Soy, Almond, Coconut!? Dairy-Free Milks and Which One is Best!
Head to the dairy section of the super market, and you’ll be faced with an overwhelming amount of options when it comes to dairy-free, vegan friendly milk. Now if you aren’t already familiar and are still drinking cow’s milk, theres a whole load of information and research to support the far superior health benefits of nut and oat milks as opposed to cow’s or goat milk. But, that’s an entirely different ball game. Keep reading to see which dairy-free milk amongst all of the options is the best choice.
There has been a lot of talk about the pluses and minuses of consuming soy, which has caused some discussion within the health community. Derived from the soy bean legume, soy product is present in a wide variety of food labeled vegetarian or vegan. The good news is, it’s packed with protein, lowers cholesterol and your risk for heart disease, and has been shown to slow the accumulation of liver fat. However, I prefer not to drink soy milk because of the alternations the ingredients can cause to your hormones. Soy is high in phytoestrogens, which is processed as estrogen in our bodies. Hence, soy milk has been linked to decreasing fertility in men, and is sometimes heavily genetically modified. Moral of the story? If you choose to drink soy milk, be extremely careful and selective about which brand you decide to consume.
My personal favorite of this bunch, almond milk is made by soaking and extracting the liquid from natural whole almonds and contains no processed ingredients or sweeteners, as it can be made by hand in your own kitchen (unlike soy milk). Almond milk is also quite low in cholesterol, contains no fat and is high in vitamins A and D. For these reasons and more, I personally prefer almond milk over all other types of milk due to the fact that it has no affect on your hormones and can be easily found without modified or unhealthy preservatives or binders. Although it is not a good source of protein, it is a great substitute and can be used in a variety of recipes. Like soy milk, however, there are loads of brands that create almond milk that DO have unhealthy chemicals contained within. For your safest best, make your own almond milk or buy it from a farmers market where you know the ingredients are fresh!
Somewhat new to the scene, coconut milk is making it’s way to main stream coffee shops and is increasing in popularity. Now, with so many options arising for vegans and vegetarians, or those who are dairy intolerant, it can be overwhelming to know which alternative is the best and healthiest. Since popular chains such as Starbucks have introduced coconut milk to the scene, people have begun to wonder if it is actually that good for you. Well, I hate to be the one to burst your bubble but coconut milk is probably the least healthy option of the bunch. Not because pure coconut milk is unhealthy, but it is often disguised as “coconut beverage”, and can be loaded with additives, excess sugar, and unpronounceable ingredients that decrease its health factor. Although some varieties can include nutrient rich minerals, including calcium and potassium, coconut milk does rack up high on the fat scale. So, keep these facts in mind when roaming through the isles of your grocery store or ordering a coconut milk latte from Starbucks. Make sure you read the nutrition label and check for additives! If there are words that you cannot pronounce or look unfamiliar, avoid it!
So, what’s the conclusion? From all of my research and outlined information above, I will go with saying that almond milk is my favorite option! Because you can make it yourself and do not need to rely on processed or artificial ingredients, almond milk presents itself as the best dairy-free choice. Whole, organic, raw forms of almond milk contain almost three times as much calcium as normal cow’s milk. It is often easily found in it’s raw form, and non-sweetened and plain versions are readily available. In addition, there are far more options when it comes to almond and nut milks. Many local health food stores offer up a ton of craft milk options which is great for not only the consumer, but helps out small businesses as well. So, drink up! Add almond milk to your fave cereal, coffee, use it while baking, as a base in your favorite Alfredo sauce. The options are endless!
Some of my favorite milks:
Learn how to make your own: Almond Milk from Scratch Recipe!
Questions, concerns, suggestions? Leave them in the comments below. Thanks for reading.