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How can I substitute cow’s milk?

If you’ve been looking for ways to substitute cow’s milk and its derivatives in your diet, you’ve come to the right place.

Milk was always part of my daily diet. I drank it alone, in smoothies, or with my beloved morning coffee.

A few years ago I began to have problems digesting lactose and drinking milk makes me feel bad, so I decided to investigate alternatives and substitutes to continue with my eating habits.

plant milks

According to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), an estimated 68% of the world’s population has trouble digesting lactose normally.

These data motivated me to write this article to teach how to substitute cow’s milk in your diet. I have included information on derivatives such as yogurt and cheese, but first I will tell you about the substitute for the main source of lactose.

Plant milks to replace cow’s milk

Vegetable drinks have been the main substitute for cow’s milk for centuries, but in recent years their popularity has increased. If you go to the supermarket you can get alternatives made with almonds, soy, coconut or oats.

benefits of plant milks

The main benefits of plant milks are:

  • Lactose-free: The greatest advantage that plant drinks provide over cow’s milk is the absence of lactose in its composition. If you are intolerant like me, you will not feel sick to your stomach when taking them.
  • Fewer calories: Vegetable drinks based on almonds and oats have half the calories per glass of cow’s milk. If you want to lose weight this is an excellent option to reduce your caloric intake.
  • Less saturated fat: Fats of animal origin are not present in plant milks, which also helps in weight loss.
  • Suitable for vegetarians and vegans: Plant milks are made from cereals, nuts and legumes, so they can be enjoyed by people who follow these types of diets. Vegetarians can add honey to sweeten its flavor, and vegans can turn to stevia or dates to comply with their strict diet.

Different options for plant milks

You have different options to choose from if you want to buy or prepare plant milks to replace cow’s milk, I’ll tell you a little about the most popular ones:

Soy milk

It is the most popular on the market because it contains almost the same amount of protein as cow’s milk.

It is made from soybeans and water, with a short cooking time. It has a mild flavor and its consistency is similar to its beef counterpart.

Almond milk

It is rich in vitamins E and B12. Its preparation does not require cooking, which makes it suitable if you have a raw vegan diet.

It is my favorite vegetable milk and the one I drink the most with my morning coffee.

Coconut milk

It is a drink with a very creamy consistency. It is rich in vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, and folic acid.

It is ideal to replace cow’s milk in desserts and meals.

Oat milk

This drink is one of the lowest in fat and calories, but it is also very rich in fiber and vitamin B.

It is the most satisfying milk, since you feel full shortly after you have taken it.

The best thing about vegetable milks is that you can prepare them at home.

If you buy oatmeal, almonds or any of the main ingredients mentioned above, you can prepare a rich plant drink at home using only your blender.

How to make smoothies without using cow’s milk

If you have children at home you can prepare a delicious smoothie. You can try meringue milk recipe for different taste.

Use the vegetable milk of your choice, add fruits such as strawberries or bananas and take everything to the blender. The little ones will love it.

If you are going to buy non-dairy milks at the market, be sure to avoid containing the following:

  • Added sugars: Some companies add a lot of sugar to their non-dairy milks to have a softer taste, but it’s worse for your health.
  • Chemical preservatives: It is an additive so that the milks last longer in the pantry, but in the long run they affect your body.
  • Extra ingredients: Plant-based milk is made with water and the main ingredient (dried fruit, cereal), so make sure you buy the milk with fewer ingredients. This way you make sure that it is more natural and easier for your body to digest.

If you use cow’s milk to make yogurt or cheese at home, I will show you how you can replace it.

How to prepare yogurt without cow’s milk

prepare yogurt

  1. First you must have the plant milk of your choice (almonds, coconut, oats, soy). You can buy it or make it at home.
  2. Add the probiotic or bacteria that carry out the fermentation process.
  3. In the case of coconut milk (or the others, if you want it) I recommend adding starch. This improves the consistency and you have a firmer yogurt.
  4. Heat the mixture until the starch thickens and remove from the heat.
  5. Let it rest in a glass jar for 24 to 48 hours. You can also use a yogurt maker to speed up the process.
  6. When ready, add fruits, essences, nuts or the companion of your choice and refrigerate.

And ready. With that you will get a rich lactose-free yogurt that you can eat as part of breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

Tip: When you go to refrigerate your finished product, you can separate a part in a container. This sample serves as a probiotic to prepare more yogurts in the next 7 days.

With plant drinks, I have never had stomach problems when drinking them alone or with my coffee, and they are the perfect substitute for cow’s milk.

They are easy to prepare: don’t hesitate and make your own vegetable milk at home.