You do not want to drink cow’s milk, but there are so many plant based milk brands out there. It’s hard to know which one to choose.
The answer might be a little bit different for everyone. In this article you will get clear on which plant-based milk is best for you.
Let’s get started.
Why Choose Plant Based Milk Brands?
You probably grew up drinking milk from a cow. But there are a lot of reasons why this might not be right for you now that you are older.
You Don’t Like The Taste Of Cow’s Milk
Maybe when you were a kid, someone made sure you drank your milk everyday. And maybe you didn’t really love doing it.
Now that I’m an adult, one thing I know for sure is that I don’t have to eat foods I don’t like.
However, there’s a good reason why that person made sure you drank your milk. Milk provides calcium and protein to a growing child. These are both still super important nutrients for you to keep healthy bones and muscles. So milk is still a good idea – but let’s find a milk that you like.
You Can’t Digest Lactose
Lactose is a type of sugar that is found only in milk. Your body needs a special enzyme to digest lactose. This enzyme is called lactase.
You make lactase in the lining of your digestive tract. Babies make a lot of lactase, to help them digest the only food they eat for the first few months of their life.
As you get older, you might lose your ability to make lactase. This is different for everyone. Some people make lactase all their life. Others taper off, and eventually stop making it at all.
If you don’t make much lactase, you know it when you drink a glass of milk. You experience bloating, gas, diarrhea or stomach cramps. You might have some or all of these symptoms.
Undigested lactose draws water into your digestive tract, which can cause diarrhea. Bacteria in your gut break that lactose down and create a lot of gas, which can cause stomach cramps.
There are many products out there that can help, such as lactose free milk, or lactase tablets. Another alternative is to stop drinking milk. This is where plant-based milks can give you the same nutrients without the lactose.
You Are Allergic To Milk
Some people have a true allergy to milk. This is a reaction to the protein in milk.
Milk allergy symptoms can range from skin rashes, itching and hives to swelling, respiratory distress and anaphylactic shock. Avoiding milk proteins might be a matter of life and death for you.
You Don’t Eat Animal Products
According to the World Animal Fund there are about 88 million vegans in the world. There could be many reasons why you have chosen not to eat animal products.
You can still get all the nutrients you need by strategically choosing your foods. One good choice for easy calcium and protein is a plant based milk.
You Have Your Own Reasons
Maybe you have identified milk as a trigger for acne or migraines. You may not like the way that the dairy industry operates and how they treat the cows. Cow’s milk sometimes contains antibiotics or growth hormones.
Whatever the reason, I am going to show you how to get your protein and calcium in another way.
Best Plant Based Milk For Protein
A cup of whole cow’s milk provides you with about 8 grams of protein. Here is a list of plant based milk brands that give you the same amount of protein.
- Ripple Plant-Based Milk is made with pea protein, and has 8 grams per cup. It has a delicious, clean taste.
- Califia Farms PROTEIN Original Oat Milk has 8 grams of protein per cup. (Note that only the variety labeled “protein” has this much protein – the other products are much lower.
- Pacific Farms Organic Unsweetened Soy Original Beverage has 9 grams of protein per cup.
- Silk PROTEIN Almond and Cashew Milk has 10 grams of protein per cup. Note: you have to buy the variety with “protein” in the name.
- Good Karma Unsweetened Flax Milk + Protein has 8 grams of protein per cup. Their Oatmilk has the same nutritional profile.
- Orgain Organic Almond Milk + Protein has 10 grams of protein per cup.
- WestSoy Organic Unsweetened Soy Milk has 9 grams of protein per cup.
- Most varieties of Edensoy soy milk contain at least 9 grams of protein per cup.
Best Plant Based Milk For Calcium
A cup of whole cow’s milk contains about 300 mg of calcium. Here are some plant based milk brands that give you at least that much calcium or more.
- Califia Farms PROTEIN Original Oat Milk contains 590 mg of calcium per cup.
- Ripple Original Plant-Based Milk has 440 mg of calcium per cup. https://www.ripplefoods.com/original-unsweetened-plant-milk/
- Planet Oat Original Oatmilk has 350 mg of calcium per cup.
- Milkadamia Unsweetened Macadamia Milk has 300 grams of calcium per cup. Their other macadamia milks also have similar amounts of calcium.
- Oatly Original Oatmilk has 350 mg calcium per cup.
- All of the Silk Plant-Based Milks have at least 300 mg of calcium per cup. Most of them are as high as 470 mg.
- Almond Breeze Original Almond Milk has 450 mg calcium per cup. All of the Almond Breeze milk products are fortified with calcium.
- Good Karma Unsweetened Flax Milk + Protein has 320 mg of calcium per cup. Their Oatmilk has the same nutritional profile.
- Living Harvest Tempt Hemp Milk provides about 300 mg of calcium per cup.
- Seeds of Wellness (SOW) Chia Milk has 346 grams of calcium per cup.
- NotCo NotMilk Plant-Based Milk Alternative has 300 mg of calcium per cup. This milk is made with pea protein and some other interesting ingredients, including cabbage juice and pineapple juice concentrate.
Over All Best Plant Based Milk Brands for Protein and Calcium
It would be great to get enough protein AND calcium from that one glass of plant based milk. Here are some brands that provide both these nutrients in adequate amounts.
- Califia Farms PROTEIN Original Oat Milk has 590 mg of calcium and 8 grams of protein per cup.
- Ripple Original Plant-Based Milk has 440 mg of calcium and 8 grams of protein per cup.
- Silk PROTEIN Almond and Cashew Milk has 10 grams of protein per cup and 450 mg of calcium. Note: you have to buy the variety with “protein” in the name.
- Good Karma Unsweetened Flax Milk + Protein has 8 grams of protein and 320 mg of calcium per cup. Their Oatmilk has the same nutritional profile.
There are many other types of plant-based milks out there. If you don’t find your brand listed here it is because it doesn’t measure up in calcium or protein, or I just don’t know about it. Tell me about it in the comment section. Check your labels and make sure your milk measures up!
More Things to Consider About Plant Based Milk
Sweetened vs Unsweetened
Most brands of plant based milk offer you a variety of flavors. One choice you will make is whether to buy sweetened or unsweetened.
If you plan to add at least a cup of plant based milk to your meals every day, I recommend going with the unsweetened variety. It is rarely or never a good idea to add extra sugars to your food.
Extra Added Ingredients In Plant Based Milks
Some plant based milk have a long list of ingredients. Oat milk is a big culprit here. In order to turn a nut or grain into milk, it might be necessary to add some emulsifiers, gums or thickeners.
As a rule, it’s better to buy a product with less ingredients. However this will be different for everyone. For instance, gums used to thicken a milk might cause digestive problems for some people.
This is where you must do your own detective work. Read labels and pay attention to how your body reacts to a product. This way you will be able to figure out the right plant based milk for you.
Which Plant Based Milk Is Best For the Environment?
Right from the get-go, plant based milk is better for the environment than drinking cow’s milk. Dairy cows produce 36 times more greenhouse gasses and use 6 times as much land as pea crops (1).
After the crops are grown, however, it can take considerable resources to turn those plants into a product resembling milk. Some of the things to take into consideration here are energy used in production of the milk, potential for acidifying the environment, how much water is required, and the potential for depleting ozone.
Rice milk requires a lot of energy to produce, even more than cow’s milk. Rice milk also has a much greater potential to acidify the environment than the other plant based milks.
Almonds are a thirsty crop that require way more water than other plant based milk crops (1).
Some crops such as coconut are a part of the rainforest. They need to be harvested sustainably.
Oatly tracks the climate footprint of all of their products from “grower to grocer” and has their numbers checked by a third party called CarbonCloud (2).
Ripple is made with yellow peas. They need little irrigation and don’t require nitrogen fertilizer. They produce significantly less greenhouse gases and methane than the other plant milk choices (3).
SOW’s chia products are sourced from farms in South America that practice regenerative agriculture techniques. The product is packaged in recyclable and compostable containers.
There are so many variables that it is a good idea to investigate a company and find out whether or not they operate in a sustainable manner. Most of these companies will tell you all the details on their website.
Best Plant Based Milk For Coffee?
Many companies that sell plant based milk products also have Barista lines formulated for coffee-type drinks. If you want to just use your plant based milk in your coffee, oat milk has the creamiest consistency, and will probably give you the closest “coffee with cream” experience.
The Last Drop
There are many reasons to choose a plant based milk. You might not like the taste of cow’s milk. Maybe you don’t eat animal products, or want to stay away from added hormones and antibiotics.
You might have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. Or perhaps you have linked cow’s milk with another health problem like acne or migraine.
You still need those nutrients you would get from cow’s milk. Two of the big ones are protein and calcium. There are quite a few choices of plant based milks that can give you one or both of these nutrients in the same amounts you’d get from a cow.
Plant based milks are a better choice for the environment, with some being better than others. Environmentally sound companies usually give all these details on their web site.
Are you confused about what to eat? I specialize in helping people like you figure this stuff out. Schedule a call, and let’s talk!