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Which Vegan Milk Product is Best For You?

This is for all my womxn trying to eat ethically or who have already adapted their lifestyles to vegan/vegetarian eating habits! Dairy is incorporated into many American snacks and meals so replacing it is a big factor when it comes to changing your eating habits. With that being said, it’s a pretty easy factor to fix if researched. There are many options for vegan milk, but today we are just going to be talking about oat, soy, and almond milk. Let’s get into it!

Tofu, chickpeas, and soy milk on a table
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

If you’re in LA, then you have definitely heard of oat milk before. A lot of cafes have oat milk on standby for lattes, which are a popular drink around here. Regardless, there usually is either oat milk or almond milk as a substitute for lactose-intolerant or vegan options. Oat milk is the best tasting, in my opinion, but it doesn’t have as many nutrients as the other vegan-based kinds of milk and to get the nutrients that it does have, you need to drink multiple servings. On the plus side, oat milk can be made at home with a blender, which gives you natural nutrients, or you can buy factory-made oat milk with added nutrients, which also means added sugars. Oat milk also has fewer gas emissions than soy or gas, but more than almond milk at “around 0.18kg of CO2e” although it has fewer water emissions than almond milk. 

coffee is poured into a glass cup on a counter. there is a carton of oat milk next to it
Christopher Rusev | Unsplash

Soy milk is the cheapest and the most-relatively environmentally available. It has amazing nutrients, and is the closest to cow milk. It doesn’t emit as many greenhouse gases or water emissions as the other vegan kinds of milk, which is great. The biggest problem with soy milk is that the production makes soy plantations deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, especially because soy is used for oils and feed for cattle. While it is one of the most healthy options, it does have detrimental effects on production. 

Almonds with almond milk
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Finally, there is almond milk. Almond milk is the most popular vegan-based milk as the “plant-based markets biggest driver,”with number two being soy. Additionally, almond milk can be sold in bulk at stores such as Costco which makes it really accessible. It has little nutrients though, and the process of production is horrible to the environment. Production is mainly in California, where there are naturally-occurring droughts, while almond production takes up almost 15 gallons of water for just the almonds, not even the almond production. It doesn’t take up as many gas emissions, but the water emissions are destructive to the environment. 

There are so many other choices for vegan milk, but these are the most popular options, and most readily available in stores. Hopefully, you can help craft and specify your ethically healthy journey to eating well with this information. Eating ethically or choosing a vegan lifestyle can be hard sometimes, but researching and finding what is right for you is the best way to make it fun and healthy. 

Olivia Garcia

UC Riverside '24

creative writing major - lover of books, Netflix, and being your truest self
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