glass of almond milk with almonds strewn about


I guess you can’t get milk from an almond.

I have to admit I was up against the clock with this month’s post.  Between vacation, a visit from the vegan daughter, and a weeklong heatwave, my creative fluids were in drought mode.  But then my thirst for ideas was slaked by the Food and Drug Administration, and their recent announcement that almond milk should not be called “milk”.

As far back as 2000, the National Milk Producers Federation felt the threat from soy milk, and petitioned the FDA to “take appropriate enforcement action to prevent misbranded products from entering the marketplace.”  They cited a federal standard that stated it’s got to be from a (healthy) cow if you want to call it milk.

Dairy farmers don’t like non-dairy products (of which almond milk is 64%) taking up space on the grocery store shelves.  Maybe some consumers think that almond milk comes from a cow, but has almond extract for added flavor.

In a Huffington Post article, Bruce Friedrich of the Good Food Institute tried to be the voice of reason, saying that people associate “milk” with almond and soy milk, so what’s the big deal?  The Good Food Institute focuses on plant-based alternatives, so we have to take Bruce’s opinion with a grain of quinoa.

I’ve touched upon my personal milk evolution in the past.  For years, I had daily doses of whole milk. In my 40’s, I progressed through 2%, 1%, and skim, before finally settling on almond milk.  I dabbled with soy milk but it was more flight of fancy than anything else.

I visited, run by the California Milk Processor Board, in 2015 for a post (“Got Controversy?”), and I wondered what they had to say about the whole almond milk thing.  Surprisingly, or maybe not, they don’t say much.

The astronaut that was serving up milk on their homepage in 2015 has been replaced by a mother (or possibly a nanny) and two children.  There is a sidebar article entitled, “Real Milk Comes From California Cows (Not Factories).” In the article, we learn that 97% of Americans get their milk from cows, not all cows give milk, and cows can drink up to 50 gallons of water per day.  I find it hard to picture a cow drinking that much water, but who am I to argue?

In an article about exercising, the site also advocates having a slice of apple and a glass of milk before a workout, and chocolate milk after one to refuel. And, did you know that people who drink more dairy products actually weigh less and have less body fat?

I think I’m going to stick with my almond milk.  According to the carton, it has 50% more calcium than milk, and has less calories and no cholesterol.  As far as calling it milk, I really don’t care if they call it “almond drink”, “almond milkish”, or “almond milk, not to be confused with real milk”.

But, there is one thing that makes me curious.  Where are these milk factories I’ve been hearing about?

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