The Best Alternative Milks For Vegans
Plant-based vegan milk has been consumed for centuries in various cultures around the globe. But we are finding that these alternatives are starting to grow in popularity. Supermarket aisles have exploded with milk alternative options over the past few years. It’s often mind-blowing and extremely confusing trying to figure out which one is the best for you.
People choose plant based vegan milk over dairy milk for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s for their nutritional value, living a vegan lifestyle, animal welfare reasons, lower environmental impact, or to avoid allergens such as lactose.
The variety of healthy vegan milk alternatives for cooking, drinking and baking is spectacular. Here’s a quick guide to a few of the popular options available.
Oat milk is made from soaking whole rolled oats and is naturally sweet and high in carbs. It contains soluble fiber which absorbs water and turns into a gel during digestion. This has two benefits. It helps slow digestion, which keeps you feeling full. Oats are also known to fight LDL (bad) cholesterol. It is also a natural source of vitamin D, which is perfect for vegans to increase their calcium absorption. This type of milk is simple to make at home by blending rolled oats with water and filtering through a nut milk bag.
It is creamy, making it perfect for your morning tea or coffee, with an almost non-existent after taste. Oat Milk doesn’t split when heated during cooking, so it’s perfect for making a white pasta sauce. It also has an excellent texture for smoothies.
This was one of the first plant based vegan milks to hit the masses. It has been used for centuries in parts of Asia, and which the rise of the vegan movement, became the easiest and quickest option for the community. Soybeans are an excellent source of protein, and because this milk is usually fortified with various minerals and vitamins, it has a profile that resembles cow’s milk. There are studies to suggest that it may help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
The taste is nutty, and texture is thick but not sticky. It works well in baking.
This plant based vegan milk is made by soaking almonds in water, blending and straining away the solids. It is a great tasting non-dairy milk alternative, but it’s not safe if you have a nut allergy. Unsweetened almond milk is remarkably low in calories, reasonably low in carbs and gluten-free. However, sweetened versions are also commonly available. It is low in protein and usually fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D. Most varieties contain potent antioxidants that can have a protective effect against certain illnesses.
You may find it has a very subtle nutty flavour when drinking. For your cooking, it has the same qualities as cow’s milk, so can be used in smoothies or with your cereals and desserts.
This non-dairy milk is made from ground and soaked hemp seeds. These seeds are high in protein and healthy omega 3 unsaturated fats which promote healthy heart and brain function. Hemp milk is virtually carb-free, but some brands add sweeteners, which can increase the carb content.
Hemp milk generally tastes slightly nutty and sweet. It is excellent for hot drinks and great when used in smoothies. You should try blending it with fresh fruit and freeze to make brilliant non-dairy ice cream.
This liquid goodness is squeezed from the white flesh of a coconut. It’s an excellent plant-based milk alternative, made from this delightful fruit. The coconut milk packaged in cartons is blended with water to give it a consistency similar to cow’s milk. Canned coconut milk is usually intended for cooking and used in many South-East Asian recipes. This milk is higher in fat, but the fats are medium-chain triglycerides which are linked to healthy heart advantages. You can also find coconut yogurt in most supermarkets, which is delicious and creamy.
It has a light, tropical flavor. The packaged coconut milk is perfect in smoothies, coffee and used for making chia seed puddings. The canned coconut milk is excellent used in curries and soups.
Rice milk is a plant-based alternative for people with nut allergies and is gluten-free. It has a similar flavor to regular dairy milk, is low in calories, but there is very little protein or fat. It’s easily made by boiling rice and adding a sweetener if desired.
Rice milk is sweet in nature, and the texture is thin. It works well in sweet dishes such as desserts, but not advised for using in savory dishes.
There are many reasons why you may need or choose to not drink cow’s milk. The vegan lifestyle is one of the significant reasons, encompassing ethical ideas and health concerns.
Fortunately, there are many great alternatives available. When making your choice, try to stick with the unsweetened varieties and look on the packaging for plant-based alternatives fortified with calcium and vitamin B12.
There is no plant-based milk that fits everyone’s needs. You need to determine the taste, nutritional needs and the cost of the alternative. The key is to experiment and find which ones you like the best to suit your taste and culinary needs.
Thrive Market is a great vegan friendly marketplace where you can find great vegan milks, for customers in the USA.
EarthHero is another marketplace, perfect for everyone on their vegan journey. They ship throughout the USA and selected items to Canada.
Amazon stock lots of vegan milks and nut bags, which you can use to create your own versions of your favourite milks.