June 6, 2012

Product review: Good Karma Flax Milk

For those with dairy allergies, lactose intolerance, or a preference for avoiding animal products, there are many options in the market for milk-like beverages.  The amount of new products is awe-inspiring and encouraging. 

I recently found a new kind of milk in the dairy case of Sprouts Farmers Market:  flax milk.  I was really excited to see a new type of milk, especially one that attempted to harness the health benefits of flax seed.
For those readers who are unfamiliar, flax seed is touted as a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3s are the "good fats", or the essential acids that promote brain function and reduce the risk of heart disease.  In addition, flax seeds are high in fiber and in lignans which scientists believe play a critical role in preventing cancer.

My milk-allergic son, Ryken, is content just to drink soy milk.  I, on the other hand, have been on a continuous journey to lower our family's overall consumption of soy after learning of research on the effects of excessive amounts of isoflavones on hormones and the implications on reproductive development.  If we can eliminate some highly processed soy products from our diet, my worries will be somewhat allayed.  After confirming that Callan was not allergic to almonds, we integrated almond milk into our family's diet with Ryken being the last holdout in the conversion.  Ryken hates almond milk and continues to drink his beloved Soy Dream.  We as a family also eat tofu, soy yogurt, occasional Tofutti products, and sometimes use soy milk in recipes as a substitute for cow's milk.  So overall, Ryken is eating a big dose of soy every week.

Good Karma, the company behind this new flax-based beverage, offers three varieties: original, vanilla, and unsweetened.  Our family tried out the original-flavor flax milk.  Everyone seems to like it, especially Ryken who has been the toughest to wean from soy milk.  The flax milk has a creamy taste -- not as rich as soy milk but fuller than Rice Dream milk.  This is probably due to the fact that soy milk has a little more fat per 1 cup serving than flax milk.  The flax milk had a slight, salty aftertaste much like almond milk.  This might give someone pause if they were drinking flax milk straight up from a glass.  However, for our family's purposes, the slight mineral taste of flax milk didn't affect our enjoyment.  We have had flax milk in cereal and in dessert recipes and it's been a pretty good alternative.

The original flavor has 7 grams of sugar per 1 cup serving.  (Editor's note:  When I first posted this, I had incorrectly stated the original flavor as having 11 grams of sugar,) Although Good Karma original flax milk does have more sugar than Soy Dream Original (4 grams), it is the same as Trader Joe's or Silk almond milks (around 7 grams of sugar).  Good Karma original flax milk has 60 calories per serving while Rice Dream Original has 120 calories per serving.  Interesting to me because I thought the bigger flavor of Good Karma would naturally mean it was higher in calories, which is not the case.  The vanilla flavor has 11 grams of sugar per 1 cup serving, which is on par with Horizon Organic cow's milks. 

Dairy-free, egg-free chocolate pudding made with flax milk.  Not too shabby!

Good Karma has come up with a solid line of milk alternatives.  Overall, I still like the creamy, mild taste of Soy Dream Original best for cooking in sweet or savory dishes.  But if you have to avoid soy due to allergies or intolerance or simply want to like our family, Good Karma flax milks are very good alternatives full of health benefits.  I definitely plan to integrate flax milk more into all areas of our foods (baked goods, sauces, drinks) although for savory dishes, I will opt for the unsweetened variety.

Good Karma's product line includes rice milks and frozen desserts much like its competitor Taste The Dream.  For more information about Good Karma products and where to find them, check out their website.  You'll also find a handy coupon there to enjoy.

15 comments:

  1. We are on soy overload here too with all the soy milk and other products we consume every week. According to their store locator, I should be able to get unsweetened flax milk from Andronico's and Mollie Stones. Perfect. Thanks Irene!

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  2. Thanks for that update, Irene. I'm in the middle of changing our diet here. Might take Jaren off dairy completely due to his "mild" milk allergy and myself off of gluten as an experiment this summer. Just started my research on everything bc I have had an aversion to soy for the same reason. But as I started researching both online and by having conversation with friends in the nutrition field, there is a safe soy...I think. It is to my understanding that the GM-soy is what is harmful and comprises over 90% of the soy made in this country unfortunately. It is the non-GMO soy that is safe and doesn't cause the harmful effects that we hear about....as long as it is real soy and properly fermented. Problem lies in the fact that it is very difficult to find non-GMO soy products, but it is possible. As I keep researching, I will leave you with this link http://www.nongmoproject.org/

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  3. Thanks for providing the nonGMO site, Michelle! This will be very useful to all!

    All the soy in the dairy-free milk and tofu that our family eats claims to be from non-GMO soybeans. (We usually stick with organic, too.) But there sure are lots of GMOs in more highly processed products -- wonder if the mysterious soy protein isolate and soy lecithin are GMOs.

    I will try to remember to follow along on the site you posted. I also just found a list of non-GMO products including dairy-free alternatives: http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Avoid_GMOs.shtml

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  5. Hey ... I came across your blog and I just bought this flax milk myself, nice taste and no poor quality so called "healthy" junk ingredients added to it, a shade high on the sugar but maybe the non-vanilla one is better. I wanted to comment in case the other reviewers read this, please do not give your kids soy ... esp. your boys. I am a doctor, an open minded one involved in alternative medical research, and I have seen soy do some powerfully negative things to young boys & girls.

    It can do a lot of damage to their delicate and growing endocrine system. People talk so much about the wonders of soy, but for the most part it was only eaten in Asia during times of famine or to kill libido in religious temples.

    The agricultural industry has a vested interest in selling foods that will grow in really harsh conditions, soy is one of those things, that is why you hear so much about it.

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  6. Thanks for your input, David. It's always good to have more perspectives, especially from people in the medical field.

    I highly recommend trying the original (non-vanilla) flavor. I just double checked our label and the original has 7 grams of sugar as compared with 11 grams of sugar in the vanilla variety. (I originally incorrectly wrote that they had the same amount of sugar.) There is a little vanilla in the original flavor and maybe this will be just the right amount for your taste buds!

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  7. I discovered Good Karma soy milk yesterday at a Feel Rite store. The price was right, $1.99 a half gallon, so I tried it. I got the unsweetened because I'm trying to lose weight and it is only 25 calories per cup. Although I'm sure I would love the higher sugar flavors, I was pleasantly surprised that this low calorie option wasn't awful, it actually tasted pretty good. It doesn't leave me feeling thirstier because there is no added sugar and there is no chalky residue. I drink it plain or make hot chocolate with a cup of flax milk, 1 tbls of unsweetened chocolate powder, a little vanilla extract (you can add cinnamon and nutmeg too if you like) and a packet of Truvia. Very satisfying, and only 35 calories!It's also good over cereal or in fruit smoothies.

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  8. How is the protein content of flax milk? It is very low in almond and rice milk :( Which is why I still look toward soy varieties for my occasional milk use.

    Also, flax is also a phytoestrogens... Meaning it causes some of the same effects that soy does. If you're concerned about soy, I would also limit flax.

    Jessica Lea, RD MPH

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  9. Thanks, Jessica. Bummer. Right you are about flax containing phytoestrogens. Maybe they will come out with chia seed milk?

    Unfortunately Good Karma flax milk does not have any protein. I guess your best best still is soy.

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  10. Where is the best place to buy this product

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  11. Hi John!

    On the Good Karma website, you can use the store locator to find the nearest retailers that stock it. For us, it's a Sprouts Market but the supply has not been consistent recently and they have been having an issue keeping this on the shelf. Good luck!

    http://www.goodkarmafoods.com/store-locator

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  12. Good Karma = flaxseed milk... Bad Karma = http://www.naturalnews.com/026303_soy_protein_hexane.html

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  13. Absolutely love this milk and it tastes great much better than almond, soy, coconut :) this is certainly my new substitute for cow's milk

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  14. I have been interested in trying flax milk and appreciate your review. I recently found an easy recipe for it. If you make this unsweetened you will greatly decrease the amount of sugar you are consuming and the calorie count as well. Making your own gives you power over what you put into your milk thus giving you more control over what you are serving your family. If you are interested in making your own here's an easy unsweetened flax milk recipe...http://realsustenance.com/5-minute-homemade-flax-milk-glutendairynutsoycoconut-free/ PS if you don't have cheesecloth or a nut cloth, no worries use a clean pair of pantyhose! xox

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  15. Thanks for the tip, Tickled in Love! I have a friend who told me about how easy it is to make her own almond milk (our family is okay with almonds). If I can ever decide my husband and myself to take the $500 Vitamix plunge, I am most definitely going to experiment with making our own milk substitutes!

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