Vegan Milk Alternatives and Plant-based Dairy substitutes
It is becoming easier and easier to adopt a plant-based diet; with more choices and options available both in supermarkets and café shops, offering a wide variety of vegan alternatives to milk.
I am guessing you already have a pretty good idea about the negative aspects of milk consumption, the animal cruelty associated with the dairy industry, and the environmental impacts animal farming has on the planet. Whether you decide to make this shift because you have developed lactose intolerance, or just simply want to help animals and protect the environment, you made the right decision. So let’s see what plant-based alternatives are currently available on the market.
Plant-based milk alternatives
Oat milk is a non-dairy drink that is low in fat. It provides you with vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, Vitamin A. Due to its nutritional content, it complements a vegan diet well. This is my favourite choice of plant-based milk as it’s one of the most sustainable alternatives you can get and the taste is the most pleasant in coffee, tea or porridge. My personal favourite is Oatly Whole drink. Not suitable for people with gluten intolerance.
One of the most commonly used plant-based milk alternatives. It is widely available in supermarkets and coffee shops. Soya milk has a good amount of protein and a creamy texture. It can be used to replace cow’s milk in cooking. Just be sure to find a brand that uses soy beans that are not genetically modified (Non-GMO or GMO-free).
Rice milk is slightly thinner and more watery than other plant-based milk alternatives. It is usually made from brown rice mixed with water. It can be used for cooking but due to its thin texture it might require some additional thickener like arrow root powder.
There are two types of coconut milk, one for drinking and one for cooking. The lighter version is a coconut drink that can be added to coffee, poured over cereal or used in milkshakes. There is also a much thicker, full-fat version that is used for cooking and baking mainly in Asian dishes, and it is usually sold in cans. Coconut milk is a great alternative for people with nut or grain allergies.
I used almond milk in my homemade vegan ice cream recipe. It has a nutty taste and a creamy texture. You can use it in porridge, milkshakes or pancakes. You can also cook with it, however, I prefer using almond milk in sweet dishes rather than savoury recipes due to its naturally sweet taste. Almond milk is made from soaked almonds blended and mixed with water. You can also make your own almond milk at home. The only downside is that it’s not the most sustainable plant milk so if you are like me, you will probably choose a more sustainable plant-based version.
Hazelnut milk is not as commonly used as other plant-based milk alternatives, it is, however, becoming more and more popular due to its great nutritional content and nutty taste (not to mention that it goes well with chocolate).
Hemp milk is made from hemp nuts (shelled hemp seeds) mixed with water. It has a high protein content as well as a large number of amino acids. It also contains the right ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It’s a healthy choice for anyone who enjoys an earthy taste (a bit nutty and watery).
Before you decide to purchase any product, always look at the labels. Check for additives, flavourings, sweeteners, and thickeners like carrageenan or xanthan gum and avoid them as much as possible.
It is always best to choose organic, unsweetened, Non-GMO and MSG-free alternatives.