Getting your head around plant milks by Jordan Collins

Jordan is Animal Aid’s Supporter Engagement Officer. 

You’ll soon find that leaving cow’s milk behind actually means you have more choice than before because there are so many kinds of plant milks! There’s such a variety that it could take you weeks to try them all. Below we’ve listed some of the more popular types of vegan milk, as well as their nutritional benefits.

Oat milk
Benefits: iron, beta-glucan (which lowers blood cholesterol levels) and fibre.

Keep in mind: oat milk has more calories and less protein than other milks.


Almond milk
Benefits: calcium.

Keep in mind: very little protein compared to other milks.

Hemp milk
Benefits: essential amino acids

Keep in mind: hemp milk has a strong taste so you may only want to use it in savoury dishes.

Soya milk
Benefits: creamy texture; has the most protein of all plant milks

Keep in mind: processed brands may contain carrageenan, which recent research has shown may cause gastrointestinal inflammation; it is best for baking because it remains stable at high temperatures

 

Flax milk
Benefits: omega-3 fats

Keep in mind: little fibre or protein

Rice milk
Benefits: sweet

Keep in mind: thinner than other plant-based milks; very little protein

Cashew milk
Benefits: creamy, good choice for baking

Keep in mind: very little protein

Hazelnut milk
Benefits: heats and foams better than almond or soya milk; contains B vitamins and vitamin E which is good for skin and hair

Keep in mind: higher in fat and calories

Coconut milk

Benefits: high in Vitamins C, B1 and B6

Keep in mind: high in saturated fat and calories.

It is always worth buying plant milks that are fortified with other vitamins and nutrients – such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, and calcium.

One big issue for a lot of hot-beverage drinkers is finding a milk that will not curdle in hot tea or coffee. If you let the hot drink cool a little, that should prevent most incidences of curdling, but some milks still come out ahead. You can also now get ‘barista’ style plant milks that were made specially for hot drinks and coffee!

 

Another option is to make your own milk. This is surprisingly easy and you don’t even need to purchase any fancy kit!

Recipe and method:

  1. Soak a cup of seeds, nuts or grains in four cups of cold water overnight.
  2. Drain mixture; discard the water.
  3. Blend the mixture until smooth.
  4. Use cheesecloth or a strainer to get all of the milk out. The pulp can be used in baking or to make crackers or hummus.
  5. If you want to add sweetness, blend the milk with two dates.

Refrigerated, the milk should last for three days.