Blog : luz almond

Why you SHOULD keep drinking that almond milk latte

Why you SHOULD keep drinking that almond milk latte

As proud producers of almond milk and almond based products we feel it is time we cleared something up! The arguments against almond milk are not new, no doubt it has popped up in your Facebook feed about the environmental cost or the actual percentage of almonds in your almond milk. But when it comes out of the mouth of someone whom many of your target market follow and whom you have spent significant advertising dollars with … well let’s just say a confused emoji face springs to mind!

So we are going to clarify a few points and just to make it more simple we are going to break it down as they have.

1. The water.
“It takes 5 litres of water to grow one almond!”

Yes this may be true but please put it into context! As Alissa Walker pointed out in her article ‘Seriously, Stop Demonising Almonds’, 80% of California’s water is used to grow food but we shouldn’t stop eating any fruit, vegetables or even meat due to how much water they take to grow so why are almonds now the devil?

By just focusing on the ‘water cost’ you are failing to consider the whole picture such as the social and economical value of the food we are growing with the water, not to mention the nutritional value. From an economic perspective, while almonds use 10% of the California’s water, they are generating approximately 15% of the state’s total farming value and almost 25% of agricultural exports from the state (Walker, 2015). Plus given the increasing demand for almonds which has seen prices skyrocket, almonds are bringing in significant revenue for California, $11bn of it in fact.

And what about the fact that the water is being used to provide us with a healthy food rich in protein and good fats – surely being used to create something which benefits the health of the population stands for something, right?

2. The waste.

“The almond meal is tossed when almond milk is commercially produced”.

Firstly don’t lump all commercial almond milk producers together. At Luz we actually wholesale our almond pulp to people for use in baking, plus we are always looking for ways to utilise it in product and recipe development. The fact is all food manufacturing has waste so no need to single out almond milk!

  1. The carbon footprint.

“The environmental cost of shipping almonds from US + packaging = small environmental disaster”

Carbon footprint, yes, environmental disaster – slight exaggeration perhaps? Regardless many products are also produced with ingredients from overseas so perhaps it is better to focus on supporting local farmers and industry – something we are big advocates of at Luz! We proudly use Australian almonds to minimise our environmental impact, as well as contributing to the Australian economy.

We won’t even get into the carbon footprint of the meat industry but needless to say it is huge!

  1. The dose of additives.

“Most brands are packed with thickeners, emulsifiers, sugars and other crap stuff “– you are right, we couldn’t agree more! Luz Almond milk is made simply of almonds and water without all those additives and nasty stuff. Again the fact is many manufactured products are packed with this stuff and I can assure you almond milk is not the only or the worst examples of this so it is about reading and understanding labels!

  1. The nutritional value.

Probably the most contradictory point in the whole article – on one hand we have that “most brands only contain about 2% almonds” so you can’t really benefit from the vitamin E, B2, magnesium and copper, however on the other hand it says really “we would only eat a small handful of almonds in one sitting and having two lattes on almond milk will add up to more than that”. So wait there is too many or too few almonds?

On a gram per gram basis it should be no surprise that almonds pack a greater nutritional punch than almond milk so by no means are we suggesting almond milk should replace almonds in your diet. However there are an increasing number of people looking for an alternative to dairy milk to use on their cereal or in their baking, coffee etc for many different reasons. For this, almond milk is a great alternative as it not only tastes great but also contains vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron and B vitamins. Obviously the amount of each of this is dependent on the actual percentage of almonds used in the milk but once again we always encourage people to READ LABELS and know what is in the food you are eating.

  1. The price.

“Almond milk is one of the most expensive alternatives out there” – well that shouldn’t really come as a surprise given how much almonds are these days. As a rule of thumb the most expensive brands usually contain more almonds and less of the other stuff but again read the label!

 

Our simply Luzscious verdict

Sure make your own! In an ideal world we would all love to make it BUT if god forbid you are busy or don’t own a high speed blender or I don’t know … just can’t be bothered then buy Luz…the closest thing to the homemade version!

But wait a minute … wasn’t the headline of the article ‘Sorry, but you actually shouldn’t be drinking almond milk’?

Guess your recipe books may need an edit!

 

 

Choc Almond Butter Cups

Choc Almond Butter Cups

Makes 10 small cups

Ingredients

1 block Loving Earth Dark Chocolate (80g)

¼ cup raw almonds, chopped

3 tbsp PSA or other nut butter

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp maple syrup

 

Method

  1. Combine almonds, cinnamon and maple syrup in small saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir occasionally until nuts slightly golden.IMG_4626
  2. Add nut butter to saucepan and stir to combine into a thick crunchy butter.
  3. By placing a bowl over a saucepan of steaming water melt the chocolate and coconut oil, stirring continuously to ensure smooth consistency.
  4. Once melted pour a small amount into each of the 10 small patty cases to line the bottoms then place in the freezer for 5 minutes.IMG_4625
  5. Squash a small teaspoon amount of butter into each cup and flatten with smooth. Then pour chocolate over the top to cover. Place back in the freezer until set.
  6. Keep in fridge until ready to serve.

Screenshot 2016-02-03 13.33.25

Carrot Cake Muffins

Carrot Cake Muffins

Ingredients

1 cup rice flour

½ cup almond meal

1 tsp xanthan gum

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp cinnamon

sea salt

1 cup grated carrots

½ cup pitted medjool dates

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup honey / rice malt syrup

½ cup Luz Date Almond Milk

2 eggs

¼ cup light extra virgin olive oil or macadamia nut oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Sift rice flour, almond meal, baking powder/soda and salt and mix evenly.
  3. Melt the honey in a small saucepan on low heat.
  4. Use a hand blender to combine the eggs, Luz Date Almond milk and oil. Then add the melted honey.
  5. Keep the mixer running gradually add the flour/almond meal mix until well combined.
  6. Fold in the carrots, dates and walnuts.
  7. Pour mixture into well-greased muffin tins, and bake for about 25 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.

IMG_5584

Spiced Chia Pudding

Spiced Chia Pudding

So simple, yet so delicious! Made with our Delicious Date Almond Milk

Serves 1
Ingredients
2tbs chia seeds
1 cup Date Luz Almond Milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
3 baby Iranian figs in spiced syrup (we used Tar 10 Sticky Fig) (optional)
Method
  1. Combine chia seeds with Date Luz Almond milk and cinnamon mix and leave to sit until chia seeds have swollen (10-20mins).
  2. Refrigerate preferably overnight.
  3. Serve topped with figs (if using) and flaked almonds.

 

 

 

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:

 

 

 

Lavender & White Choc Almond Milk Hot Chocolate

Lavender & White Choc Almond Milk Hot Chocolate

This recipe is super simple and is really up to your taste buds so play around. The most important thing is the lavender gets some time to infuse into the almond milk as it simmers! You can even make it and then allow it to cool overnight to really ensure a fragrant and delicious drink!

Ingredients

200mL Original or Date Cold Pressed Almond Milk

¼ – ½ tsp French lavender*

20-40g white chocolate (depending on sweetness)

½ tsp cardamom (optional)

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over low to medium heat and allow to simmer, so the lavender can infuse.
  2. Sieve to remove lavender pieces and serve immediately or allow to cool.

* Available at speciality food stores

Matcha Tiramisu

Matcha Tiramisu

Ingredients
Almond Cashew Cream (1 batch)*
24 Ladyfinger / Savoiardi Biscuits
2 tsp Being Co. Matcha
1 tbsp water

Syrup
1 cup water
2 tbsp amaretto OR Malibu (optional)
¼ cup honey or rice malt syrup
2 tsp Being Co. Matcha

 

Method

  1. Prepare the almond cashew cream following the recipe here and including the coconut oil (and ricotta if you wish).
  2. Combine 2 tsp of matcha powder with 1 tbsp water, mix until paste formed. Add matcha paste to almond cashew cream and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  3. To prepare the syrup add all ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. (You may like to prepare ahead)
  4. Assemble either as one cake or in individual glasses. Begin by dipping a sponge finger into the syrup for approximately 10 seconds or until soaked but not soggy. Lay at the bottom of the dish. Repeat until bottom of the dish is covered.
  5. Add a layer of cream on top, approximately 1cm deep and ensuring the sponge fingers are covered.
  6. Then repeat with soaked sponge fingers. Repeat so you have 3 layers of sponge fingers and 3 layers of cream.
  7. Decorate the top as you wish, a simply dusting of Matcha powder also looks great!
  8. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours or until ready to serve.

*You can make the almond cream with Luz Matcha and omit the added Matcha in the cream layer

 

 

 

 

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

Rosewater Tiramisu

Rosewater Tiramisu

Serves 6-8

Screenshot 2015-07-16 17.54.17 Ingredients

Almond Cashew Cream (1 batch)
24-30 Sponge Fingers / Saviordi Biscuits
¼ cup freeze dried strawberries, chopped (optional)
Rosewater (to taste)

Syrup
1 cup water
2 tbsp Frangelico OR amaretto OR Malibu
¼ cup honey or rice malt syrup
1-2 tsp rosewater (add gradually)

Method

  1. Prepare the almond cashew cream following the recipe here and including the coconut oil (and ricotta if you wish).
  2. Add the rosewater so it provides a delicate, fragrant taste.
  3. Stir through freeze-dried strawberries.
  4. To prepare the syrup – add all ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. (You may like to prepare ahead)
  5. Assemble either as one cake or in individual glasses. Begin by dipping a sponge finger into the syrup for approximately 10 seconds or until soaked but not soggy. Lay at the bottom of the dish. Repeat until bottom of the dish is covered.
  6. Add a layer of cream on top, approximately 1cm deep and ensuring the sponge fingers are covered.
  7. Then repeat with soaked sponge fingers. Repeat so you have 3 layers of sponge fingers and 3 layers of cream.
  8. Decorate the top as you wish – you may like to try rose buds or petals, pistachios or some grated white chocolate!
  9. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours or until ready to serve.

 

 

 

Screenshot 2015-07-16 17.45.35

 

 

 

Almond Cashew Cream

Almond Cashew Cream

In the Luz Almond kitchen we keep coming back to this awesome recipe creation which is so versatile you can use it in anything from sweet tarts, cakes and desserts to savoury tart fillings or as a delicious spread!

See the variations below:

Ingredients
Almond Cashew Cream Base
2 cups cashews, soaked for 4 hours, drained
1 cup Luz Almond Original (or Date milk for a sweeter filling)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (optional)

Sweet filling
¼ cup maple syrup (or other sweetener to taste, you may need or more or less depending on desired sweetness)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon and/ or cardamom to taste

Savoury filling (add any of the following to taste)
Salt and pepper
Herbs – fresh or dried
Fresh garlic, diced
Lemon juice

Method

  1. Blend cashews and almond milk in a high speed blender until smooth.
  2. Add coconut oil in steady stream if using (makes the cream set slightly more).
  3. Add sweet or savoury ingredients depending on how you are using it.

Screenshot 2015-07-16 16.36.47

 

NB: For those of you who are not avoiding dairy, you might like to try this recipe with ricotta. Simply add 500g ricotta to the blender after step 1.