Your Guide to Plant-Based Mylk
To Dairy or Not To Dairy?
Whilst avoiding dairy has never been easier or tastier, some may be avoiding dairy due to an underlying issue within their body, such as poor digestive health, intolerance or allergy.
If you suffer from bloating, cramping, diarrhea, or even skin issues that you think may be related to dairy, it may be worth seeing one of our clinic practitioners to determine why you’re reacting to it.
Whether due to an intolerance or allergy, the choice to follow a vegan diet, or the want to reduce environmental impact, the number of people choosing to go dairy-free has risen dramatically. To meet this demand, the range of non-dairy milks has never been greater. We are spoiled for choice!
So, how do you decide what's best for you and what do you need to be aware of when choosing your Mylk?
Derived from grains and legumes, each type of milk alternative comes with its own benefits. However, some milks may have hidden pitfalls, such as additives or greater ‘food miles’.
OK, so given the myriad of dairy-free options, how do you choose the right one for your needs?
When it comes to dairy-free milk options (aka ‘mylk’), there are several popular types you will see on the supermarket shelves. Below are some of the benefits of each, to help you decide on the right option for you.
Almond: A well-balanced and tasty option, almonds provide healthy proportions of protein, fibre and fats.
Oat: A source of blood sugar-balancing and gut health-promoting fibre.
Rice: A low allergen option with a mild taste.
Coconut: A creamier and fuller option, coconut milk is rich in satiating and energy-stabilizing good fats.
The label will reveal all
Once you've made up your mind which type of milk to use, review the ingredient panel of each brand critically to ensure you are purchasing the healthiest, most cost-effective and environmentally mindful option for you. It's surprising what yukky and unnecessary ingredients manufacturers can sneak into our processed foods.
- Ingredient content. An almond milk that contains 1% almonds will taste weaker and more watery than one containing 10% almonds. As most non-dairy milks contain a high water content, ensure value for money by choosing the option with the highest amount of the non-dairy base (e.g. nut, seed or grain) you can find.
- Additives, preservatives and flavours. Milks may contain additives to adjust their flavour, texture or thickness, and include food acids, gum, thickeners, mineral salts, stabilizers and emulsifiers. While several of these may be considered safe, others have unknown safety profiles. Some additives are highly processed or artificial and have the capacity to trigger inflammation. They also need to be detoxified from the body, increasing the burden on detoxifying organs such as the liver.
- Organic vs non-organic. Some nuts and grains are exposed to a large number of herbicides and pesticides during farming, and low levels of exposure to these chemicals over a long period have been linked to serious diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and cancer. Additionally, pesticides increase the burden on your detoxification systems, so choose an organic option to reduce your exposure
- Sweeteners. Many non-dairy options often contain a sweetener (such as rice syrup), which is basically additional sugar your body simply does not require. Maintain control over your sugar intake by choosing an unsweetened option.
- Fats. Omega-6 fatty acids found in vegetable, nut and seed oils, are a common addition to packaged foods, with non-dairy milk products no exception, some containing oils such as sunflower oil. Consuming too many omega-6 fats in relation to omega-3 fats (found in fish) can lead to inflammation and damage in the body.
- Locality. Nuts and grains are often grown overseas, creating a large amount of ‘food miles’ (and hence carbon emissions) on their way to your nearest store. As dairy milk is often locally sourced, look for an alternative made from Australian-grown ingredients to ensure that going dairy-free does not increase your environmental impact.
Whatever milk/mylk you choose, they all have added health benefits and are tasty. Enjoy!
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