The New Vegan Milk on the Block
By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Oat milk is popping up everywhere and is a delicious alternative to dairy, soy and nut milks. The drink is making its way into coffee shops, cafes and recipes due to its natural, creamy texture and tastes great in matcha lattes and coffee and espresso drinks.
Homemade oat milk is an easy and inexpensive alternative to other milks. It costs less than a dollar to make your own batch of oat milk that can last for days.
It can be nice to change things up a bit and rotate your milk alternatives around for a different flavor in your smoothies, with your hot or cold breakfast, used in chia puddings, in your cooking and as a hot beverage or just consumed straight. Oat milk offers a mild taste that you may enjoy more than almond or coconut milk.
From a health perspective, oats offer the added benefits of soluble fiber, particularly beta-glucans, which are known for lowering cholesterol, reducing blood sugar levels in diabetics, and supporting healthy immunity.
One cup of oat milk can provide up to 1.3g of beta-glucans per serving, and also provides 2.5g of protein and 3.8g of fiber with 3.5g being soluble fiber, which is an excellent amount and will work toward keeping you full for longer and supporting a healthy gut. Essentially, it’s a nice way to sneak more fiber into your day.
But you also need to beware that while oat milk is a great vegan option, when compared to other milk alternatives, it can be higher in calories. It is also important to note if you are choosing to purchase oat milk, buying unsweetened oat milk is a better choice, since many brands contain added sugar.
Another benefit to oat milk is that soy, nut and dairy milks are all high allergens.
The only thing to watch for with oats is that even though they do not officially contain gluten, they do have a similar protein that can cause a cross-reactivity reaction in some non-celiac gluten intolerance and celiac people. Symptoms can be stomach/intestinal irritation, fatigue, lethargy, muscle aches and pains and various other symptoms, so be mindful if you choose to consume oat milk.
Oats require less water to produce, which is particularly important for drought-effected areas, making this milk a smart choice from an environmental standpoint too. Oats require much less water then almonds which are water thirsty as are dairy farms.
Here is an easy Oat Milk Recipe:
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 3 cups filtered water
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- ½-1 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)
- Blend all ingredients until very smooth.
- Strain through a nut milk bag, cheesecloth or a very fine mesh strainer.
- Store in an air-tight glass jar (preferably) for up to 1 week.
Other recipe ideas to enjoy the benefits of oats