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Not into dairy? Here’s our favourite, oh so creamy milk alternatives

According to researchers around 65% of the human population loses their ability to digest lactose after infancy. So, while dairy is often considered an important part of the modern diet, for some people it can cause a lot of discomfort. Bloating, loose stools, vomiting, gas and a rumbling stomach are all tell-tale signs of a lactose allergy. Reactions can come in varying degrees, from mild discomfort to severe illness. Cue plant-based milk alternatives. Loaded with goodness, there’s a lot to love about these tasty beverages.

Here are some of our favourites:

Almond milk

Today you’ll see almond milk in trendy cafes across the globe. While it’s only just emerged as a modern superfood, it’s been around since the Middle Ages.  It’s low in calories and loaded with calcium. You’ll also get a dose of vitamin E, manganese, selenium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fibre and phosphorous. On the downside, it does lack protein, which is essential for muscle building. When picking a brand look for an ingredients list with no emulsifiers, as these can inflame the gut and trigger gastrointestinal issues.

Cashew milk

Deliciously nutty, cashew milk now graces supermarkets across New Zealand. It’s made by soaking cashews in water, then blending them up and filtering out the pulp. It’s a great alternative to milk and is packed full of fibre, antioxidants, copper and magnesium. Though like almond milk it lacks protein so it’s best to pair cashew milk with a high-protein diet.

Hemp milk

No, this milk won’t get you high. Though it is made from cannabis seeds which lack the drug’s psychoactive component. The beverage is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids as well as 10 essential amino acids, which make it a great source of protein. Some brands are also fortified with riboflavin and vitamins D2 and B12, which pack an extra punch. The only downside is that it lacks calcium which means it doesn’t really contribute to healthy bones. It’s also a little pricier and is usually only available at specialty health food stores.

Coconut milk

It’s hard to look past coconut milk, a lusciously creamy beverage made from fresh grated coconut meat. It’s rich in easily digestible healthy fats and plenty of fortified vitamins. It can also help to lower cholesterol levels, stabilise blood pressure and prevent heart attacks. Something of a miracle milk. It’s also amazingly easy to make, so why not swap store-bought coconut milk for a homemade recipe? Pour it into cereal, smoothies, curries, cake batters and more.

Pea milk

Wow. Who would’ve thought that peas could pack such a punch? Don’t worry, it’s not green. But it does offer the same amount of protein as cow’s milk which makes it a fantastic choice if you’re trying to adopt a protein-rich diet. It might be a little hard to get your hands on in New Zealand supermarkets at the moment, but ask around at your local health food store and watch this space.

Organic milk

If you’re mildly intolerant consider making the switch to organic, grass-fed milk. The cows aren’t subject to the same hormones and antibiotics as regular dairy cows, which means the milk has a higher Omega-3 and CLA content.

Goats milk

While the milk of both cows and goats have similar nutritional profiles, the latter is lower in lactose which means it can be easier on the stomach. As a result, it could help to minimise the side effects of drinking milk, without compromising on the goodness of dairy.

What’s your favourite dairy-free milk alternative?