Transitioning to a dairy-free regime — whatever your motive — might not be easy if you’re an avid milk drinker. Maybe you haven’t gone for the switch because the non-milk you’ve tried as a replacement just isn’t doing it for you.
Fortunately, I have the skinny on all things non-milk in this handy list below. You’ll be able to see all the options out there (and there’s quite a few) and choose which one might best fit that empty space where your ice cold glass of milk once was.
Perhaps you’re thinking “Isn’t goat’s milk still dairy?” Technically, yes, goat’s milk still contains lactose, but often individuals with sensitivities to the specific casein protein found in bovine milk can more easily digest the smaller protein in goat’s milk.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean someone with severe milk allergies won’t have the same reaction to goat’s milk as to cow’s milk, but it does provide the alternative. Benefits from goat’s milk include:
- More essential fatty acids than cow’s milk
- Fat is more readily digested and absorbed
- Goat’s milk doesn’t contain agglutinin, which aids in digestion
- Provides 13 percent more calcium than cow’s milk
Almond milk can create a velvety and tasty alternative to dairy milk. It has a sweet and nutty flavor that can be enhanced by using natural vanilla for flavoring and is very low in calories. Add in the proteins, Omega-6s, antioxidants, dietary fibers, iron, zinc and vitamin E, and now you’ve got your hands on a super drink.
Some other benefits include:
- Hits 30 percent of your daily calcium requirement
- Strengthens your immune system
- Helps encourage weight loss and management
- Aids in digestion
Made by processing pounded soybeans in water, soy milk has many consistencies and tastes to choose from — be it vanilla, chocolate, sweet, creamy or light. It may take a few tries to choose the one you like best, but lots of options are always better than few. Since it’s low in both saturated fats and sugar, you’ll want to give it a whirl. Other bonuses of soy milk:
- High in omega-3s, antioxidants, phytoestrogens, selenium, vitamin D, potassium and calcium
- Contains almost the same amount of protein as cow’s milk
- Helps prevent prostate cancer and eases post-menopausal symptoms
- Strengthens your blood vessels
A naturally sweet dairy substitute, rice milk may be your non-milk of choice. It’s made from brown rice and has a thin consistency (consider this one if skim milk was your favorite). It is a gluten-free milk and inexpensive to make and purchase. You’ll benefit from:
- Its rich source of B vitamins, niacin, phosphorus, and manganese
- A non-milk with no saturated fat or cholesterol
- Rich carbohydrate and proteins for energy
- Easy to digest
Creamy and tasting deliciously like summer, coconut milk is a great source of important nutrients and easily made by grating and extracting the flesh of the coconut. You can change the consistency based on your tastes, and benefit from feeling fuller after drinking this beverage. Other benefits include:
- Rich in fiber, vitamin D, iron, manganese, calcium and vitamin B-12
- Prevents osteoporosis and arthritis
- Aids in weight loss
- Helps control blood sugar
One of the healthiest choices available for non-milk products, hemp milk is made from the seeds of the tree. It has a nutty flavor and is another vegan alternative on the list. One eight-ounce glass is a bomb of essentials vitamins, omega acids and minerals. Some other pros to this drink include:
- Full of fiber, protein and amino acids
- Helps with muscle building and strength training
- Boosts energy
- Encourages healthy skin, hair and nails
Cashew Milk tends to have a natural vanilla flavor and is made by blending water and cashew nuts. You can try your hand at making your own or buying it. Creamy and delicious, cashew milk is a tasty alternative to dairy milk with loads of benefits, including:
- Has no cholesterol
- Is an excellent source of protein, calcium and B vitamins
- Helps your metobolism
- Improves Red Blood Corpuscle production and cardiovascular health
- Is low in fat content
Making this non-milk on your own requires a process of soaking and straining with care, but if you’re willing to take the time, the health benefits are worth it. You’ll have most of your daily value of calcium in one serving, and it has also been known to help prevent cancers, heart disease and stroke. Some other bonuses:
- Reduces bad cholesterol, but improves good levels
- Helps clear up acne
- Aids in digestion
- Boosts your immune system
This list, while thorough, may not cover all the non-milk options on the market. Still, it should get you started in the right direction to choose which one is right for you.
After all, you don’t want to force yourself to continually drink something you don’t like – that makes healthy choices less fun. Let healthy be fun, and find one that works for you!