" almond sounds natural either.

And a link to a pay-per-view of the source.

Edited by: INTOTHENEW at: 1/20/2014 (13:49)
SONOFCZAR SparkPoints: (7,360)
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Posts: 49
1/20/14 1:20 P

It depends on your definition of natural. Personally, I think that if there are additives, it isn't natural, but you can market anything as "natural" since everything comes from the earth. Every chemical known to man was somehow extracted form the Earth, so every product marketed could be natural.

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
1/20/14 1:06 P

I just looked at the Almond Breeze website FAQ, which answers questions about its ingredients. Looks fine to me. The thing is, if 'natural' means only a single ingredient listed on the box/carton, then maybe a lot of items calling themselves natural aren't. That makes some things sound suspicious when really,they are just the ingredients used to get a process started - for example, some ingredient used to make a fermented product.

I have made 'cashew cheese' and it was delightful (for this semi-vegetarian) but I don't think it would ever wind up in the refrigerator case at Whole Foods. It's just way too perishable and you'd have to make it very very expensive to make any kind of profit on it.

I take 'natural' with a grain of salt. That is a pun, sort of. Salt is added to many, many 'natural' food items!

I have a soy milk machine that is not even out of the box. Just reading the process makes my head ache... so I buy soy milk, which is absolutely delicious. However, for lovers of the purely natural, the same machine is used to make almond milk. Yes, it's very natural. What is pressed out of an almond is very milky, so it ends up being called 'milk.' But I'd still rather get the stuff at the grocery store.

Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 1/20/2014 (13:28)
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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Posts: 1,379
1/20/14 12:59 P

The additives depend on the brand. At its root, it's as natural as it gets short of grabbing the almonds straight off the tree: its' almonds soaked in water, mashed up, and strained -- that's about it. As has been noted, this particular "milk" has a history of being used in various cuisines as well.

Look up some of what anti-dairy advocates claim about the natural-ness (or lack thereof, rather) of dairy milk -- some criticisms of plant-based "milks" are no more logical than those.

I like it because my family, and I myself, are vegetarian to mostly-vegetarian -- in my case, besides the convenience, mostly for environmental reasons -- and because my son is allergic to dairy. It tastes nice (except IMO in coffee, blergh). I prefer it to dairy milk on cereal; in that context it's the dairy milk that tastes blergh yuck to me.

All that said, calling it natural, or even milk at all, is just marketing. The only familiar option besides milk would be juice, and that's not really right either. Roll your eyes at it and move on.

ANARIE Posts: 13,184
1/20/14 12:26 P

What's your definition of "natural?" Legally, it's a completely meaningless word. Twinkies could say "natural" on the label if they didn't think they'd get laughed off the market.

Most almond milk actually does fit most people's definition of natural-- it's water from soaking almonds plus some gummy stuff from beans or other plants to make it less watery, plus calcium carbonate because people assume anything called "milk" has calcium. Then there are flavorings and a little sugar, depending on the brand. The thickeners and flavorings may have strange names, but most of them are things that you eat every day in other foods.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,142)
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1/20/14 12:16 P

What brand(s) are you referring to?

EXNOLA Posts: 309
1/20/14 12:08 P

It is something that can be made at home and has been used as a milk substitute for well over 1000 years (people in Europe and the Middle East used it often at least as far back as the Middle Ages), so while the store bought versions do have some additives, it CAN still be a natural whole food.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
1/20/14 10:58 A


Advertisers attach all kinds of labels to food, trying to imbue it with the characteristics that they believe consumers will most desire. People love "natural." So, if an advertiser can somehow legally get away with saying it on the box, they will. And the word registers in the shopper's eye and triggers their sense of "doing something good" and they reach for it.

KMHILLI Posts: 165
1/20/14 10:10 A

I agree with you. Some people use it because they are vegetarian. That makes sense to me. Some people use it because they want to avoid the hormones in conventional cow's milk. I understand that too...but in that case I'd probably just buy organic milk.

I'm not allergic to much of anything but I had a terrible reaction to almond milk. I used it for a month and my face broke out like I was teenager! Within three days of stopping, it cleared up. I tried it again a few weeks later and the same thing happened. I'm not allergic to almonds or soy so I think that I must have some sort of sensitivity to something on the laundry list of additives you describe.

Obviously, few people will have the reaction I did but, like you, I just don't get why folks seem to be fooled by this stuff.

2QTBOYS SparkPoints: (8,333)
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Posts: 235
1/20/14 9:35 A

I understand that a lot of people drink almond milk if they have lactose intolerance or a milk allergy, but can anyone explain to me why people consider almond milk natural? The list of ingredients on most brands shows a lot of additives, and if you think about natural products, there is honestly nothing about almond milk that seems or sounds even remotely natural. What is the appeal to this product? Am I missing out by not getting on board with it? Thanks in advance for your comments!

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