I was hoping to be able to write some substantial pieces from here in Granada, but time seems to be flying away from me and I am trying to maximize my Spanish skills by working on it as much as possible, so I guess it will be another couple of weeks of short soundbites – at least better than no posts, right? I hope you understand that it’s hard to sit at your desk when you could be doing Spanish homework with this view:
Aaaanyhow, where was I? Oh right, let’s get back to food politics. And the question – almond milk, yay or nay?
I stumbled over this very thoughtful article by Tom Philpott arguing against the mass consumption of almond milk from a variety of perspectives. One, almonds are a very water-intensive crop (1 almond = 1.1 gallons of water!), and in general have a high ecological footprint, which is why they should be savored as treats, according to the author, and not be guzzled away thoughtlessly. Then, once you have the precious almond, why pulverize it and water it down, taking away much of the fiber, mono-unsaturated fats and protein that make one serving of almonds so healthy. Furthermore, there is the cost point (this was the main reason I clicked on the article and was amazed:)
“A jug of almond milk containing roughly 39 cents worth of almonds, plus filtered water and additives, retails for $3.99.”
The article then goes on to point out that this plant-based milk (as others) is enriched with vitamins and a variety of additives which may or may not be related to health problems. And it questions our cultural craving for ‘cereal drenched in milk’ that people wanting to eschew animal products now fulfill buying boxes and boxes of environmentally intensive and heavily processed watered-down almonds.
This point is an interesting one and related to the questions the Third Plate raises about our tendency to maintain dietary patterns and just substitute – hemp, soy or oat ‘milks’ are other examples of plant-based drinks that may or may not be necessary in our diets.
But, but, but – cereal!!
What are your thoughts? Do you like alternative, plant-based ‘milks’ or other foodstuffs? Does it bother you that they tend to be heavily processed?