Hate cow milk? Try alternatives

Be it for health reasons or for the taste of it, there are substitutes for your daily pint. HT Style gives you a peek into some of them.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2006 14:14 IST
HT Style
HT Style

Cow's milk is perhaps the richest source of nutrients. However, if you happen to be one of those who cannot digest it or can't stand the taste of it, fret not. There are several substitutes to go for. Here are a few.

Oats: The health properties of oats are well known. They are rich in fibre, especially cholesterol-lowering beta-glucans, and, being a low glycaemic index food, provide a long-lasting energy drink that is favoured by many athletes. Studies have shown that oats are better than sports drinks that boost endurance levels.

Commercial oat milks (such as Oatly) are widely available, but you can also make your own. Fill a large jug with one-third oats and two-thirds water. Mix and leave overnight.

           The health pint!

The next morning, sieve the mixture and you will be left with a milky liquid that can be drunk as it is or used in place of cow's milk in some recipes. Soya Though soya milk is not so mainstream in India people are waking to its benefits. Now, it is not only the lactose intolerant who drink it - some people drink it for its health benefits.

The UK's Joint Health Claims Initiative, has given the go-ahead for manufacturers of soya-rich foods to announce their products' heart-protecting benefits. After reviewing more than 50 scientific studies, experts agreed that consuming 25 g of soya protein daily, as part of a diet already low in saturated fat, may help to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Research has also shown that soya is helpful in warding off breast cancer and in preventing osteoporosis in menopausal women. It is also a low-fat food and a good source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.

Raw "Unpasteurised" milk straight from the cow is being touted as a cure for all for ailments ranging from psoriasis and high blood pressure to chronic gut problems.

And the trend is catching on here. Proponents claim that pasteurising milk destroys good bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, as well as bad, thereby negating the gut-protective properties of whole milk.

Heat treatment also results in a 10 per cent drop in B vitamins and folate while vitamin C levels plummet by a quarter. Heat treatment also changes the protein composition of milk.

The milk that the doodhwaala brings to your home is raw. But make sure it is fresh. Coconut Considering that coconut oil is high in saturated fat, the fresh, sweettasting milk from the heart of the coconut is surprisingly low in calories (it contains 228 a pint).

Coconut milk sold in supermarkets is not usually fresh and is produced instead by squeezing liquid from grated coconut flesh and water. Its nutritional and calorific value is lower than the fresh stuff. Coconut milk can be served as a drink, although it is more often used as a marinade in cooking. Its protein content is very low compared with cow's milk.

Rice: It is perhaps not the most obvious source of milk, but fortified rice milk (made from brown rice) contains as much calcium and as many vitamins as cow's milk, and less fat than soya milk. Its main health benefit comes from fibre, which helps to reduce cholesterol and keeps bloodsugar levels constant.

It has a consistency similar to skimmed milk and is a good replacement for cow's milk in cooking, although it tends to have a sweeter taste. Most commercial rice milks are fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin A, so they are good for building bones.

Goat milk: Though not so easily available it is becoming more popular with people who are lactose intolerant. Goat's milk has a slightly salty taste that won't suit all palates. It is nutritionally similar to cow's milk, but contains a substance that binds with vitamin B12 to prevent it from being absorbed.

A vitamin B12 deficiency, with similar symptoms to iron-deficiency anaemia, has been found in some young children fed on it. It also contains up to twice as many minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus and zinc and the important B group vitamins, as cow's milk.

It is higher in fat and calories than cow's milk. Buffalo Extremely popular in the country the reason why buffalo's milk is s substitute is because in addition to its allergen-friendly composition it is highly nutritious.

The milk has 11.5 per cent higher protein, more vitamins and minerals (including calcium and iron) and 43 per cent less cholesterol than cow's milk. Visit buf falogold.com for more details.

More milk substitutes

Kokkoh: A rice milk of Thai origin. Brown rice is the primary ingredient along with sweet rice, azuki bean, sesame, barley, and kombu.The cereals are soaked in water for two to three hours. Additional water is then added, and the mixture boiled or pressure cooked to completion.

Almond milk: is made from ground almonds. Unlike animal milk, almond milk contains no cholesterol or lactose and can be used as a substitute for animal milk. It's made by combining ground almonds with water in a blender. Vanilla essence is often added for taste.

Lupin milk: Amilk substitute made from the lupin family of plant. It has been found to contain large quantities of cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), making it useful for those following a vegan diet.

First Published: Mar 21, 2006 13:21 IST