Whether you’re dairy-free or not, plant-based milks could be something you’ve used or considered using.
Let’s delve into the what and why of plant milks and get into the specifics of these milks for you.
What are plant milks?
At their core, plant milks are a combination of water and a plant base, be it a grain, a nut or even a bean (say what?).
There may also be some extra ingredients added, depending on whether its store bought or home-made.
Why use plant milk?
- There is a trend towards dairy free living, for reasons such as allergies, intolerances, bloating, indigestion and the increasing popularity of dairy free diets
- It’s a convenient way to include more plant foods and their nutrients, like fibre, into your diet
- Plant milks are as versatile as cow’s milk
- They make a great smoothie base
- They can be really tasty
- You can make your own plant milks easily
Here are a few plant based milk varieties for you to look out for and try if you want to and remember the key is finding one that you like and can drink daily if you need to.
Perhaps the first milk a lot of people will consider when opting to reduce dairy is soy, as it’s readily available in supermarkets and health food stores.
Soy is high in protein, fibre and essential fatty acids as well as many minerals including iron and calcium, plus Vitamins, B1, B2, B6, E and Folate.
Soy is a common allergen and should be avoided by those with known or suspected allergies.
Of all the plant milks in this article, Oat milk is the highest in fibre and contains calcium, iron, manganese, selenium and Vitamin B1.
Oats should be avoided on a gluten-free diet as they are often processed with wheat and also contain a protein, avenin, which is similar to gluten.
Perhaps not one that is often thought of for using in normal and frozen smoothies.
Not to be confused with sweet-tasting coconut water, coconut milk is made from the meat of the coconut and has a creamy taste.
Coconut milk is almost exclusively fat, although it does still contain a small amount of fibre.
This is often used for those on a ketogenic diet as a way to reach their daily fat requirements.
Also present are vitamins B3, B5, B6, C, Folate, plus the minerals manganese, iron and copper.
For those on a low-calorie and/or fat-restricted diet, you may want to consider an alternative to coconut milk.
Almond milk is relatively easy to get your hands on in a supermarket, or to make yourself.
It contains protein, fibre and essential fats.
It is also high in antioxidants, contains magnesium, manganese, calcium and other minerals, plus vitamins B2 and E.
Those with a history of gout and kidney stones may avoid almond milk due to the oxalate content.
Of course, if you do have a nut allergy, you’ll need to steer clear.
But how do you milk an almond?
It’s a little different to how we get milk from cows and other mammals.
Here’s a handy little almond milk recipe for you to try;
- Pre-soak 2 cups of almonds in water overnight
- Discard the water, then blend the almonds with 1L of fresh water
- Filter the liquid through a nut milk bag
- Enjoy your delicious plant milk!
Feel free to get a bit fancy here - try adding a pinch of salt or vanilla, perhaps even some raw honey or include as your frozen smoothie base.
Post a photo if you end up making this to to our Instagram and tag us (@supercubes) or it doesn’t count!
What to look out for?
With all of these plant-based milks around you need to be wary when buying store bought milk, make sure to check the labels for any added nasties such as;
- Added sugar
- Natural flavour
Where to go from here?
You can buy a plant-based milk from many different shops (after you read the label of course, see above) or you can make your own as there are plenty of recipes online to make all sorts of milks.
You could even make macadamia, cashew, hemp or pumpkin seed milk!
So which milk are you going to try? Do you dare make your own?