Is Almond Milk Vegan?
Almond milk will have slightly more sugar than cow’s milk but has lower carbohydrates and is an excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium. This plant-based milk is also low in calories and can have as few as 30 calories, while cow’s milk may have as many as 150 calories per serving.
The vitamin E in almond milk is ideal for lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and can help prevent strokes and cancer.
Almond milk is ideal for those who don’t tolerate lactose well, and you can use it in many recipes that call for cow’s milk. You can even use this milk in mac and cheese (see also ‘Non-dairy Cottage Cheese‘) and other iconic dishes, although it may add a nutty flavor.
What Is Almond Milk Actually?
Almond milk isn’t real milk. Almond milk is a beverage made from soaked almonds, water, and additives. The most basic recipe for almond milk includes just two ingredients: almonds and water. However, you can add sugar, vanilla extract, or other flavor extracts to create the flavor you enjoy.
Coffee-drinkers can add raspberry, hazelnut, and coconut extract to their almond milk to create a robust and vibrant flavor for their morning brew. Almond milk can also include as much added sugar as you desire, and store-bought brands will likely have added sugar in their formula. There are sugar-free and low-sugar varieties and those that are flavored with vanilla extract to counteract the naturally bitter flavor.
Using almonds to create a cow milk alternative can help you get all the health benefits from almonds without forgoing flavor. Almonds provide many health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, promoting a healthy weight, and stabilizing blood pressure. Almonds are high in fiber, which also helps keep gut microbiomes healthy and retain positive bacteria in the belly.
Almond milk is a beverage that distills much of the benefits of almonds into one drink that you can add to many different foods or alone for a cold, slightly bitter drink.
Is Almond Milk Vegan?
Almond milk is vegan. There are only two ingredients in almond milk: almonds and water. These two ingredients are vegan, and the store-bought varieties will likely have a certified vegan label.
Vegetarians will eat cheese, drink milk, or use honey. Veganism means eating a plant-based diet and making meals that rely on bread, fruits, and vegetables.
There are many substitutes for meat and dairy products, however. Almond milk is one of the most famous and popular substitutes, but there are vegan hot dogs, burger patties, and sausages.
Making almond milk at home is the best way to ensure that your almond milk stays vegan and does not have any products or ingredients that compromise its vegan status. However, there are plenty of store-bought brands that are vegan and do not include animal products.
Be careful to read the label of the almond milk you purchase to ensure that it is vegan. Some ingredients like gelatin and bone-char sugar may sneak into a product and remove its vegan status.
Most almond milk brands that line store shelves are vegan. However, making your almond milk will allow you to make your beverage exactly how you enjoy it for taste without forgoing your vegan status.
Homemade Almond Milk Recipe
Homemade almond milk is easy to make, and you can be done in just one day. The longest part of the process will be soaking the almonds. Soaking the almonds can take up to 24 hours, but after this part of the process is complete, making your almond milk may only take a few minutes.
Consider pre-soaking your almonds the night before you want to use them to ensure they are ready to make your homemade almond milk the next morning.
Making your almond milk at home can also help you keep track of what flavors you enjoy most in your beverage. You can make your almond as sweet or bitter as you want, add flavor extracts, or thicken it with cornstarch.
There are endless possibilities to create stunning and useful almond milk for every type of dish, drink, or dessert. For example, making bitter almond milk without sweeteners can help in savory pasta dishes and make a creamy alfredo sauce that doesn’t have a sweet aftertaste.
To make a basic almond milk recipe, you will need two foundational ingredients: almonds and purified water. You can add other ingredients like vanilla extract, coconut extract, or raspberry extract. You can also use pure cane sugar to make your almond milk sweet.
Some sugars are made using bone char, which comes from the bones of fish or other animals. To ensure your almond milk is vegan, try finding a sugar that is bone-char-free.
A sweetener can be useful for almond milk you intend to use for desserts or iced coffee. Using sweetened almond milk can help balance out the bitterness of the soaked almonds and create a comprehensive and robust flavor. The nuttiness of the almonds will always remain but adding sweeteners or flavors can help in sweet recipes.
If you can’t find bone-char-free sugar, consider using agave nectar to keep your almond milk vegan without sacrificing the sweetness it can provide to your drinks or recipes.
You must first soak your almonds overnight. These almonds will have to sit in water for at least 12 hours, but 24 is ideal to make smooth and creamy almond milk. To soak your almonds, place them in a bowl and cover them with plenty of water. The almonds will expand, so ensure there is enough water to cover them after they double in size. Cover the bowl and place them in the fridge.
When the soaking process is done, drain the water and place one cup of almonds and two cups of water in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Use a cheesecloth over a bowl or container to strain out the remaining chunks of almonds at the bottom of the mixture. Repeat the draining process several times until there are no more chunks and the beverage is free of any almond pieces.
Finally, add any additives to your blender. These additives can include sugar, agave nectar, or flavor extracts. Blend with your beverage until the ingredients are well incorporated.
Is Almond Milk a Good Source of Calcium?
Almond milk is an excellent source of calcium. Store-bought varieties may include added vitamins and minerals, which will boost the calcium content. In some cases, almond milk can have more calcium than cow’s milk, making it a better alternative for health-conscious living.
Almond milk, even when homemade and not fortified with added nutrients by the processing facility, has more calcium than cow’s milk. Almonds are naturally high in phosphorus, iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium, among other vital minerals and vitamins. When almonds are processed into almond milk, these nutrients remain intact and end up in your beverage. Almond milk contains more than double the number of milligrams of calcium per serving than cow’s milk.
Calcium is responsible for keeping your bones healthy and strong. Without the proper allotment of calcium, you may become susceptible to bone fractures or breaks during even minor falls. Calcium is also vital to teeth and proper dental care. A lesser-known function of calcium includes cardiovascular health and proper development of the muscular system.
A calcium deficiency can manifest in many ways, including the following:
- Muscle Problems
- Harsher PMS Symptoms
- Tooth Decay
- Weak Nails
- Brittle and Weak Teeth
- Dry Skin
Thankfully, drinking a glass of almond milk daily can help assuage a calcium deficiency and maintain your health. You can add almond milk to a smoothie, drink it with a plant-based protein powder, or include it in your morning coffee.
If you were wondering, “Is almond milk vegan?” now you know almond milk is vegan and is a perfect alternative to cow’s milk. There are dozens of health benefits to using almond milk instead of cow’s milk. In addition to having fewer calories, almond milk also contains much more vitamin E than cow’s milk. Vitamin E is essential for improving cardiovascular health, preventing strokes, and helping keep cancer at bay.
Almond milk is easy to make. It mainly takes almonds, which are soaked overnight, blended with water, and sifted through cheesecloth. This simple recipe can be enhanced with vanilla extract, sugar, and other ingredients for flavor.
This plant-based milk is an excellent source of calcium and, in some cases, can have more calcium than cow’s milk. Substituting cow’s milk for almond milk is not just for vegans but also for those who have dietary restrictions or dairy intolerance.
Almond milk can be used in a myriad of recipes, including macaroni and cheese, coffee, and broccoli and cheese soup. So, what are you waiting to incorporate almond milk into your favorite foods and beverages?
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