Dairy-Free Diet Guide: Easy Tips & Helpful Advice

Almond Milk: Top Brands and How to Make it Yourself

Almond milk is available almost everywhere cow’s milk is sold. It’s the most popular type of vegan milk—even more popular than oat milk or soy milk. You can find numerous brands in nearly every grocery store. It’s sold either in refrigerated milk cartons or in shelf-stable aseptic packaging. You can usually find it in regular, chocolate, vanilla, and unsweetened varieties.

Almond milk is fast replacing cows’ milk in the world’s refrigerators. It’s been taking an ever-growing piece of dairy market share for the past decade. There are countless reasons not to drink cow’s milk, and almond milk is an excellent alternative. It’s much lower in saturated fat than cow’s milk, has no cholesterol, and best of all it lacks dairy’s connection to animal cruelty or the veal industry. Another reason that almond milk is gaining popularity so quickly is its great flavor—many people prefer its taste to cow’s milk.

Nutrition Profile

Although almonds contain substantial amounts of protein protein, there’s surprisingly little protein in most commercially produced almond milk. Soy milk offers far superior protein and nutrient content. That said, the textures and flavors of the best almond milks are superb. The stuff is great on cereal or used as the base of a smoothie.

Regular varieties often contain nearly as much sugar as does soda. So consider buying an unsweetened variety, so that you’ll get more nutrition per calorie. Happily, many brands are calcium fortified. These products typically contain at least as much calcium as milk.

Making Vegan Milks at Home

Of all the vegan milks you can make in your kitchen, almond and cashew-based milks are the easiest. That’s because, unlike soy or oats, there’s no need for preliminary cooking. Making your own almond milk puts you in control over the ingredients. Since you don’t need your homemade milk to last for weeks, you can use fewer and higher-quality ingredients.

Rather than work from a recipe, the best way to try making almond milk is to wing it and gradually get a feel for the proportions you like best. Start with a small handful of raw almonds and two cups (about half a liter) of water.  Blendtecs or Vitamixes will give you superior results compared to a regular blender.

Commercial producers finely strain their milks to eliminate sediment, since their products have a lengthy shelf life. You may decide to not strain at all, especially if you’re pouring your homemade milk over cereal. Leaving your milk unstrained leaves in the fiber and delivers better nutrition. Just shake thoroughly before pouring.

When you’re ready to take your homemade vegan dairy operation more seriously, there are cookbooks devoted entirely to the subject. Miyoko Schinner’s The Homemade Vegan Pantry features excellent recipes for almond milk, oat milk, and soy milk. Also consider picking up a copy of The Vegan Dairy by Catherine Atkinson.

Almond Milk Brands:

Here are some of the top brands sold in North America:

Summing things up, almond milk provides a delicious alternative to dairy products. To reduce your sugar intake, go with unsweetened whenever possible. And if you want a more nutrient-dense vegan milk, instead choose soy, pea, or oat-based brands.

For further reading: Please see our dairy-free guide and our guide to vegan alternatives.

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