IN-DEPTH NEWS FEATURE:
Australia’s organic non-alcoholic beverage market, which includes almond, rice and soy milk is now a $1.27 billion industry, according to the Australian Organic Market Report. Furthermore, the report estimates that the market is expected to grow by 15 percent per annum with more than one million Australians now buying organic food weekly and milk alternatives being the most consumed product.
Choice Magazine, the people’s watchdog, recently reviewed 70 different alternative milks and found that for individuals who had reactions to cow’s milk that soy, rice and almond milk made for excellent alternatives, providing that consumers selected calcium fortified products. The magazine also recommended that consumers consult a dietician before substituting their cow’s milk for an alternative.
Lola Berry is Nuts About Almond Milk
Lola Berry, 27, is a nutritionist and brand ambassador for Almond Breeze, an almond milk brand that launched in Australia in May of 2012. The brand current sells an original and unsweetened version of almond milk. Berry elected to become an ambassador for Almond Breeze because she believes cow’s milk is harsh on the human body.
“I often recommended people remove dairy from their diet, as cow’s milk is quite hard for the body to digest and break down,” said Berry. “I’m very happy to be working with Almond Breeze, as it’s not only incredibly healthy and natural, but it actually tastes good and is easy to include in your daily diet,” she said. “Almond Breeze is also the only almond milk on the market with an unsweetened version, which is an extra bonus as we should all cut down on our sugar intake.”
“Almond milk as many benefits that will increase the quality of your diet,” said Berry. “It’s completely free from dairy, gluten and cholesterol. Made from almonds, which are calcium rich and one of nature’s superfoodsm, and it also has a low level of saturated fat which makes it a healthier alternative to skim milk and soy,” she said. “I’ve swapped my regular milk to Unsweetened Almond Breeze as it’s also completely free from added sugar making it low in GI.”
Berry says that almond milk is a much healthier alternative to cow’s milk.
“Almond milk contains a wide variety of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function,” said Berry. “Almond milk is also great for those who can’t drink cow’s milk due to lactose intolerance and casein or gluten allergies. Whole cow’s milk contains a lot more calories and fat than almond milk, making almond milk the better choice for those on a diet,” she said. “Cow’s milk also contains saturated fat and cholesterol whereas almond milk is free of both saturated fat and cholesterol making it a healthier choice, especially for those with heart problems.”
“Dairy foods are quite hard for the body to digest and break down, so switching to an alternative like almond milk will not only benefit your body’s digestive system, but it will also help your energy levels,” said Berry. “Often people feel much better when they take dairy out of their diet.”
Berry, who lost 20 kilograms in 20 weeks, says that sugar is a no-no and real, whole foods are a must, if you are seeking to lose weight.
“Sugar is one of the most addictive things we eat and we become pretty reliant on it,” said Berry. “Plus it’s linked to a whole host of baddies like weight gain and diabetes,” she said. “We can’t even focus properly when we’re hooked on sugar.”
“I lost 20 kilos just by eating real, whole foods, which means I cut out the packet foods and all the stuff with refined sugar,” said Berry. “I guess you could say I was eating like a caveman — eating foods you can hunt and gather such as nuts, seeds and berries as well as meats, fish and eggs,” she said. “And I used things like quinoa in place of grain, almond milk in the place of dairy and dates in place of sugar.”
“I just wanted to feel the best I could, because that’s what it’s all about,” said Berry. ”Feeling the best you can means you’re always on your A-game and I love that,” she said. “Plus, I was loads happier and that’s the key to life I reckon.”
“Happiness is key when it comes to health and any kind of weight loss,” said Berry. “Do what makes you happy and be around people who make you happy.”
Almond Milk Making a Difference
Annette Sym, who is a 57-year-old author of the cookbook series, ‘Symply Too Good To Be True’, says that almond milk has made a huge difference to the life of her and her husband, Bill.
“I am less bloated,” said Sym. “I have no headaches and feel better with more energy,” she said. “My husband doesn’t get any more migraines and we need less sleep and just feel better in general.”
“I felt uncomfortable and got a bit of wind from cow’s milk,” said Sym. “I hated the taste of cow’s milk as a child, so avoided it, but I think it was my body telling me that it wasn’t good for me,” she said. ” My husband is also allergic to casene which is in cow’s milk, so he needs to avoid any cow’s milk products.”
Sym cooks with almond milk and uses it in her cooking.
“I use almond milk in all recipes that I used to use cow’s milk in, such as cakes, desserts and curries,” said Sym. “I use almond milk instead of evaporated light milk, which is a canned milk, and it works just as well,” she said. “Food is now so much more enjoyable for both my husband and myself.”
“I also find almond milk great in quiches, custards and smoothies along with in cups of tea, over my cereal for breakfast and in creamy pasta sauces,” said Sym. “You name it, we use it,” she said.
Before buying almond milk, if you are not making your own, Sym suggests that you read the labelling as not all milks are created equally.
“Just remember to shake the container well before pouring and check the nutritional panel on the box,” said Sym. “As there are several brands. Some are lower in fat than others, and some are lower in sugar as well,” she said.
Making Your Own Almond Milk
Jenny Keenan, 39, owner of Nut Milk Bags, a manufacturer of bags for nut milking, says that milking nuts is a relatively simple process.
“My Nut Milk Bags are made from fabric,” said Keenan. “They are just a simple bag with a drawstring at the top,” she said. “You use the bag to make milk from nuts and seeds. They are essentially a strainer with very fine mesh so the pulp doesn’t get through. They are practical, long lasting and easy to use.”
“Making nut milk is very easy,” said Keenan. “You just soak your nuts. Give them a good rinse. Blend them with water. Then strain with the Nut Milk Bag,” she said.
Keenan was motivated to produce these bags because she just could not find any in stores.
“They [the bags] are a very handy tool to have in the kitchen and weren’t available otherwise,” said Keenan. “I have designed a strong, durable and good sized bag with very fine mesh. They are easy to clean and dry,” she said. “They are also great for making juice with a blender or Thermomix and to use for cooking when you would normally use cheesecloth or muslin.”
Keenan says that she never liked cow’s milk, but she does not see almond milk as a substitute, but rather a standalone beverage.
“From my point of view, I never liked normal milk and found that dairy didn’t agree with me,” said Keenan. “Later in life, I found out about almond milk and I love to make my own,” she said. “It is great to add to smoothies or have with granola.”
“I don’t think of almond milk as a substitute for normal milk nutritionally,” said Keenan. “I just enjoy it as another beverage option and I love that it is just made from nuts and water,” she said. “Being free from additives and added sweeteners, I know what I am drinking, which is important to me.”
“Almond milk is very quick and easy to make at home and I would recommend this, as it is a much healthier option than buying it in a carton with the preservatives, additives and unknown sweeteners,” said Keenan. “You also get the benefit of being able to soak and activate your almonds and of not exposing them to heat during the process of making the milk,” she said.