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Ranking All of the Plant Milks I Have Tried Because I Think My Crippling Lactose Intolerance Qualifies Me to Do So

POV: I am once again at the overpriced coffee shop down my street that I still frequent despite there being a Starbucks mere doors down. (You know, sacrificing my student funds in the name of supporting small businesses and all that). I drop an extra 75 cents on le plant milk du jour. 

“Is she one of those vegan hipsters?” whispers a boomer with her mask pulled halfway down her face, thereby exposing her nose and defeating the purpose of wearing a mask in the first place.  

“She must care greatly for her health,” muses an actual vegan hipster to himself.

Little do they know I am neither of things; I am simply *blessed* with a propensity for severe lactose intolerance. Lucky for all of you esteemed readers, my inability to digest dairy qualifies me to provide a very professional ranking of all the various plant milks I’ve tried. Without further ado, enjoy:

1. Oat Milk

[bf_image id="k8f4s9w94k7mbj74vxq7f7"] By far the sexiest plant milk on this list. Oat milk is thick, slightly sweet, mild in flavour and has the creaminess of dairy milk. Moreover, it is incredibly environmentally friendly to produce, and many brands are fortified with Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Calcium. Not only is it an ideal additive to coffee and tea—as well as being excellent for baking—it is an excellent milk replacement for cereal. 

My personal brand/flavour recommendation(s): Earth’s Own - Oat Unsweetened OriginalOverall: 10/10

2. Almond Milk 

[bf_image id="5mwqwjbtjfx8ckh3x48vhv"] Truly a blessing to humanity. A godsend. The only reason it is ranked below oat milk is that it is somewhat more watery in texture—therefore lacking some of the “creaminess” of dairy milk—and because it is somewhat less sustainable to produce. Nonetheless, it is mild and pleasant in flavour, along with being excellent for baking. It is also a pretty good milk replacement for cereal. It also gets points because most brands are fortified with Calcium, Vitamin A and Vitamin D. However, it is worth noting that though its flavour mixes pleasantly with tea and coffee, its slightly watery texture means that its diluting powers are significantly less than those of oat or dairy milk.

My personal brand/flavour recommendation(s): Earth’s Own - Almond Unsweetened Vanilla, 

Silk - Almond Unsweetened Vanilla, Silk - Almond Unsweetened Chocolate. 

Overall: 9/10

3. Soy Milk 

[bf_image id="8tcsqn9r58w83hmbq77qj7s"] A solid choice, despite being a little archaic. Though it does get points for being one of the first alternative milks on the market, I must acknowledge that its successors do in fact outperform it. In terms of creaminess, it is on par with dairy milk. However, flavour-wise it is a little more distinct than that of oat or almond milk. For this reason, I scored it a bit lower, as its stronger flavour noticeably alters the taste of a coffee or tea, along with baked goods it is used in. Moreover, it is less sustainable to produce than almond and oat milk. Nonetheless, soy milk is high in protein and is often fortified with Vitamin A and D, and Calcium as well, so I wouldn’t be too quick to diss the OG. 

My personal brand/flavour recommendations: Silk - Original Soy milk, So Nice - Original Organic Soy Milk

Overall: 8/10

4. Coconut Milk

[bf_image id="n8qcpsvcsb7v9h7b4w8jpx"] Ok, I won’t even lie. I was fully expecting coconut milk to taste something like a fruity and sweet Starbucks-type pina colada drink infused with the essence of a tropical breeze. Spoiler alert: it tastes like backwash water with a hint of coconut at best. While I acknowledge that it’s not fair to score coconut milk so low on this list due to my own naivete, I feel justified in ranking it this low due to its extremely watery consistency, along with the way it fails to dilute coffee and tea while greatly disrupting their flavour. That being said, despite being disappointing on its own, coconut milk does earn its weight in salt as an ingredient. Whether it be the pink drink at Starbucks, a smoothie, a coconut cake or some spicy coconut curry, coconut milk does add some excellent coconut-background flavours to any dishes or desserts it's used in. 

My personal brand/flavour recommendations: Thai Kitchens - Unsweetened Coconut Milk*

*for baking, cooking and preparing smoothies/mixed drinks only

Overall: 9/10 as an ingredient, 2/10 on its own

5. Rice Milk

[bf_image id="gmb4rb5knhwhcs76gkr79q"] It’s not that it tastes bad, per se, rather… it has no taste at all. Perhaps this could be a redeeming quality when considering it as a host for cereal, or as a diluent for coffee and tea. But, I am sad to inform you that it is incapable of being effective as either of these things, due to its consistency of the water-paint concoction left behind upon finishing a watercolour painting. Though it does get points for being sustainable, along with one of the most allergen-friendly plant milks on the market, it’s quite hard to ignore its sheer mediocrity. Bottom line: if you’re not allergic to other plant milks, buy other plant milks. 

My personal brand/flavour recommendations: Rice Dream - Original Unsweetened 

Overall: 4/10

And there we go amigos––whether you’re a fellow lactose intolerant, a vegan, or just someone looking to try some funky new milk alternatives, I hope you’ve found this list informative.

A glass of plant milk a day keeps the dairy-induced stomach maladies away!

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Hi! My name's Hannah. I'm in second year, and I'm studying Media and Business at Western University. I love journalism, along with writing poetry, short stories, and editorial and humour pieces. Outside of writing, I love dance, bubble tea, anime, green tea, and my dog Charlie. I'm super excited to be writing this year :)
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