In the previous blog we discussed using dairy milk versus soy milk and in this part we will continue to discuss those, but also move onto other milks. We recommend you read the previous blog first!
Rice milk is an alternative to dairy milk that’s becoming more and more popular. It has very little protein and unfortunately a lot of sugar, but like soy milk it is usually fortified with various vitamins and minerals. The texture is quite watery, but the taste is pleasant enough when making hot chocolates and lattes if you like the sweetness.
Almond milk is very popular in the US, but is still catching on in other parts of the world and gaining quite a lot of popularity in the UK. The great thing with almond milk is that the texture varies from brand to brand, meaning you can find a thick variety for that creamy hot chocolate and a much lighter one for your latte. It doesn’t contain that much protein, but nor is it very sugary and almonds themselves contain various vitamins and minerals that have great health benefits.
Other milk alternatives include hazelnut milk, hemp milk and oat milk. Oat milk is probably the most popular of those three and has the added benefit of reducing cholesterol and various other health benefits. It’s not good for those who suffer gluten sensitivity, nor is it very thick and creamy (unless some brand has invented a new variety we haven’t tried), but rather watery. Hazelnut milk is usually very flavorful and it appears some brands have gone full out and made it taste like marzipan! Not so great if you want to make a traditional latte, but fabulous if you want the hazelnut flavor. Hemp milk is good if you seek to get extra omega-3s in your diet and many report a great texture, but it really depends, just like almond milk, what brand you get hold of.
It’s tricky to advice what milk is the best to use. What appears obvious is to stay away from all non-organic brands of soy milk as even the non-GMO varieties often contain pesticides that are dangerous for you (see part I of this blog for more information). Soy on the whole appears dubious when it comes to your health, but if you want to use it, stick to the organic brands.
Organic is also the obvious choice for dairy milk as you will know the cows (or goats, or sheep) have been treated with respect (there are quite a few horror stories when it comes to how cows are being treated these days) and because they won’t contain any growth hormones, or unnecessary antibiotics. If it’s good for your health seems up for debate – probably as with most things it is alright in moderation. Maybe also try using some goat’s or sheep’s milk (the latter has a distinctive taste that you may or may not enjoy) as well to mix it up to avoid intolerance (and goat’s milk has good instead of bad cholesterol).
Rice milk is probably also alright in moderation, the only note of warning is using it too often as it contains a lot of sugar. All other vegan milks appear fine to use (apart from oat milk if you are sensitive to gluten, or the nut milks if you have nut allergies), so maybe try them all and stick with the one you prefer, or alternate between them to get the various health benefits from each one.
The best alternative to dairy apart from soy when it comes to texture is probably almond milk, if you can find a brand that has the texture you enjoy.
You can make most vegan milks yourself – there are plenty of sources online for recipes if you google one that takes your fancy!
Maybe now is the time to start exploring different milks if you own a coffee shop as today’s consumers are getting progressively pickier and looking for new alternatives!