I can be such a sucker for “healthy” looking products! But as a consumer, I learn to consume wiser indeed. That includes not being fooled by illusive health claims made by so-called superfood manufacturers, and take a close look at labels when available.
One product I started to be wary of is nut milk, or nut mylk as some say. Yes, we have gotten out of our heads that we must consume animal milk, but it doesn’t mean that all plant-based milks are a healthier alternative, nor that their nutritional values compare to animal milks by the way.
Almond, pistachio, or even walnut milks are today widely available. We are spoilt with choice, aren’t we? So how to chose our “healthy” milk alternatives wisely? How to tell which ones are actually good for us?
To understand some important health facts about nut milks, I have consulted Olga VITA (Health Coach, Biotherapist, Sustainable Wellness Educator), who has an extensive knowledge on Nutrition and Superfoods. Keep on reading!
What is nut milk?
It is what is obtained after grinding some nuts (such as almonds for instance) with water, and filtering the liquid part, leaving out the (almond) pulp. It is more a juice than a milk, but the color and texture are indeed milky, so this explains the designation. The taste, logically, is nutty!
Why and when consuming nut milk?
Many reasons and occasions call for milks. Cereals, cookie dunking, in cooking, baking (cakes, pudding, crêpes, waffles…), in lattes, and the list goes on.
Being conscious that a diet richer in plant-based food and poorer in animal-based could do good to our health and planet, nut milks are kind of a providential solution to healthify our staple recipes!
From a nutritional perspective, nuts contain many nutrients, and nut “milks” are naturally lactose-free and very low in sugar. So a healthy option, isn’t it? But wait…
Olga Vita: “I love nut milks, especially sprouted or at least soaked – the process that lowers the toxicity and raises the nutrient absorption. But it is easy to overconsume the variety you like. Anything “too much” becomes toxic. Plus convenience of the processed foods always comes with a price – plastic of the package leaches into the food, pasteurization changes the molecular structure etc.”
Watch out for additives
Olga Vita: “Words like “natural flavour”, “natural aroma” are very misleading and can mask substances far from natural. I suggest adding your own sweeteners and flavours as desired. Carrageenan is not safe to consume. Just like any other substance taken out of its original matrix, carrageenan does not behave in our body as the red seaweed would. It becomes unbalanced and acts as an excitotoxin just like MSG (any isolated proteins, yeast extracts, textured, autolysed, hydrolysed veggies). Excitotoxins damage the brain and nervous system in general.”
Also watch for “fortification”
Olga Vita: “The exact forms of the synthetic vitamins and minerals added to the nut milks are rarely disclosed by the producers. It opens the door for the cheapest and at best useless forms. There are many misnomers too. Vitamin A can be produced only by a liver. So by definition plants can not have any vitamin A, only a substance that if your liver functions are strong you may convert into vitamin A. So if you can’t make the nut milk at home I would suggest drinking it in moderation.”
Have you realized something? Most of the time, we have no idea of how many grams of nuts are being used to make the milk! When looking at the ingredients list, we can read something like “96% almond milk” but what is the water-nut ratio? Why don’t they say?
Make your own?
Come on, let’s do it together! It is not a difficult recipe to follow, it just requires 2 ingredients (or more for some “fancier” variations), and a little of planning for the soaking time. We have selected the video below for a step by step, as well as some ideas for not wasting the pulp!
Our Bangkok preferred options
Being more aware about the nut milk business now, I don’t feel like buying almond milks in cartons anymore… Do you? And when making my own nut milk at home is not an option either, I will look for fresh nut milks in Bangkok.
Element mylks are cold-pressed, raw, and bottled in glass, with no artificial ingredients, no preservatives, no gums, no emulsifiers.
♥ Balls & Juices
From classic almond milk to cold brew coffee almond milk, to pumpkin seed milk, Balls & Juices use sprouted nuts and seeds, filtered water and Himalayan pink salt.
♥ Eden (Heaven Food)
Eden products are made fresh every morning, so that their customers will get the freshest products with all the nutrients and enzymes.