October 14

Almond Milk: How Unsweet It Is!


Many thanks to blog reader, Amy, for alerting me to yet another reason the demand for almonds has gone up: the arrival of an unsweetened almond milk product line on store shelves that has apparantly been the new buzz on the Protein Power Discussion Forum of late.

Not sure how I zoned out and missed this, since I’m constantly combing the shelves for just this kind of product, but there it is; I missed it.

The Almond Breeze of yore, like most of the non-dairy ‘beverages’ on the market, contained a ton of added sugar per serving, about 20 grams or so; while we might like the fat and carb profile of the almonds themselves, we sure didn’t like that slug of cane juice. The new product line for Almond Breeze (a division of Blue Diamond Almonds) fixes that problem and, quite smartly, avoids another potential mistep by choosing not to sweeten the product artifically themselves, leaving the choice of doing that or not and of picking what to do it with to the consumer.

Unsweetened Almond Breeze comes in three flavors–original, vanilla, and chocolate–and has a great nutritional profile and ingredient list devoid of added bad fats, unwanted preservatives or sweeteners of any sort. Thus, if you want to sweeten it and sucralose melts your butter you can add it in. If you’re a stevia devotee, instead, no problem; add it in. If it’s xylitol or ertythritol or tagatose for you, you can knock yourself out!

Imagine: a single gram of carb in 8 fluid ounces of the original or vanilla flavor and a whopping 2 grams in the chocolate! How great is that? And what a boon to the low carb community, too. I can see recipes for pudding, ice cream, frappuccino, and how about a blanc manger or biancomangiare, in Italian? Yeowwie! Gotta get to work on that a.s.a.p.

I recall one spectacular biancomangiare Mike and I enjoyed on a trip to Sicily. We were staying at the fabulous wine estate, Regaliali, in the countryside as part of a foodie tour with a group of friends, led by our friend, American expat, best selling travel and cookbookauthor, and passionate promoter of artisanal Italian food, Faith Willinger.

Our stay at Regaliali included a series of cooking classes and one of the dishes we prepared was biancomangiare, which we enjoyed for dessert that night after a spectacular Sicilian dinner, gathered around the enormous square wooden farmtable in the Regaliali kitchen with our friends and lots of good wines from their cellars. That one may rank as the best I’ve ever eaten; of course, the setting didn’t hurt.
Almond trees flourish in Sicily and we’d been treated to the sight of grove after grove of almond trees in flower. I remember one ancient grove on the slopes of some ruins at, I believe, Agrigento; quite a beautiful juxtaposition of the delicate pale pink flowering trees against the backdrop of tumbling ancient stone walls.

Yes, I’m going to give the new Unsweetened Almond Breeze a try in making biancomangiare soon and when I do, I’ll share the recipe with you.

But first, with the demand for almonds on the rise, I think I’ll go plant a few almond trees in the back yard. In just three short years, I’ll have a crop…it they don’t get rustled.

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  1. I’ve been meaning to make my own almond milk but picking some up at the supermarket would be alot easier. Wouldn’t it be good if the product was available in Australia!!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: If other Blue Diamond products are available, I’ll bet your grocer could get the almond milk, too. Just ask.

  2. I just purchased all three unsweetened flavours of Almond Breeze and tried the vanilla. It is very good both to drink staight and use over cereal. I did not see the need to sweeten it. It does not lighten coffee very well, so I’ll stick to half ‘n half for that.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Glad to know it tastes good; I’m heading to the market today to see if I can pick some up to check out first hand. Not surprised about the failure with coffee, though. To me, nothing lightens coffee as perfectly as half and half, certainly not milk, which is too dilure and not even heavy cream, which is too oily on the palate in coffee. But that’s just me.

  3. I go out of my way to get soy milk sweetened with Splenda. I can’t stand the unsweetened, and powdered Splenda (that I add) has more carbs than the liquid (added by the manufacturer). I get the Soy Slender. It also has fewer calories than the unsweetened, so doubly good. I have to go to a local health foods store to get it.

    I was buying Carb Countdown milk (now Calorie Countdown), but no store near me carries it so I’ve switched to soy milk.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Were it not that I’m something less than a big fan of processed soy products, I would agree. It’s a pity that liquid Splenda or Splenda tabs, which don’t have all the added maltodextrin fillers, were available in the US–at least not to my knowledge. Maybe at some point they will be. There’s always liquid stevia, I guess.

  4. I use unsweetened Almond Breeze every morning in my protein shake. I also drink it sweetened with some of the sweeteners you mentioned. My preference is the Original but the other 2 are very good also. I’ve also used it as a wash for chicken and fish (not the chocolate of course)before I bread them with almond meal.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I LOVE the almond milk – have tried vanilla and recently the chocolate. It makes a decent hot cocoa with a little added cocoa powder (hey, can you HAVE too much chocolate?) and some sweetener and nuke it, then top with freshly whipped and sweetened cream. The almond milk is only 45 calories per 8 oz. in chocolate and 40 in vanilla – gotta love that too.

    I did put some of the chocolate into my coffee this morning and it was pretty good, required slight sweetening, but would be better yet with just a splash of cream.

    I avoid soy as much as possible but was really missing my Soy Slender – this takes the place for me and is so much better for me, IMHO anyway.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: IMHO, too.

  6. I am so delighted with Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk, and it is great without any sweeteners added. I have never consumed any of the other milk substitutes due to the high sugar content, so anyone with a weight issue or health issue will probably enjoy this product (unless you are allergic to nuts). However, there is a really big problem with the almond industry. The California Almond Board has approved labeling that will lie to the consumer (nothing new, I know), which will not notify the consumer that the product is not a raw almond but a cooked one. More lies about what is good for American citizens. We must take a stand for our food, take a stand for our health, and ultimately take a stand against our corrupt government. Voice your concerns with our almond supply. Also, keep up with the food industry, and the lies they are allowed to tell the public. I do not know about you, but I think all citizens can make their own decisions about what they consume, as long as they are given the FACTS about our foods.

  7. I’m not crazy that Almond Breeze uses carrageenan in it’s products. This additive has a bad reputation of causing stomach problems and is linked to cancer.

  8. I recently purchased and consumed a carton quart of Almond Breeze Original, after, I experienced cold like symptoms and severe hoarseness which seem to stem from some sort of hard mucus from my stomach up through my chest.

    I’ve been drinking Almond Breeze Original and on occasion Vanilla sporadically for a year and this is my first negative experience. After a week, I still haven’t gotten my voice back to normal.

    Please, what do you know?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Don’t have a clue. Perhaps it was coincidental, just a matter of bad timing, particularly since you’ve consumed it without such symptoms before. Could it be a bad carton? Sure, I suppose it could. Could it be the appearance of a here-to-fore unexpressed allergy or idiosyncratic response to something in the product? Sure. Wish I could be of more help, but I don’t make the product, I just wrote about it. Maybe it would be helpful if you contact the Almond Breeze folks.

  9. I love unsweetened Almond Breeze! I recently became extremely lactose intolerant, and this product is wonderful! I am sensitive to sugar, so I tried any nondairy low-sugar beverages I could find, and this is the best – in flavor, nutrition, and absence of digestive side effects. It is also low calorie compared to the low-fat milk I used to drink, and I think it is the reason why I lost 10 pounds without even trying. I highly recommend the unweetened original and vanilla flavors.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Yes, it’s great! With the cold weather, we’ve been enjoying the Sugar-free Oregon Chai with Almond Breeze Original Unsweetened and hot water. A really yummy, hot treat on a cold day.

  10. I recently found a recipe for a non-dairy strawberry shake using almond milk. Instead of making the milk myself, I bought the Almond Breeze from a local natural foods store. I haven’t tried the recipe yet; which calls for agave nectar for those of you looking for a sweetner (i tried it in a lemonade mix for my husband and son and they are enjoying the lemonade—I didn’t tell them I used the agave nectar). Once i try the recipe, i’ll post a recommendation. Glad to have found this site with the info on the almond milk. helps me a lot as I am in the process of a detox in preparation for weight loss program. Changing my diet has been hard, so it’s good to find alternatives out there…very tough transition!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Be aware that agave nectar is mainly fructose, which is not only caloric, but a lipogenic sugar and fraught with problems for an insulin-resistant body. It doesn’t run insulin up, of course, but it does promote insulin resistance if not used sparingly.

  11. I love Almond Breeze. I am on a low carb diet and this stuff is fantastic. I was just wondering if anyone has tried making Jello brand sugar free pudding with it. I know you can’t use soy milk because it won’t set. If anyone sees this please let me know.

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