Everyone has that go to milk they throw in the cart without thought. Like us, it’s probably almond or coconut. Am I right? I’m going to try and convince you that stepping outside your comfort zone when it comes to milk might not be so bad.
Papa tummy and I ditched udder juice before we even became vegetarian. Honestly, I have never liked dairy milk. The only times I ever used it was in cereal, to make chocolate milk, or to bake with. This was my first vegan hint that I never picked up on as a child. All three of those things cover up the true taste of the milk. I don’t know what I would have done if I knew rice milk or oat milk existed back then. I would like to think I would’ve given it a try since I wasn’t your typical picky kid.
Dairy milk was the norm and I figured it wasn’t going anywhere so I dealt with it. Like being held a prisoner in your own home stuck in an abusive relationship that won’t let you escape. My moment of clarity hit when I found out, rather was told about, all the crap that gets put in milk. This would include pus and blood and possibly bleach to cover up all the bacteria and crap that creeps in. No wonder I never liked the taste of cow’s milk. That was the first time gross talk has ever made me want to throw up. When I got home I told my milk-loving-cereal-every-morning husband he wasn’t allowed to drink anymore. Surprisingly he went along with it and lo and behold I began to enjoy drinking milk.
I wasn’t sure what milk to buy in the beginning. I knew I didn’t want soy milk because the one time I had it I didn’t like it. I let papa tummy decide since he was going to be the one drinking more of it. He went with almond. I eventually wanted to try coconut, but it took him a little while to warm up to that one. If I remember correctly we started out by trying the vanilla flavored milks. Those were just too sweet to me. I was never much of a fan for sugary cereals and I don’t generally care for super sweet breakfast pastries so we started buying unsweetened original varieties. Why not savor the taste of the milk you’re drinking instead of the added sugar? There’s one exception to this, but it’s meant as a treat and not a start your day component, and that’s Pacific’s Hazelnut Chocolate milk. That stuff is drool-worthy. It’s like liquid nutella heaven and even better heated up for a hot chocolate on a snowy night.
After two years of having the same coconut and almond milk I started to wonder about what else is out there. Around the same time Silk and So Delicious coupons kept appearing and then the commercials started airing. I remembered a while back there was a meme going around Facebook that said, “Never eat anything that has a commercial.” I know there are exceptions to this, but it still got me thinking that maybe it is time to try something new.
I was even more convinced when I came across an informative page in my Spring 2014 Cooking Club magazine issue. I have been a Cooking Club lifetime member for over 10 years now and they have recently become more health conscious which makes me super happy. Seeing this actually made me squeal in delight. My original excitement for being a member was restored. This was proof to me that there is hope after all. I was proud of them for having an open mind and educating their readers on existing options.
There are so many different nondairy milks out there that you shouldn’t confine yourself to the same ol’ carton. According to the above page venturing out among the land of plant-based milks could give you a nutritional boost depending on what you’re used to. Papa tummy even made a point by saying it would probably be a good idea to rotate milks so that we are reaping all the benefits they have to offer. For instance, note that cashew and coconut milk have zero grams of protein while the others contain anywhere from 1 to 11 grams. The next concern is calcium, which range from 10 to 60 percent of your DV per cup among the brands shown. We mostly drink Silk Almond so I’m happy to know that we’ve been starting the day with the most amount of calcium.
The next time I went to the store I picked up two new milks to try. One was Pacific’s original oat milk which is surprisingly high in calories, but also has a good amount of fiber at 2 grams per one cup. Other nutrition facts include: 4 grams of protein, 35% calcium, 10% vitamin A, 10% iron, and 25% vitamin D2. Not too shabby. The other was Suzie’s vanilla flavored quinoa milk. I was a little hesitant to try the original being afraid of the raw taste it might have so I got the vanilla flavored. They do make an unsweetened vanilla, but that was not an option where I purchased these. The nutrition facts for one cup of vanilla quinoa milk include: 100 calories (10 from fat), 2 grams of protein, 0 grams fiber, 30% calcium, 10% vitamin A, 4% iron, 25% vitamin D2, and 30% vitamin E.
If color is a turn off for you these milks might not be your thing. Both are an earthy beige tone with the quinoa being slightly more on the brown side. The oat milk was thicker than I am used to while the quinoa was thinner than I expected. I really liked both, although next time I will try the original quinoa milk. I’m pretty sure I can handle it. I don’t know if it was because of papa tummy’s granola, but the vanilla quinoa milk reminded me of a sweet latte with an almost untraceable hint of quinoa taste.
Most of these non-mainstream milks are only offered in a shelf-stable container. This may be a little concerning for you, but there is nothing to be worried about. It is not processed any differently than the refrigerated kind so it doesn’t mess with the integrity of the product. The only difference is the packaging. Besides, there’s a bonus to it lasting a lot longer which allows you to stock up if there’s ever an awesome sale you should take advantage of. Of course, once opened it will last as long as the refrigerated milk does being 2 weeks.
Having tried those two I now have the confidence to give others a taste test. Hemp milk is next on my list and the one I am most scared to try. I am just now getting used to the seeds. I know it will have a distinct flavor that I will have to overcome, but hemp is high in omega-3 which is very important and lacking in the other milks.
So did I convince you to try something new? I hope so. Perhaps you already have. In that case, good for you! Do you have any favorites that aren’t almond or coconut? I would love to hear what you think about all these different milks.
Cartoon provided by Google