(1/21/13) *This contest is over – Congrats to our winners!*
First, a bit about our family and our milk consumption. We are a dairy-free household. We went dairy free for my son’s eczema and I just didn’t feel like buying a different milk for him while the rest of us drank something else, so we all made the switch together and haven’t looked back since.
When we first went dairy-free, we started on rice milk, but found it naturally too sweet for every day consumption – then heard about the high levels of arsenic found naturally in rice and I quickly looked for an alternative. We did try soy and almond milk at one point before realizing my son is allergic to both, not to mention soy specifically is high in estrogen and is pretty much guaranteed to be genetically modified if it’s not organic. GMO soy, no thank you. I came across hemp milk and was thrilled that it was high in omega-3s, but I find it to have a very strong taste which doesn’t go so well with morning cereal. Never the less, we kept to hemp for a while before discovering flax milk several months ago.
We’d been alternating with hemp and flax milk very happily before I was contacted by Sunrich Naturals and asked to review their new SōL Sunflower Beverage. I did a quick review of their ingredients, found them to be both allergy safe for my little guy with multiple allergies AND just as nutritious as the flax milk we’d been drinking, so I eagerly said yes to the review.
Then, they sent A LOT of milk!
So, just how does SōL’s Sunflower Beverage rank among all the dairy-free milk’s we’ve tried.
Unsweetened – This is our preferred “milk” flavor – or should I say, my preference. The kids, as well as my husband, would happily drink carton upon carton of the sugar laden original and vanilla “milk” flavors, but that obviously wouldn’t be so great for my son’s eczema or our waistlines. All the “milk” we drink is of the unsweetened variety, so for a comparison stand point, how does SOL stack up? My husband immediately said that it was much better than the the flax we’d been drinking. My kids and I wholeheartedly agreed. It has a much more nutty flavor, which we all love. It’s much creamier as well. Flax is very plain, almost like water in taste, I find. On the opposite scale, Hemp has a very strong flavor, while soy and almond milks are creamy and nutty. I’d say Sunflower milk tastes similar to some soy or almond milks, but is much creamier than either.
Original – Slightly sweet in taste and again, very creamy and nutty in flavor. This would be my favorite if I didn’t look at the sugar content, which seems to be right on target with all the original flavored alternative milks on the market. Too high for our family however. I try to avoid refined and cane sugar, instead using maple syrup and honey in their place. I do wish an alternative milk manufacturer would come out with a naturally sweetened milk flavor – why not use dates or maple syrup, for example?
Vanilla – YUM! Like drinking a milkshake – I’m so serious! My kids were begging for seconds, thirds, etc. and did so by banging their glasses on the counter – it was mayhem! Remember, we only do unsweetened milk in this house – so this vanilla flavor was like desert in a glass for them. Again, the sugar content is too high for us on a normal basis, but it’s comparable with the other vanilla flavored “milks” on the market.
But is it healthy?
One serving of SOL contains 70 calories, 4g of fat and provides the recommended daily values:
- 12% Potassium
- 10% Vitamin A
- 25% Vitamin D
- 50% Vitamin E
- 30% Calcium
- 20% Folic Acid
- 60% Phosphorus
- 6% Magnesium
I confirmed with a representative that they use Mid Oleic sunflower oil, a much more nutritious and less processed variety of sunflower oil. So, given that and the above RDAs, yes, looks healthy to me as far as dairy-free milks go. The only complaint I have is that there is very little dietary fiber or protein, but that’s also lacking in most dairy-free milks.
Is it allergy safe?
Sunrich Naturals declares SOL Sunflower Beverage is gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, and tree nut-free.
The unsweetened flavor contains the following ingredients:
Filtered Water, Sunflower Kernels, Sunflower Lecithin, Tricalcium Phosphate, Organic Tapioca Starch, Expeller Pressed Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Xanthan Gum, Naturals Flavors, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Folic Acid, d-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Natural Vitamin E sourced from sunflower, canola or soybean oil)
My son is allergic to gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and some tree nuts. While soy is an allergen for him, we’re lucky in that he never has trouble with vitamin E, although it can be derived from soy, as with this milk. According to Sunrich Naturals “Other ingredients do not contain soy. Please keep in mind that Vitamin E is sourced from oil that is mainly fat in nature. However, allergens are typically protein in nature. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no known cases of allergenic reaction reported to us.”
Regarding cross contamination Sunrich Naturals states “Our facility processes corn and soy. Potential allergen cross contact is prevented by using thorough cleaning wash cycles of the processing equipment.”
Those are the facts as they were shared with me. Only you can decide if this milk is allergy safe for you. We’re thankful it passes the allergy safe test for our house.
One final word from my four-year-old son. He volunteered this quote about the three SOL Sunflower Beverages – completely unprompted I must add, “These are the best milks!” There you have it – 100% two and four-year-old approved.
**Now for the Giveaway**
I have three (3) coupons valid for a full case of SOL Sunflower Beverage to giveaway. I will award one (1) coupon to each of three (3) winners. Each case contains six (6) milk cartons and you may choose the flavor – unsweetened, original, or vanilla.
Open to residents of US and Canada (except Quebec).
For a list of stores that carry SOL Sunflower Beverage in the US, please look here. In Canada, the beverage is carried by many local, natural health food stores as well as many Sobey’s.
**Enter the giveaway HERE.**
Good luck everyone!