Vegan milk, also called plant, nut, and non-dairy milk, has been widely enjoyed in many regions worldwide for several reasons. Some people drink it for health purposes, such as a lactose or dairy milk allergy, while others do it for nutritional value.
However, as more people worldwide go vegan, they are becoming more aware of the darker aspects of dairy, such as its cruelty to cows and the harm it brings to the environment and one’s health.
As a result, plant-based milk has become increasingly popular among those who follow a vegan diet, but is this plant-based milk alternative genuinely vegan? Keep reading to find out!
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Is Oat Milk Vegan?
Those abstaining from eating any animal product, otherwise referred to as a vegan diet, will be happy to learn that this delicious milk alternative is vegan!
Despite the name, oat milk doesn’t contain a single drop of dairy or animal-sourced milk.
Because oat milk is water and oat-based and doesn’t involve any animal labor, it is entirely vegan.
Vegan Oat Milk Alternatives
Before the development of multiple vegan milk alternatives, those who stuck to this plant-based diet only had one option: soy milk.
Now, there are plenty of options to choose from. These include “milk” made from almonds, cashews, rice, coconut, hemp – this list goes on, and others will find their way to supermarket shelves.
Oat milk is, by far, one of the most popular milk alternatives currently available. But does this vegan favorite have more nutritional benefits than its competition? The truth is the best non-dairy milk looks different for everyone.
While vegans certainly want to ensure their milk is providing nutrients, they may have trouble including it in their plant-based diet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have other health goals and concerns.
For example, soy milk has fewer calories than oat milk and has a nutritional profile similar to cow’s milk. It provides more protein and all the essential amino acids that must be included in one’s diet. However, it’s not for those with a soy allergy, and its effect on hormones is still not thoroughly researched and understood.
Almond milk has fewer calories and carbohydrates than oat milk. So, it makes an excellent alternative for those closely examining these measurements. Almond milk, like oat milk, also contains a unique set of nutrients – one of which is vitamin E.
Vitamin E helps to protect the body against free radicals, which can cause disease. However, almond milk contains less fiber, protein, and other vitamins and minerals.
Coconut is made similarly to oat milk, simply water and coconut flesh. While coconut milk has beneficial properties, it is sadly more difficult to confirm whether or not it is a true vegan alternative. This is because certain brands rely on animal labor to harvest coconuts.
Like oat milk, rice milk is a safe alternative for vegans who deal with food allergies, such as dairy, soy, gluten, or nuts. However, while rice milk does not rely on animal products or labor, it is less nutritious. It contains almost double the carbohydrates of other milk, including cow’s milk.
There are countless vegan milk alternatives that each offer their own set of benefits for those following a vegan and plant-based diet. Learning a little about each “milk” will help you choose which one (or few) best meets your dietary and lifestyle needs.
How is Oat Milk Made?
Oat milk consists of steel-cut oats or whole grains soaked in water, blended, and then strained with a cheesecloth or a unique nut milk bag.
“While the leftover oat pulp has the bulk of the fiber and most of the protein in the oats, the liquid or ‘milk’ left at the end of the process has some nutrients in oats.
Because oats absorb water more readily than nuts, more food passes through the cheesecloth when blended thoroughly. This results in a richer and creamier texture than nut milk without commonly added ingredients.
Can You Make Your Oat Milk?
There are many reasons why vegans, or anyone, would want to make their oat milk or other plant-based alternatives.
Making your own is often cheaper than purchasing a half-gallon at the store. As anyone following a vegan diet knows, vegan diets require many fresh, organic, and raw foods – all expensive compared to packaged and processed food.
Another advantage of making your oat milk is that you have absolute control over the ingredients and process; some enjoy and prefer making their own food.
However, while oat milk is essentially vegan in all its forms, that doesn’t mean it is free from additives in many pre-made, packaged foods.
Those who make their oat milk swear it is creamier than its store-bought counterparts. You only need a few things to make your batch – oats, salt, water, a blender, and a fine-mesh strainer. Those who prefer sweeter milk can add vanilla extract, dates, or maple syrup!
The Benefits of Oat Milk For Vegans
There are many advantages to incorporating oat milk into your diet that extend past the fact that it is vegan. For example, some vegans have allergies or sensitivities, making finding vegan-friendly food and reliable alternatives even more challenging.
Luckily, oat milk is made without many foods, contributing to popular digestive issues. The lack of dairy, soy, lactose, gluten, and nuts makes oat milk an excellent option for those with stomach issues.
Store-bought oat milk is often fortified with essential vitamins like vitamin D and B12. These are two crucial vitamins that are usually lacking in a vegan diet. Therefore, drinking oat milk is easy to ensure you include at least part of your recommended daily intake.
Believe it or not, oat milk contains more vitamin D than cow’s milk. Besides vitamins B, B12, and D, oat milk also provides vitamin A. Vitamin A is found in plant-based foods and animal products such as milk and eggs. Vitamin A is especially important for proper eye, bone, and cellular health.
Oat Milk Nutrition Facts
Not only is oat milk a delicious, vegan-friendly cow’s milk alternative, but it also provides excellent nutrition and various health benefits. A one-cup serving of oat milk comes in around 120 calories and provides:
- 5 grams of fat
- 2 grams of fiber
- 3 grams of protein
- 16 grams of carbohydrates
- 7 grams of sugar
Oat milk also provides about 25% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D. This is especially important for those who follow a vegan diet, as it commonly lacks an adequate amount of this essential vitamin.
Oat milk is also often fortified with B vitamins such as riboflavin and B12 – another expected deficit among vegans.
Using Oat Milk For Vegan Recipes
While oat milk makes a fantastic drink, it is also an excellent ingredient for various vegan recipes and staples. Of course, the lightly toasted oat flavor is already a favorite compliment to a cup of coffee, but it can also be used in your favorite baking recipes, such as cake, cupcakes, bread, and even muffins.
Are you craving a bit of fettuccine Alfredo? Oat milk is a fantastic substitute for cow’s milk or cream in recipes that need an ingredient to make a dish creamy. You can incorporate oat milk into many of your favorite vegan recipes with some creativity.
Just because oat milk is plant-based doesn’t mean that it is vegan. Honey and coconut milk (certain brands) are two perfect examples of foods that don’t include animal products but rely on animal labor. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that with oat milk.
Because oat milk is free of animal products and animal labor, it is 100% vegan-friendly! This means you can enjoy it in your coffee, meals, and desserts without worrying about it aligning with your dietary choices.
You can make it at home or quickly find it on the shelf at your nearest grocery store – the most challenging part will be to choose from many different brands.
Related content: Is Soy Milk Vegan?