Mylk: a healthy milk alternative you should consider - here’s why.
Mylk: a healthy milk alternative you should consider - here’s why.
Figure One: Oat Mylk crackers made using leftover mylk pulp (Handmade by Manna, just one way we're reusing our ingredients)
Author: Tara - Marketing Intern, October 2019
Milk. It conjures up anecdotal memories. Warm milk at night. Chocolate milk. Milk with your coffee to lessen the bitterness of coffee. It‘s a staple household product. But what’s interesting about the milk industry is that it is undergoing, like the food industry in general, a major transformation. Milk straying away from animal products and gravitating towards plant-based ones: mylk.
What is Mylk?
Mylk is plant-based and ranges from the popular soya, coconut, almond, cashew and oat mylk to newer varieties such as hemp, pea, walnut, quinoa, rice, spelt, hazelnut and even tiger nut mylk.
Traditionally, cows milk has been satisfactory to us since we’ve always had a choice between skim, semi skimmed, whole, organic and lactose free milk to fit our dietary needs. Cows milk is naturally vitamin packed and has always been viewed as an important component of a healthy and well balanced diet. A 250ml glass actually contains 10g of Protein, 300mg of bone building calcium and 500mg of potassium as well as enough iodine, phosphorus and vitamins B12 and B2. Yet, more recently, Milk has been viewed as a possible cause of lactose intolerance, constipation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and allergies.
It’s not about the allergens, but rather the health benefits
Now more and more people are starting to ditch dairy as it is being vilified for its fat content and the perception that it can cause bloating.
As a matter of fact, just a tiny fraction of adults are truly allergic to dairy, many more experience pain and bloating when digesting dairy and even more are under a weight loss-trend-affiliated influence and are see the need to switch to plant mylk.
Mylk: a healthier alternative if unsweetened
Most Mylk does in fact contain less calories than Cows milk and is almost always lower in saturated fats. Yet many wrongly estimate the amount of health benefits in mylk and expect to reap all the benefits that almonds or oats contain in their raw form.
Many of the fibre and protein sources actually are stripped off the final product as the original source has to be deconstructed in order to process it to a drinkable liquid. For a more enjoyable taste many also opt for the sweetened version of these mylks which again reverses the initial lower calorie benefits
Thus unsweetened fortified Mylk (which contains added calcium, iodine, B12 & B2, Vitamin D and Omega 3) is a great alternative to consume dairy free mylk.
Plant mylks are amazing products for people with intolerances, as well as people who simply like the range of different flavours and textures that mylks derived from plants have to offer. Nearly a quarter of Britons consume plant milk and in the US it accounts for 40% of all milk sales. These stats are expected to rise exponentially seeing as plant mylk does not only sit so much better with consumers whilst offering multiple health benefits, but more importantly (in my personal opinion) makes a huge difference in light of ethical and environmental concerns.
Mylk: the environmental benefits
Animal agriculture contributes more greenhouse gases to the air than traffic pollution, aviation and shipping combined. Furthermore cows are tied up im narrow stalls and are artificially inseminated, forced into early pregnancies and injected with oxytocin for more milk, all strains that cause premature death.The commercial feeds, soy meal and cottonseed meal that the cows are fed, are laced with pesticides and lead to a great diminish in important Vitamin A and D in the final product, which then is enhanced chemically in order to restore the lost Vitamins.
In order to increase shelf life, the milk is usually pasteurized, sterilized or treated with ultralight, causing all bacteria to die, the good ones included.Furthermore the poor handling of manure and fertilizers degrades local water resources and the use of land for animal agriculture leads to heavy deforestation and a rigorous loss of ecologically important areas such as wetlands and biodiversity.
This is a very serious problem considering the fact that 80% of global agricultural land is taken up by livestock.Especially now that global warming is becoming a bigger issue than ever, threatening our entire planet’s future, we might want to look for more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives.
This chart may help to gain some perspective:
I am fully aware that the production of plant based milk also takes up plenty of agricultural land and water resources, yet it is apparent that for starters it would be an immense improvement in order to start making our way towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Now of course switching to plant mylk isn’t going to save our planet, yet it is an admirable effort if you aren’t ready to go fully vegan or even vegetarian.
Manna’s approach to Mylk
We here at Manna don’t want to impeach a certain diet or lifestyle upon you, but simply want to inform you to the best of our abilities and offer guidance if you’ve made the decision to make a change in your life. Of course, it is entirely up to you but I hope that the information I’ve given on Milk vs. Mylk will persuade you to make that small change, because even the smallest change can have a big impact.
At Manna, we make all of our nourishing snacks using no dairy whatsoever, because we like things simple, natural and as mother nature intended. We like to use the brand Plenish, simply because they work with only three ingredients and care for sustainable packaging. In order to help you decide which company seems trustworthy and is the best economic choice we would like to display a chart that Plenish themselves have published for their almond milk.
Of course you can always make your own plant mylk, which might just be the healthiest, most sustainable and most fun way. We’ve got a video recipe on our website (scroll to the bottom) on how to make your own nut mylk from home, feel free to check it out!
Now that we’ve looked at the different brands, we should also take a look at the different kinds of plant milk to choose from and which ones to use for which purposes. As I mentioned earlier, plant mylk exists in so many different forms, which ensures a variety of different textures and flavours for every occasion. Here’s some we recommend:
- Almond mylk: One of the most popular plant mylks and very versatile as it tastes great with cereal, muesli, porridge or in smoothies as well as great on its own by the glass. Many like to add it into their coffee though for my own personal taste it is too bitter. It’s also very low in calories and packed with calcium, though lacking in fiber and protein.
- Oat mylk: My personal favorite, as it tastes the most similar to dairy milk. It’s great in coffee or tea due to its creamier texture and naturally sweet taste. Since Oat milk is so high in carbohydrates it also packs more calories but is also very low in saturated fats and immensely high in fiber and protein. Oat mylk is a great alternative if you’re allergic to nuts and is actually much cheaper than nut mylk. Use it to cook cakes or small treats (like our snacks) or add it into your smoothie or Shake!
- Coconut mylk: Loaded with healthy fats, coconut mylk is super creamy and rich. The taste of coconut definitely stands out but is an amazing addition to sauces and curries or in soup. You can even make your own vegan ice cream or add it into all sorts of exotic desserts.
- Cashew mylk: Great if you’re allergic to soy mylk, because cashew mylk is very creamy and equally loaded with proteins. Use it in making smoothie bowls for great texture. Since it’s a newcomer it tends to be a bit pricier but the mylk works for almost all recipes to supplement dairy milk, sweet and savory.
To conclude, I would like to leave you with one thought: There is no pressure to change everything in your daily life or to become fully vegan in a matter of seconds; it is enough to educate yourself, to become aware of the problems surrounding you and to simply start thinking of little tweaks that step by step will enhance the quality of your own life, the people surrounding you and ultimately our planet.