Best Non Dairy Milk

Best Non Dairy Milk


I've been on a life-long search for the best non dairy milk, because I've been allergic to cow's milk since I was born.

It's a bit of a tough contest, because they're all a better option than dairy milk in my opinion (which you can read about this post).

And for anyone worried about getting enough calcium, there are plenty of great plant sources.

It used to be hard to find the best non dairy milk, because there wasn't much of a market for it - people just weren't interested.

When I was born, after I was done breastfeeding my severe ear infections helped my mom figure out that she, my brother and I all a milk allergy to cow's milk.

She would trek to Chinatown for soy milk, and tells me it tasted terrible, and gave us all terrible gas. Instead, we wound up drinking this stuff called Coffee Rich that came frozen, and we would dilute it.

I definitely do NOT recommend having that as a non dairy milk, because it's basically chemicals. (Don't feel bad, though, mom - you didn't know it at the time!)

When I was in university, I started seeing soy milk in the grocery store and decided to give it another try.

It tasted really good, and it took me a ridiculously long time to figure out that it was the cause of my painful and embarrassing gas.

I don't know why I didn't put it together sooner, but I didn't.

Cow's milk is one of the top allergens, so although people thought my milk allergy was weird when I was little I'm definitely not alone.

Because of the growing awareness of cow's dairy as an allergen (and its environmental, ethical and health issues), the demand for non dairy milks is growing.

In my lifetime, the non dairy milk options have multiplied rapidly and are constantly expanding...

Best Non Dairy Milk Choices

So what are the best dairy free milks? In my opinion, any one that doesn't have refined sugars, refined oils or chemicals is the best.

There are so many great options to choose from:

  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Rice milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Flax milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Oat milk
  • Quinoa milk

There are blends, too, which seems kind of fun.

Taste is an important quality in non dairy milks - and any food or drink, for that matter.

Most people tend to like the taste of soy and almond milks best. Personally, I love hemp milk - especially the chocolate flavor ;)

Nutritionally, any kind of milk is a very diluted form of the underlying food so I think of non dairy milks more for their use in cooking or pouring over cereal than specifically for their nutrition.

Soy milk has the protein of soy, almond milk has the healthy fats of almonds, hemp and flax milks have the omega-3 fats of hemp and flax, and so on.

Milks - including cow's milk - are usually fortified with nutrients like vitamins D and B12. That's fine, but I prefer to choose my own high-quality nutrient supplements.

The main thing to look for in a milk is what's added to it. Most are sweetened with refined sugars, so look for the unsweetened variety to avoid those, or check the ingredients to see if they use unrefined.

Lots of non dairy milks have refined and/or hydrogenated oils in them to thicken and help preserve them. I always avoid milks that list canola oil, since it's heavily refined.

Some other thickeners that might look scary are guar gum and xanthan gum - but they're perfectly natural, so don't worry about them on an ingredient list.

Other things I look to avoid are added salts and preservatives - basically anything on the ingredient list that I don't recognize or can't pronounce.

If you have the time, and want to have control over what goes into your milk, you can always make your own.

I made a video showing my process for making rice milk, which is easier than you might think.

Is Soy Milk Bad For Me?

Personally, I don't drink soy milk anymore because it gives me too much gas.

I've talked about the downsides of soy before, and that I much prefer fermented forms of soy, but I don't want to add to the soy-scare tactics going around.

There are lots of studies showing the health benefits of soy, and if you can only find soy milk, or you really enjoy the taste of it, then go for it.

I don't think soy milk is that bad in the big scheme of things - just choose organic, don't drink more than a gallon a day, and pay attention if you have any reactions to it.

But, lots of people have trouble with soy - allergies, intolerances, or gas like me.

If you're one of those people who can't do soy milk, don't let that turn you off all the great non dairy milk choices - try another one!

Do It Now

If you find yourself without access to any non dairy milk options in your grocery store, don't give up!

You can order things like this online now - they put non dairy milks in juice box-like containers so they don't have to be refrigerated until you open them.

And worst case, keep in mind that there are other options instead of milk - cereal is great with fruit juice or applesauce.

What do you think is the best non dairy milk?

Let me know what you think in the comments below :)

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