Choosing a Non-Dairy, Plant-Based Milk

I think I’ve made it pretty clear–from posts on the dangers of dairy, the biological absurdity of drinking cow’s milk, and how cheese is basically the worst thing you can eat–that we don’t consume dairy, nor do we ever plan on returning to it.  We have enjoyed trying the vast array of non-dairy milks out there.  We consistently keep unsweetened almond, coconut, and unsweetened organic soy milks in our fridge, and I recently found hemp and oat milks at a different grocery store, so we’ve given them a try too.  I consider rice milk the weakest, nutritionally speaking, so I don’t use it.

The short answer is, there’s no “best” non-dairy milk.  I think it’s a good idea to keep an assortment on hand for different purposes–I would reach for something different if I wanted to drink a glass straight up with a meal, make a mug of hot cocoa, make a faux cheese sauce, or make a vegan dessert.  For adults, the choice will probably be taste-based.  We don’t tend to obsess as much about the nutritional content of our beverages as we do about what our children consume.

For kids, the majority of parents in my vegan support forums choose to give their children almond milk or hemp milk.  Both contain protein (which is lacking in coconut milk) without adding sugar (which oat milk does).  Soy milk remains controversial, even within vegan circles, because of all the misinformation out there.  Soy does not contain estrogen, nor does the body respond to soy as though it does.  Many people that think they are allergic to soy are actually just sensitive to it, and can consume it in fermented form, such as in tempeh, even though they can’t eat edamame or tofu.  Check out this article for more specifics:  Soy Vey: Some Common Sense About Soybeans

Personally, I think soy milk has the best taste and consistency, and is probably the most akin to dairy milk.  It also has the most protein (almost comparable to cow’s milk).  I do give my children unsweetened soy milk in moderation.  Among friends, almond milk seems to be the favorite taste-wise; I have actually converted several non-vegan family and friends to the beverage simply because they enjoyed the nutty aftertaste and smoothness.  Almond milk is really yummy on cereal.

Despite what big business would have you believe, humans don’t actually require milk at all after they are weaned.  All the stuff we drink it for–calcium, protein, etc.–can be found in other food sources.  Read this article for more specifics on that.  Still, non-dairy milk is a tasty, nutritious, and readily available alternative to water when you want something to drink.

2 Responses to “Choosing a Non-Dairy, Plant-Based Milk”

  1. Kelly says:

    Greetings from Michigan:) I just found your site yesterday while searching for alternative milks for 1-year-olds..I am planning on trying Dr. Furhman’s recipe for blanching almonds and seeds, etc…and wondered if you have any other tips for making this milk? Thanks! I will definitely be a regular visitor to your site:)

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