Friday, December 2, 2011
Product Review - Amande: Non-Dairy Almond Based Yogurt....
I used to be a yogurt fiend, and like most people I thought it was pretty healthy for me. Of course once I went vegan and did the research I realized that yogurt, low-fat or not, is just as detrimental to one’s health as is any other dairy product. It still has all the casein, and natural morphines, saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar and gelatin. Not to mention that if you buy your average non-organic yogurt it also contains added hormones, chemicals, additives, antibiotic residue, pesticide residue, puss and fecal matter. Even though puss and fecal matter have been rendered harmless by the pasteurization process do you really want to still be eating it? I know I didn’t, and that’s just talking about the health effects, we haven’t even gone into the horrendous treatment of the dairy cows by the industry.
But what is a yogurt fiend to do? You see I felt about yogurt the way many people feel about cheese, which is to say I didn’t know how I was going to live without it. A yogurt a day had become my staple. I ate it for a ‘healthy’ snack instead of gorging on sweets. I ate it for a ‘nutritious’ breakfast with fruit, nuts and a bit of honey. I put it into smoothies, I ate it in tzatziki, I ate it as a garnish to spicy Indian cuisine. It was something I loved, and ate daily that I never in a million years thought I’d be able to give up. Now I shudder to think what all those years of dairy yogurt consumption might have done to me!
When I first went vegan I tired a lot of different kinds of non-dairy yogurt, and most of them left me feeling less then impressed. I find most soy yogurts taste chalky, and leave an unpleasant aftertaste. I thought rice yogurt was a bit sour and off-putting, and coconut yogurt which I simply didn’t like. After trying these different yogurts I found myself faced with a dilemma. Return to cows milk yogurt (not an option) or learn to live without it. So that’s what I did, I excluded yogurt from my diet and didn’t look back. It was hard at first, because yogurt had become such a mainstay, it was a part of my food culture, it was comforting to me, not having it was a disappointment. After a week or maybe two however I hardly noticed that yogurt was no longer in my life. I’d found other things to fill the void and I no longer craved it or even desired it. In fact the very idea of eating a yogurt kind of disturbed me. Even non-dairy yogurt was unappealing to me.
Then I happened across some baking recipes that called for soy yogurt, as a healthy alternative to oil. Since I was so desperate to try out these recipes I decided to give the soy yogurts another chance, and this is when I happened across Wildwood’s Vanilla Soy Yogurt. Which I have to say is simply excellent! It is hands down amazing, though I’m not particularly fond of their plain flavor. For a little while yogurt re-entered my life, but since I’d gone so long without it at this point, once the ‘honeymoon period’ was over, even Wildwood’s delicious vanilla concoction disappeared from my refrigerator.
Then I discovered Amande. It was about eight months ago, when I came across someone sampling it at Whole Foods. I tried some, thought it was decent and then kind of forgot about it, until about four months ago. I was in the store, reaching for a carton of Wildwood when I saw four flavors of Amade lined up side by side. Not being able to remember anything about the flavor I decided to give them a second try, and man am I glad I did.
This is hands down the best non-dairy yogurt I have eaten so far. It is far superior to every other brand both in flavor and texture. There is no aftertaste, the flavor is mild. It’s not overly sweet, as it’s sweetened with fruit juice not sugar, and the texture is amazing. It looks and feels exactly like actual yogurt. Thick and lumpy like the dairy yogurt I remember. It’s absolutely brilliant. After all it’s the texture that really makes yogurt what it is, and this is so comparable that it’s almost indistinguishable from dairy yogurt. Texture I think is what most other non-dairy yogurts lack. As much as I love Wildwood, I find theirs is a bit runnier then it should be, and while coconut yogurt is thick it just doesn’t taste good to me. Amande has it all, taste, and texture. This is definitely the best go-to yogurt if you need to cull that sudden mid afternoon yogurt craving. So far I’ve tasted the blueberry and strawberry which I absolutely loved. The cherry which I wasn’t crazy about but then I tend to not like cherry flavored things in general, and the peach which I thought was decent but didn’t compare to the blueberry or strawberry. I can’t wait to try their other flavors.
Another great thing about this delicious non-dairy yogurt is that it’s both Soy-Free, and Gluten-Free as well as non-GMO. Amande also contains six live active cultures, to boost your digestive health and even the probiotics are grown in a non-dairy medium.
So if you’re in need of a good yogurt sub you should definitely check out Amande. I’ve seen it for sale at Whole Foods, Manna Foods (in Maui) and a few other natural heath food stores, so take a look next time you’re out and don’t be afraid to ask your natural foods store if they can get it for you.