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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Let's Talk Vegan Milk

In this day and age, there really is zero reason to consume dairy milk-- not only because of the suffering, rape, torture and deaths of millions of animals every year but dairy is just plain not good for you. It contains gross amounts of fat and bad cholesterol, it's a concoction that just asks to clog your arteries.

Plant milk is taking over the world and with so many different brands and kinds to choose from, there's something delicious to satisfy even the fussiest of children or adults for that matter. Like dairy milk, vegan milk comes in many varieties and flavours, from chocolate, strawberry, vanilla to holiday flavours such as pumpkin spice and chocolate mint.

Let's talk about vegan milk, what exactly is on the market:

Soy: This tends to be the most well known of the plant milks, probably because it's one of the oldest. It's, like the name suggests, made from soybeans. It contains the same amount of protein as cow's milk but no saturated fat or cholesterol. Many people do have soy intolerance's or allergies, therefore it may not be suitable for everyone but this tends to be a starting point for most people when switching to plant milks. And no, you don't have to worry about growing large mammary glands, the estrogen is plant-based and not going to affect you that way. Soy is a source of a wide variety of nutrients and vitamins.

Almond: My personal favourite, almond milk is made from ground almonds. There is no cholesterol as in all vegan foods and contains a wide variety of other nutrients such as fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus, tryptophan, copper and calcium. Almond milk in my experience is better for cooking compared to soy milk, as I find the soy gives off a sweet flavour. If sensitive to nuts, this would obviously not be a good choice for you.

Rice: Personally, not a fan of rice milk. I find it very watery compared to other plant milks but this is good for people who are sensitive to soy and nuts. Most commonly processed from brown rice, it does not naturally contain a lot of vitamins or nutrients but most brands fortify their plant milks with what they are lacking naturally. Many vegan chocolate bars even use rice milk to make a creamy dairy-free substitute.

Hemp: Seems strange for a milk, huh? But it's actually really tasty and becoming more widely available in the commercial plant milk section. Made from soaked hemp seeds it's a nutty flavour beverage. Hemp contains omega-6 and omega-3, magnesium, phytosterols, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin and also contains essential amino acids, as well as being a great source of protein.

Coconut: Another personal favourite of mine, coconut milk comes from the grated meat of a coconut. You may not enjoy this milk if you don't care for coconuts as it does have a mild coconut flavour. It comes in both boxes and cans. Coconut milk is high in iron, and also is an excellent source of manganese. Coconut milk is also high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, folate and vitamin C and many other nutrients. Some worry about the fat content of coconut but in moderation it is certainly okay for anyone.

There are so many other plant milks on the market, I just couldn't take the time to write properly about them all but here's a small list: Flax, Cashew,  Hazelnut, Quinoa, Sunflower, Oat, Barley, Spelt, Lupin, Pea, 7-grain, Chestnut, Peanut, Walnut, Sesame, Brazil nut. Plant milk can be used to make just about anything a dairy milk can, chocolate bars, ice cream, yogurt, butter and so much more. Plant milks can also easily be made from the comfort of your very own home and offer a great variety to your cooking and diet. Which one is your favourite or which do you plan on trying first?

Check out The Vegan Peach for a substantial list of vegan milk brands. 

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