At Digestive Health Institute, we try steering clear of trends and fads as much as we can, because it’s really not healthy to keep eliminating or adding foods to your diet constantly, without much reason.
When it comes to non-dairy milks, however, it’s hard to ignore them. The most popular one in India right now is almond milk, but there’s also cashew milk, rice milk and coconut milk. The last one is really popular in southern and coastal Indian cuisines, of course, but it’s used as a base for curries, mostly.
So why are non-dairy milks all the rage right now? Because there’s been a rise in allergies to dairy, with the increase in commercial farming, mostly, and also because they are lighter, more delicious and offer a range of nutrition benefits that cow’s milk does not.
A note of caution, though – Please check with your doctor, or a qualified nutritionist before you cut dairy out of your diet. Unless you are lactose-intolerant – which can be established with tests – there is no need to eliminate dairy. You can certainly limit your intake and substitute cow’s milk with nut milk, rice milk or coconut milk, as per your taste.
This is an excellent recipe to follow to make nut milks. To make rice milk, this is a good recipe, and this one helps you make coconut milk.
If you make almond or cashew milk, do not throw away the leftover powder/meal that gets collected in the cloth after you strain the milk. You can add it to dals, soups, sabjis, or your morning muesli. You can also add it to smoothies and juices. A tip for you ladies – use it to make face masks, and scrubs!
You can also use homemade coconut milk in desserts, such as kheer. Use quarter the amount of dairy milk, and the rest can be coconut milk. It adds a depth of flavor and creaminess, and it’s become a household staple for me.
The best way to drink a non-dairy milk is as a shake. I recommend you start your day with a glassful of it. Add fresh or dried fruit of your choice, a tablespoon of mixed seeds such as sunflower, flax, and pumpkin, and a teaspoon of cold-pressed, organic coconut oil. It is a delicious and healthy substitute for your morning cup of coffee or tea.
Do remember, however, that non-dairy milks are not recommended for infants and very young children; if your child is a teenager, that’s fine, but don’t cut dairy out of their diet at all, unless they have an allergy.
I find non-dairy milks to be a really light and refreshing drink. The benefits are especially more for women, because these have hormone-balancing qualities that help a great deal. If you’re keen to learn more or have questions about this, please contact our team.
In my home, we use almond milk in our daily breakfast bowl of muesli, and in the summers, I use nut milks as bases for refreshing cool glasses of milkshakes to have as afternoon snacks. In the meantime, I hope you’re staying healthy, working out and having fun, all at the same time.