Is Almond Milk Harmful? (And What to Do About it!)
As an in the now RNL reader, I know that you know limiting dairy can be a good idea for many of us. We know there are environmental and health reasons to cut it out. Like many who are dairy free, you may have switched to almond milk in an effort to support your very best health. I’ve done my research friends, so read on to see why almond milk may be harmful and find out easy solutions to keep supporting your best health.
So here’s the deal. Since I went dairy free, I’ve been a bit freaked out by buying milk in a box with about a thousand ingredients on the side, even though I’m buying it at a health store and it’s supposed to be uber good for me. So I did some digging to find my intuition is somewhat right. There is an ingredient in most typical almond milk you buy called carrageenan. It’s typically used as a thickening agent and emulsifier in dairy, ice cream, yogurt and other processed foods. It comes from red sea weed also known as irish moss (which in and of itself does not sound like a bad thing). But I wouldn’t be spending the time to write this if there weren’t bad news. To start carrageenan is illegal in Europe, Singapore and Australia. Why?? Well unfortunately it causes some nasty GI issues, which is completely ironic, since many of us switch to almond milk to help our poor aching guts. It causes inflammation, which we know is a root cause of many serious diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and cancer. It is also linked to ulceration’s and cancers in the GI tract. It is to be avoided like the plague if one has IBS (or a history of IBS). Grrr, this stuff really should be illegal in the US!!
Well darn it, what’s a health nut to do??
1. Buy your almond milk at whole foods, the 365 brand doesn’t contain carrageenan.
2. My favorite solution. Make you own!! Don’t worry, this won’t take much of your time and it is far less expensive than buying the boxed brands. Simply soak 1 cup of almonds overnight in the fridge. Next, add your soaked almonds to 4 cups of water in your vitamix or high speed blender and blend for about 2 minutes. Next squeeze the liquid through a nut milk bag . Some funky looking almond meal will be left in your bag. I tried to use it in smoothies, but it didn’t work well, so sadly I just compost it. Anyway, that’s it. You can add vanilla, honey, stevia, chia seeds and other goodies, but I like my 2 ingredient, chemical free flavor the best.
Please share this on Facebook or tweet it out so your healthy friends can make a more informed choice at their next grocery visit!!The research:
- Weiner ML, Nuber D, Blakemore WR et al., (2007) A 90-day dietary study of kappa carrageenan with emphasis on the gastrointestinal tract. Fd Chem Toxicol 45:98-106
- Tobacman JK (2001) Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments.Environ Health Perspect 109(10):983-984.
Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.