Whether it's almond, coconut, or cashew – dairy-free nut milks are varied and most definitely here to stay.
Perhaps once something only consumed by vegans and lactose-intolerant folk; alternative milks are now popular and more importantly delicious and nutritious. Besides people who just like consuming them for the taste, there are two main reasons people cut out cow’s milk and reach for nutty alternatives:
Lactose Intolerance - Approximately 65% of the human population have difficulty digesting lactose after infancy; which is a huge percentage when you think about how cow's milk is considered an ‘essential’ in many households. This can cause bloating, constipation and severe stomach cramping.
Ethical and Environmental Issues - There are approximately 250 million dairy cows in the world and despite its local focus, dairy is a massive global industry. As the world’s population grows rapidly, the demand gets higher which is increasingly damaging for the environment. Problems faced include increased levels of methane, water pollution, and huge quantities of land being converted to grow feed for the millions of dairy herds. Some people also feel it’s not fair to consume something that is produced for a calf. Despite these issues, it’s important to remember why we started drinking milk in the first place.
Comparitive carbon footprint chart from SoDelicious website.
Cow’s milk is extremely rich in calcium but there are differing opinions on whether it’s the ideal source for humans.
Some experts believe it’s essentially the best source of calcium whereas others believe it causes calcium losses at the same time as increasing intake. Regardless of your opinion, calcium is essential for human health to avoid diseases such as osteoporosis. Milk is only one of the MANY sources of calcium, a few other examples are: spinach, kale, broccoli, chickpeas, beans, almonds, tofu, seasame seeds and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals. If you’d like to read more about arguments for and against cow’s milk consumption check out this link .
Many shop bought dairy-free milks are fortified with the likes of calcium and vitamin D. This makes it easy to ensure you’re always getting your RDA. However some people like to make their own so that they’re ditching any potentially toxic preservatives or binders. One brand we do love is Rebel Kitchen, no added nasties and super tasty. If you do prefer to get your calcium from solid food, you can ditch the fortified milk and make your own. The basics you’ll need to start; a good blender, a muslin cloth (or even better, a nut milk bag – try amazon!) and a mason jar. Here are a few of our favourite types of dairy-free milks and their health benefits!
HEMP SEED MILK
Hemp is an incredibly nutritious food. It probably makes the ‘earthiest’ tasting of all the dairy-free milks but it’s one of the healthiest! Whether you’re eating hemp or blending it into lovely creamy milk, it contains the perfect ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 essential fatty acids. It is also rich in protein and contains all the essential amino acids. Definitely worthy of its superfood status! The 'good fat' in hemp is known to improve and protect your skin by encouraging healthy cell membranes. We have just launched a new hemp milk called Happy, it also contains a little barely grass powder for extra nourishment.
Almond milk seems to be the most popular and easily accessible plant based milk at the moment. This is with good reason because it’s ridiculously tasty and versatile. If you’re new to dairy-free milks then this is for you because the texture is very similar to cow’s milk. It’s rich in vitamin E and potassium, which means more good news for your skin. We currently make two almond milks: Vanilla Dream and Pink Russian.
If you’re a coffee addict, then I have heard time and time again that hazelnut milk is the winner in this department. This might have something to do with it having the creamiest consistency of all nut-milks, in my opinion! Like almonds, hazelnuts are very rich in vitamin E. It isn’t only a vitamin that is great for skin; it has many other roles such as protecting red blood cells and fighting disease.
Cashew milk is a little harder to find in shops, but it’s another very creamy and decadent alternative to cow’s milk. Cashews are actually seeds rather than nuts (WE HAVE BEEN LIED TO ALL THIS TIME!) They are rich in copper, magnesium and zinc. As zinc is most commonly found in animal products, this is a good source for vegans and vegetarians. We recently started selling Coco Cashew which is a chocolate cashew milk sweetened with dates. It’s like dessert in a bottle!
Talking of desserts, I could get onto dairy-free ice creams. But that’s a whole other post, and quite frankly I’d be here all day because my god they are too good for words!