It’s time for another foodie guide! This time: plant based milk. You may have read that I’m attempting to go dairy-free this year, and I’ll be honest, it’s been pretty tough going. So far, I’ve been quite happy cutting out cheese and yoghurt – although denying a pizza earlier this week was a toughie – but there seems to be no escaping milk…
Milk Is Everywhere!
Oh boy, you wouldn’t believe it until you try to avoid it – I’ve been denied tomato soup, grumbled when putting back a packet of ready-salted crisps, and even started looking up restaurant menus online before going to them. In my How To Eat Out as a Vegetarian guide, I didn’t bother to include this as the little green v is pretty much included everywhere, but milk? That takes some preparation.
One thing that I have found easy enough to do is cut out cow’s milk completely. I’ve been using plant based milk for years now, but typically where it’s required it in large doses such as in my breakfast smoothies or porridges. This week was the start of me using plant milks in everything, including tea and coffee.
And, despite having researched fervently as to which plant milk alternative is best for your health, I was surprised to find that their tastes differ so much when used with delicate tastes such as breakfast tea. You might love coconut milk for example, but coconut tea? Not so much.
Which Plant Based Milk Tastes Best?
I’ve paired up with Dream to try out their Rice Milk as part of my dairy-free exploration, and see how it holds up against other flavours of plant milk. You can actually do this along with me, as they’re running a ‘try me for free’ campaign at Tesco and Asda, where you can claim your money back if you don’t enjoy the taste.
My first and most important taste test has been in my morning drinks. Over the last week I’ve given rice milk a go in my teas and coffees at home, and found that it’s not only been a good replacement (although it is noticeably thinner than cow’s milk), but it’s also made me go without sugar (I take my tea with one sugar normally). This is because Dream’s Rice Milk contains naturally occurring sugars, giving it a sweeter flavour than standard milk or other plant based alternatives.
The second test has been with cereal. I’m not much of a cereal eater, but when I do fancy a bowl of my homemade granola, it has to be with plant based milk. Rice milk in large doses actually does quite well here too, as it doesn’t taste strongly in comparison to almond or coconut milk, but the bigger impact is the high sugar content. I would probably stick to wholly almond milk if you’re a massive cereal eater to avoid this added sugar, but if you’re looking for the best taste, rice milk will definitely give you that.
Finally, what’s the best plant milk for smoothies? I’ve dabbled with loads of different brands and types, but have come to find that I’ll try and throw in the healthiest ingredients even if it sacrifices the taste a little. If you’re new to smoothies, you may love using Dream’s rice milk as it adds an extra smoothness and sweetness, but for me the best option has to be unsweetened almond milk. I have to add that the bonus with using Dream is that their rice milk, oat milk, and coconut milk are all enriched with calcium and vitamins D2 and B12. This is a really worthwhile combination, as vitamin D2 enables the absorption of calcium, and both calcium and vitamin B12 are elements we veggies and vegans need to actively maintain as we’re not getting them from animal sources.
To Sum Up…
If you’re making the switch to a more plant-based diet, or perhaps taking part in Veganuary, I’d totally recommend Dream Rice Milk as a good starting place. You’ll not miss out on any nutrients and still enjoy the taste of milky foods and drinks. Then, depending on the foods you eat, have a little experiment with a few different flavours!