Sep 10, 2018

Oat Milk May Just Be The Greatest Healthy Culinary Trend of 2018

Considering a significant portion of people are lactose intolerant and/or vegan, it's not surprising that a bunch of alternatives to cow's milk have popped up over the years. You've probably heard of soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, and coconut milk. Now there's a promising new cow's milk alternative: oat milk!

What is oat milk, you ask? You take rolled or steel-cut oats, blend them with water, and strain the resulting mix to end up with a creamy milk-like drink.

What sets this new alternative milk contender apart? Oat milk is:
  1. Dairy-free,
  2. Nut-free,
  3. Soy-free,
  4. Full of healthy fiber,
  5. Creamier in texture than some other alt milks,
  6. And it's fast and cheap to make at home.
On top of those reasons, oat crops are great for farmers and the environment. They're hardy and tolerant of all kinds of weather, so they can grow in many climates with less pesticides or fertilizers. Oat crops also help replenish soil nutrients. Does the buzz among healthy eating aficionados make sense now?

There are a few potential drawbacks. Oat milk is higher in calories than some other dairy milk alternatives. An 8 oz glass of oat milk can be around 130 calories compared to 35 calories per 8 oz serving of unsweetened almond milk or 90 calories for unsweetened soy milk. Soy milk and dairy milk also contain all nine essential amino acids, providing complete proteins -- oat milk does not.

That being said, the potential for oat milk as a baking, cooking, and drinking alternative is wonderful. Its creamy texture even means it can be used for ice cream! Alternative ice creams have had an emergence in recent years, but dairy ice cream is still a huge industry. Today, ice cream production is the fate of about 9% of all the milk collected on American dairy farms. With the advent of oat milk, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free frozen treats are a rich, creamy reality.

The best part? Homemade oat milk ice cream doesn't need a ton of added sugar. A little vanilla extract, fig puree, or honey adds just the right amount of sweetness. For example, try this yummy-looking recipe for oat milk ice cream with grilled peaches and honey.

The year 2018 has seen a spike in requests for oat milk in grocery stores and coffee houses, but it's still flying under the radar for now. Would you try oat milk instead of your usual milk choice?

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