ThePaleoList Answers: Is Almond Milk Paleo?
If you’re looking for a substitute for your breakfast of milk and cereal, it’s easy to make Paleo granola and reach for the almond milk. Not all almond milk is the same; so let’s take a look at the store-bought stuff. There’s a big difference between all natural almond milk and store bought almond milk. Almond milk in and of itself is paleo because it is made from two Paleo ingredients: almonds and water. In a perfect world, all almond milk would be made by soaking organic almonds and using a blender and water to create a mixture known as almond pulp. This almond “pulp” is then strained, so that only the the juice that is left remains. Unfortunately, when you’re in your local grocery store and pick up a half gallon of almond milk, this is usually not Paleo. Even if you look in an organic grocery store or health-food store, it still might not be Paleo. Is almond milk Paleo?
What is Store-Bought Almond Milk?
Store-bought almond milk is a non-dairy beverage meant to replace regular milk. Milk causes a lot of controversy when people bring it up as part of a Paleo diet, because most paleolithic people didn’t have access to milk and didn’t consume it as part of their diet. So almond milk can be a substitute for many instead of drinking dairy. Since it doesn’t contain the same compounds as dairy milk, it won’t function quite the same way (no whipped cream here!), but many people like it in their coffee, cereal, or straight out of the bottle.
Here are the ingredients in two of the most ubiquitous brands of almond milk that one can find in most grocery stores:
Silk Brand Pure Almond Unsweetened Ingredients: Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Sea Salt, Locust Bean Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan Gum, Natural Flavor. VITAMINS & MINERALS: Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Zinc Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2.
Blue Diamond Brand Almond Breeze Unsweetened Ingredients: ALMONDMILK (FILTERED WATER, ALMONDS), CALCIUM CARBONATE, SEA SALT, POTASSIUM CITRATE, CARRAGEENAN, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, NATURAL FLAVOR, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIN D2 AND D-ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL (NATURAL VITAMIN E).
So you’re looking at water, almonds, some thickeners, and a whole lot of added processed or manufactured vitamins. The added processing and manufactured chemicals that are added in most store bought almond milk make it very difficult to enjoy than natural almond milk when trying to stay Paleo.
As most Paleo people know, almonds are extremely nutrient-rich and they provide many health benefits but because the pulp of the almonds is strained and discarded when the milk is made, you lose a lot of those nutrients that you would get if you were eating the almonds whole. The end product is very much like water — a a thin, white liquid, which has only a slight taste of almonds and barely any sweetness (unless an artificial sweetener is added, which usually excludes it as being Paleo).
Is Store-Bought Almond Milk Paleo?
So after reading all that, you probably have come to a good conclusion when you ask yourself “is almond milk paleo?” Those ingredients lists probably answer your questions – most store-bought almond milk brands are not Paleo. However, if it helps you get away from dairy (and you have a problem with dairy), then it’s probably okay in moderation. In general, most people (Primal and Real Food advocates especially) admit that real whole dairy milk is better than store-bought almond milk! Well, never fear, we’ve got a link below for a super easy almond milk recipe…and a video for you to see how easy it is for you to make almond milk on your own!
Are you struggling with which foods are Paleo? Do you need help planning some Paleo meals? Check out this great Paleo cookbook: