Which milk alternative is the best?
Almond, oat, soy, rice, hemp… The list of available milk alternatives has multiplied in recent years. More and more people are questioning their cow's milk consumption. The reasons for this are, on the one hand, increasing lactose intolerance, and on the other hand, above all, increased awareness about the keeping and treatment of dairy cows. In addition, milk does not seem to be as healthy as was assumed for many decades.
For these reasons, today we want to take a look at available plant-based drinks. I would like to take a closer look at the components, ecological balance and of course the taste of the most common plant drinks. Which is the best milk alternative?
What are plant drinks and how are they made?
You may be wondering why milk alternatives are never mentioned as “milk”. For example, it is not called “oat milk” but “oat drink”. This is because, according to the law, you can only say “milk” to that which was obtained through milking. Since this of course does not apply to grain and nut drinks, any alternatives are referred to as “drinks”. An exception is coconut milk - because it can officially be called milk, even if it obviously doesn't come from the coconut cow . The European Commission has decided this.
The procedure for producing a milk alternative is usually the same: the namesake, i.e. grain or nut, is soaked, ground and mixed with water. Then the mixture is usually cooked afterwards. In some cases, oil, salt and/or sweeteners are added to round off the taste.
The whole thing really isn't complicated and can be made pretty easily at home! All you need is a good blender and a clean cotton or cheesecloth. You can find detailed instructions here !
The most popular milk alternatives: an overview
01 soy drink
Soy milk, or rather “soy drink” is the most popular milk alternative, but also the most controversial. Popular It is because it is most similar to cow's milk in terms of its main nutrients and has some valuable ingredients, including plenty of protein, fiber, lecithin and vitamins B and E. It is available in a variety of versions (sweetened, unsweetened, with calcium, with vanilla or chocolate flavor, etc.). It can also be easily foamed or used in baked goods.
In criticism Soy milk is mainly due to the isoflavones it contains. These are plant hormones that act like the body's own estrogen and, in high doses, can disrupt the hormonal balance and influence the fertility of men and women. It should be noted that it is not yet entirely clear how “bad” these effects really are. Soy milk may also contain genetically modified soy. It is therefore best to only buy soy milk with an organic seal.
Another point of contention is the bad one Eco-balance of soy milk: Huge areas of rainforest are cut down for soy production, especially in South America. Therefore, only soy milk from Europe is recommended.
What the The taste When it comes to soy milk, there are significant differences of opinion. Some people appreciate the slightly unique taste of soy milk, while others simply taste too strongly of beans.
Price wise Soy milk is the winner of our comparison: at 1 euro per liter it comes off pretty well.
02 Almond drink
Almond milk is also very popular. Your sweet one The taste works great in baked goods, desserts, smoothies and muesli. Coffee can also be rounded off with almond milk, but it tends to have a flaky consistency.
That nuts very healthy are, is known. Almond milk also contains healthy fat, magnesium, calcium, biotin and vitamins. Almond milk is also lower in calories than regular milk. Still, you have to be careful; Sugar is often added to the drink.
Unfortunately, almonds need a lot of water. In addition, transport routes are long because the growing areas are in dry regions. The almond drink therefore scores well in terms of Eco-balance not so good. What helps is to pay attention to organic seals here too.
When almond milk “arrived” in Germany, it had long been a trend in the USA. At first it was incredibly expensive in this country. It has been for some time now Price (also due to increased demand) decreased a little. Nevertheless, almond milk is still quite expensive compared to other plant-based drinks and costs an average of 2.50 euros per liter.
03 Oat drink
Now let's move on to my personal favorite: oat milk. Although it is one of the sustainable and regional milk alternatives, funnily enough it only became really popular here this year.
During fermentation, starch is broken down, giving the oat drink a light and natural sweetness. Therefore, it usually does not contain any added sugar. Oat milk is particularly popular in coffee because it froths easily. Nevertheless, you can definitely taste the grainy flavor The taste of the drink in the coffee. For many people, coffee with oat milk takes some getting used to. But once you get a taste for it, most people don't want to change .
Oat milk is great for baking; It also goes well with muesli and porridge.
Like other grain drinks, oat milk is lower in calories and fat than cow's milk; However, it still contains quite a few calories compared to other plant-based drinks. It also contains some important minerals and vitamins and, like almonds, biotin for skin and hair.
As already mentioned briefly, oat milk is good Life cycle assessment . There are a lot of oats from regional organic farming and the cultivation itself usually doesn't require any weed killers. It is of course best to check the regional origin again before buying.
Also the Price speaks for the oat drink: At 1 to 2 euros per liter, it is one of the cheaper alternatives.
You can easily make oat milk at home. You can find a recipe for it here: RECIPE: Make your own oat milk
04 Rice drink
Rice milk can still be found in abundance on the shelves, although it is not particularly useful as a milk substitute. The advantage of rice milk is that it is not only lactose and milk protein-free, but also gluten-free. It is therefore particularly suitable for Allergy sufferers . The taste can also be quite neutral The taste score.
Unfortunately, rice milk is high in carbohydrates and low in nutrients. In addition, it has a watery consistency and is therefore not really visually appealing. It is also not necessarily recommended in coffee. After all, it is suitable for all kinds of desserts.
At 1 to 2 euros per liter, rice milk is right cheap . Nevertheless, you can get a more attractive milk alternative for the price.
05 Hemp drink
Hemp drink is made from hemp seeds and is also growing slowly here Popularity . In Great Britain, hemp milk is no longer an insider tip. This is because hemp drinks are gluten-free and contain little saturated fatty acids, but are rich in valuable omega-3 fatty acids and contain a lot of vegetable protein.
Taste wise Hemp milk also has a lot to offer: it has a nutty aroma, but otherwise tastes almost like low-fat cow's milk. Its light creaminess means it can be used in a variety of ways and also goes well with coffee.
At 3 to 5 euros per liter, the hemp drink is quite expensive expensive . Unfortunately, it is not yet available everywhere. However, some health food stores and organic shops already have hemp drinks in their range. These usually even have a regional, at least European, origin.
Definitely try it out!
There are also some other plant-based drinks that are promising alternatives to cow's milk, such as lupine or pea milk. However, these are still a rarity in German-speaking countries; and at this point I only wanted to introduce milk alternatives that I have already tasted and can evaluate myself .
In the end, the “best” milk alternative is of course simply a matter of taste; So it's worth just giving it a try. Personally, I can say that I don't miss milk in any way, not even in coffee - and that's saying something!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MILK ALTERNATIVE?
If you would like to find out more about the topics of healthy eating, mindfulness or sustainability, take a look here over.