Vegan milk, also known as plant milk, nut milk, and non-dairy milk, is a beverage that has been consumed for centuries in various parts of the world for a variety of reasons. Some choose to drink it due to health reasons such as an allergy to lactose or dairy milk while others drink it for the nutritional benefits it offers. Lately, however, as more of the world goes vegan, people have begun to realize the darker aspects of dairy such as the cruelty towards cows, the harm it causes to the environment as well as to an individual’s health. As a result, plant-based milk has skyrocketed in popularity with a wide assortment of types and flavors for everyone to choose from. This article will address the following topics:
Types of Vegan Milk
- Soy Milk :Soy milk is the classic vegan milk alternative that’s been around for a very long time. Of all the plant milks, soy milk may resemble cow’s milk closest in terms of nutritional content. It is low in calories and it is a great source of both protein and calcium.
Soy milk is great for cooking and baking. It can be used to replace cow’s milk in most recipes and is stable at high temperatures thus making it an ideal cooking ingredient when making sauces or savory dishes. It also goes great in teas and coffees and can even be foamed.
- Almond Milk: Almond milk is most likely the most popular plant-based milk. Although this vegan milk may be low in protein, it contains a lot of vitamins and other nutrients such as vitamin E. Almond milk is rich in various antioxidants which may help protect against numerous ailments such as cancer and heart disease. In addition, home-made almond milk has the potential to be a really great source of calcium. It is based on the number of almonds that are used to make the beverage.
Almond milk is a great beverage that you can drink as is or in smoothies, shakes, teas, and coffees. It can also be poured over your cereal and oatmeal! It can also be used when cooking both sweet and savory dishes, however, many people find that almond milk is a little too sweet for savory dishes and thus prefer to use it more when making desserts and smoothies.
- Cashew Milk: Cashew Milk is a more recent addition to plant milks. It is filled with heart-healthy unsaturated fats and may be beneficial for those who are diabetic and need to watch their carbohydrate consumption. This vegan milk has a very creamy consistency that works great in teas and coffees. It also works well when used during cooking and baking.
- Oat Milk: Oat milk is quite light and has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It has the most fiber compared to other milks. Fiber is important in a balanced diet to help maintain healthy digestion and can help decrease cholesterol levels. It is great in both savory and sweet recipes including cereals, smoothies, cream soups, and curries.
- Hemp Milk: Hemp milk is milk made using seeds of the hemp plant. This vegan milk is quite high in protein with a thick and creamy consistency. In addition, hemp milk may also provide nearly 50 percent of the recommended daily intake of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is important in healthy heart and brain function. Due to its strong flavor, it is best used in savory dishes.
- Rice Milk: Rice milk is ideal for those with food allergies as it’s least likely to cause a reaction since it is devoid of nut, soy, and gluten. It is also thinner than other vegan milks. It is made by combining boiled rice with water and adding some sweeteners. It has a sweet taste that makes it perfect for deserts and its thinner consistency is suitable in soups and light sauces. Rice milk can also be used in baking however, due to its delicate texture it may require some thickening agents such as flour, cornstarch or xanthan gum.
- Coconut Milk: Coconut milk can come in two different forms, either in a can or as a beverage. Those used in cooking typically come in a can. It adds a delicious yet not too overpowering coconutty flavor to any dish it’s used in and works great when used in baking too! Coconut milk is ideal for many different kinds of recipes including curries, soups, stews, sauces, smoothies, puddings, and even ice creams! Meanwhile, the coconut milk that is meant for drinking has a thinner consistency that is ideal for teas, coffees, and cereals.
- Flax Milk: Flax milk is basically cold-pressed flax oil combined with filtered water and it has a thin and smooth consistency. It is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Flax milk is great just as it is, in cereals or in coffee. It can also be used in sweet and savory dishes however it’s important to remember to use unsweetened flax milk when cooking savory dishes.
How Vegan Milk May Be Healthier For You
Vegan Milk May Contain More Calcium
When people hear vegan, they immediately assume that it must be difficult to obtain sufficient amounts of calcium due to the fact that vegans avoid all dairy products. However, this could not be further from the truth! In fact, getting enough calcium as a vegan is quite easy. A part of this ease can be attributed to plant-based milks. Many commercial plant milks may be fortified to have up to 50 percent more calcium than dairy milk.
Calcium is an important nutrient that is responsible for maintaining healthy bones, teeth, nervous system, reducing tension and lowering blood pressure. In addition, the acidic nature of certain dairy products has also been reported to pull calcium from your bones, which could eventually lead to osteoporosis.
Vegan Milk May Have Less Sugar
Plant-based milks come in both sweetened and unsweetened forms. The unsweetened milks are typically free of any sugar with certain types only containing the natural sugars from the nuts and seeds it is made from. In contrast, cow’s milk may contain anywhere from 13 to 16 grams of sugar in a single cup. This high sugar content is due to the fact that dairy milk contains a natural sugar known as lactose. It has been known to be the cause of several bodily issues including digestive problems, allergies and sometimes even blood-sugar problems. The lower levels of sugar in vegan milks may be much kinder to your blood sugar and may not result in a rise in glucose. In some cases, certain plant milks may even lower your body’s blood sugar response.
Vegan Milk May Be Easier To Digest
Plant milks may be a great addition to your diet if you’re looking for something that will help optimize your digestion. Dairy milk has long been associated with digestive issues, especially due to the lactose that’s present in it. The condition is known as lactose intolerance, an ailment that, astonishingly, is said to affect nearly 75% of the world’s population. For those that suffer from lactose intolerance or even just a sensitive stomach, ditching dairy and trying plant-based milk may be the solution you need! In case you have a nut or soy allergy, rice milk is a great alternative option that you try out. Coconut milk and flax milk are also a few other types of plant milks that are easy on your digestive tract.
Vegan Milk May Have Fewer Calories
Not only are plant-based milks incredibly tasty, but they are also fairly low in calories. In their unsweetened form, they are not as likely to cause high blood sugar nor are they as likely to result in weight gain. Yes, there are skim and fat-free milk on the market, even still, vegan milk may have fewer calories. For instance, soy milk contains 26 calories per 100 ml. In comparison, cow’s milk contains 63 calories per ml, with semi-skimmed milk containing 46 calories and skimmed milk containing 32 calories.
Vegan Milk Is Free From IGF-1
Dairy milk has a lot of natural hormones. When consumed, these hormones may induce a significant increase in insulin. It triggers your body to release a hormone known as Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), which is usually naturally found in your blood and its role is to regulate the effects of growth hormone within your body. In addition, IGF-1 has actually been directly linked to cancer cell growth and other health issues. It has also been associated with acne because of the way it induces an extreme insulin response in your body. On the other hand, vegan milks are free of this hormone and therefore, are less cancer-inducing than dairy milk.
Vegan Milk Brands
- Good Mylk: Good Mylk is an increasingly popular brand that manufactures several dairy alternatives including Vegan Mayonnaise, Vegan Curd, Vegan Butter and Vegan Milk made from cashews and oats! In fact, their cashew-oat milk is actually their best selling product! Unlike most vegan milks, it doesn’t require time to get accustomed to the peculiar taste that is typically associated with plant-based milks. It’s deliciously creamy and you can add it to your cereal, oatmeal, tea or coffee!
- Borges Natura: Borges Natura produces many different products including vegan milk. Their plant-based milks are actually derived from nuts. These beverages are available in three different types: rice and walnut, rice and almond and rice and hazelnut. Their nut milks are all incredibly nutritious. For instance, their rice and walnut drink is loaded with lots of heart-healthy omega-3s, low in saturated fats, low in salt and sodium and contains no added sugar. In addition, each glass of the beverage contains as much as 5 walnuts, which is the recommended daily amount for maintaining a healthy heart. All their plant milks can be used in cereals, baking or in your teas and coffees.
- Almo: Almo manufactures very delicious almond milks. Their plant-based milks are made from high-quality almonds from California. The milk contains a hefty amount of vitamin E, which is good for maintaining glowing and ageless skin. It’s also enriched with antioxidants and loaded with calcium, vitamin D and other minerals. In addition, this almond milk is low on calories and has a low glycemic index, meaning that it contains fewer carbohydrates which may result in a rapid rise in blood glucose levels when consumed. Almo almond milk is available in the flavors Original, Unsweetened, Chocolate and Vanilla.
- Life Health Foods (So Good & Soy Milky): Life Health Foods initially started in Mumbai in the year 2003. Now, the company has become increasingly successful and spread to supplying 17 cities across the nation. They are well-known for their delicious almond and soy milks.
Their almond milk, known as So Good Almond Fresh, is deliciously flavourful and made using the finest almonds sourced from the US. It’s also well-fortified with loads of additional nutrients including calcium, vitamins A, D, B1, B2, and B12. It’s free of cholesterol and preservatives and it is also low in sodium! So Good Almond Fresh comes in the flavors Natural, Vanilla and Chocolate.
The soy milk from Life Health Foods is called Soy Milky. It’s made using innovative technology that extracts the milk from soybeans without the bitter and beany taste that is typically present in some soy milks. It’s a great dairy substitute that comes in the flavors Original and Natural.
There’s simply no reason to continue drinking cow’s milk, a byproduct of an industry that engages in both animal-cruelty and environmental degradation. There are a wide variety of vegan milks available around the world such as soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, rice milk, oat milk, and hemp milk. Not only can these milks be used just like dairy milk, but vegan milk also has many health benefits that may make it better for you including that it may contain more calcium, have less sugar, is easier to digest and does not contain IGF-1. So, next time instead of reaching for the milk carton, try out a plant-based milk alternative. It may end up surprising you!