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A Guide to Plant-based Milks (Mylks)

@abillion profile image

plant based milk on a shelf in a grocery store

Ever find yourself standing in that grocery aisle, surrounded by plant-based milk, and wondering which one to buy? Yeah, we've been there. So, here's a list of plant-based milk you're bound to come across so you can decide which ones are for you.

1. Soy Milk

If you're worried about losing out on all of the nutrition that you think you're getting from cow milk, consider buying soy milk. Its nutrition profile is similar to low fat cow's milk. Soy contains all nine essential amino acids, making this milk rich in protein, good fats, and carbs. Soy milk offers 8 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of protein, yields 100 calories in an 8-ounce pour and also contains about 299 mg of calcium and is fortified with vitamin D.

Sustainability quotient: Studies show the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with soy production are much lower than dairy. Since soybeans are legumes, they also fix nitrogen in the soil, which reduces the need for nitrogen fertilizers. Soy Milk is considered one of the most sustainable milk.

Soy Milk can be added to your oatmeal, smoothies, pancakes, waffles, and much more.

alpro soy milk @earthlinged's review of Soya Milk Unsweetened from Alpro

2. Almond Milk

Almond milk may not be as good as soy when it comes to protein, but it's packed with calcium. This milk's also a great source of Vitamin E, which is good for your brain, skin, and blood. When shopping for almond mylks, check its almond percentage. You're looking for the mylk that has high almond content to get all the benefits.

However, almond milk has received major flack on its sustainability quotient. Almond milk scores very low on environmental impact.

Sustainability graph

Almond mylk works wonderfully with cereals, smoothies, ice creams, tea, coffee, and it also helps add a creamy depth to your soup and curries.

almond milk @aaliyah16's review of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original Milk by Blue Diamond Almond

3. Oat Milk

Oat milk has taken the world by storm, especially since it's taste is so similar to cow milk. If you miss the taste of dairy, this is the mylk for you. It helps that this milk is high in beta-glucan, which helps maintain your blood sugar as well as keeps your digestive and heart health in check. Oat milk contains fiber, more vitamin A than dairy milk, iron, and calcium. Oat milk helps strengthen bones and the fiber content can boost the immune system and aid with digestion.

If you're planning to add oat milk to your coffee, we suggest getting a barista version as it helps build up that rich microfoam we love! In addition to this, oat milk can be added to Indian masala chai and smoothies.

Sustainability quotient- An LCA study said that "The production of its oat milk results in 80 percent lower GHG emissions and 60 percent less energy use compared to cow’s milk. The study also found it uses about 80 percent less land. Of all of the plants turned into milk, oats generally use the least water." Oat milk is the clear winner for the environment.

oatly barista @warmhealer's review of The Original Oat Drink Barista Edition by Oatly

4. Coconut Milk

Coconut milk introduces a whole new world of flavor profile. You can add it everywhere, from your coffees or your curries and get lost in its rich tropical taste. This mylk is like a holiday in your mouth. Coconut milk contains zinc and selenium are great for improving the immune system. It also contains minerals, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.

Sustainability quotient: Since coconut trees only grow in tropical climates, the pressure to meet global demand is causing exploitation of workers and destruction of rainforests. A good option is to choose coconut products that are certified in Fair Trade.

alpro coconut mylk @mericrist's review of Coconut Milk by Alpro

5. Rice Milk

Rice milk is one of the OGs when it comes to cow milk substitutes. It's also the least allergenic of any milks out there, so for all you peeps with any kind of allergies (from lactose to soy), check this one out! Rice milk contains calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A. It also has roughly 23 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, and 2.5 grams of fat with a caloric intake of about 120 calories per serving.

Rice milk is very light, so if you're planning to use it for baking, you may need to add some thickening agents, like flour, to add some depth to your baked goods.

Sustainability quotient: The Oxford study, indicates that rice milk produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other plant milk. Bacteria breeding in rice paddies pump methane into the atmosphere and large amounts of fertilizer pollute waterways.

pureharvest rice milk review @visalinathan's review of Rice Milk Enriched by Pureharvest

6. Pistachio Milk

Just like any other nut milk, Pistachio milk's full of healthy fats. It contains more potassium and vitamins K and B-6 than almond milk, and up to 6 grams of proteins per ounce, making this one of the healthier options when it comes to plant-based milk.

This milk will be a fantastic addition to your desserts. You can also add it to your hot chocolate, oats, cereals, smoothies, and much more!

sunkist pistachio mylk review @cocothekoala's review of Real Pistachio Mylk by Sunkist

7. Macadamia Milk

Concerned about the water footprint of your plant-based mylks? Try Macadamia Milk, it's just as tasty as other nut milk and needs much less water.

Macadamia nut milk is versatile and can be used in all places that call for dairy milk. From cereals to cakes, you can use this milk everywhere!

milklab's macadamia mylk review on abillion @junkfoodvegans' review of Macadamia milk by MILKLAB

8. Pea Milk

For the uninitiated, this mylk might come as a shocker. But don't worry, this milk is neither green not does it taste like pea. In terms of nutrition, pea mylk contains just as much amount of protein as soy. When compared to cow's milk, pea milk has a third of fat and 50% more calcium! It also has about 4.5 grams of fat, a great dose of omega-3 fatty acids, and about 450 mg of potassium.

Pea mylk tastes just like almond milk, but it's a little more creamy. You can also add it to your coffee, as it's silky texture's great for making latte art.

Sustainability quotient: Pea milk is a sustainable choice that is high in protein and involves less pesticide use, depending on the brand and variety.

ripple pea milk's review on abillion @appleappleamanda's review of Pea milk by Ripple

9. Walnut Milk

Walnuts are one of the best sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Drinking walnut milk ensures that your brain and heart stay healthy.

Unlike other mylks, walnut milk sticks to it's rich taste profile. It's a great addition to your bakes and desserts.

review of walnut milk @alyrauff's review of Walnut Milk Original by 137 degrees

10. Hazelnut Milk

Make choco-hazelnut milk by mixing melted chocolate, vanilla syrup, and maple syrup to this mylk. It's so good, tastes just like liquid Nutella. Hazelnut's a great flavor that works best with chocolate, so you can think of using this milk in anything chocolaty.

Sustainability quotient- Performing better than almond milk is the hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are pollinated by the wind rather than commercial honeybees.

Plenish walnut milk @hannahjtan's review of Organic Hazelnut Unsweetened Milk by Plenish

11. Cashew Milk

Cashews are a good source of unsaturated fats. Cashew milk is usually fortified with vitamin D, B-12, calcium, and vitamin A. Since this mylk is really creamy, it makes a great base for curries, sauces, or oatmeal.

Sustainability quotient: Cashew milk is considered a sustainable choice since it uses minimal land to grow the plants, especially compared to other plant-based milk. Nearly 60% of cashews are grown in India and there are known human rights issues surrounding the production of cashews, harsh conditions for workers, including the use of labor camps in some areas where cashews are grown and processed for milk.

alpro cashew milk review @marthsalt's review of Cashew Milk by Alpro

12. Pumpkin seed Milk

The American Heart Association recommends that we consume at least a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds each day to stay healthy. Pumpkin seeds are a nutrition powerhouse as they're a great source of magnesium, selenium, zinc, protein, and fiber. This milk may be an acquired taste, but once you get the hang of it, you'll keep wanting more!

Pumpkin seed milk's smooth and creamy. It's a great option for those looking for dairy and nut-free milk substitutes.

pumpkin seed milk @cocothekoala's review of Pumpkin Seed Milk by Nutty Milk Factory

13. Hemp Milk

Hemp mylk is buttery and has a nutty note. Since hemp's a natural source of calcium, it doesn't need to be fortified like other plant-based mylks. Along with calcium, it's also a great source of iron, zinc, and magnesium.

Since hemp mylk's so creamy, it's a great companion to coffee. It can also be added to smoothies, cerals, and baked foods.

Sustainability quotient- Hemp farming does require more water than oat, soy or pea.

hemp milk @beccabee's review of Creamy Hemp Seed Milk by Good Hemp

14. Tiger nut milk

Tiger nuts are a great source of calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, and sodium. It has healing effects for your digestion, immune system, and is also an aphrodisiac!

Sustainability quotient: No clear studies are made on tiger nut milk yet. But is considered easy to grow.

tiger nut milk @theamicablevegan's review of Tiger Nut Milk by Rude health

So, what to look for when shopping for vegan milk?

1. Store-bought plant-based milk tends to contain a lot of sugar, especially the sweetened variety. When shopping, look for unsweetened milk and then add your own natural sugar at home. Click here to know more about plant-based natural sugars that are good for your health.

2. Look for fortified milk, especially calcium, if you're buying milk that doesn't contain calcium.

3. Always check the water content. You don't want the milk to be so diluted that you lose out on the nutrition.

4. Check the ingredient list before making the purchase. Look out for whey, which tends to show up in much plant-based milk making them not suitable for vegans.

5. Looking for a rich milk substitute to make your coffee? Check out abillion's Will it Froth? video to see which milk froths the most.

Which is your favorite plant-based milk? Tell us in the comments below!

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@vikas profile image
vikas2 YEARS AGO
So ironic that the dairy industry talks about how much water it takes to make almond milk!
@goodvibesonly profile image
goodvibesonly2 YEARS AGO
I like how the graph really puts things into perspective. Literally any other choice than dairy milk will be an impactful choice. I am team Oat Mylk all the way! Which mylk is your favourite? Reply below.
@cspicer profile image
cspicer2 YEARS AGO
Vitasoy oat milk is the best 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼!
@lou profile image
oooh i didnt know you could make milk from peas! :o
@carmelau profile image
carmelau2 YEARS AGO
@giuliettaveg amoo ma esiste il latte di pistacchi!!!! Non lo sapevo che figata
@giuliettaveg profile image
giuliettaveg2 YEARS AGO
Adoro amo io non l’ho mai trovato in giro
@david- profile image
david-2 YEARS AGO
Soy is my favorite ♥️
@anweshagoel profile image
anweshagoel2 YEARS AGO
Everytime I read these articles I find out a new plant milk😄 sunflower seeds and tiger nut🌱
@veganhaven profile image
veganhaven2 YEARS AGO
I haven't tried half those nut milks 😅 I stick to oat, soy, peas or almond milk mostly.
@crazymoni5 profile image
crazymoni52 YEARS AGO
my favorite is cashew milk! I had no idea that there is harm going into it’s production. I think i may need to reconsider my choices now.. thank you for this information!!
@vegpledge profile image
vegpledge2 YEARS AGO
I had no idea there were so many different kinds of plant-based mylks! I have been drinking Oatly oat milk but maybe I’ll try some of these other types🤔 soya and pea sound appealing :) thanks for the tips!💕
@gl1966 profile image
gl19662 YEARS AGO
I love almond / coconut from Califia. The dairy industry abuses cows. I have witnessed it. It needs to stop.!!
@walter386 profile image
walter3862 YEARS AGO
I prefer So Nice organic unsweetened
@francancook profile image
francancook2 YEARS AGO
If anyone has tried "NOT MILK" it's unbelievable!!!
@ica4bontang profile image
ica4bontang2 YEARS AGO
Vitasoy milk❤
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