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Currently, the so-called vegetable milks, based on almonds, soy, rice, coconut or oats, among others, are in vogue. But are they better or healthier than cows? Is it correct to call them “milks”? A nutritionist in an interview with RFI gives some clarification.

They are called vegetable milks and they can be based on legumes or nuts such as almonds, rice, coconut, buckwheat, oats or the most popular, soy.

They are obtained by soaking the legume, dried fruit or grain and then, pressing and straining, a whitish liquid is obtained, hence they are called “milk”, although the correct thing to do would be to call them drinks, so as not to believe that they have the same properties as milk from mammals.

A boom in recent years

The truth is that these non-dairy alternative milks have become very popular in the last five years. Many people prefer them because they want or need to avoid dairy. Some also choose them believing that they are healthier than cow’s milk.

But some of these vegetable drinks, maybe they are not as good as they seem, for its high content of added sugar o they do not provide as many nutrients present in animal milk as protein, calcium or vitamin D.

Listen to the radio program here:

MAG SALUD 2021_06_10 VEGETABLE DRINKS vs COW’S MILK long version f / v 13’53 “

On this label you can see that after the almonds, cane sugar has been added. © Mike Mozart / Flickr

Checking the labels well is essential, to make sure that they do not have added sugar, or learning how to make them yourself, something relatively easy, since it is a matter of soaking the grains in water for a few hours, throwing that water, then liquefying the grains with filtered water, and pass them through a sieve, repeating the operation a few times.

It is very easy to make your own vegetable milk, just blend the food in question with water (oatmeal, almond, hazelnut, coconut, previously soaked) and squeeze its content with a cheesecloth.
It is very easy to make your own vegetable milk, just blend the food in question with water (oatmeal, almond, hazelnut, coconut, previously soaked) and squeeze its content with a cheesecloth. Creative commons

In this way, milk is obtained that can be kept for two or three days in the refrigerator or, if you prefer, freeze in small bottles; the remaining bagasse can be used for other culinary recipes.

To talk about this topic, we spoke with the nutritionist Carmen Escalada, of the European Medical Institute of Obesity.

Other related topics:

Living without dairy, a food option in vogue

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