Before, if someone asks for milk, your choices will only be cow's milk or goat's milk - definitely not vegan-friendly. Now, we're glad to have cashew, pistachio, and almond milk, to name a few. That's nuts!
But seriously, options are far greater now, especially if you want to keep a healthy lifestyle. So, is almond milk vegan? That's one question we'll tackle today.
What is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is a great alternative for dairy if you are lactose intolerant. Apart from that, this is a product consumed by many health-conscious individuals who want to avoid the saturated fat you get from cow's milk. Compared to cow's milk, it has higher calcium content needed for your bones and teeth.
Almond milk is also low in calories and sugar, best for those watching their sugar level.
A good part of the East of the US grows almonds not just for dairy replacement purposes but also for other almond needs, like butter, oil, and flour.
How It's Made
Almond milk is made by blending the almonds in water then straining the almond mixture to remove the solids. Whether these are homemade almond milk or commercial almond milk, the process is the same. If you want the healthiest results, it would be best to use vegan sweeteners.
Vegans avoid almond milk that contains additives as these added ingredients might not be vegan-friendly.
However, there's the unsweetened almond milk, which has a naturally nutty and creamy flavor. Some use thickeners like gellan gum which is considered vegan.
Is Almond Milk Typically Vegan?
Yes, almond milk is typically vegan. Plant milk is considered part of the vegan diet, provided no additives contain animal products. Almond milk is made from almonds and water but is sometimes added with honey which is not included in what vegans consume.
Most brands use this syrup to add the sweet taste, but animal products like dairy milk. Ground almonds mixed with water may taste a little bland. That is why manufacturers search for sweeteners to replace sugar.
Are There Ingredients That are Non-Vegan?
Yes. The very first ingredient considered non-vegan is honey. This is very common on flavored almond milk sold. The production, apart from being an animal product, causes more vegans to avoid these.
Bees are exploited, and often honey bees die when extraction of the syrup is being done. Also, some manufacturers use gelatin as a thickener, although some use vegan-friendly alternatives. Regular gelatins are coming from animal bones. But as long as none of these ingredients are added, almond milk is vegan.
Some Almond Milk Uses
This product is very similar to dairy products, and you may ask, is almond milk vegan? The taste does not differ much, but it has a creamier and nutty taste. For health reasons, some drink it to get vitamin D and E from it since it has a high content.
You can also use it for baking. This is also best for tea combinations. Some even add it to their smoothie to get a creamier output.
The sweeteners used are plant-based, such as stevia, to benefit from and continue to have a vegan output. But the simplest way to consume it is simply to eat almonds.
Impact on the Environment
Almonds & Water Consumption
This is an area that is scrutinized by many because the production of almonds is not environmentally friendly. You would need 1.1 gallons of water for one almond. Yes, it consumes a lot of water, and that is a common scene in the Western World since the climate there is best for this fruit crop.
In California, where growing almonds is one of the sources of their economy, 10% of their water goes to almond orchards. One almond requires a lot of water, and it needs more to continue almond production.
Almonds & Bees
Consuming honey is not new since this type of sweetener provides a healthier option compared to sugar. This is already a non-vegan product, but many vegans condone the animal exploitation of bees.
Production should be cruelty-free, and this is not what is happening to the bees as these are harvested. Most of the bees die as they sting the farmers, and sometimes, their hives are culled totally, which also kills most of these species.
Popular Almond Milk Brands
This is one of the more popular brands in the market that uses blue diamond almonds and D-Alpha-Tocopherol to enhance vitamin E content. It uses natural flavors, and Almond Breeze Original vegan almond milk uses sunflower lecithin and sea salt. That is why you can be sure this is something a vegan can drink.
This is another almond milk vegan can consume because the ingredients are all verified included in the vegan diet. Instead of gelatin, it uses locust bean gum and sunflower lecithin in its production. The basic definition of being vegan-friendly is not to have any animal products in it at all.
This is the most considered vegan almond milk sold in the market. Every content is plant-based, and they do not even include extenders or thickeners that you often see in other products. There are no natural flavors included nor potassium citrate or calcium carbonate, which is exactly what strict practitioners of a vegan lifestyle search for.
Other Plant-Based Milk
This is one of the non-dairy alternatives that are just a blend of rolled oats and water. This is high in carbohydrates, and this does not require any sweetener as it has its natural sweetness. Also, it's a great source of riboflavin and vitamin B-2 compared to cow's milk.
Soy is a great source of protein. That is why a lot of vegans love this product as much as they love their vegetables. This is also a great source of Omega-3 and is low in cholesterol. Perfect if you want your heart and body in shape.
This milk is loaded with vitamins, protein, and a lot more. Many prefer its distinct nutty taste and nice aroma. It is also known to boost the immune system as well as your eyesight.
This type is low in calcium, so enhancers like sodium carbonate(1), which may come from snail shells, are added. But this is best for cooking because of its creamy and tasty flavor. This variety is already a very common ingredient either in baking or cooking food menus.
This milk is a good alternative for those who have allergies or cannot take soya. It has high calcium, which is bone-strengthening making it a good addition to your plant-based diet.
Let's Make Our Own Almond Milk At Home!
1 cup raw almonds (better if soaked overnight in cool water if not soak for 1-2 hours in very hot water)
5 cups filtered water (less if you want to thicken)
A pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Soak almond in water overnight or at least for 2 hours.
- Drain water and place almonds inside the blender.
- Grind almonds with filtered water and vanilla and allow them to mix thoroughly.
- Make sure it appears creamy and well blended before you decide to take it out.
- Place almond and water mixture in a cloth filter.
- Remove pulp and transfer inside a jar.
- Cover and refrigerate.
It depends on your preference. Almond milk may not be the best vegan milk since soya offers more vitamins and health benefits than any other plant-based milk produced. Feel free to check other options because there are so many healthy products you can find.
Almond milk can stay fresh up to 3-4 weeks at room temperature but can be longer in the refrigerated aisle, as long as it remains unopened. Once opened, almond milk can last up to 7-10 days. Check the best before dates stamped on the carton.
Is almond milk vegan? Yes, it is. You can make almond milk a staple food on the table but make sure you do not add any ingredient that is not vegan. You can sneak animal products in any additives in a food product, but if you take time to read what is written on labels, you can continue to live your vegan lifestyle with no fear.
You can be sure your almond milk is vegan if you make your own but think twice if this is store-bought. Food production involves several processes and what you may have considered vegan may not be vegan-friendly anymore.