A messy vegan's guide to picking the perfect plant-based milk

Your moment

Everyone has a different relationship with milk, specifically cow's milk, and before going vegan mine was on a need to know basis. I've never been a glass of milk before bed person and I prefer dipping my cookies into bourbon (coffee) like a real adult. But what I've realised post-going vegan is that milk sneaks up on you (did you know ice cream is made from milk?) Even if it's just a little, milk goes in everything. Luckily, at this point in time, there are a plethora of cow's milk alternatives that are good for humans and good for the planet. All you need to do is pick the right one for the right situation. How, you ask? Don't worry, I've got you. Here is a guide to picking the perfect plant-based milk for when you need that little bit of milkiness in your life.

Thursday 9:30 AM - Soy Milk

You thought the week was going well; you meal prepped on Sunday evening, went to the gym on Tuesday, and even managed to get a load of laundry done before needing to wear swimwear as undergarments. Well, you thought wrong.

That after-work drink you were getting with your pals somehow turned into doing jello shots with a fabulous drag queen and here we are. It’s a weekday and the ridiculous idea of combining a horribly synthetic glob of sugar with high percentage alcohol is biting you in the ass (or head). You need something hydrating, nutritious and easy to consume - chewing is very hard at the moment. What you need is a good-old, preferably cold, smoothie. But, your smoothie’s base liquid can’t be cow’s milk because dairy is hard to digest for humans thus not great for a compromised stomach and also because the animal farming industry is destroying the planet.

So your best milk in this scenario is soy milk. Soy milk has a very mild taste compared to other plant-based milks and it’s packed with nutrients that’ll get you through the morning. So chuck a banana, some frozen berries and any type of green stuff you have in your fridge in a blender with your soy milk and try to pretend you’re wearing sunglasses indoors because you have an eye infection.

Anytime you need a pick me up - Oat Milk

If you’re a coffee snob who believes the only way to drink coffee is to drink it black, no sugar brewed in an elephant tusk, you do you. If you enjoy a little bit of milky goodness in your cup of joe, oat milk is the best coffee companion out there. It’s creamy, has a natural sweetness, and froths well if you want to get into some latte art. It’s also so incredibly hip that at times, cities like New York and London have oat milk shortages. Ask your local barista for an oat milk flat white and stock up on few cartons just in case.

It’s been a hard day’s night and you’ve been working like a dog - Coconut Milk

It was one of those days, you know, someone at work made a passive aggressive comment that got on your nerves, an asshole during your commute cut you off, the planet is melting, society is collapsing, etc. You’re finally home and all you want to do is curl up on the couch with a bowl of something warm and watch ten-year-old episodes of Survivor. In that case, soup is your best friend and no other milk matches a nice hearty soup than coconut.

It’s a fatty milk (compared to other plant-milks) whose specific taste blends very well with soups. Chop up some vegetables, add a cup of lentils for good measure, add spices to your heart’s desires and you’re ready to watch Jeff Probst sass people who haven’t eaten anything but rice for two weeks. The combination of hot spices and the slight coconutty flavour will make you feel like you’re on the island with the rest of them.

You have no taste buds and also hate trees - Almond Milk

This is a bit of a personal vendetta. I find the taste of almond milk unbearable and refuse to use it in anything that’ll cause me to even slightly taste it. So coffee, smoothies, soups are off; I’ll maybe put it in baked goods if I’m desperate but, considering I don’t own an oven, that seems an unlikely option. Plus, apparently almond milk isn’t very good for the environment because almonds are extremely water-intensive, it takes 15 gallons of water to produce just 16. It’s also nutritionally unimpressive, one cup of almond milk only has one gram of protein compared to the eight grams in oat milk. Some people like to put it in their breakfast cereal and stuff I guess.

You’re a visionary who’s ahead of all trends - Water Lentil Milk

Did you know about X before it was cool? Were you the first amongst your friends to obsess about avocados back in the 1870’s? Have you already tried lab-grown meat and in fact have a grow-your-own kit? Then, water lentil milk is the plant-based milk of your dreams. Water lentil is a fast-growing aquatic plant that has a very high turnover rate and people are making milk from it. Florida based company Parabel is the first to develop the new milk and they’re waiting on a patent to start distributing it. But you already knew about this right?

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