2.22.10 Got Milk?

Milks 790 xxx
from left: hemp, soy, rice and almond milks                                   photo by george billard
If you do, you may also have gas, bloating, sour stomach or frequent breakouts, especially around your chin. This is another of my "alternative round-ups." I already raved about goat's milk to you here, but I'd like to tell you about some  other options in case you've got the dairy blues. All four milks you see above—hemp, soy, rice and almond—are available in organic boxed versions that are conveniently shelf-stable and thus easy to keep on hand. (They are vegan, too, but don't let that put you off if it's something you equate with Birkenstock-wearing, hairy-armpitted hippies. I grew up in Santa Cruz, so I don't share your hang-ups, man.) I usually have one or all of these milks open at a time, and I rotate them and use them in different ways. Have I mentioned the important of consuming a rich diversity of foods? That habit of eating the same thing, day in and out, even if it's "healthy," is not smart. Variety in all things (except your sex partners, maybe) is optimal.
Here are some things to know about these other milks. I have not included coconut milk, although I love it and eat it from time to time, because it has a very pronounced flavor that is not as neutral as these others. It's also a bit higher in fat than these four.HEMP MILKI like the flavor, color and creaminess of hemp milk quite a bit. I use it to make masala chai and it’s delicious. Sadly, unlike marijuana, it doesn’t contain any THC. And since it’s still not legal to grow hemp in the U.S.—despite all of Woody Harrelson’s heroic efforts—the seeds from which this milk is made must be imported from farmers in Canada or Europe. Maybe this will change soon. (Could the fact that there are currently more “medical marijuana” shops than taco stands in LA be any indication?) Hemp milk is loaded with nutrition: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; potassium; riboflavin; vitamins A, E, B12, and D; magnesium; iron; zinc. 8 ounces contain no sugar, no cholesterol and only 6 grams of (unsaturated) fat. I like Living Harvest’s Tempt and I think you should give it a whirl.SOY MILKI’m sure you’ve all tried this. NO, it doesn’t taste like milk, but why is that a bad thing? Please do yourself a favor and get the unsweetened version. (That goes for all these milks.) None of us needs more sugar and you might as well take any opportunity to retrain your sweet-craving palate. Soy milk has the most protein of all these, around an impressive 9 grams per serving. It’s also got calcium, iron and potassium, and very little saturated fat. I’ve even used it to make a béchamel (alright, a white sauce) for macaroni and cheese.* Don’t turn your nose up until you’ve tasted it, beeatch.ALMOND MILKOriginal, unsweetened Almond Breeze (why don’t they hire me to come up with a better name?) is a good source of calcium and vitamins A, D and E. It’s got no saturated fat or cholesterol and it’s made from almonds, for god’s sake. What’s not to like? Stir it into your oatmeal, make a smoothie with it, or use it as the delectable base for ice cream. I promise to post a recipe for that soon.RICE MILKRice milk is processed from brown rice and even the unsweetened varieties contain more sugar that the other milks. It is typically fortified with calcium or vitamin D but otherwise is largely a source of carbohydrates without much protein or fat either. It tends to be a bit sweet and watery, but I will use it in a smoothie or maybe pour a little on my granola. It’s also fine for cooking.*Let me know if you're interested in seeing that recipe for macaroni and cheese made with soy milk, chickpea flour, rice and almond cheeses and brown rice pasta.


I love the way you've provided us with a simple list of the types of milk. i have been really keen on soy milk. for some odd reason, since i moved from Rome to Toronto last year, I have not been able to tolerate lactose anymore. it is rather bizarre....so I drink a lot of soy. youre very right about trying to find a sugar-free soy milk bec we definitely dont want to add more into our diet. almond milk- am still in two minds about that. i think my fave is soy. such a great write-up. best wishes, shayma
shayma on February 22, 2010 at 4:13 pm —
Hmmm, wonder if it's something about the way the milk is treated/processed over here. Get your hands on some hemp milk and let me know what you think. Also, do you have a good masala chai recipe? Since you love cardamom, I thought you might...
laura on February 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm —
I want the Mac & Cheese recipe
CC on February 24, 2010 at 1:16 pm —
OK, stay tuned!
laura on February 24, 2010 at 1:44 pm —
i shall try to look for hemp milk. i am so sad that i cant drink real milk anymore, but i like soy milk, too. my masala chai has whole cloves, cardamom and a small piece of cinnamon. as you know , in our part of the world we have the concept of "hot" and "cold" foods, these spices are considered "hot", so unfortunately my mother is always telling me not to drink too much of it. btw are you on twitter? or no interest in it. i started blogging as a result of people i followed on twitter- so much inspiration there. x
shayma on February 25, 2010 at 3:40 am —
Yes, I know about hot and cold. I'm not supposed to have too much hot either--but somehow I feel it's more justified in the winter! I am on twitter--see my link in the right column. In the end I don't find that I have quite enough time to really be involved in it. How do you use it?
laura on February 25, 2010 at 4:38 am —
Laura, i use it a lot- my twitter name is spicespoon. i find it helped me a lot in this new country, i became "friends" w people who tweeted interesting articles, interesting ideas, interesting thoughts. it is not for everyone,some find it silly. if you follow me i can send you names to your inbox of ppl you should follow. start with mrstrefusis, a dear real life friend, the reason why i am on twitter. try it, you may like it. x
shayma on February 25, 2010 at 7:23 am —
Hey Laura, Thanks to you we're now drinking Almond Milk! I love it and so does my digestive tract. Susan is deathly allergic to soy (as in 911 allergic). We're always looking for healthy alternatives that don't involve soy. Yay for Almond Milk.
Mily on March 2, 2010 at 4:56 pm —
Glad to hear it. Try that hemp milk, too, it's really delicious!
laura on March 2, 2010 at 6:23 pm —