While I was growing up, my father made sure that I didn’t eat too many dairy products. He was a doctor and he felt that the saturated fats in animal products were best enjoyed in moderation. To this day, I don’t really drink milk. Luckily, there are a lot of milk alternatives out there for drinking, pouring over breakfast cereal, and using in recipes. Let’s explore them.
When I was younger I drank soy milk quite a bit. Flavored soy milk (and other milks) can contain high amounts of sugar, so be sure to read the label on the carton before buying. Soybeans contain isoflavones, a FoodTrient A-lister that repairs tissue and is therefore good for developing young-looking skin. Soy products mimic the body’s own estrogen and balance hormone levels for many people suffering from hormone related ailments, but it’s those same properties (soybeans act like estrogen in the body) that make people with a high risk for breast cancer want to avoid soy. Soybeans also have been shown to aggravate osteoarthritis symptoms. So soy milk is not for everyone.
Rice milk is a nice, light but creamy beverage that is easy to drink and works well over cereals. It has fiber as well as electrolytes. Rice milk, however, is high in carbohydrates so I don’t drink too much of it.
Coconut milk is thick and creamy and chock full of lauric acid, a FoodTrient favorite with antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral properties for staving off infection. According to new research, its fatty acids increase your “good cholesterol,” or HDL. I use it in my recipes in place of cow’s milk or heavy cream.
Almond milk is almost as light as rice milk, so it’s perfect for using in coffee and tea in the morning. It’s also great over cereal. It contains calcium, omega-3s, protein, fiber, and antioxidants, and vitamin E, all containing health-enhancing properties.
Hemp milk is a newcomer to the milk-alternative scene. It comes from pressed hemp seeds and is high in omega 3s making it great for heart-health and for reducing inflammation of the skin. The seeds also contain calcium and phosphorous.
Sweet Potato and Jackfruit Delight
¼ cup tapioca
2 cups water
1 can (8 oz.) jackfruit, drained of syrup
4 cups coconut milk
1 lb. peeled and cubed yellow and orange sweet potatoes
¼ cup sugar
1. Place the tapioca in cold water in a medium saucepan and slowly bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat until tapioca is translucent and soft, about 1–3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Cut the jackfruit into strips and set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and boil until tender, about 5–10 minutes.
4. Add the jackfruit, sugar, and tapioca to the sweet potato mixture and cook an additional 5 minutes.
5. Serve warm or chilled