Whether you’re lactose intolerant or not, plant-based milk might be the best way to start your day. World Plant Milk Day is coming up on August 22nd, and it’s a perfect day to try out some milk options.
Most plant-milk come with a lot of great health benefits. Even people who still like to have dairy milk in their cereal keep some plant-based milk handy to use as a coffee creamer or in their favorite smoothie.
Check out this list of benefits of plant-based milk. Are any of them your reason for leaving the moo behind? Or is there something new that surprises you and makes you want to make the switch?
Benefits of Drinking Plant-Based Milk
Whether you love a glass of milk with a meal or you only use it for cooking, milk is still a staple food in most homes. The difference from today’s milk and the milk available 20 years ago is huge, as plant-based milk has made a significant impact on the market, and for a good reason.
1. Nutritional Options
An article by NBC News lays out the different types of milk and the nutritional content in them. By weighing the benefits, you can find milk that fits your ideal nutritional profile. Some of them can help you cut back on calories, they’re a great way to add protein to your diet, some give you more calcium, and they can even help you cut carbs if you know where to look.
Hint: Pea protein milk, almond milk, and coconut milk have only 1 gram of carbs.
2. Lower in Sugar
This one is tricky because you have to make sure that the non-dairy milk you’re choosing doesn’t have added sugar. Some of them are loaded with it. Put those aside, and the rest of them come sugar-free or with just the sugar that’s naturally found in nuts and seeds.
The natural sugar that is in cow’s milk is called lactose. That very stuff that causes so many people to have upset digestive systems and allergic reactions. Lactose isn’t found in plant-based milk.
3. Free of IGF-1
IGF-1 is an insulin-like growth factor, and it’s a hormone closely associated with growth. In your growing years, IGF-1 is important to support growth and development.
Some adults use it as a supplement to help them achieve muscle mass, although there is a huge amount of controversy over this.
One of the reasons there is so much controversy is that IGF-1 has been associated with an increased risk of cancer, as reported in several studies. If this is why you’re looking to eliminate dairy from your diet, it’s also key to note that soy has IGF-1.
4. Lower in Calories
Looking to lose weight but not give up your milk? Plant-Based milk is the way to go. Make sure you check to see if there’s added sugar, which can easily pile on some extra calories you weren’t expecting.
Check the nutritional information on milk, and you’ll see there is a wide variety in the number of calories each one has. Make sure you’re getting one that fits your diet plans.
5. Easy to Digest
Back to the lactose issue. That’s not the only thing about plant-based milk that people love. Some people just have trouble with dairy, they’re not quite lactose intolerant, but they feel better when they avoid dairy.
Now, of course, we need to be fair here and point out that some of the nut-based milk can be hard to digest and can be impossible to consume for people with nut allergies. In these situations, there’s still coconut milk, flax milk, or rice milk available.
If you’re vegan, you certainly are not going to opt for cow’s milk as your beverage of choice. The wide variety of plant-based milk out there gives you ample opportunities to enjoy a glass of milk or cook with milk without breaking your vegan vow.
Types of Plant Milk
Most people have heard of almond milk and coconut milk, but now there’s pea protein milk to try, too.
Which of these kinds of milk is right for you? You might find that you like one in a particular way and then like another for another use. There are so many options, why choose. Some of the most common plant-based milk are:
♦ Soy milk
♦ Coconut milk
♦ Almond milk
♦ Pea protein milk
♦ Rice milk
♦ Hemp milk
♦ Oat milk
♦ Peanut milk
♦ Macadamia milk
♦ Flax milk
♦ Blends that include more than one type of milk
How Is Plant-Milk Made?
The most common question about plant-based milk asks how they are made. We obviously know where cow’s milk comes from, but how do they create milk from a soybean?
Let’s look specifically at soy milk since there is a bit of a difference in all of them, but it gives you a general idea of the process.
♦ The soybean is cleaned and soaked
♦ Beans are ground to create a powder or an emulsion
♦The product is then heated to control flavors
♦ Everything is filtered to remove the solid
♦ Water is added as well as a sweetener and other ingredients
♦ The final product is pasteurized
♦ The last step before packaging is homogenizing to break down fat and get a smooth consistency
Waking Up To Wellness
World plant milk day is coming up, and whether you’re a regular user of this non-dairy alternative or new to the game, it’s the perfect time to try something different.
Switch up your food routine, and try a smoothie with rice milk, bake with oat milk, or have an amazing Mexican meal with the traditional horchata drink.
While we were all brought up believing a glass of milk was a great way to get calcium and protein, it turns out that that milk doesn’t have to come from a cow. There are a lot of health benefits to drinking non-dairy milk, and for some people, it’s the only option as they’re lactose intolerant or have allergies to dairy.
So let’s all raise our cup and toast to these healthy milk alternatives.