Yael Green + Nicola Behrman of Almond Milk LA
Pictured: Yael Green (left) & Nicola Behrman (right)
I’m so excited to share with you today an interview with an amazing local duo! Yael Green and Nicola Behrman, who make up Almond Milk LA, have created a wonderful product that can be delivered right to your front door! (That is if you live in the Los Angeles area.) I was really inspired by Yael’s drive to pursue the Almond Milk LA company as she was in her third year of a doctoral degree in Physical Therapy. I’m a big believer in following your dreams and I think this a great example of someone doing just that! Turning a staple in her and Nicola’s kitchen, they have perfected not only the way almond milk should taste but also a throw back of delivering fresh milk to your home! Not to mention the super cute branding! Here is my interview with these two lovely women on their company, Almond Milk LA!
What inspired you to start an Almond Milk company?
“Almond Milk LA literally started when I was making almond milk at home one evening in 2012 and a small voice inside me said – “I want to deliver Almond Milk to people.” It came from nowhere, could not have been further from what i was pursuing in my life and yet in that moment I felt an excitement and a joy that I hadn’t felt before. The timing couldn't have been crazier - I was in the third year of a four-year doctoral degree in Physical Therapy and yet I knew that I had to act on this hunch. We started small and as momentum and success grew in our first year, I decided to take a leave of absence to pursue the dream of Almond Milk LA. It was the best decision I have ever made!”
What is your history with almond milk prior to starting Almond Milk LA?
“For us, Almond Milk had been a staple in our house. I had started making it about 6 months before and it was something so easy and simple. I don’t have a background in cooking and in fact it had actually been somewhat challenging for me to find my “voice” in the kitchen and around food. Almond Milk was something that I intuitively knew felt good in my body and later would find out from a nutrition perspective how good it really is. And honestly, I just really loved the meditative process of making it. It's such a visceral experience and even without drinking it, I think the process of creating it is really good for so many of us that spend days and days at computers and in our brains.”
Of all of the almond products out there why did you decide to make almond milk?
“We were making it because of the wonderful health benefits - when made in the correct way, using high quality organic almonds and making sure they are soaked/ sprouted first, it is literally a medicinal food. Much illness today comes from the fact that our body’s pH levels are too acidic and everything we can do to alkalinize them is a really good idea. This is why everyone is drinking green juice and doing juice cleanses - to try and alkalinize their systems. Well, raw homemade almond milk is not only an alkalinizing food, it's also packed with protein and magnesium, which our bodies desperately need, so it's really a no-brainer. So for us, it wasn't about finding an almond product and wanting to sell it, it was about experiencing the amazing health benefits of almond milk and wanting to share them with the world!”
I love the concept of the old school delivery of milk to your doorstep, what areas do you deliver your milk to?
“Thank you! We do too! And people get so excited by the notion that we deliver in glass bottles and ask people to leave their empties out for collection. It's really a joy to see peoples' faces light up when they remember the old school milk delivery experiences of their childhood and get to relive them somewhat! Delivery-wise, our wonderful friends at Good Eggs LA are our delivery heros and heroines and handle all our delivery needs, so we "deliver" to all the areas on their site. As of now, it's: Westside, Eastside, Central LA, San Gabriel Valley & San Fernando Valley. We're hoping they will add Malibu and Topanga soon!”
Where can Angelenos find Almond Milk LA? Do you sell your products outside of Los Angeles?
“You can find us at the Palisades Farmers Market every Sunday, Red Bread, Lindy & Grundy, Produce Project at Handsome Coffee Roasters, Pressed Brother Juicery at Grand Central Market & South Pasadena Farmers Market and at Farmshop, Brentwood. Oh, and also in the panna cotta at Melisse restaurant. True Story!”
In your opinion, why do you think almond milk is the best milk?
“As far as nut milks are concerned, Almonds are the most alkalizing and protein filled nuts. Almonds are rich in magnesium, potassium, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, and healthy essential omega-3 fats, and contain antioxidants which can help fight off and repair any damage done by inflammation. No other nut is at alkalanizing so for us, beyond loving the smoothness of the taste, it's a no brainer. In terms of milks in general, we encourage people to do their own research. We are not fans of boxed milks, whether they are Soy, Almond or Rice, for a variety of reasons - boxed milks are filled with synthetic vitamins and carrageenan, which reek havoc on the system, and Soy is generally a GMO product in this country, which to us is equally horrifying. And when you look at how much protein is actually in a box of almond milk, you realize pretty quickly that there can't be many almonds in there! In terms of cows milk, we do believe in the benefits of raw milk but sadly most people can't get it in this country. We're not a fan of pasteurization and we think low-fat anything is actually counterproductive and makes you put on more weight, so that would be a no-no in our book. But we believe it's important for people to do their own research and find the milk or the milk replacement product that is right for them. Ultimately, our bodies know what makes them really happy and for us, it happened to be homemade raw almond milk!”
What sets Almond Milk LA apart from other almond milks and almond milks you find in the grocery store?
“Essentially our almond milk has no preservatives, no carageenan, and all the vitamins and minerals in Almond Milk LA come directly from the almonds themselves. We use almost ½ pound of almonds in each bottle, and we also sprout our almonds which is an essential step in consuming all nut products; the process of sprouting, which is simply soaking almonds in filtered water for 12 hours and then rinsing them completely acts to remove the enzyme inhibitors that surround all nuts and are indigestible to our systems. This in turn allows our bodies to absorb the minerals and beneficial enzymes, which aids in digestion and increases the absorption of the vitamins, minerals and proteins. If you are consuming Almond Milk for health reasons, you really want to make sure that the almonds have been soaked or sprouted first!”
You offer three flavors of almond milk: pure, honey and cacao. Which one is your most popular? Which is your personal favorite?
“We love all the flavors, including our new addition, our turmeric almond milk, but my personal favorites will always be the pure and the honey. I am an avid tea drinker and use them in my tea every morning and afternoon.”
You have great branding and packaging, what was the concept behind it?
“Thank you! We love it so much too! We wanted it to be whimsical and inviting and also really clean. Our Almond Milk is such a clean and simple product that we wanted that to be reflected in our branding. Our designer and brand guru, Janean Lesyk literally had the original design come to her one night in a dream and everything since has been a building on and finessing of that original concept, that was quite literally heaven sent!”
Are there any plans for possibly opening a freestanding milk store?
“Sometimes we get excited at the prospect of having a little whole in the wall somewhere were people can come and pick up their milk or a community space where people can come together and connect over warm almond milk and almond pulp cookies, but we are still a new company and so far we have found that our niche centers around doorstep delivery and farmers markets. When people start clamoring for an actual spot, we will consider it. Till then we are mobile home delivery all the way!”
You can order their Almond Milk here!
Almond Milk LA also offers DIY kits for you to make their almond milks in your own home! Here are the steps to making their DIY as demonstrated by Nicola! (She made the cacao almond milk!)
Written, Interviewed & Styled by: Kristen Tola Hettich
Photographed by: Bethany Nauert