Pretentious. That was the word that always came to mind when I heard terms like gluten-free, plant-based, vegan or organic. I grew up guzzling down tall glasses of chocolate milkshakes, indulgent bowls of fruit cream and cold coffee made with generous dollops of vanilla ice cream. Naturally, the idea that milk could ever be classified as "dairy-free" simply didn't make any sense to me.
I've often been told, mostly by a parent or an older person, that our bodies process food differently as we grow older. Call it the arrogance/ignorance of youth, if you will, but I've always been kind of dismissive of the degenerative nature of our bodies that seem to go to pot with age. So, imagine my shock when, after years of having a metabolism that could keep up with my not-so-small appetite for brownies, ice creams and cheesecakes, my body began reacting strangely to cow milk, often inducing a strange sluggishness in me after every glass. But instead of picking up the phone on a nutritionist or dietician—as I should have—I decided to have some fun with a little experiment first. And so began my journey into the fast-growing space of alternative milk, which by the way, according to MarketsandMarkets, is an industry estimated to be valued at USD 22.6 billion in 2020 with a projected growth to USD 40.6 billion by 2026.
For one month, I swapped suddh desi doodh with almond milk, and here's what I learnt:
The almond milk experiment
Given my scepticism and general distrust regarding the nutritional value of any packaged food, it was obvious that I would make my own almond milk at home. I followed a few YouTube videos and some soaking, grinding and straining later, I had my first jar of fresh almond milk. I saw it as hitting two birds with one stone—the skincare junkie in me was ecstatic about all the vitamin E that my skin was about to be showered with and if the experiment succeeded. Plus, I'd have found a healthy (albeit strenuous) solution to my latest intolerance towards dairy.
I divided my experience into weeks so that it got easier to really understand how this was working for me. Read on for all the tea.
It took until the end of the week to get used to the nutty taste of the milk. I had it plain since making any cold coffee was a total waste, given the overpowering almond flavour. I did miss regular milk but by the end of it, the sluggishness I mentioned earlier was significantly deterred.
By now, the cold coffee that gave me company during the morning office Zoom call had been comfortably replaced with a glass of almond milk. More than anything, it was reassuring to know that what I was drinking was completely fresh and healthy. By mid-week, I even started seeing a difference in my skin; it definitely felt softer. I was so encouraged that twice a week, I dabbed some almond milk onto my face and began using it as a mask. It worked better than any moisturiser I have ever used.
Somewhere in the middle of week three, I got a little lazy about the whole process and cheated with a glass of regular milk. And after two hours of feeling bloated as hell, I spent the rest of the day telling my colleagues how almond milk had changed my life.
By the last week of my experiment, I had mixed feelings about whether or not I would make my switch to almond milk permanent. The positive changes were obvious: it did wonderful things to my body, from making it feel less lethargic to helping whet an appetite and nourishing my skin. Having said that, there was also the tedious soaking, grinding and extracting process. Could I keep this up forever? I'm still deciding.
The Almond Cow milk maker
If, like me, you are looking for a quick and easy way to milk your almonds, the plant-based milk maker by Almond Cow is a great product to invest in. It makes up to 5-6 cups of any nut, seed or plant-based milk without the hassle of straining or having to clean up after. Check out the video below to see how it works:
Equipped with a Master’s degree in Journalism, Tarini is forever questioning everything around her. Headstrong and passionate about the art of storytelling, she is up to date with all things travel, food, beauty, and innovation. When she isn’t out reviewing the newest restaurant, you can find her researching the latest skincare trend or curled up with a book and a cuppa in the farthest corner of the room.