Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


Look at this almond milk drinking hipster


I feel like the anti-almond milk article Lay Off the Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters┬áthat was published in Mother Jones and making the rounds on social media last week was intentionally crafted to get a rise out of people. If the author, Tom Philpott, really wanted to educate people about the downside to almond milk I don’t think he would have led with a title like that (or maybe he had nothing to do with the title and Mother Jones is just trying to rustle some hipster jimmies). Regardless, I’m sure some jimmies were rustled. I’ll take the bait.

I’m far from a hipster myself, but I still feel like I have to defend the consumption of almond milk, to a degree. I think that Philpott raises some very valid and important points. Almond milk is not as nutritious as cow’s milk, or even soy milk. It’s very low in protein. Our sudden love for almonds is also an environmental concern. I’ve heard that bees are trucked from all over the States for the almond pollination in Cali every year. Consuming almonds as milk is also certainly not the most nutritious way in which to consume them. But…

Philpott neglects to address those who cannot consume cow’s milk. He touches on lactose intolerance. However, not everyone who consumes almond milk is a lactose-intolerant hipster. There are a number of reasons that people do not consume cow’s milk: milk allergy, veganism, poverty (milk is expensive!), religion, personal preference. These people deserve an alternative to cow’s milk. Almond, soy, rice, hemp, coconut, flax, and quinoa milks all provide reasonable alternatives for cooking, cereal, and drinking. It’s not like cow’s don’t have a huge environmental footprint themselves. I think the key here, as with everything, is to consume a variety of foods.


Grocery Store Lessons: Almond milk

I made an interesting discovery the other day at the grocery store. My usual brand of almond milk was unavailable so I was comparing the labels of the available brands. I noticed some interesting ingredients:

The first two are fine by me. Inulin? Unnecessary. It’s that pea fibre that’s being added to all sorts of products to claim that they have fibre (e.g. “smart” pasta) but that may not have the same benefits as other types of fibre. It doesn’t really bother me that it’s in the almond milk. It’s the canola oil that bothers me. Why add oil to almond milk? I’m no food product developer but it seems like a pointless addition of fat and calories.

The really sad news: when I looked it up, my usual almond milk also had added canola oil. Lesson learned. Always read the ingredients, not just the nutrition facts panel. I started buying this brand because it was one of the first ones I saw that was fortified. Fortunately there are now a number of fortified brands on the market. Here’s hoping that at least one of them isn’t “fortified” with oil.