How sustainable are plant-based drinks really?January 29, 2020
Oat, almond, soy, rice, coconut drinks and many other varieties are becoming more and more popular. They belong to the group of plant-based milk alternatives and have become an indispensable part of every supermarket. Vegetable drinks are milk substitutes, but an EU directive states that the word milk may no longer be used for them. The term milk can only be used if it comes from an animal or person. That is why we describe all substitute products with the phrase plant-based drinks.
Milk was and still is an incredibly popular food in our society and is consumed in high amounts every day. It is also eaten in the form of dairy products such as yoghurt, curd cheese and cheese – especially in the morning for breakfast. Cow’s milk has been advertised and sold as a healthy and important staple food for centuries. However, in recent years more and more people are against the consumption of milk for many different reasons, including ethical and ecological ones. Many people are now giving up cow’s milk and using plant-based drinks as an alternative for health reasons.
With more milk alternatives, however, important questions arise: Are plant-based drinks healthier than cow’s milk? Are plant-based drinks generally healthy? Do they contain important nutrients? We will get to the bottom of all these questions in this article and introduce you to various plant-based drinks.
Plant-based drinks as a milk alternative – which ones are there?
For many people it has become more and more important in recent years to pay attention to sustainability, also in context of nutrition. That is why there are more and more vegetarians and vegans. A vegan diet is increasingly finding its way into daily life and is also reflected on supermarket shelves. You are therefore no longer dependent on cow’s milk to prepare your morning muesli or porridge.
1. Soy drink as a milk alternative
Soy is still the most controversial alternative to cow’s milk. Most of the world’s soy is produced in the depths of the Brazilian rainforest. As large amounts of the rainforest are deforested for soy fields, soy drinks are not necessarily the most ecological alternative to normal milk. Moreover, soy is often grown in highly cultivated monocultures and often sprayed with aggressive pesticides. However, it becomes apparent that soybeans from Brazil are mainly used to feed the animals in factory farming – soy drinks usually contain beans from China. Although this makes the climate balance of soy drinks fundamentally better than that of cow’s milk, there are definitely more climate-friendly alternatives. For these and other reasons, we do not use soy in our breakfast range.
2. Nut drinks as an alternative to milk
There are many different kinds of nut drinks, which are all vegan: For example, almond, cashew, hazelnut and walnut drink just to name a few. The nutrient content of the various nut drink varieties is relatively low, as high amounts of water are added during production process which decreases the amount of the good substances contained in nut drinks. Among other things, however, magnesium, iron and vitamin E are retained. Furthermore, the nuts are not fermented, which means that the sugar content remains at 0 grams and is therefore low in sugar. A bonus for all those who would like to renounce sugar as much as possible. Regardless of the kind of drink you prefer, we naturally always recommend choosing the organic variety. Almonds for example, often come from California, so you should also pay attention to the country of origin.
3. Different grain drinks as an alternative to milk
Grain drinks are the healthiest and most environmentally friendly form of milk alternative. Oat drinks are mostly made with oats directly from the respective country, so they don’t have to go through long production processes and are therefore very environmentally friendly. Despite processing, they still contain healthy unsaturated fatty acids which have a positive effect on the heart and circulation. They also contain beta-glucans, a type of dietary fibre that helps our digestion and has a positive effect on the blood sugar level. You can read about all the positive properties of oats here. Due to the production in the respective country, the climate balance of the drinks is also kept significantly lower than that of conventional cow’s milk. All in all, grain drinks and especially oat drinks are the big winners in the race for milk alternatives.
However, the various types of plant-based drink have one thing in common: they are all ideal for preparing porridge and muesli. Moreover, by renouncing cow’s milk, you massively improve your ecological balance. And it is precisely the ecological aspect that is gaining in importance for more and more people.
Anyone who wants to go a step further when it comes to environmental protection and wants to reduce the packaging waste should definitely try making his or her own plant-based drinks. We tried it and not only did we think the result was great, we also had a lot of fun.
Still looking for the right muesli to go with your new favourite vegan drink? Just click through our organic breakfast assortment.
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