People have preferences, sometimes reasonable and sometimes unreasonable. With these evolving needs, people are taking various steps to transform their lifestyle. This includes the increasing awareness in terms of health and diet among the masses, leading to popularising vegan alternatives.
“Vegan”, a term you must have heard at social gatherings, maybe through the one flaunting their modern living or someone trying to highlight the benefits. But the word of mouth encouragement doesn’t give you enough credible information.
So, what do you really mean by vegan food?
Vegan food refers to consuming plant-based food that is not obtained from animals. To find out more about vegan diets and what one can do to go vegan, one needs to look into what vegan food comprises. Also, the process of switching to vegan food for most, usually begins by replacing dairy food elements in their diet with vegan food alternatives.
The uptrend in the demand for vegan milk is leading emergence of more and more brands into the market. There are many types of milk available in the market like almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk, etc. that can help in meeting the nutritional requirement of animal milk. It is also beneficial for individuals who are lactose-intolerant because vegan milk is lactose-free milk.
The Beginner’s Guide to Vegan Milk
Vegan milk is a milk alternative that is made from plant-based ingredients. It is a popular choice for vegans and lactose-intolerants. There are a lot of reasons why people might choose to drink dairy-free milk. For some, it’s due to health concerns like an allergy or intolerance to lactose. Others might drink it for the nutritional benefits it offers. There are many different types of vegan milk, such as soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk. Each type has its unique flavour and texture, so you can choose the one that best suits your taste.
Dairy-free milk can help our bodies in various ways, like improving digestion, promoting weight loss, and improving metabolism, building higher energy levels. Moreover, it doesn’t cause any inflammation that might lead to the spread of unhealthy gut bacteria that cause chronic diseases or conditions like leaky gut.
Different Types Of Plant-based or Vegan Milk
Almond milk is obtained from almonds. Which is lower in calories than cow’s milk and is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin E. There are many benefits to drinking almond milk. It is a good choice for those who are looking to cut back on calories or fat. Unsweetened almond milk has even lesser calories and fat content. It also serves as a good source of vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Almond milk is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect against many diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Being a natural source of the antioxidant vitamin E, it helps to protect your cells from damage. Almond milk doesn’t raise blood glucose levels, making it an ideal choice for people with diabetes. It is also a good source of protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.
How to prepare Almond milk
- Soak 12-18 almonds in water overnight.
- Blend the soaked almonds in the morning. Add water and start blending at a low speed and gradually increase to higher speed.
- Blend for up to 1.5 minutes at high speed.
- This mixture can be used as is, or for a smoother texture you can strain it through a muslin/cheesecloth or a fine sieve.
The milk is ready for use! You can also refrigerate it and use it over the next two to three days.
Did you know that coconut milk actually comes from the white flesh of a coconut? In comparison to other types of plant-based milk, coconut milk has got some better advantages. It contains good amounts of medium-chain triglycerides that are beneficial for overall health. Of course, it tastes delicious and is a great add on to variety of dishes. But besides this, Coconut milk is great for cooking and baking. It is great for curries, soups, stews, smoothies, puddings, and even ice creams.
Coconut milk has a thinner consistency that’s ideal for teas, coffees, and cereals and a great choice for losing weight as it contains antioxidants. It helps in balancing electrolytes which is important for maintaining good health. In today’s time when most of us are leading a sedentary lifestyle, Coconut milk aids in preventing heart diseases by promoting HDL (good) cholesterol levels and reducing harmful LDL (bad cholesterol) associated with cardiovascular diseases. In addition, coconut milk strengthens the immune system and helps with good digestion. It is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, and is an excellent source of hydration. Coconut milk also contains lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that has been shown to have antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
How to prepare Coconut milk
- First step is to put grated coconut in the blender with 1 cup of water and blend until smooth.
- Next step is to strain the mixture using the muslin cloth or sieve into a bowl, then you get your thick milk.
- Transfer the coconut pulp back into the blender with another cup of water and blend again. Strain this mixture into another bowl.
- Repeat this process once more. The thick milk obtained at the end could be used to make delicious curds! If it’s your first-time making coconut milk, you can add a bit of normal curd to begin with.
- Let the mixture sit in a warm area for 6-8 hours.
Oats milk is made from oats and is rich in fiber and protein while lacks in saturated fat. It has calories and carbohydrates alongside a creamy texture similar to cow’s milk. It can be used in the same way as cow’s milk and is a good choice for baking or making smoothies. Oat milk is high in beta-glucans – a soluble fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol, rich in calcium – which boosts bone health, and an excellent source of B-complex vitamins.
Being full of soluble fiber that helps slow digestion, it keeps you feeling full for extended periods of time. It is helpful in stabilizing your blood glucose levels. It is also a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, and vitamin D. Additionally, oats milk is lactose-free and also environmental-friendly/sustainable.
How to prepare Oat milk
- Soak rolled oats in water overnight or for at least 3-4 hours.
- Next, add them to your blender with some fresh water. Blend for 2-3 minutes, until the oats are fully broken down.
- Strain the milk through a muslin cloth or fine sieve, and voila! You’ve got fresh oat milk, ready to use however you like.
Cashew milk is a delicious, creamy alternative to cow’s milk. While it is lower in calories and fat than cow’s milk, it made with heart-healthy unsaturated fats. It is also beneficial for those that are diabetic and those trying to regulate their carbohydrate consumption. Packed with essential nutrients like protein, fiber, and vitamins, its creamy consistency works great in teas and coffees. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. One could make cashew milk an element of their diet with an intend to reduce bloating and even if you want to improve your eyesight.
How to prepare Cashew milk
- Soak the cashews overnight
- Next morning, put it in the blender with some water, and start blending the cashews at low speed. Once the cashews have started to break down, you can gradually increase the speed to high and blend for up to 2 minutes.
Your cashew milk is now ready for use! It can be stored in the refrigerator and used over the next 2-3 days. Given its already creamy smooth texture, there’s no need to strain or filter it.
Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds and is high in protein along with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – a type of omega-3 fatty acid. A good alternative for those who are lactose-intolerant or looking for a dairy-free milk option, Hemp milk helps to maintain a healthy heart and brain functioning. Hemp seeds also contain a good amount of fiber helpful for healthy digestion and reducing risk of diabetes. It is a good source of protein, essential fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals.
Due to its strong flavour, Hemp milk is best used in savoury dishes. It has a nutty flavour and is creamy and thick. Therefore, making it a good choice for smoothies, milkshakes, and baking. It contains arginine, which produces nitric acid in the body and improves heart health. Indeed, an ideal choice for those looking for a nutritious and dairy-free milk alternative. Given it comprises a high amount of omega 3 & omega 6 fatty acids, it boosts brain function and reduces risk of Alzheimer’s. Further, it also acts as an anti-inflammatory and strengthens the immune system.
How to prepare Help milk
- Soak the hemp seeds overnight.
- In the morning, place the soaked hemp seeds in a blender and blend until smooth.
- If you want it to be sweet, add a few drops of pure vanilla extract or a natural sweetener.
- Strain the milk if needed.
Serve immediately or store in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
A Great Alternative
Medical research suggests that plant-based diets can offer significant health benefits. And while there are many ways to enjoy a plant-based diet, one of the simplest is to incorporate plant-based milk into your daily plan. Swapping dairy milk in your diet with plant-based milk is not just beneficial for health but also prevents your exposure to antibiotics and hormonal imbalance or disorders led by conventional dairy products. You can also avoid exposure to these potentially harmful substances.
If you are vegan or lactose intolerant, the thought of drinking milk might seem scary but with varying intensity of fright for every other person. But there are many different types of vegan milk available in the market and even more ways to make your vegan milk at home. Simply going on and on reading articles that are beating around the bush or just listening to personal choices of different people could create severe confusion. However, if you really need to figure out what suits you, you need to act on your thoughts to explore your needs.