🐮There are many reasons why people choose to skip pouring cow’s milk over their morning bowl of oats. Some suffer from lactose intolerance or cow’s milk allergy, others choose to avoid animal products for ethical reasons, and others find that eliminating dairy from their diet makes their body feel good.
🤓Whatever the reason, there are some important things to remember when you choose to drink plant-based ‘mylk’ in place of dairy. And with the variety of choices available on the supermarket shelves nowadays, what should you look out for in the brand you choose to buy.
🌱Soya ‘mylk’ is nutritionally most similar to cow’s milk, with a complete amino acid profile. It is generally the most affordable plant-based ‘mylk’ option, and is naturally quite sweet.
☘️Hemp ‘mylk’ isn’t readily found on supermarket shelves, but it’s gaining popularity in the wellness sphere. Although hemp seeds are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and fibre, the ‘mylk’ is not. Having said that, it contains more plant-based fatty acids than soya ‘mylk’, making it more creamy.
🌾Oat ‘mylk’ tastes a bit like watery porridge, but makes for a great creamy milk alternative. Oat ‘mylk’ contains beta-glucan, which helps naturally lower blood cholesterol levels, and more B-vitamins than many other plant ‘mylks’, but is much lower in protein than hemp or soya.
🌰 Almond ‘mylk’ usually contains about 2% almonds, making it one of the more expensive plant-based ‘mylks’ (considering you’re only getting 2% almonds). It is probably one of the more inferior milk alternatives, as it is very nutrient-poor in the unfortified form.
🥛Coconut ‘mylk’ is also pretty nutritionally poor, lacking in protein and most micronutrients in the unfortified form, however its naturally sweet taste and slightly creamy texture make it pretty delicious
💪🏻 If you choose to go dairy-free, it’s worth keeping some of these things in mind. Firstly, choose to consume fortified plant ‘mylks’. Calcium is the mineral that comes up most often when one decides to give up dairy. Thankfully, most store bought plant ‘mylks’ are fortified with calcium which makes it far easier to meet your daily needs when you choose to live a dairy-free life.
🐮 If you’re living in the UK, it’s important to note that most supermarket plant-based ‘mylks’ do not contain adequate iodine, a mineral that is largely consumed in cow’s milk in this country. Iodine is really important for normal thyroid function and for foetal brain development, so it’s important to try consume iodine in other foods if you choose to avoid dairy.
🍼 Secondly, if you choose to purchase plant ‘mylks’ from the shop is to choose unsweetened versions, without added sugars. Finally, if you choose to make your own plant ‘mylks’ at home, be sure to prioritise including other sources of calcium, iodine, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and B vitamins in your diet. Homemade plant ‘mylks’ won’t contain sufficient amounts of most of these very important nutrients.
💪🏻 Having said all of this, there is nothing wrong with choosing to consume dairy products if you choose to do so. Cow’s milk is a great source of calcium in an easily absorbable form and protein, as well as other vitamins and minerals such as phosphorous, potassium, iodine and vitamin B12.