The role of dairy is a controversial debate amongst the paleo community, and milk alternatives are often encouraged.
If you’re following a paleo diet and are looking for a milk alternative, you might be curious to know: Is almond milk paleo?
In this article, I will cover some key facts about almond milk, including whether almond milk is paleo.
So, let’s take a look.
Is almond milk paleo?
Almonds are paleo, so almond milk should be paleo, too, right? This depends on the almond milk in question.
Despite the fact that almond milk is praised by the vegan and plant-based community, you might have a different standpoint on it if you’re paleo. While homemade almond milk is paleo, many commercial almond milks are not suitable for the paleo diet.
Typically speaking, a lot of commercial almond milk does not meet paleo guidelines because it often contains added sugar, stabilizers and emulsifiers such as carrageenan.
Carrageenan is a substance extracted from red and purple seaweeds. Carrageenan is added to certain nut milks to thicken, emulsify, and preserve foods and drinks.
Carrageenan is especially common in non-dairy milks such as almond milk and coconut milk, which means that some people who transition to a paleo diet might actually be increasing their exposure if they use these products. Herein lies the controversy.
So, why do commercial almond milks use these additives in their products? If you ever make your own almond milk, you’ll notice that it has a very thin and watery consistency unless you use a higher almond:water ratio. However, almonds, along with nuts in general can be fairly expensive.
Bearing this in mind, increasing the nut content in commercial almond milks would be incredibly expensive for the manufacturer to do.
As a result, the majority of companies use fewer almonds and a variety of ingredients to thicken it up so you don’t feel like you’re drinking just water. This provides a similar experience to dairy milk, so you don’t necessarily feel like you’re missing out on anything.
However, companies are catching on that carrageenan is an ingredient that consumers try to actively avoid. That being said, in the last few years, companies are removing carrageenan from their almond milks so they appeal to a wider audience.
What almond milks are paleo-friendly?
If you want to drink almond milk while following a paleo diet, you will need to try to find a brand that doesn’t use carrageenan and lots of sugar.
The easiest way to ensure this is to make your own almond milk, as the safest almond milk is always going to be homemade paleo-friendly almond milk.
However, for convenience, you might want to know whether there are some store-bought almond milks that are suitable for a paleo diet. The short answer is: The majority of commercial almond milks are not paleo.
Some people still drink store-bought almond milk in moderation out of convenience, as they consider it better than dairy. However, where you stand on the issue will depend on you and your ethics, as there isn’t a one-size fits all when it comes to your diet and what works best for you.
The caveat is that these products still contain other additives that may not be suitable for you depending on how strict you are with your paleo diet. However, provided that you’re drinking commercial almond milk in moderation, it might be another option for you if you don’t have the time to make your own almond milk at home.
What nut milks are suitable for a paleo diet?
How To Make Homemade Paleo-Friendly Almond Milk
Equipment That You’ll Need
- Nut milk bag (or a clean dish cloth or cheesecloth)
- A blender
- A medium sized bowl
- 2 cups + 4 cups water, separated (Tap water works, but filtered or distilled water is best)
- 1 cup of raw, organic almonds.
- Step one – Soak the almonds in 2 cups of distilled water and leave them to soak overnight. If you’re in a rush, you can speed this process up by pouring boiling water over the almonds and leaving them to soak for a few hours.
- Step two – Strain the almonds and discard the water that they have been soaking in as it can be discolored.
- Step three – Next, you will need to combine the soaked almonds with 4 cups of distilled water in your high speed blender. Blend on high for 60-90 seconds. You want to make sure that you get the most out of your almonds, so patience is key here.
- Step four – Place the nut milk bag over a medium size bowl. Following this, you will need to pour the almond milk into the nut milk bag. Squeeze to drain out all the liquid. (Save the almond pulp to make bread or muffins)
- Step five – Pour the strained almond milk into the quart glass. Will keep in the fridge for 10-14 days.
Tips When Making Homemade Paleo-Friendly Almond Milk
- Many nut milk recipes call for a nut bag for straining. If you’re in a bind without one, you can do without it! Use a good-quality cheesecloth or a clean dish cloth and you’re good to go.
- After making your homemade nut milk, you’re going to be left with a few cups of perfectly good pulp. You can dry this out at 170°F and make almond meal to use in breads, cookies, and muffins!
- If you want to sweeten your paleo almond milk, you can with a dash of honey. In addition to honey, you could also use dates to sweeten.
Homemade almond milk is paleo, but the majority of commercially available almond milks are not suitable for a paleo diet.
The best kind of almond milk to consume while following a paleo diet is homemade almond milk. However, if you consider plant-based milk to be a better alternative than dairy when following a paleo diet, then you might still decide to use almond milk in moderation.