Monday, September 20, 2010

Molasses Latte: No caffeine or Carrageenan!

Somewhere I stumbled across an article on carrageenan and promptly freaked out.  I also realized how many places I've noticed it listed as an ingredient --  including my well loved Silk Soy Milk!  This is what it said:

"Carrageenan is about as wholesome as monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is extracted from rice, and can equally be considered natural." 

If you want to read the article in it's entirety click here! It's written by Robert Cohen.  If you're hungry for more just throw carrageenan into your search engine and you'll be reading for days. I've had a nagging suspicion for a while that it might not be the best ingredient for me and I  noticed it particularly after eating soy ice cream.  Perhaps because I ate too much of it at one sitting?  And I'm thinking that there is probably more carrageenan used as a thickener in a serving of soy ice cream than in soy milk and maybe that's why I would notice it more after the ice cream. The results were gastro related and recently my daughter realized that she had the same problems after soy milk.  I put two and two together and realized that the carrageenan was a common thread and it is almost exclusively used by EVERY soy milk producer out there.  Do your own search and you'll see it's very difficult to find any non-dairy milk made without it.  Even Almond Breeze is using it as a thickener. 

So last night I hustled myself over to Planet Organic as there isn't a store in Edmonton that has a larger selection of non-dairy drinks to peruse. I wanted a substitute immediately as I was down to my last few drops of precious Silk Milk. The only one I could find that met all the criteria I was looking for (gluten free was top priority as well) was the unsweetened Westsoy.  I was impressed to see ONLY two ingredients on the label:  reverse osmosis purified water and organic soybeans. Even more impressive would be if I made my own milk -- and it might just have to get to that point one day but not this week! I've read a few articles on making your own almond milk and it seems relatively straightforward -- just a matter of buying fresh almonds and trying it out.  One other commercial brand that I have researched and plan to continue to stock up on is Natura.  I phoned them this afternoon and they assured me it contained no gluten, carrageenan, msg and/or any components thereof (I was concerned about the natural flavors listed on the carton).  It's a canadian product (made in Quebec) and is available at Costco  (great if you have a membership or know somebody that does and will pick you up a few cases).  If you need to use it in large quantities or wish to put some on an emergency shelf it's a very good price at $1.50 per 946ml carton.

And check this:  the Westsoy I purchased has 12g of protein per serving as opposed to only 6g of protein in silk milk (and I'm sure that is the average for all of them).  So putting two and two together -- there has to be a lot more of something else in the other ones to fall that short of the amount of protein.  Too many fillers or more water.  Certainly something to think about. It might seem more expensive at first glance ($3.69 for 1L) but when you consider all the facts you are most definitely getting more food value for your dollar and a whole lot less of some things you might not want!

My monday morning breakfast (pictured above) featured my newly coveted Westsoy, heated gently in a pot on the stove, and to which I added one teaspoon of Wholesome Molasses. Please -- never heat soy milk in a microwave -- it does something to the flavor that is in a simple word - "yucky"!  My on the stovetop method resulted in an enjoyable hot drink that had a definite coffee-like flavor.  I added my GF pumpkin muffin (recipe coming soon -- a bit of a sunken treasure but I'll try again - regardless it was one of my best failures ever!), an organic banana and one perfect organic Medjool Date! If you have never tried Medjool Dates I highly recommend you give them a try!  I'm feeding them to my grandson in place of candy! We're doing our best to severely limit his intake of sugar-laden evils.  He loves the dates so it's all good.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting way to make a latte by just adding molasses. If you decide making soymilk is for you, there are soymilk makers out there that do the work. Mine paid for itself very quickly, and you get the joy of fresh hot organic soymilk. Filter with a cheesecloth if desired. They also make nut and grain milks. Very handy for toddlers too. I don't want to sound like a commercial so I won't say which one I bought.