It’s trendy, it is vegan, lactose-free and a good alternative to cow’s milk*.

More and more people are refraining from cow’s milk for health or ethical reasons and oat ‘milk’ is a good and healthy alternative.

Oat milk is a good milk substitute for vegans and if you’ve got a lactose intolerance as it contains no lactose and no milk protein. However, the drink is not suitable for celiac disease** patients, for people who have to (or want to) do without gluten and as a milk substitute for infants, because they lack proteins and vitamin B12, which are important for a child’s development.

Oats contain satiating fibres, which can have a positive effect on cholesterol levels and digestion. However, the processed industrial product no longer contains too many nutrients, so we always suggest to get the organic oats. Oat milk is also a good alternative for cooking and baking and is also great in coffee. The taste is rather neutral compared to, for example, soy milk or almond milk. Oat milk can be frothed well and is therefore perfectly suitable for your cappuccino or latte macchiato.

In comparison with cow’s milk, an oat drink has a good environmental balance. Oats are resistant to weeds, so farmers hardly spray them, however, get the organic oats to be sure. Compared to other plant drinks, such as almond milk, the production also requires less water and no rainforest has to be cleared for oats, as is sometimes the case for soybean cultivation.

Unfortunately, the drink is almost exclusively packed in cartons, which are responsible for a large amount of waste.

The plant-based drink contains only one percent fat, significantly less than conventional cow’s milk. However, there is still some energy in the milk substitute: 100ml has 42 kcal, compared to cow’s milk, which has 64 kcal, or 49 kcal for low-fat milk.

Health benefits of the drink are marginal, and are not necessarily from the oats and water, but from added nutrients like vitamins A, D, B12, B2 and calcium, so the product can be a close nutritional substitute for dairy milk.

It is not a big thing to make your own oat drink, just oats and water really, but if you want to buy the oat drink*** instead, check the label before you buy:

  • Choose the drink made from organic oats. Conventional oats are commonly sprayed with glyphosate**** as a drying agent before harvest.
  • Avoid added sugar and phosphates.
  • And skip ‘barista’ varieties. These oat drinks are specially formulated to foam and steam, but that means that more ingredients are added than just oats and water. They often contain a seed oil, like sunflower oil or grape seed oil, and these are high in omega-6 fatty acids, and overconsumption can disrupt our omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, causing inflammation.

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Recipe, if you want to make your own oat drink:

  • Put 100g porridge oats in a bowl and cover with water. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave for 4 hrs or overnight, somewhere cool, but not in the fridge. 
  • Sieve the mixture, discarding the water, and rinse under the tap for a few seconds.
  • Tip the oats into a food processor. Cover with 750ml cold water and ½ tsp fine sea salt. Blend for 2-4 mins until completely smooth…..the finer, the creamier. 
  • Line a sieve with a clean piece of muslin or a reusable coffee filter, a tea towel might not work.
  • Put the sieve over a bowl or jug, and pour in the oat milk. Leave to strain for 1 hr. Every once in a while, use a spoon to scrape the bottom of the cloth to disperse some of the sediment, this will help speed up the straining. 
  • When most of the liquid is in the jug, gather the sides of the muslin together and squeeze tightly with both hands to extract the last of the milk.
  • If you want thinner consistency, add 50ml cold water to the mix, before pouring into a bottle or container.
  • The drink keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge and shake well before use.

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We’ve been using milk alternatives for a couple of years now, but since we moved to the UK, we usually get Sproud, which is like milk but made of peas. The article was about oat drinks because it’s widely for sale all over Europe and a great milk alternative!

Read more about Fresh is More.

Pimm + Marcel

fresh@freshismore.com

* According to the EU Court of Justice, purely plant-based products cannot, in principle, be marketed with designations such as ‘milk’, ‘cream’, ‘butter’, ‘cheese’ or ‘yogurt’, which are reserved by EU law for animal products. There is only one exception for coconut milk.
** A serious autoimmune disease, triggered by consuming a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye.
*** It’s not a secret and is mentioned on their website, but Oatly contains dipotassium phosphate and artificial vitamins, just wanted to mention this.
**** Glyphosate is a widely-used chemical weed killer.