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Five reasons why you should be buying local

Five reasons why you should be buying local

Ideally when we say local we mean buying directly from the nearby farm, however this is obviously not always possible so make sure at the very least you are buying Australian grown and Australian made products. Why?

  1. It’s fresher– when you buy local, and more specifically from the farmer, your produce hasn’t had to sit in cold storage and be shipped long distances (be wary of some of the larger supermarkets who keep their ‘fresh’ produce in cold storage for days, weeks and even months)
  2. It’s cheaper – If it is not in season in Australia, you are going to pay a premium for an overseas import. Produce in season will be in abundant supply ultimately meaning lower costs to consumers so watch for the specials at your local green grocer!
  3. It boosts the Australian economy – By supporting our local farmers we are keeping money in Australia and creating jobs from the associated industries such as packing, transport etc
  4. It helps create a healthier environment – buying local means reducing our carbon footprint, improving air quality and reducing pollution which helps us and our future generations.
  5. It tastes better – Particularly farm fresh produce is left to ripen for longer on the vines before being picked and then sent directly to markets so the consumer has it within 24 hours of being picked!
Why the high price tag?

Why the high price tag?

As producers of almond based products, it should come as no surprise that the cost of our products is largely dictated by that of almonds.

So what is with the rising almond prices?

In the mid to early 90s, nuts and almonds were not hailed the healthy heroes they are today, in fact they were considered somewhat unhealthy due to their high fat and kilojoule content! Increasing research and evidence in the past 5 or so years has resulted in changing attitudes with increasing recognition of the nutritional value of nuts, in particular almonds. The growing popularity of almonds has seen the value of almonds rise, with the boom in business for almond farmers being called a modern day gold rush.

However it is not just the growing appeal of almonds which has created this price inflation. Over the past 3 years, California, the producer of approximately 85% of the global supply of almonds has experienced what has been deemed the worst drought in 1200 years. With almonds requiring a steady water supply, this severe drought has heavily impacted California’s supply capacity, with reservoir levels continuing to drop. As demand continues to grow, supply is limited.

Screenshot 2015-08-28 15.50.56Figure 1: Taken from Almond Investors Limited, www.almondinvestors.com.au, August 2015

The reduced capacity of California to fulfill the growing global demand for almonds has also resulted in increased demand for Australian almonds which are considered world competitive in quality and cost. However while this may be the case many almond milk producers do not use Australian almonds and hide behind labeling loopholes to avoid having to disclose where their almonds are actually from. If unsure you should always contact the manufacturer to clarify!

As an Australia company Luz Almond wants to support its own farmers, to not only boost the Australian economy but also to decrease the environmental footstep from producing our almond milk. By choosing to use Australian almonds, not only have they travelled a shorter distance, less gas has been used to get them to our factory to produce the almond milk.

There must be some other reasons…

Well yes, you are right! At Luz Almond we only use high quality almonds. Why? We need to use the best quality to guarantee better shelf life. One of the reasons Luz Almond is the world leader in natural almond milk shelf life extension is for this reason! On top of this, the almonds are visually inspected to check for any unusual colouring or characteristics. Even a few bad almonds can contaminate a batch and substantially reduce the shelf life. Being so meticulous takes a little extra time but we believe it is worth it.

Apart from the quality of the almonds, the percentage of almonds obviously plays a huge part in the cost of the end product. At Luz Almond we use 12% almonds in our premium range of almond milks, the highest known percentage in commercially produced almond milks. Most commercially available products use 2-3%. To put this into perspective your average tetra pak almond milk available at the supermarket contains 2% almonds and retails for approx. $3.30 per litre. So while Luz does come with a higher price tag it also comes with approximately 6 times the nutritional value of these cheaper brands. With two dietitians on the Luz Almond team, we are well aware that one of the main concerns when using milk alternatives is the protein content, as milk provides a significant portion of protein requirements. The 2% almond milk varieties contain just over 1g of protein per 250mL serve while Luz contains almost 6g per 250mL serving. With 6 times more almonds, it is also a fair assumption that Luz is naturally 6 times higher in other nutrients such as vitamin E and fibre which is ultimately what you are paying for.

We are not here to give you a business lesson but this question often comes up so we just thought we would explain it in simple terms. Of course we could reduce costs by using plastic packaging, reducing the percentage of almonds, substituting with fillers and additives but then it wouldn’t be Luz Almond. We have built a brand and company that people love and trust, through hard work and sticking to our roots and we are not willing to sacrifice that – we believe in quality without compromise and that is a promise we intend to keep!

At Luz Almond we believe in being 100% transparency and so we encourage you to make sure you know everything you can about the foods and beverages you are consuming – what is in them? Where were they made? How were they produced?

If you take nothing else away from this, take this one piece of advice, become a label reader and always ask questions.

Here are a few additional related resources that we through you may find interesting:

 

 

 

My Day on a Plate with Jade Ashby

My Day on a Plate with Jade Ashby

Breakfast: I’m a cold weather girl (I know, why would someone actually like cold weather). Aside from the crisp fresh air with a clear blue sky backdrop, I love the warming comfort food that winter brings. With the winter months coming to an end, I’m making the most of the porridge mornings we have left! The porridge recipe always varies but the base will consist of ½ cup rolled oats (I prefer rolled to quick oats as they have a lower GI and add texture), ½ cup milk and ½ cup water. You can then add whatever you fancy whether it be walnuts, cinnamon and maple syrup or grated apple, cinnamon and almonds. For this porridge variation, I added buckwheat to add variation in texture and topped with a honey spiced baby fig compote that I had previously made. Cinnamon stick for decoration of course.

Screenshot 2015-08-31 20.21.10
Mid-morning: With an English partner I’m quite inclined to a cup of tea, English Breakfast, naturally. Nicely brewed with a little bit of milk, no sugar. With the winter bugs in full force at the moment I’ve found myself craving fruit a bit more so than usual, so come mid-morning I’ll usually be reaching for a good-old-fashioned apple. An apple a day they say.

Late morning: As part of my role as a Product Development Dietitian I conduct ongoing sensory evaluation of products we produce. Currently we’re focussing a lot on yoghurt. So what does that entail you ask? Prior to any product being released it has been routinely tasted to note any sensory changes (e.g. look, smell, taste) that may occur over the period of time that you, our lovely customer would have it in your fridge. Basically, we routinely taste the product to ensure you’re getting a tasty product! Exhibit A: Yoghurts 1, 2 and 3.

Screenshot 2015-08-31 20.22.27

Lunch: I love lunch. Lunch is a great opportunity to have a nutrient dense meal and my lunch will nearly always contain numerous serves of vegetables. A wholesome vibrant salad with wholegrains and/or protein not only taste delicious but makes you feel good too. Make it as easy as possible for yourself and I find the best way is to make an additional serving of the vegetable based part of your dinner. For example, take a dinner side salad of peas, fennel and mint with a lemon and olive oil dressing, add some sliced poached chicken and you have a completely new meal for lunch.

Screenshot 2015-08-31 20.23.09

Mid-afternoon: As the above lunch was a lighter (albeit delicious) meal, I like to ensure I’ve got enough food in the tank to keep me effectively working through the afternoon. A couple of slices of sourdough, toasted and spread with nut butter works a treat for me (and a cup of tea).

Dinner: Meals are often Ottolenghi inspired as it ensures that dinner includes a nutritious dose of vegetables. Favourite classics such as spaghetti are often enjoyed too! I try to eat fish a couple times of week as it provides a delicious protein source that is rich in omega 3 (salmon more so that others). I bought some beautiful yellow and purple beetroot from the markets and on this occasion had the time (and patience) to prepare them as they deserved.

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Post dinner: You would think that trying yoghurt each day as part of my role would mean I would be over yoghurt. No chance. I enjoy some generous dollops of unsweetened natural or Greek yoghurt with fresh strawberries. And then some chocolate. I’m talking about the good stuff. Usually a high cocoa percentage of 70% or greater but always made by a company where you can tell some love went into making the chocolate, because I too, love good food.

 

Five Minutes with Being Co. Founder, Stefanie Maras

Five Minutes with Being Co. Founder, Stefanie Maras

1. How and why did you start being co?

SM: “Being Co. has been a little dream since I started business college actually! I’ve always wanted to run my own cafe selling nothing but tasty, healthy options (now known as raw food!). It really started for me in 2014, after the famous Acai berry craze (I love Acai bowls!), where I was researching the many popular health food hangs of New York City. I first stumbled across a Matcha House, yes a cafe that stock a full matcha menu where further research took me to learn of the supreme nutritional value of pure matcha, how incredible it was for you and how little you needed to consume of it. I just had to try! Ordering my first samples of various grades of organic matcha from various tea growers in Japan my dream of building a brand that focuses on affordable, highly natural daily ingredients had began! After 6 months Being Co. is now stocked in over 60 cafes and health food stores Australia wide and will continue to grow and deliver ‘green caffeine’ to your favourite cafes!”

2. What is your favourite way to enjoy Matcha? 

SM: “I must say, Matcha choc mint bliss balls are just an amazing tasty and highly antioxidising snack!”

“And I cannot go past a matcha latte made with frothed almond milk and a dash of maple syrup! Sweet but full of antioxidants!”

3. What sets being co Matcha apart from the rest?

SM: “Being Co. ‘s Organic Pure Ground Matcha Powder is for everyone, it’s simple to use, it’s 100% natural, organic, unblended and involves 1 ingredient. We also provide recipes to customers to get the most out of the product and work with our cafes to provide the best matcha experience for their customers.”

4. What is your favourite health motto?

SM: “You are what you eat- I couldn’t agree more. Food is fuel and you don’t get the kms out of a McDonald’s burger.”

5. What inspires you?

SM: “2 things in life inspire me.

1. The desire to inspire people to live a healthy and active lifestyle through my health journey and experience and to find natural products at affordable prices that help deliver the maximum nutrients we require without costing us loads.

2. My mother, the pinnacle of love and support, all I want to do is go out there and prove to her I have what it takes to build, motivate and inspire people, just like she has done for me. And ofcourse my partner (Mr Being Co.) is the very definition of inspiration, he’s always looking to motivate and inspire me in every space in life, when I fall down, he picks me up, dusts me off and sets me back on my way to try again!”

 

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Find out more about Stefanie and Being Co.

www.beingco.com.au

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

@being_co

 

Mad About Matcha

Mad About Matcha

Matcha is the new kid on the superfood block. Being used in everything from tea to lattes, cakes and desserts, this distinctly green powder is packed with nutrients and goodness. However while Matcha is only just now gaining popularity in the western world where Matcha shots were recently considered the “it” beverage at New York Fashion Week, Matcha has been a long standing tradition in Japanese culture.

So what is it?

Basically think of it as a super concentrated version of green tea! Yet unlike green tea where the leaves get infused with hot water and then discarded, Matcha literally means powdered tea. Matcha leaves are covered with shade cloths prior to harvesting which helps enhance the flavour and texture of the leaves which are then hand selected, steamed, dried and aged to deepen the flavour before being ground into a fine powder.

So what is so good about it?

  1. Boosts energy – Originally thought to be due to the caffeine content (1 cup of Matcha tea = 1 cup of coffee), the energy boost provided by Matcha is largely a result of the unique combination of nutrients. The presence of L-Theanine also means Matcha drinkers can experience the buzz associated with coffee, without the usual side effects such as nervousness and hypertension (high blood pressure).
  2. Rich in antioxidants – Antioxidants are natural chemical compounds which help to fight infections and disease. With an ORAC value (used to compare antioxidant content of foods) twenty times that of blueberries and pomegranate, Matcha is one of the most potent forms of antioxidants. In particular Matcha contains catechins, known for their cancer fighting properties as well as counteracting the effects of pollution and the sun’s UV rays which can cause cell and DNA damage.
  3. Memory, concentration and calm – L-theanine promotes the production of dopamine and serotonin, both of which play a role in enhancing mood, improving memory and concentration.
  4. Promotes calmness – Monks have used Matcha green tea for centuries to relax and meditate while still remaining alert, due again to the presence of L-theanine which induces relaxation without drowsiness, a side effect known as “alert calm”.
  5. Detoxifies the body – The high levels of chlorophyll which give Matcha its vibrant green colour also naturally remove heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.

If you haven’t already, make sure you try our latest Luz creation, formulated in collaboration with Being Co, distributor of premium quality Matcha, we bring you Luz Matcha!Matchamilk_website copy

How Almond Milk helps with Weight Maintenance

How Almond Milk helps with Weight Maintenance

With a team of accredited dietitians and food experts we are the first to admit that there is not one miracle food or weight loss secret. Instead we are firm believers in consuming a diet rich in whole foods and variety from each of the food groups to ensure you are meeting your nutritional requirements. If you choose to adopt a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or other kind of diet for any of the various reasons, we encourage you to do so carefully and in consultation with a fully qualified dietitian or nutritionist to make sure you are still able to meet your nutritional requirements.

And while there is never going to be one simple solution, there are certain foods which can contribute to a healthier diet and lifestyle and may in fact help you control your weight. Lucky for us almond milk is one example of this and here is why:

  1. Contains less kilojoules than dairy milk and other non-dairy alternatives
  2. Low in carbohydrates – with 2.5g per serving, it has significantly less carbs than dairy (~12.0g/serve) and most non-dairy alternatives including soy (~12.0g/serve) and rice milk (~24.0g/serve)
  3. Contains good fats – good fats not only contribute to increasing our good cholesterol, they also help slow down digestion and are particularly good at keeping us feeling full for longer
  4. Naturally contains no cholesterol – plant products are naturally cholesterol free which means no increase in bad cholesterol which can increase risk of heart disease, as well as other chronic diseases
  5. Naturally low in saturated fat – almonds contain very little saturated fat, thus almond milk is also very low in saturated fat, once again helping to reduce risk of heart disease
  6. No impact on blood sugar levels – while carbohydrates are responsible for increasing blood sugar levels (BSLs), given the low level of carbs in almond milk, it has little to no effect on blood sugar levels which is great for diabetics who need to carefully count their carbohydrate intake. Plus for those non-diabetics, maintaining balanced BSLs helps prevent people from over – eating which is often cause by the dips that subsequently follow spikes in BSLs.

To learn more facts and tips for the health-savvy, subscribe to our monthly newsletter or email [email protected] and our dietitians can answer any questions you may have.

10 Fabuluz Facts about Luz Almond Milk

10 Fabuluz Facts about Luz Almond Milk

Just in case you needed 10 more reasons to enjoy our delicious cold pressed almond milk!

  1. Vegan friendly – all Luz Almond products are 100% free of animal products
  2. Gluten Free – our products are free of gluten-containing products, and therefore are suitable for celiacs and those with gluten intolerances
  3. Dairy & lactose free – making them suitable for those who avoid dairy and lactose for dietary, religious or personal reasons
  4. Made with Australian Almonds – we are proud to say our product is Australian made using premium quality Australian almonds, supporting our local industry
  5. Activated almonds – we activate our almonds to reduce the phytates which can prevent absorption of the good nutrients in the almonds
  6. Source of protein – unlike most almond milk brand, Original Luz Almond milk contains 5.3g of protein per serve versus ~1g in other brands
  7. No added or refined sugar – our Original almond milk is made simply from almonds and filtered water, while our flavoured milks are naturally sweetened with dates
  8. Low in saturated fat – almonds are naturally high in good fats (poly and monounsaturated fatty acids) and low in the bad fats (saturated and trans fats) which cause high cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease
  9. 12% almonds – most almond milks contain 2-4% almonds and have added oils, emulsifiers and fillers to make them seem denser
  10. Fresh, unpasteurized, no HPP – our milk is simply made by soaking then pressing the almonds, bottling, labeling and distributing. Our milks contain no preservatives and do not undergo any form of heat or high-pressure treatment to ensure the nutritional integrity of the product is maintained.

To learn more facts and tips for the health-savvy, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Almonds and Your Skin

Almonds and Your Skin

Almonds and almond milk* are a rich source of protein, vitamins and nutrients which not only nourish the body but also provide significant benefits for the skin which is why almond oil and almond milk have long been used in the cosmetic world.

So what is it in almonds that makes them so good for our skin?

  • Rich in antioxidants – plants develop protective chemicals as a means of protecting themselves against nature’s elements. These protective chemicals also act to cleanse and eliminate toxins and free radicals in the body which can lead to diseases such as cancer and heart disease. One of the most abundant antioxidants in almonds is Vitamin E.
  • Vitamin E – acts by preventing and repairing cell and sun damage. It is well known as an important vitamin required by skin for it’s nourishing and hydrating functions.
  • Protein – almonds and some almond milk brands* are a good source of plant protein, which is particularly important for vegans and vegetarians to ensure they are meeting their protein requirements as protein is essential for growth and repair of body tissues including the largest organ, our skin.
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) – Almonds and almond milk are a particularly rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as containing some polyunsaturated fatty acids. These essential fatty acids also necessary for the transportation and absorption of many nutrients, in particular the fat soluble vitamins – vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats also provide energy to keep our skin and hair healthy.
  • Magnesium – assists in the formation of bone, protein and fatty acid as well as counteracting the effects of stress hormones which lead to premature ageing, acne and hair loss.

* Due to the high volume of almonds we use to make our almond milk, Luz Almond milk is a much greater protein source than many other almond milk brands which use a lower percentage of almonds (2-3%). Each 250mL serve of almond milk contains 5.3g of protein compared to 1.3g when comparing Luz to other brands respectively. As Luz Almond uses more almonds (12%), it makes sense that our milk would contain a greater proportion of these other beneficial nutrients too!

While you can obviously obtain the above benefits from consuming almonds and almond milk, there are a number of DIY beauty recipes which incorporate almonds and almond milk into non-edible solutions for your skin – here’s a few we stumbled across online:

http://www.thefitindian.com/amazing-benefits-of-using-almonds/

http://www.naturalbeautyworkshop.com/my_weblog/2015/03/fresh-rose-almond-milk-beauty-recipes-.html

To learn more facts and tips for the health-savvy, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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And just to share a little something else we are working on…

We would love you to  help us bring dairy free, vegan friendly almond yoghurt to Australia. Support our Kickstarter campaign by clicking the button below!

Support our Kickstarter campaign for a yoghurt machine

Keeping Almond Milk Fresh

Keeping Almond Milk Fresh

At Luz Almond we have come a long way from our beginnings when our shelf life was 3 days INCLUDING the day of production. Through the introduction of new industrial scale machinery, a new factory and improving production processes we have recently been able to share the exciting news that Luz Almond Milk now has a shelf – life of 9-days post production! This has been a significant feat for us which has come from dedication, commitment and perseverance and is something we are very proud of!

However just like dairy milk, there are certain steps which should be taken to ensure your almond milk reaches and even extends beyond its shelf life. Most importantly refrigeration is the key to the safe consumption of your almond milk as the combination of increased temperature and moisture can lead to the growth of bacteria and organisms which can cause your milk to spoil earlier than anticipated. At Luz Almond we obviously want to ensure you are enjoying your cold-pressed almond milk as we intend in its premium state.

Here are some tips for optimum storage of your almond milk:

  • Pick up milk last and consider bringing an insulated bag
  • Put milk straight into the refrigerator when you get home
  • Check fridge temperature to ensure milk is being stored between 1 and 3 degrees celsius
  • Keep in original container and if decanted do not return decanted liquid to original container
  • Keep at the back of the fridge where it is cooler (doors are opened frequently so they should be avoided)
  • Keep container closed when not using to prevent milk from absorbing other flavours in the fridge
  • Return milk to refrigerator as soon as you are finished with it

Always remember to use your commonsense – smell and taste before consuming a large quantity!

If you’d like to stock our almond milk, feel free to contact us.

Help us bring dairy free, vegan friendly almond yoghurt to Australia. Support our Kickstarter campaign by clicking the button below!

Support our Kickstarter campaign for a yoghurt machine

 

 

(Featured Image Courtesy of Dee Why Discount Supplement Store)

Almond Milk as an Alternative to Dairy Milk

Almond Milk as an Alternative to Dairy Milk

The dairy-alternatives market has seen rapid growth in the last few years thought to be related to perceived health benefits as well as increased marketing activity and improved availability of dairy-alternatives. This rapid growth has also seen almond milk claim the top spot as the #1 dairy alternative, taking reign from its predecessor soy, which has seen a decline in popularity with increasing concerns and controversies regarding its perceived ability to interfere with female hormones.

So how does almond milk stack up as an alternative to dairy milk?

First and foremost, like many things, not all almond milk brands are created equal so it is really up to the consumer to be proactive in reading labels and knowing what they are putting into their bodies. On the whole, almond milk has a good consistency and flavor which works well as a substitute to dairy in your tea/coffee, cooking & baking and over your cereal in the morning. It also does not come with the health concerns associated with soy milk and contains a number of beneficial nutrients and minerals. Plus it is a source of good fats, is low in carbohydrates and contains the antioxidant, vitamin E which helps protect skin.

Almond Milk as an Alternative to Dairy Milk in Coffee

When compared to dairy milk, the major downfalls of almond milk are the levels of calcium and protein. Your average store bought almond milk contains 1.5g protein per serve compared to approximately 7g in a serve of dairy. Protein content however is directly proportional to the percentage of almonds in the almond milk. Standard store bought packages contain 2-3% almonds. However, if you opt for the more premium varieties (such as Luz Almond) which contain upwards of 10% almonds, protein content per serve is around the 4.3g per serve. While it is still not on par with dairy milk, in Western countries the general population has very little problem meeting their protein requirements. Therefore unless there are particular circumstances in which someone is not meeting their protein requirements (malnutrition, athlete, cancer patient), the lower protein content should not be of considerable concern (this is general information, always seek medical advice before making significant changes).

Calcium on the other hand needs to always be considered, as inadequate dietary calcium will result in the bones leaching out their calcium stores in order to maintain adequate serum calcium levels, consequently resulting in a decrease in bone density and ultimately leading to osteoporosis, a condition whereby bones become brittle and frail. Many store bought varieties of almond milk are in fact fortified with calcium to a level which is on par with that of dairy, however fresh, premium varieties pride themselves on having no additives and often will not have added calcium. If you do not consume any other significant dairy sources you should discuss with your doctor or dietitian a means of substituting calcium in your diet to prevent the development of osteoporosis.

Obviously there are a number of reasons why people choose to avoid dairy, whether it be intolerances/allergies, religious reasons, moral reasons, taste or simple preference however fortunately today there is a number of options and variety when it comes to the dairy-alternative sector. Almond milk’s nutritional profile, consistency and taste make it a great option for those seeking an alternative to dairy. As always remember to read the labels and opt for options which have 10% plus almonds and don’t contain sugar and other additives, to ensure you are giving your body the best nutritional alternative!

If you’d like to stock our almond milk, feel free to contact us.