Growing up, I guess I always took it for granted that Milo was made in New Zealand. I’m not quite sure why; I suppose it was my own ignorance …or clever advertising by Nestlé helped me to form that wrong assumption. Well anyway, that was my understanding well into adulthood, so that when I left home (after a childhood filled with fond memories of Milo-drinking) and I began my life of flatting during my university years, Milo was always considered an “essential item” on the grocery list, even through the poorest times. Unfortunately, there really is no denying it is hideously expensive, especially at the rate most of us spoon it into our
mouths cups. However, we (my flatmates and I) considered Milo to be a cultural necessity, not just a sentimental one! Our very kiwi-ness was tied to this delicious beverage that could be drunk hot or cold – oh, and that was extremely healthy, especially if you were very sporty and active.
According to its website, Milo is made from ‘simple’ ingredients: milk powder, malt barley, sugar, and cocoa. And 8 vitamins and minerals. I guess it’s my own fault that I simply assumed those were the only ingredients in Milo all these years. Duh. You can imagine my surprise when, as an investigative new eco-warrior mum on a mission, I actually read the ingredients list on a tin of Milo:
Extract of malted barley, milk solids, sugar, cocoa, vegetable oil [containing one or more of the following: palm oil, palm olein, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, whey, corn oil, soya oil], whey, ACTIGEN-E [dicalcium phosphate, magnesium carbonate, ascorbic acid, vitamin pp, ferric pyrophosphate, calcium-d-pantothenate, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, vitamin B1, D-biotin, vitamin B12, disodium phosphate, vanillin, maltodextrin].
By this time I already had enough of an interest in environmentalism to know that palm oil was NOT a good ingredient to read on a food label, nor palm kernel oil, and frankly, corn and soya oils didn’t sound too good either. But the loyalty to a kiwi icon was strong, so I turned a blind eye and continued to add it to my shopping trolley.
What actually stopped me from buying Milo for good was my more recent resolve to eschew plastic, particularly in the kitchen. Unfortunately there is no such thing as plastic-free Milo, as I discovered that even tins are lined with epoxy :-/ . So I was forced to experiment with alternatives to the non-kiwi iconic kiwi drink I loved. Amazingly, my husband was totally open to this latest scheme of mine, as it coincided with the much maligned change to the official Milo recipe.
The first batch of Mummy’s Milo I made was taken from this blog: alittledelightful.com. However, the recipe called for a whole lot of nuts and seeds to be finely ground, and I knew I was never going to be bothered making it again after just one session of roasting and peeling hazelnuts, ugh. Plus, there was the small issue of me killing our little electric spice grinder (twice). Fortunately, I discovered an amazing thing one day at the supermarket while perusing the organic foods aisle: Ground LSA+P. This stands for finely ground linseed, sunflower, almond, and pumpkin seeds; ie. the bulk of the nutty/seedy ingredients for most Milo-alternative recipes! Hurrah! So of course I immediately bought it and concocted my own Milo-alternative recipe, suitable for eco-mums who can’t be bothered roasting, peeling, and grinding ingredients, but who still want to be Good.
It is unfortunate that many organic foods are packaged in plastic; in this case, plastic-lined paper bags. But I figure I can make 4-5 batches of Mummy’s Milo with each packet of LSA+P and cacao powder, so it’s still an improvement on what we were doing before.
So here it is, Mrs Goodness’ recipe for Mummy’s Milo:
Mummy's Milo Recipe
- ¾ cup LSA+P (ground linseed, sunflower seeds, almonds and pumpkin)
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- 1 cup raw cacao powder
Stir all ingredients together in an airtight storage jar till they are mixed.
I use one heaped teaspoon per cup, but obviously you can adjust the amount to suit your liking.
Add more sugar if you have a sweet tooth!
I will now freely admit that this is more like a nutty hot chocolate drink, rather than something you would swear is Milo if you drank it while blindfolded. But in defence of any difference in flavour, this drink is really healthy, really! While my whole family enjoys drinking it, I haven’t had a lot of feedback from other people, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below if you decide to give it a go yourself – even if it’s bad, I don’t mind!
But perhaps you’re not quite convinced you need to walk away from Milo for good… Here are a couple of articles that maybe, just maybe, will give you the nudge you need!
The problem with Palm Oil – why organic and/or sustainable palm oil doesn’t really cut it either… :-/
Note that Nestlé is one of the world’s largest consumers of palm oil.