Hoping to lighten your daily lactose load? Going dairy free isn’t easy — you never realize just how much cow milk is in your food until you try to go without it! But luckily there are lots of options out there in terms of milk alternatives. Whether you’re debating between hemp milk or flax milk, or almond milk vs. cashew milk, HBFIT is here to help. With basic nutritional info and realistic tasting notes, we’ve got the skinny on everything you need to go lactose-free.
Hemp milk has a creamy, nutty flavor, and comes from crushed hemp seeds blended with water to form a nutrient-rich milky beverage. As far as milk alternatives go, it has a lot to offer. Hemp milk has 10 amino acids, and more protein than you’d get from rice or flax milk. Hemp milk is thick and creamy, with a higher fat content than other plant milks. Because of its texture — thicker than cow’s skim milk — it can be a great alternative for milk products in most recipes, especially where other milk alternatives run on the watery side.
Made from ground almonds, this milk substitute is comparatively low in calories and high in healthy fats, like omega fatty acids. Almond milk also contains 50 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin E, which makes it a big boost for skin health. Almond milk falls short on the calcium and protein factor. In terms of flavor, you can definitely taste the almond in almond milk. Its smooth and creamy texture is a good fit for most breakfast foods and desserts, but you may find that savory dishes don’t have quite the same weight with almond milk.
Rice milk is commonly unsweetened, but that shouldn’t deter you. During the process of milling and blending rice with water, the carbohydrates in the rice break down into sugars, giving it a natural sweetness. The texture and consistency is somewhat thin, and the taste is reminiscent of oats and nuts. While rice milk contains no cholesterol or lactose, it’s also pretty high in carbohydrates. And, like almond milk, rice milk offers little in the way of protein and calcium.
Flax milk is less widely known among milk alternatives. It’s made from cold-pressed flax oil, mixed with water. It’s unfortunately very low in protein, but it’s also low in calories, and packed with lots of omega fatty acids. The high volume of omega fatty acids — 1200 mg of the good stuff per serving — makes it a healthy choice for those with allergies or skin care troubles, as well as a good alternative for folks whose diet makes it difficult to get the same dose from ingredients like fish. Flax milk has a milk-like flavor than many other milk alternatives, making it a good fit for smoothies and cereal.
Cashew milk is made similarly to almond milk, though the end product is creamier and has an earthier flavor. Cashew milk is a common substitute for dairy ingredients in vegan dishes, especially rich baked goods, including cheesecakes. But even though it’s richer and nuttier than almond milk, cashew milk is lower in fat and calories. You can also get most brands fortified with calcium and vitamin D as needed.