I have recently revisited this question (summer 2015), as almond milk has become so widely available and it has become less almond like along the way! The standard Harcombe Diet answer would be “almonds are nuts and nuts are a mix food, so Phase 3 only”. However – when you look at the product – it’s not really almonds at all.
Nutrition data (my go-to source for nutritional information) doesn’t list almond milk, so I’ve used a well known brand as a source http://www.alpro.com/uk/products/drinks/almond/unsweetened-fresh (let’s hope the link stays put).
The ingredients are described as “Water, Almond (2%), Calcium (tri-calcium phosphate), Sea salt, Stabilisers (Locust bean gum, Gellan gum), Emulsifier (Sunflower lecithin), Vitamins (Riboflavin (B2), B12, E, D2)”. It’s essentially water, therefore, with a tiny amount of almonds and a couple of nasties – stabilisers and emulsifiers.
Are you better off without this? Absolutely. At any stage of any diet. However, some people do want more options for drinks, so let’s look at this product more objectively…
The nutritional information lists calories per 100ml as 13 – this is just useful to check against the macronutrients. These are described as 1.1g of fat per 100ml (that will deliver approximately 10 of the calories) and 0.1g carb and 0,4g protein. The latter two will deliver a couple of calories between them, so this does add up.
Is it a mix food in terms of The Harcombe Diet? Barely, to be honest. It is so low in almonds – it is virtually water. It would not be good to graze on it, just as it is not good to graze on anything. I wouldn’t personally have it for the stabilisers and emulsifiers (and the cost). But, if it works for you in an occasional and non-grazing way, it is an acceptable shade of grey for Phase 1 (and Phase 2).
Do watch the amount and frequency carefully. Pour 100ml into a measuring jug and then into a coffee mug and you will see how small an amount this is. A couple of 100ml in one coffee with breakfast (or one meal) should be fine. If you were putting almond milk in every coffee throughout the day, you’d be grazing and that would not be fine. If in doubt, leave it out!