Recently, there has been a rise in the consumption of plant-based milk and a decrease in the amount of diary milk consumed. Plant based milk has always been consumed in a variety of different cultures but over the last decade their popularity has increased exponentially. People have begun choosing plant-based milk over dairy for numerous reasons such as animal welfare, nutritional reasons, lowering the environmental impact, health reasons or just out of general preference. Many people are lactose intolerant, in fact 75% of all people are lactose intolerant which is one of the main components making up Cow milk. More and more people have begun researching the effects cows milk has on our planet, our health and the animal itself and have begun to make the conscious decision to switch to an alternative source of milk. There is a huge variety of vegan milk alternatives which can be used for cooking, drinking and even in baking, wherein no animal is harmed. The Grind has researched the 10 of the best plant based milks and summarised our findings below.
- Almond milk
Almond milk is made by blending almonds with water and then straining out the solid remains, another way of making almond milk is by adding water to almond butter, the same product is achieved either way. Almond milk has a delicious nutty flavour and a creamy, soft
texture which makes it quite like dairy milk. For this exact reason it is considered the
number one milk substitute to people following a vegan diet or for people that are lactose intolerant. Almond milk has fewer calories and much less protein than cows’ milk, there is a small amount of unsaturated fat in almond milk, which is the healthy type of fat. Almond milk can also be a rich source of calcium depending how many almonds are used to make the milk. Lastly almond milk also contains many antioxidants which can be powerful and protective against effects of cancer and certain types of heart disease.
- Cashew milk
Cashew milk has become another popular choice amongst vegans. Cashew milk is creamy, sweet and versatile. Cashew milk, like almond milk, has a nutty taste and is suitable for
cooking, drinking and baking. It contains healthy unsaturated fat and is perfect for people struggling with diabetes, as it only contains 2 grams of carbohydrates per cup. It is the perfect dairy substitute for coffees as it adds a lovely thick texture to your coffee. Cashew milk has many nutritional benefits as it is high in vitamin-B, vitamin-D and monosaturated
fatty acids. The milk also contains minerals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium, and potassium which are all healthy for the mind and body.
- Coconut milk
Coconut milk is made from the white ‘flesh’ of matured brown coconuts. The milk has a
thick, creamy and rich texture, which works well in many cooking and baking recipes. Many
Southeast Asian cuisines have been cooking with coconut milk for centuries, reaping many of the health benefits. Coconut milk is different to coconut water, coconut water comes from green immature coconuts naturally it does not have to be made. While coconut milk does not occur naturally but is made when the solid flesh is mixed with water. Coconut milk is delicious in all kinds of recipes, from curries to smoothies, puddings and even vegetable soups. Coconut flesh is highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
- Hazelnut milk
Hazelnut milk is an amazing plant-based alternative to dairy milk, it is not as common as almond milk or cashew milk although it has several health-boosting options. All hazelnut milk is gluten, lactose and soy free; it is low in calories and contains no cholesterol or saturated fats. It is also a good source of vitamins B1, B2 and B6 which are all essential in blood formation and mental health. Hazelnuts help to prevent anaemia, cancer, and heart-disease. The milk is very versatile and can be used just as dairy milk in cooking or with cereal or a hot beverage. It does not taste anything like dairy milk, offering a nutty flavour that is stronger than almond milk.
- Hemp milk
Hemp milk is made up of whole hemp seeds and is rich in high-quality plant protein, healthy
fats and minerals which benefits the health of your skin and helps to protect against heart
disease. Hemp milk is made by blending water with the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp milk
has an earthy, nutty flavour and a creamy consistency. It can be used in place of cow’s milk
in, smoothies, coffees and cereal. While hemp milk can be made from just seeds and water,
many commercial varieties contain sweeteners, salt or thickeners as well. Just one glass of
hemp milk can provide 50% of the recommended daily intake of alpha-linolenic acid, the
omega-3 fatty acid, which helps support good heart and brain function. It is suitable for
cooking and baking and has a slightly nutty taste.
- Macadamia nut milk
Macadamia nuts are nuts from a tree that have a butter-like flavour and a creamy texture.
Like most other nuts, macadamia nuts are very rich in nutrients and may have many
beneficial plant compounds. They also have several benefits, which include, improved
digestion, heart health, weight management, and blood sugar control. This nut milk is low in
calories but also very low in both protein and carbohydrates. It tastes great on its own and
can also be used in desserts and coffee.
- Oat milk
Oat milk is perfect for people that have allergies or intolerances to lactose and other allergens. It is naturally free from lactose, nuts, soy, and gluten if made from certified
gluten-free oats, it is also delicious and benefits bone and heart health. Oat milk is made by soaking and blending rolled oats with water and thereafter straining out the solid’s leftover. Oat milk isn’t as nutritious as whole oats, but it is therefore enriched with nutrients which include calcium, potassium, iron and vitamin A and D. Oat milk is sweet with a consistency similar to low-fat milk. It contains a moderate number of calories and has more protein than most plant-based milks. It also has more fibre than the other plant-based milk alternatives, which is important because it helps regulate digestion and can lower cholesterol.
- Soya milk
Soya milk is made from soybeans and filtered water, it often contains thickeners to improve
consistency and shelf life. Soy milk comes from plants, so it is naturally free of cholesterol and low in saturated fat. It also contains no lactose. Soybeans and soy milk are a good source of protein, calcium (when fortified), and potassium. Soya milk is the most nutritionally similar to cow’s milk and is the most popular milk alternative so far. It is
suitable for a wide range of purposes and can be used without restriction for cooking, baking, or in coffee, and it can even be foamed. As with cow’s milk, soya milk is now
available in various flavours, such as vanilla, chocolate, or banana.
- Pea Milk
Pea milk is naturally sweet and is one of the most delicious legumes. Pea milk is fortified with an impressive amount of nutrients, it contains calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin A and Vitamin D. Protein is a critical factor in keeping hunger at bay. Pea milk’s high protein count
of 8 grams per cup provide longer staying power, especially compared to lower-calorie, lower-protein alternative-milks.
At the Grind
Here at The Grind, we offer a variety of plant-based milk alternatives which include Soy, Almond, Oat, Macadamia and Hazelnut. We believe in offering a variety of different options because each person has their own preference.