Everything You Need to Know About Oat Milk
Have you encountered a hip coffee shop offering oat milk yet?
You might have even seen it at your local grocery store. Oat milk is currently all the rage (and it isn’t just for hipsters!).
So, what’s the deal with oat milk? Is it something you might have considered trying instead of your regular 2%?
In this article, we give you the low-down on this trendy new milk alternative so you can decide for yourself whether or not you want to have it on the regular (or simply even try it out for the first time).
Why Oat Milk?
Why not just drink regular ol’ cow’s milk?
Get this: About 65% of the human population becomes lactose intolerant after their infant years.
Lactose intolerance means you can’t digest lactose, the sugar found in cow’s milk. When you drink this kind of milk, you may end up with various unwanted digestive symptoms (not ideal nor fun).
This means that oat milk is a great alternative for those that can’t stomach lactose. Plus, it adds a bit of an oaty flavor, which (in my personal opinion) is absolutely delicious.
Now you might be thinking, what about all the other dairy alternatives?
Cashew milk is often quite expensive (you can’t buy this stuff on a budget!). Coconut milk tends to have additives. Almond milk isn’t very tasty in coffee, and don’t get me started on the estrogen and sugars in soy milk.
And, while hemp milk isn’t too shabby, it’s costly and hard to make yourself.
Thus, we cycle back to oat milk (although if you prefer the above alternatives, that is totally fine as well!).
For all the environmentalists out there, oat milk also has a ton of advantages in reducing your environmental impact. When producing just one pound of oats, a farmer uses just one-sixth of the amount of water used to make the same amount of almond milk.
Oats also take about 80% less land to grow than these other “milk” alternatives. It even produces less greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, oat milk is where it’s at if you’re striving to be a bit more environmentally conscious.
Learn more by reading: Conscious Consumption: How to Eat Less Meat
What is Oat Milk?
Aren’t oats grain? How can you get milk from a grain?
So, you caught us. Oat milk isn’t exactly “milk.” Perhaps a more suitable name might be oat water. Either way, this “milk” is made using water to extract plant compounds from the oat.
This manufacturing process results in creamy and oatmeal flavored liquid. You can also get oat milk in a variety of flavors, such as vanilla and chocolate.
What Nutrients Does Oat Milk Have?
Oat milk has 2-4 grams of protein, depending on who you ask. (This could also vary based on how the oat milk is made and what type of oats are used.)
Dairy milk, in contrast, has 8 grams of protein. While looking for almond milk’s protein content, I found it can range in nutritional info from 1-8 grams, depending on who you ask.
While oat milk definitely contains protein, it’s not going to be your go-to for all of your plant-based proteins. You will have to be diligent to ensure you get adequate protein from other sources too.
Weighing in at 120-130 calories per cup, oat milk has more calories than almond milk, containing about 30-60 calories per cup. A cup of 1% dairy milk has 103 calories. Personally, I don’t like to get hung up on calories and prefer to focus on vitamin and mineral content. This ensures your body is getting the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
Oat milk also contains lots of fiber, which may help improve digestion.
Oat milk further has more fat and sugar than almond milk, so if you need more healthy fats in your diet, oat milk might be a good option for you.
It also has zero cholesterol, while a cup of dairy milk has 12 milligrams of cholesterol. Thus, if you’re cutting back on cholesterol, oat milk is a great option.
Oat milk contains iron, which is essential for our energy levels. It also contains potassium, an important electrolyte. Oat milk is also jam-packed with vitamins A, B, and E.
While I know you’re probably not stalking your phosphorus or manganese levels, oat milk has those, too. This tasty milk provides you with 35% of your daily calcium and 25% of your daily vitamin D.
You need these nutrients together because vitamin D is what allows us to use calcium.
Do you love oats? Then you will probably also love: How to Make Chia Seed & Blueberry Overnight Oatmeal & Rasberry Oat Bars
The Pros & Cons of Oat Milk
Evidently, there are a ton of oat milk benefits (hello nutrients!). Yet, besides nutrients, there is the cost, allergen considerations, and taste to consider.
Oat milk can either be extremely cheap if you make it yourself, or it can be double the cost of almond milk if you buy it in a store (yikes).
This means that finding an oat milk recipe you can make at home might be more suitable for you.
All you need is:
- Cheesecloth strainer
- High-powered blender
From a flavor standpoint, oat milk also scores high (have I mentioned how much I love the taste yet?). It’s delicious and not overpowering, as some soy or nut kinds of milk are. It’s also naturally sweet, so you don’t need to add refined sugars.
Coming from grain, it does have 19 grams of sugar per cup, but this is not refined sugar and can be used as energy for your day.
Oats are also notable for their potential abilities to help lower cholesterol, improve heart health, and contribute to healthy weight loss.
Important note: If you are allergic to gluten, the store-bought brands can be cross-contaminated, so you would need to make your own unless you find some of the brands made from gluten-free oats (which do exist, such as Oatly, Thrive Market, and Rude Health).
Oat Milk is Sustainable & Delicious
Oat milk is a sustainable way to consume. Get on the vibe!
Oats don’t produce methane or require extra water than factory animal farms do. If you are up on your climate change science and global warming news, you know we all need to be doing our part to lower our carbon footprints. Inevitably, we all have a choice, and oat milk is, without a doubt, a more sustainable choice than cow’s milk.
The world is changing. We are becoming empowered to live with better energy, understand what’s in our food, and choose what ingredients we want to put into our bodies.
Whether you decide to give oat milk a shot or not is completely up to you!
Everyone’s needs are different, and everyone’s tastes are different. The best thing you can do for yourself is to continue to learn more and consider talking to your doctor or a nutritionist before you make a big change in your diet.
Try dipping your toes into the oat milk waters. Try it next time you order that coffee or latte from your local coffee shop. It could just be your new favorite thing!
Related article: The Fight for Environmental Sustainability: Can You Do More?