With the increasing awareness of food allergies and dairy intolerance, as well as the increased popularity in vegan diets, there has also been an increase in the variety and quality of non-dairy milks. Cow’s milk, in particular, presents a challenge to many people’s digestive tracts and to parents who struggle to find something nutritious and creamy that tastes like milk for their young ones.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any milk alternatives that are exactly like milk – so different options work better for different situations. Here are some alternatives that you may want to consider. Keep in mind that many of these are available in Tetra Pak, so they can be stored (unopened) in a cupboard.
This non-dairy beverage is a popular choice and it’s carried by most grocery store chains. Soy milk has a smooth flavor with a creamy finish that is well liked by most. It is high in protein and low in saturated fat and cholesterol. There is research that shows that replacing dairy milk with soy milk is associated with a 32% reduced risk of breast cancer. One thing to consider is that soy is one of the top eight most common allergens and may not be tolerated by everyone.
Rice milk is widely tolerated and well liked. It is smooth, but not creamy and has a sweet finish. It is a good choice for a stand-alone beverage or to have with cereal. However it has very little nutritional value unless it has been fortified by the manufacturer. Without fortification, there are few vitamins or minerals, and it is also very low in fat. With such little fat, rice milk is a poor choice for cooking or baking, or supplementing a young child’s diet.
Hemp milk is thick and rich. It is packed with protein, omega-3s, 6s and amino acids. Also, many manufacturers fortify it with as much calcium as milk. It has about the same fat content as whole milk, making hemp milk an excellent choice for cooking or baking. But do not worry, hemp milk does not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Coconut Milk Beverage
With a texture and flavor very similar to cow’s milk, ready-made coconut milk beverages are becoming very popular. It’s a wonderful choice for baking, cooking and well liked as a stand alone beverage. Caution must be taken because the FDA considers coconut to be a tree nut – however many people with tree nut allergies are able to tolerate coconut. Coconut milk beverages are generally a good source of vitamin B12, and are low in trans fat and cholesterol.
This non-dairy beverage is similar to rice milk in consistency. While it is a good choice for cereal, oatmeal or sauces, it is generally not a good choice for baking due to its low fat content. Oat milk is a good source of fiber and is generally well tolerated; however, it may not be a good choice for those with celiac sprue, as the oats may be contaminated with gluten.
Almond milk is light with a creamy texture and somewhat sweet finish. It’s texture and flavor are somewhat similar to cow’s milk and well liked. Almond milk (and other nut milks) are wonderful choices for baking and cooking, especially for chowders and soups. It is high in protein and antioxidants. Unfortunately almonds (tree nuts) are one of top eight most common allergens, so caution must be taken.
If you suspect that you have a sensitivity or an allergy to milk, consider a food sensitivity test. The IgG (immunoglobulin G) food sensitivity test measures antibodies specific to 190 different antigenic food proteins that are common in Western, Asian, and Mediterranean diets. Because IgG reactions are a delayed hypersensitivity response in which symptoms appear anywhere from hours to days after eating the offending food, it can be difficult to pinpoint these foods on your own. Fortunately, the IgG Food Sensitivity Test can identify problematic foods so they can be eliminated or rotated in your diet. Elimination of IgG positive foods has been shown to improve a variety of health symptoms. To learn more contact us at Village Green.
Photo from here, with thanks.