Although plant-based nutrition is seeing a massive surge in popularity, it is still outside of the mainstream diet for many Indians. It’s no wonder that there is so much misinformation about what happens when you drop meat, eggs, and dairy from your meals. Vegan milks often get a bad rap but that’s mostly because of misinformation and lack of awareness around their nutrition quotient and use. Here, we set the record straight on some unfounded misconceptions about milk substitutes.
Myth 1: Vegan milk has no nutrients
This is downright false. Each plant-based milk brings a little something to the nutritional chart, so while almond milk is lower in calories, soy, pea and flax milk have a high protein content. Hemp has the least fat, whereas pea protein milk and soy milk are rich in potassium. Almond and flax milk also have more calcium and almost all milks are lower in sugar. Hemp milk contains all essential amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids and soy milk is often considered closer to cow milk in terms of nutrition. Just like store-bought animal milk, most nut and plant-based milks can also easily be fortified with vitamins. Only Earth milks are rich in protein, vitamins, Omega 3 and 9, and fiber, and have zero trans fats. Also, remember, we don’t get all our nutrition from dairy alone; a balanced diet with enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains is the key.
Myth 2: Soy milk is the only alternative to cow milk
We’ve come a long way from the time when soy milk was the only alternative! Yes, it may have started the revolution, but today, the market is flooded with dairy-free milk substitutes, each of which is healthy, accessible and versatile. From oat, almond, cashew, coconut, pea and flax to macadamia, hemp, rice, tigernut and hazelnut, the options are endless. Most of these are available at local supermarkets or online stores. So get exploring and pick one that catches your fancy. You can explore the Only Earth offering here.
Myth 3: Vegan milk is not delicious
Vegan milk options, especially oats and coconut, are delicious to taste. Oat milk has a natural inherent sweetness that amplifies anything that you want to have with it. Coconut is all natural and tastes really good and refreshing. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that plant-based milk elevates your morning cereal, smoothies and dishes. They are also delicious dairy-free alternatives when making cookies, ice creams, pancakes and cakes. Each kind of vegan milk – be it oat, soy, coconut or flax – has its own distinct flavour, although it may not taste exactly like cow milk or buffalo milk. Some plant-based milks have a nutty aftertaste, while some, like oat milk, are thicker, creamier and naturally sweet. So if a particular kind of milk doesn’t go down well with you, you could always switch.
Myth 4: Vegan milk has no place in Indian cuisine
On the contrary, plant-based milk and Indian food are a match made in heaven. Anyone who’s had a Kerala stew simmered in coconut milk will attest to it. Yes, Indian food does use a fair bit of dairy, but there are ways to work around it; while in some cases, the dairy element is optional, in many instances, one can easily substitute yoghurt, say, with cashew milk. Or cream with coconut milk. Coconut oil in place of ghee. Swap the paneer with tofu or bean curd. Oat milk in place of cow milk for your chai. You get the drift. You’ll be surprised at how delicious Indian food tastes, even without the use of dairy.