Milk! We use it for everything. From cereal in the morning, to that cup of coffee or the cheeky choccy biscuit that you hope no one saw you eat…
But did you know that dairy is the number one source of saturated fat in humans? Not to mention that the volume of cow’s milk that we are consuming is contributing to climate change! Dairy contributes to over 2% of greenhouse gas emissions alone.
But despair not! We now have plenty of alternative milks and reducing your dairy intake has never been easier, cheaper or more convenient than it is today.
With over 20 plant milks available I thought I would give you the key nutrients for a few of them when compared to cow’s milk.
Milks and their Nutrition
Cow’s milk. Most people’s go to milk. Per 240ml serving it provides 146 calories, a significant 8g of protein, 8g of fat and 12g of carbs.
Hemp milk is a great way to boost your omega 3 and omega 6 intake on a plant-based diet. Per 240ml serving it provides 60 calories, 3g protein, 5g of fat and is virtually carb free (0g) unless sweetened.
Oat milk (Oatly) is my personal favourite milk alternative as it is creamier and makes for good coffee. Per 240ml serving it provides 120 calories, 3g protein, 5g of fat and 16g of carbs.
For a cheaper option why not make your own! Just blend a cup of rolled oats with 4 cups of water for 30-45 seconds in a high-speed blender, then strain through a towel. *Put in a bubble at the side.
Almond milk I have to avoid due to my allergies, but if you are tree nut allergy free, I hear it is very tasty and a great natural source of vitamin E. Per 240ml serving it provides 41 calories, 1g of protein, 3g of fat and 2g of carbs.
Coconut milk has a distinctive taste making it great for use in cooking. Per 240ml serving it provides 46 calories, no protein, 4g of fat and 1g of carbs.
A Sustainable Milk?
It is important to consider how our milks are harvested, before choosing which one is right for us.
Hemp milk is perhaps the most environmentally friendly. Requiring no pesticides or herbicides and having a low carbon footprint.
Oat milk is also an eco-friendly option, with a very low water requirement and using 80% less land than cow’s milk. The brand Oatly pays particular attention to sustainable packaging and transport leading to 2.5x less co2 than other oat milk brands (can you tell my bias yet? – its Oatly 😊).
Almond milk uses more water than other milk alternatives but still less than dairy. Almond milk does rely heavily on the use of pesticides. My advice would be if you buy almond, buy organic.
Coconut milk on the other hand has a very low water use and the trees are great for capturing carbon.
I have left the worst till last. The environmental impact of cow’s milk is enormous. Just one 200ml serving of milk per day for one year contributes 229kg of greenhouse gas emissions and the water consumption is equal to 703 showers lasting 8 minutes!
Something equally important to factor into your decision is the ethics involved in cow’s milk. We often forget that like most mammals cows, must be pregnant to produce milk which involves artificial impregnation.
If you are interested in making a more informed decision, I recommend you read the life of a dairy cow in the UK.
For me this is a no brainer. Plant based milk opens up a world of new tastes, lowers your carbon footprint (helping meet sustainable development goals), it may alleviate that daily stomach ache and no cows are involved in the process.
Don’t just take my word for it, get out there and explore the world of plant milks! Want to know more? This helpful video explores which milk is best for you.
Find more useful tips here – https://metmunch.com/category/hints-and-tips/