It’s not the first nor the last time you hear about almonds (milk) being great for your health yet terrible for the environment. It’s a selfish struggle to not care about the long term repercussions of our actions vs our health.
The Good: Health benefits (unless you’re allergic). Takes care of your brain, cholesterol, bone health, your heart, immune system strength, skin care, Anti-inflammation, blood pressure regulation, weight loss, constipation… All that good stuff just for you. Also, a great option if you’re lactose intolerant. BUT be weary…If you wish to continue the almond milk journey, do educate on what’s in your milk then. A good comparison of different almond milk can be found here.
The Bad: In short, leading to the ugly. It takes a lot from the environment. As demand grows and more people want to be healthy…environmental damage comes into play. Be it the bees to the production. The demand also comes from one area in particular that can’t sustain with a growing population without more land and water being used.
The Ugly: Further details from “The Bad”…As majority of almonds come from California (an area where it gets hot enough that they can have long periods of drought). As stated by TheFoodWire:
“The vast majority of almonds are grown in the US and in particular California, in fact it was estimated that in 2013 80% of the worlds almonds were grown in the US. The pollination of the almond trees in California is one of the largest managed pollination operations in the world, over 1 million bee hives are brought in from all over the US to pollinate the almond blossom. Also 10% of all the water used in California is used to grow almonds.”
The following article called “Your Almond Habit is Sucking California Dry” by Tom Philpott via Mother Jones is also a great (long) read that gives much perspective, details and data into the almond industry. Written in 2014 and so much is still changing for the worst I feel.
I’m equally guilty on my actions as I moved away from Milk to Almond Milk. What’s the best alternative? OR Does it not matter because no matter what option I pick, once it becomes a trend, it will cause environmental degradation?! Do I just find the one that is the lesser evil of the bunch?! Feeling quite conflicted about this one. Knowing where something came from but knowing the process is not good at all. How I enjoy ethical sourcing…not only caring about where it’s coming from but in what process/manner at what additional costs?
To Ponder On: In a world with 7 billion people…is there really sustaining demand without harm?
Photo Source: Food.NDTV – Eat Well Live Well