If you're new to the vegan thing, or considering switching to a vegan diet, the idea of replacing dairy can be quite daunting. In reality, replacing milk isn't an issue. There are a wide variety of replacements that are conveniently available in almost any supermarket. In addition to that, you can go ahead and make your own nut and oat milks. (Jane makes almond milk religiously.) However, soy and tree nuts can be allergens for some people, so if you have questions, check with your doctor or nutritionist.
We've pretty much tried them all over the time we've been vegan, and here's how we typically use the various vegan milk products.
- Almond milk - We have a Soyabella Milk Maker, and Jane uses that to make our almond milk. I use that as the base for my morning shake, and she uses it for hot cereals, in her baking, and some soups.
- Hazelnut milk - Jane likes to use hazelnut milk in the same manner as almond milk. My mom likes it in her coffee, and we've used it to make chocolate milk (yum).
- Soy milk -You can find this milk replacement anywhere. And there are a wide variety of flavors available, from coffee to green tea, to eggnog at the holidays. We've found they vary greatly in taste and mouth-feel, so we'd suggest buying a few different brands and having your own taste test. Our personal preference is the Silk brand ever since they reformulated it to be more creamy. You can also make your own. We find it to be a bit on the "beany" side, but Jane makes it occasionally and uses for savory dishes. Don't forget to hang on to the bean remains, also called okara. You can use it in cooking or baking or in soups to give your dish an extra protein punch.
- Oat Milk - We love this for our hot cereals and soups. It has a very creamy texture.
- Hemp Milk - I really enjoy the taste and texture of hemp milk, but it's the most pricey of all the milk alternatives (here at least) and so we tend not to buy it all that often.
- Coconut Milk - We buy the light version in cans at our local Trader Joe's and Jane uses it to prepare thai dishes and in some baking. The full fat version is pretty high in calories. So Delicious has also come out with milk, sold in cartons on the supermarket shelves. Since we love their yogurt ($$$$) and ice creams we were very excited when this product came out. However, neither of us really cared for it as a milk.
- Rice milk - The least nutritious of all the milk-alternatives, we tend to stay away from rice milk, although we do buy some on occasion and sprinkle it with cinnamon to make our own Horchata. It's a good snack.