I have always been aware that while I am truly loving all the support and inspiration I find in the food and wellness social media network, not everyone I engage with is vegan, vegetarian or in the mindset of creating a plant-based lifestyle. That said, I am often overwhelmed by the support. For example, at a recent Nourishing Vegan Club Potluck (check out our upcoming Veganuary special potluck event) not even half of attendees identified as vegans. Nevertheless, they whole-heartedly embraced veganism for the afternoon by turning up with delicious vegan food, chatting about veganism in a relaxed and non-judgmental environment and leaving with their eyes having been opened. A few even left telling us they aim to incorporate more plant-based meals in their everyday lives.
Now, let me tell you, that feels like you’ve won the lottery ten times over.
Being able to positively impact and inspire others to welcome veganism into their lives while informing them about the meat and dairy industries is a huge part of what I hope to achieve via social media and this blog. I never want to come across as ‘preaching’ or ignorant but instead, I enjoy the ability to openly discuss hot topics that many people hadn’t even considered. One major shift going on at home is my family’s realisation of the cruelty and tragedy that is the dairy industry. For now, they remain hooked on cow’s milk, but the fact they can sit there and say ‘this is not natural’ and question why humans drink another mammal’s milk full of hormones, makes me feel great. Mum can even recall facts about how many litres of milk are in a poor dairy cow’s udders before she is milked and her horrific living conditions. It is all about education and having an open mind.
So, if you are reading this I assume, and thank you, you are willing to learn about and to incorporate some delicious vegan alternatives into your lifestyle. (I have to highlight that I am not a nutritionist and all opinions are my own and food hacks that I have learnt from friends and my own research. If you suffer with intolerances, consult your own medical professionals before drastically changing your diet.)
This is perhaps the easiest swap to make – there’s no funny business, no weird ingredients and you won’t have to search high and low for milk alternatives.
Far gone are the days where we had to scour the shelves for a lonely bottle of soya milk. We are now inundated with different plant-based milks, each one promising to be your favourite. The colourful arrays of nut, seed and grain alternatives may seem daunting. Do you choose one fortified with vitamins and minerals? Will you lack in calcium? Will you like them? I advise you to check packaging, to avoid lots of added nasties and to opt for the unsweetened varieties where possible, as milk alternatives often hide lots of added sugars.
So, what are your options?
- Soya milk: perhaps the easiest milk to find and is the bean extract of the soybean. It is often fortified with calcium. It has a fairly neutral taste and is great for pouring into tea as it won’t curdle.
- Almond milk: the second biggest alternative. Almonds have a lot of vitamin E and the milk has a creamy texture, sweet taste and comes in many varieties. Warning: it will curdle when added to hot tea or black coffee but makes great breakfasts.
- Rice milk: this is gluten free and quite a sweet milk, making it a great alternative to use in lattes – the Rude Health one is great.
- Coconut milk: this has quite a pronounced coconut taste and is quite thick but makes a great milk for coffees and for use in baking. Be mindful of the difference between coconut milk from a carton and that from a tin – the tinned variety will separate into cream and milky water, but both are great depending on their intended purpose. I love Vita Coco and Rebel Kitchen Milk.
- Oat milk: this is my personal favourite and the best brands will only use oats and water with salt. It is naturally a sweet milk in flavour, so is a great swap for someone transitioning from dairy. I use it in everything from porridge to smoothies and soups and love the brand Oatly.
- Hazelnut milk: this is very sweet and not as common as other milks but makes for the most indulgent and delicious hot chocolate.
- Cashew milk: this is rich and creamy with a subtle nutty flavour. It is great for smoothies and hot drinks and a good cashew milk will be made from cashews and water with salt.
- New and noteworthy milks: tigernut milk, macadamia milk, hemp milk (I like Good Hemo), quinoa milk, peanut milk.
- Did you know… you can make your own nut and grain milks easily. Watch the blog for recipes coming your way as I have just invested in a new nut milk bag. You’re only a soak, a blend and a strain away from creamy homemade milk.
All of the brands mentioned above are from my own personal experience and research. All opinions are my own and this post is not sponsored – I have not included links to all companies as there would be far too many but do copy and paste into your search engine for more information. If you have any questions, please leave them below and I’ll do my best to answer.