Guest post Aarti Batavia Mehata (Metro Detroit)

In my private practice I often see some patient’s sensitive, allergic or intolerant to diary. I too am not a great fan of diary either. In this blog let us glance at non-dairy milk options that are available .

1. Rice milk – The fortified versions offer vitamins A, B-12 and D. It has thin consistency and is more like skim milk. Rice milk is low-protein compared with to dairy milk. Rice milk is good to drink and can be used on cereal, but not great for baking. It is a good option for smoothies as well.

2. Hemp milk- It includes healthy fats omega-6 and omega-3 as well as such vitamins and minerals as magnesium, phytosterols, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin. Like rice milk, it is low-protein, offering less protein than an 8-ounce serving of cow’s milk. Hemp milk is good to drink alone or in a smoothie. You can also use it to make ice cream, and cupcakes.

3. Coconut milk- It is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals that help boost immunity to help fend off infections and viruses. Coconut milk tends to be thicker, more like whole milk and high in saturated fats. You can drink it by the glass or use it to make smoothies, soups, curry sauces, ice cream or baked goods. One of my favorite ways to use coconut milk is to make “sol kadhi“. It is a drink made with mangostein and is a staple in the coastal region of Maharashtra, India. Mangostein is called kokum in India and you could find it at any Indian grocery store.

4. Oat milk : It is high in fiber, calcium, vitamins A and D, iron and traces of other minerals. Oat milk tend to have high sugar content and may contain gluten for those on gluten-free diets. You can consume as a beverage or use for cereals, pancakes, soups, curries and baked goods.

5. Flax-seed milk- A North Dakota company recently launched Flaxmilk, dairy-free milk that offers essential fatty acids and calcium and is enriched with vitamins A, D and B-12. Flaxmilk can be consumed as a beverage or used to make smoothies and puddings.

6. Almond milk- It is fortified with vitamins A, D and E. Almond milk is low-protein compared with to 8 grams in an 8-ounce glass of dairy milk. Not recommended for those allergic to tree nuts. How to use it: Drink it by itself or use in baked goods, such as cakes or bread. You could even use to make a modified version of alfredo sauce by grinding cashews and almond milk.

7. Soy milk- It is cholesterol-free (FYI-None of the plant foods have cholesterol). Fortified versions offer protein, calcium and vitamins D and B-12 B12. The creamy drink is offered in plain, chocolate and vanilla flavors. The plain version tends to be thinner than flavored. There There are mixed reviews on diets high in soy, and some experts say excessive amounts, particularly of isolated soy products, could impose health risks. Soy milk is not recommended for children younger than 1 year. You cud drink it by itself, or use it to make smoothies, baked goods, soups or sauces.

Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture and Self Nutrition Data; Go Dairy Free; Dr. Andrew Weil; Coconut Research Center;author Myra Goodman,”The Earthbound Cook.”; http://www.azcentral.com