Almond milk: Rich history, bright future - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Almond milk: Rich history, bright future

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The days of the milkman might seem long gone, but milk has stood the test of time in so many diets.   After all, it helps our kids grow big and strong.

But there's a harsh reality in the dairy world.   A lot of people can't drink cow's milk.  They can't digest it, and it makes their stomachs curdle.

Food companies are marketing a solution that's rooted in history, and it's now becoming a grocery store blockbuster.

"We've seen a 20 percent increase," explains SweetBay spokeswoman Nicole Lebeau.

The recipe for Almond milk is quite simple.  The juice we call milk is made from water soaked almond that are crushed.

"I've been drinking it for about four years now," said Joel Fritchman, owner of Tampa's Café Evi.     "Almond milk is the closest to whole milk, if you were to not consume whole milk ... if you weren't going to consume whole milk it's probably the best option."

Fritchman added almond milk to his diet four years ago.  He is now building a business on it, brewing up coffee drinks made with almond milk.

"Almond milk is creamier than soy, and non-fat milk," Fritchman said.

Customers who have trouble digesting cow's milk are buying into the idea.

"I got excited when I heard they had it here," explain Amelia Shahrabi.  She orders her coffee drinks lactose free with almond milk.

"People want something different, and almond milk is a good alternative," explains Batina Timmons, Registered Dietitian.

Compared to a serving of 2 percent milk, almond milk has fewer calories, fewer carbs and most brands are fortified with Calcium.

Food experts say almond milk is very rich in history. Historians say almond milk has been on the menu since ancient times.

"It had enormous symbolic value, it had enormous religious value, it had enormous social value," according to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee History Professor Dr. Martha Carlin.

Almond milk was a favorite in Medieval Europe, given a lack of refrigeration and religious obligations.

"There were periods of the year such as lent when the use of meat products were forbidden to Christians. You could not eat dairy products, milk butter cheese and yogurt," explained Carlin.

"In those days, you didn't have electronic grinders. They had to grind up the almonds in a mortar and passel which was more work.  It meant you had a supply of fresh milk any time of year, no matter how hot it was," he said.

While almond milk is a popular alternative for the lactose intolerant, those with nut allergies should stay away from the product.

Coffee Evi address:

4020 W Kennedy Blvd, Suite 104
Tampa, FL 33609
Phone: 813-287-5756

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