Who’d have thought you could get all you needed from 1 serving of milk?
I know, right? ONE SERVING OF MILK.
- Hello…this is a vegan blog…
- Vegans, in particular, need to supplement their diets with fortified products.
- There’s reason to conclude that plant milk alternatives are better than cow milk. (Don’t believe me? Keep reading.).
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Fortified with Plant Proteins and Omega-3s
Let me give you some background on how I found this brand:
It was Thanksgiving morning and I had run out of my favorite Almond Breeze the night before.
I drink matcha tea, so I usually get the almond coconut blend because it froths well and tastes the best.
If you don’t know what matcha is, it’s green tea leaves ground into a fine powder. You dissolve them in water and drink the whole leaf.
Coffee is too acidic for me, and the caffeine crashes are murder. (Once, in high school, I was actually convinced that I was dying. I imagined an episode of 1,000 Ways To Die for it and everything.) Matcha kept me from dying.
Anyway, back to the original story.
I had run out of the Almond Breeze and was in desperate need of something to sweeten my morning lattes. Whole Foods is open from 7am-4pm on Thanksgiving day, so I ran out to them to get my fix before the festivities began.
I’m speed-walking to the milk aisle and something catches my eye: Good Karma Flax Milk.
Since I was in such a hurry, this isn’t what made me pause to look. No, what made me linger on this particular milk alternative was what it promised in each serving:
- 8 grams of plant protein
- 1200 milligrams of omega-3s
For those of you that don’t know, these are vital nutrients for the human body.
They are the ones people ask about most often when you say you’re vegan:
- Where do you get your protein?
- How do you get in your omega-3s?
- How can you be sure you’re getting enough?
- You get everything you need from plants?
If you’re vegan and haven’t heard one of these questions yet…be patient. You’ve got life yet to live.
But it’s true, you do need to plan your diet well to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients. Here are a few things that proteins and omega-3s do for your body.
I remember a little bit of this from high school biology but had to reference MedlinePlus for help.
Proteins are often called the “building blocks of life”. They help the body:
- Break down food
- Repair tissues
- Perform body functions
In short, you couldn’t live without them. That’s why they’re so important…and why people are always worried about getting enough.
So how do proteins work? Simple. Your body takes them in and breaks them down into amino acids. There are 3 types of amino acids:
Our bodies can’t make essential amino acids. They only come from the foods we eat. They include:
Our bodies CAN produce non-essential amino acids. We don’t depend on our food for them:
- Aspartic Acid
- Glutamic Acid
Last, we have the conditional amino acids. They’re not considered essential unless we’re sick or under a great deal of stress. The conditional amino acids include:
We don’t need to worry about getting these proteins and amino acids all in one meal.
If you’re eating a well-rounded diet, you should be getting them.
So don’t worry about always making sure you have some rice to pair with those red beans. The beans by themselves will do.
But that’s why I love that this flax milk has 8 grams of protein per serving.
That’s right… PER SERVING.
I drink 2 or 3 lattes every morning, so I’m getting 16-24 grams of protein before I eat anything.
And that’s how I start my day.
For your brain, they help to create brain cells.
I remember an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy where they talked about the insult “fat head”. I can’t reference it because I can’t for the life of me remember which episode it was. The gist is that “fat head” is actually a good thing because your brain SHOULD have a lot of fat. In essence, having a fat brain means that you have a healthy brain.
I don’t know about all that, but it sure made for an entertaining episode.
You definitely want them brain cells, though. No question about that, right?
Omega-3s also help protect your heart. Take a look at this:
- Omega-3s reduce the number of triglycerides in your blood
- They reduce the risk of arrhythmias
- Slow down plaque build up in your arteries
- Lower your blood pressure
They can also help with some mental illnesses like ADHD and depression.
I don’t know about you, but I suffer from depression myself (as well as some anxiety issues). Anything that could help soften the blow of these chronic illnesses is fine by me.
There are 3 kinds of omega-3s: EPA, DHA, and ALA. The first 2 benefit your heart most directly and are best sourced from oily fish (salmon, tuna, etc.).
This would be great if this were a blog for pescatarians…
But it’s not. It’s a vegan blog. So we’ll be talking about ALA, which you can get from these plant-based foods:
- Ground flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
- Chia seeds
- Canola oil
- Soy oil
Or, if you’re lazy like me, you can get Good Karma flax milk and mix it with your lattes and smoothies :).
Get 25% of B12 and Other Vitamins
“Am I reading this right? Do I actually get 25% of the coveted B12 and D vitamins by drinking this milk alternative?”
Yes, you read that right. No, I’m not playing with your emotions. This milk alternative actually has 25% of your daily value in 8 oz of beverage.
Don’t believe me? Let’s consult the nutrition facts:
- Vitamin A, 10%
- Calcium, 30 %
- Vitamin D, 25%
- Vitamin B12, 25%
If you’ve been vegan long enough, you understand why.
You can’t imagine how many times people ask where I get my B12 from. And for good reason.
B12 and the B Complexes
Sounds like a 60s/70s band or something. Don’t it?
B12, a.k.a. cobalamin plays a MAJOR role in making DNA and RNA.
That’s your genetic material. The stuff that makes you who and what you are.
It also works with 7 other B vitamins to help your body make fuel out of food.
If that ain’t enough for you, here are some other things that B12 and the B Complexes do for you:
- Help the body use fats and protein
- Keep your skin, hair, eyes, and liver healthy
- Assist with proper nervous system function
- Make red blood cells
- Help the body use iron
- Produce S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) for mood and immune function
- Control blood levels of homocysteine (B12, B9, and B6), which could cut down risk of heart disease
Yeah…that’s a lot.
So if you’re not gonna buy The Complexes’ new album, at least make sure you’re getting enough of them in your diet.
Vitamin D plays several roles in the functions of the body:
- Proven role in helping bones absorb calcium for strength
- Helps regulate immune and neuromuscular systems
- Plays a role in the life cycle of human cells
The great thing about vitamin D is that it’s sooooo important, your body can make it by itself.
When you expose your skin to sunlight, your body converts it into vitamin D.
But here’s the part that sucks: most of us don’t live in a climate that supports this.
In short, our environments don’t offer enough sunlight for us to make enough Vitamin D on our own.
This is why it’s so important for us to get it from our food, and why it’s so great that this flax milk offers ¼ of our daily value.
I mean, I had 2 cups of matcha with a serving of flax milk each. Before I even had my first meal of the day or took my multivitamin, I had already consumed 50% of my Vitamin D for the day. (And 60% of my calcium. I don’t see my bones breaking anytime soon.)
ZERO Added Sugars
They make this part pretty simple… because this beverage has 0 GRAMS OF SUGAR per serving.
So you don’t have to worry about any added sugars because there’s no sugar to begin with.
And it still tastes amazing. So there’s nothing lost.
Thick and Creamy– Great for Lattes
The consistency of full-fat milk with none of the sat fats.
Or the cholesterol.
Oh, yeah, and THIS stuff has the same benefits as whole milk with NONE of the shit you don’t want.
Remember, you need vitamin D to absorb calcium. Good Karma flax milk and your average dairy whole milk both have 30% of your daily value for calcium. But whole milk has 0% of your vitamin D.
I’M JUST SAYIN’.
Also, I have to throw other milk alternatives in a frother or to make them thick enough for a latte.
Not this stuff.
It makes a nice, creamy latte without making it like a yogurt drink.
I may NEVER go back to Almond Breeze.
C’est la vie.
100% Vegan, Gluten- and Soy-Free
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I LOVE Field Roast vegan meats. They’re a fresh take on seitan-making traditions. Thus, they’re made with vital wheat gluten.
Since I like to eat stuff like this every now and then, I try to avoid gluten whenever I can. If it doesn’t need to be in there, it shouldn’t.
Good Karma flax milk is gluten-free, so that takes care o’ that.
I also don’t do soy milk.
I don’t like the taste and I don’t want to consume soy too often.
There are several pros and cons to the consumption of soy.
- Good source of protein
- Contains calcium
- Isoflavones can cause hyperthyroidism
- Consuming more than 1-3 servings daily can add to risk of breast cancer
- Phytates, oxalates, and other chemicals found in soy can interfere with mineral absorption
Again, I kind of treat soy like gluten.
Since I like to eat tempeh and tofu from time to time, I don’t drink soy milk on the regular.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you. But this is a good alternative if you can’t or don’t want to drink soy milk.
So what are you waiting for?
Go out there and get you some flax milk TODAY!
I found mine at Wholefoods like I said earlier.
I know, I know. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know that Wholefoods is my go-to for specialty items.
But I have AWESOME news…
Grocery stores like Giant and Safeway are getting more hip to the vegan vibe!
They’re stocking up on dairy subs, health foods, specialty items, AND produce!
So don’t worry if you don’t have a Roots or a David’s near you.
Hit the closest grocery store and see what they got for ya!