In a world where we are told almost everything is bad for us, dairy has officially been added to the hit list of big, bad nasties with milk in particular being swapped out for plant based alternatives such as almond milk, tiger nut milk, rice milk, coconut milk…the list goes on. But what exactly are the benefits of Mylk vs Milk and why are people making the switch?
The emergence of plant based mylks shouldn’t suddenly make you think that regular cow’s milk may kill you, it won’t. Research has highlighted that plant based mylks have health benefits and may therefore be better suited to individuals that are intolerant or are prone to allergic reactions. I'm sure by now you must know about all the different plant based mylks that exist but with so much choice how d you know which one is best for you. When it comes to picking a plant based mylk there really isn’t any wrong choice, although some mylks can be more environmentally friendly than others. That’s why I have narrowed down a list for you with a list of their added benefits and whilst I have picked out some of my favourites one thing that nutritionists say we should look out for when picking our favourite mylk is to ensure that they are fortified. Fortification is the process in which vitamins and minerals are added to plant based mylks to ensure that they fulfil your nutritional needs.
Not only is coconut milk’s creaminess perfect for making the perfect the coffee or your favourite batch of vegan ice cream but it is also perfect for making curry. The rich consistency, strong flavour and the fact that is it full of iron, vitamins, calcium and all other sorts of goodness mean that it will give your curry all the extra nutrients that it needs.
An usual one I know, but have you heard of pea mylk before? Launching last month in Sainsbury’s and Whole Foods pea mylk has become one of the up and coming plant based mylks that have people going a but wild. So, let’s list the the benefits; 8g of protein per glass, 40% less sugar and double the amount of calcium than dairy milk, high in fibre and low in saturated fat. Before you get freaked out at the prospect of driving green coloured milk, pea mylk is actually creamy in colour. Made form yellow split peas, pea mylk is naturally high in the amino acid lysine and iron.
Tiger nut mylk
This is one of my absolute favourites and actually one of the plant based mylks that converted me to including mylks in my diet (I don’t normally drink milk). I haven’t tried store bought tiger nut mylk but I have made my own at home. It is pretty simple to make and follows the same technique as most nut mylk, soaking the nuts overnight in water, blending the nuts in the morning and then draining the mylk that formed into a container using a kiln cloth as a strainer. The bets thing about tiger nut mylk is that it’s natural creaminess and sweetness means that you can drink it on its own (yep no acai bowl, smoothie or oats needed). In fact, Mexicans traditionally enjoy it with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla. Rude Health offer a variety that you can buy here if you aren’t quite in the mood for making your own.
Flax seed mylk
If you’re after a mylk that isn’t so heavy then flax seed may be for you. It is thinner in texture, free of cholesterol and rich in omega 3 fatty acids which make it good for everyday use and improving cognitive function. Plus, remember how I mentioned that we are told to look out for plant mylks that have been fortified, well flax seed mylk has been fortified with vitamin A, B12, D and calcium meaning that it has much of the necessary nutrients that we need for a healthy diet.
Oat mylk is a great alternative to almond mylk in terms of its environmental impact. Whilst almond mylk requires a lot of water and energy, the process to make oat mylk is less intensive. Oat mylk can be used for a variety of things but one of my favourite uses is for baking, especially because it is naturally sweet it means that less sugar needs to added to your baked goodness. Plus, with 5g of protein per cup and being packed with fibre oat mylk is a great way to get your nutrients kick.