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Remember that advertisement where the middle-aged guy walks into the corner store asking for 1 Litre of Milk and the ever so sweet cashier responds “Low fat, no fat, full cream, high calcium, high protein, light, skim, omega 3, high calcium with vitamin D and folate, or extra dollop???” To which the guy responds “Ahh…I just want milk that tastes like real milk”. She could now add to that a whole new variety of non-dairy milk that has popped up on the corner store shelf: oat milk, almond milk, quinoa milk, rice milk, hemp milk, coconut milk and soy milk. With all this milky variety available to us…many are left pondering the same old question the dude in the corner store battled with: “I just want milk that tastes like real milk”.
There is no denying the increase in lactose intolerances being reported in recent years; combined with much scientific evidence arguing the negative effects of conventional dairy products to our health, being its mucous & pus forming & feeding certain cancers (for information visit here and here); finally add to this report after report exposing the big milk manufacturers foul play by adding all sorts of hormones, chemicals and nasties to their cows milk. Despite popular belief society has been led to believe that dairy is the only way we can get our daily calcium intake for healthy bones, which is not actually the case. There are so many non-dairy alternatives to calcium – of which some of my faves are brazil nuts, almonds, seeds, kale, collard greens, broccoli, kelp, molasses, chickpeas and barley grass (11 times more calcium than cows milk), just to name a few. This has left many people completely eliminating or reducing dairy consumption from the diet and noticing dramatic improvements to digestive health (myself included). So what do the anti dairy folk drink as an alternative to the ol’ trusty glass of cows milk? There are a few great and delicious alternatives available. Finding one that suits your culinary taste is up to you, but here is a good place to start if you are considering testing out some non-dairy milk alternatives:
Grain Milks (Rice, Oat, Spelt, Rye & Quinoa Milks)
Rice, oats, spelt, rye, and quinoa are but a few of the grains that are now being made into milk. While these milks are higher in carbohydrates and lower in calcium and protein than soy milk, those who enjoy grain milk’s thin texture and light taste can find many brands which are fortified with vitamins and minerals including calcium and vitamin B12. These are great in a bowl of natural cereal, oat milk actually tastes like liquid porridge (yummy), therefore grain milk is a great choice at morning meals.
Hemp milk (made from hemp seeds that are soaked and ground with water) is another healthy alternative to dairy. Unlike other substitutes, hemp milk contains all ten amino acids, providing a complete protein in a glass. Additionally, hemp milk contains omega-3s, calcium, and iron. While harder to find than some of its counterparts, hemp milk is nutty, earthy, and provides a great deal of nutritional benefits!
Delicious! Coconut milk is made when the meat of a coconut is blended with water. The thicker consistency, which makes coconut milk a great substitute for whole milk, is attributed to its higher fat content—there are five grams in a one-cup serving. Note: make sure to get it out of the carton though—canned coconut milk has been used in many tropical cuisines for centuries to create delicious curries and desserts but is higher in fat & additives and harder to gulp from a glass.
Almond milk, is quickly gaining popularity with grocery store shoppers, is often the least expensive non-dairy milk. Its mild, nutty taste enhances flavour and it is also the least caloric of the bunch at around 60 calories per one-cup serving and is a great source of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E. It is also really easy to make at home – simply soak almonds over night and add purified water & blend!
Perhaps the most well known of the milk alternatives, soy milk was first documented being made by the ancient Chinese as early as 220 AD. Soy milk is a popular alternative to cow’s milk because of its high protein content and low levels of saturated fat, though recent studies have linked increased soy consumption to diseases such as breast cancer, due to high phytoestrogen levels. Limiting the intake of soy milk is most advisable.
So there you have it, now when the sweet little check out lady lists off 20 or so different milky varieties – at least you will now know a bit about each of the non-dairy varieties available to you. Enjoy!