There are so many dairy milk alternatives on the market here in Australia at the moment- we are truly lucky that we can now walk into any health food store, supermarket, convenience store and corner shop, and at the VERY least be able to find soy milk (and if you’re really lucky, almond milk).
When I first gave up dairy over 10 years ago, the only soy milk that we could readily get was Bonsoy.
It cost about $8 per litre at the time, and I remember the first time I tried it. Mum and I made a banana smoothie. It was delicious and I was so happy that there was a dairy milk alternative that didn’t taste like watered down beans.
Fast forward to today.
Yeah, I hear you.
What are the ingredients?
What milks are best for cooking?
What has the nicest flavour?
Why do only some have 1% nut and 99% water?
I get these questions regularly.
Now I’m not a nut milk expert- that is, I don’t spend all day looking at the ingredients or profess to know the ins and outs of every emulsifier and stabiliser.
I’m not affiliated with any of these brands, I’m simply an avid consumer and advocate for dairy free milks. I’ve not been paid, reimbursed, gifted or contacted by any nut or seed milk companies- including those listed below, and those I haven’t mentioned.
I’m writing about the below brands as:
A- They are mostly brands I’ve used before
B- Their websites had plenty of information that was easy to obtain
C-They are readily available in health food stores and supermarkets (the photo above was at a
Woolworths sorry, Coles – I don’t spend a lot of time in supermarkets).
I’m giving you my completely unbiased opinion that is simply MY opinion. You may prefer one brand over another- that is your choice.
“Made from Certified Organic Soybeans, Bonsoy Soy Milk is a tasty and healthy alternative to cows’ milk. Try it as a substitute in your cooking and add flavour to casseroles, soups and cakes.”
Filtered water, organic whole soybeans (certif. USDA, NOP), tapioca syrup, job’s tears (hato mugi), sea salt, calcium carbonate.
Bonsoy is a rich and creamy soy milk, and it always has a soft spot in my heart, as it was the first dairy free milk I’d ever had. The pro’s are that you can find it anywhere, it’s the preferred soy of most cafés that I’ve ever been in, and tastes amazing in a hot chocolate.
Bonsoy is great for cooking, drinking and baking, and it truly has a beautiful taste.
If you’re concerned about soy, I understand. I have soy once or twice a month- choosing organic and Non GMO soy (as this is). Soy contains phytoestrogens, believed to mimic the body’s natural oestrogen levels. Everything in balance- I have small amounts and it doesn’t concern me. After all, Japanese people have been enjoying soy for centuries!
‘Hato Mugi’ or ‘Job’s Tears’ is pearl barley – a grain that is used widely in many Asian countries. It’s used in Chinese Medicine to invigorate the spleen and relieve arthritis. It has a myriad of other health benefits as a whole food- and you can read more here.
A big plus for me- there’s no ‘numbers’ in their ingredient list.
You can find out more here
“So Good soy milk products are available in the Long Life Milk aisle of the supermarket, offering a fantastic range of regular, lite and flavoured variants. So Good Regular and Lite Soy Milk are also available chilled in selected supermarkets. Check out our range and see which product best suits your needs.
So Good Soy milks are made with non-GM* soy protein and contain a range of essential nutrients including protein, calcium and phosphorus, while also providing vitamin B12, vitamin A and riboflavin. And it gives you all that goodness with no animal fat, no cholesterol and no lactose. In fact, So Good is a great choice for all round great nutrition.
*By non-GM soy we mean Identity Preserved. Soy is the main characterising ingredient in So Good soy milk. By using an Identity Preservation process, every stage from seed to supermarket is controlled to maintain segregation and minimise the possibility of mixing identity preserved soybeans with any genetically modified soybeans.”
So Good Regular Soy milk
Filtered water, soy protein (3.5%), corn maltodextrin, vegetable oils (sunflower, canola), cane sugar, minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium), acidity regulators (332, 450), antioxidant (ascorbic acid), vitamins (A, B12, D2, B2, B1), natural flavour.
Honestly, these ingredients leave little for me to desire. Canola oil? Numbers? Gross. Next.
So Good 99.9% Fat Free
Filtered water, soy protein (3.5%), corn maltodextrin, cane sugar, acidity regulators (332, 450), minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium), natural flavours, vegetable based emulsifier (471), antioxidant (ascorbic acid), vitamins (A, B12, B2, D2, B1).
Where is the emulsifier derived from? They claim they are vegetarian and vegan friendly, but I’d still like to know. The corn maltodextrin? A cheap sweetener, stabiliser and used in many products. It’s safe to assume that most maltodextrin used in food products is genetically modified since over 80 percent of the corn grown in the US is GMO… so I wonder where this comes from? Pass.
SEE MY UPDATE BELOW ABOUT SO GOOD.
So Good Coconut Milk
Filtered water, coconut milk (21%) (water, coconut cream), cane sugar, vegetable oils [sunflower (contains soy), canola], mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), emulsifier (lecithin), vegetable gums (gellan, guar, xanthan, carrageenan), salt, natural flavour, modified starch (1450). All ingredients are of non-animal origin.
In regards to the carrageenan, keep reading.
So Good Almond and Coconut Milk
Filtered water, cane sugar, almonds (2.5%),coconut cream (1%), mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), emulsifier (lecithin), salt, vegetable gum (gellan), natural flavour. All ingredients are of non-animal origin.
Cane sugar doesn’t blow my skirt up…and 1% coconut cream? Next.
So Good Almond and Coconut Milk – Unsweetened
Filtered water, almonds (2.5%), coconut cream (1%), mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), emulsifier (lecithin), salt, vegetable gum (gellan), natural flavour. All ingredients are of non-animal origin.
So Good Almond Milk Original
Filtered water, cane sugar, almonds (2.5%), mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), emulsifier (lecithin), natural flavours, salt, vegetable gum (gellan).
So Good Almond Milk – Unsweetened
Filtered water, almonds (2.5%), mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), emulsifier (lecithin), natural flavours, salt, vegetable gum (gellan).
So Good Almond Vanilla Flavour
Filtered water, cane sugar, almonds (2.5 %), mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), natural flavour, emulsifier (lecithin), salt, vegetable gum (gellan).
What I say:
After looking at the ingredients, I couldn’t bring myself to buy any of them. I’ve tried the plain soy milk before-years ago- and to be honest, it’s pretty standard. If you’ve tried any of the other products, let us know what it tastes like and what you’ve used it for, by commenting below.
Hmmmm, tricky. I hate to say it – but I wouldn’t drink any of it. I believe there are better choices. Some of the additives are just concerning.
You can view all of their nutritional info here
***An interesting update
The lovely Danielle so kindly shared with me on Facebook “…by all means keep up the crap you report and no one will any to follow you! So good luck to you!! Have your own personal view that’s fine but post actual facts you have evidence on!!”
So, I dug a little deeper. We can thank Danielle for bringing this to my (and now your) attention:
Which Sanitarium products contain Palm Oil?
“At this point in time we have not yet achieved our aim of removing all palm oil from our products. The emulsifier used in very small amounts (less than 0.1%) in some So Good products is derived from palm oil. The supplier of the emulsifier is actively working towards sourcing RSPO certified palm oil, and will have fully certified RSPO palm oil available for use towards the end of 2013. The products that use palm oil derived emulsifier are So Good Lite, So Good 99.9% Fat Free and So Good Essentials.”
Now, I’m not sure if this has been achieved, but if it has, it clearly needs to be updated, as we are midway through 2015 now. You can read it all yourself here
What they say:
Well, that’s the funny thing. It’s like their website has been intercepted….
soylife.com.au heads straight to a Dairy owned company called Parmalat, which talks about ‘why dairy is GREAT’ and the ‘Truth about milk’ amongst other drivel.
What I say:
So, they miss out on a review unfortunately…but I can assure you, it was going to be very similar to the So Good review. Plus…that Soylife yoghurt tastes like chalky water. It’s disgusting.
Thank god for coconut yoghurt.
ORIGINAL WHOLEBEAN SOY MILK
What they say:
“A treat for the lactose-intolerant amongst us, our Soy Milk is a creamy dairy alternative packed with protein and calcium.”
Original Wholebean Soy Milk
Filtered Australian Water, Milled Whole Soy Beans (5.3%), Maltodextrin, Sunflower Oil, Rice Syrup, Sugar, Mineral Salt (Tricalcium Phosphate; Sodium Bicarbonate), Salt, Vegetable Gums (460,466), Natural Flavours, Vitamin D.
Ancient Grains Quinoa Milk with Chia
What they say:
The nutritious powers of quinoa and chia grains come together in this healthy, tasty, ‘free from’ milk alternative for the whole family.
Filtered Australian water, quinoa powder (2.6%), sugar, defatted chia powder (0.8%), chia oil (0.5%), natural flavour, gellan gum, soy lecithin.
A great alternative to savoury baking. Even though it contains sugar (I’d love to know the origin), it’s not that sweet. Avoid if soy is on your no-go list.
What they say:
Meet the rice milk that’s high in calcium and also lactose free for healthy bones and happy stomachs. No added sugar, either.
Filtered Water, Rice Flour (10%), Canola Oil, Mineral Salts (Calcium Phosphate, Potassium Carbonate, Calcium Chloride),
The Rice Milk is creamy and light, without being watery- just make sure you shake it really well. I tried the Quinoa Milk on Paul once, and I was politely told never to buy it again (he doesn’t like the mild bitter flavour of Quinoa) but I used the rest in some banana bread I was baking and it was fine.
Try using Rice Milk in your smoothies and cereal, the soy in drinks and baking, and the quinoa for baking into breads, muffins and cakes.
I like Freedom Foods. I’ve had some great products from them, and love the transparency of the brand.
In saying that, Canola oil…. get rid of it guys!
You can find out more here
Aussie Soy Organic Soy and Nature’s Soy Milks
“Pureharvest is an Australian grown and Australian owned company that specializes in the manufacture and distribution of premium quality organic and natural food and products. For over 30 years it has been our mission to provide people with nutritious food that enables them to live healthy lives.”
“This product contains whole soy beans, filtered water, organic rice syrup, sunflower oil and a pinch of sea salt.”
- Soy Milk (Variants)
- Aussie Soy Lite
- Aussie Soy Original
- Nature’s Soy Enriched
- Nature’s Soy Lite
- Nature’s Soy Malt Free
- Nature’s Soy Original
Creamy organic soy- it’s a thumbs up for me. I like how it’s sweetened with rice syrup too! The taste is pleasant- perhaps a bit lighter than Bonsoy, but good for cooking and smoothies.
Pure Harvest Aussie Dream Organic Rice milk and Rice Milk
“Rice milk is a traditional oriental beverage with a light sweet taste which is produced from whole brown rice. It is ideal for those who have a lactose and soy intolerance.
Pureharvest Rice Milk is Gluten Free
Pureharvest Rice Milk has no added Cane Sugar
Pureharvest Rice Milk is Cholesterol Free”
- Aussie Dream Enriched
- Aussie Dream Original
- Rice Milk Original
- Rice Milk Plus Calcium
“This product contains organic whole brown rice, filtered water, organic sunflower oil and a pinch of sea salt.”
Rice milk is an awesome alternative- it can be on the watery side, especially if you’re transitioning, however it’s brilliant for baking and drinking. It’s pleasant tasting and doesn’t overwhelm other flavours.
Purehavest Organic Oat Milk
“Pureharvest Organic Oat Milk is a nutritious organic non-dairy milk that contains 15% whole organic oats.
Pureharvest Oat Milk is a source of Soluable Fibre
Pureharvest Oat Milk has no added Cane Sugar
Pureharvest Oat Milk is Cholesterol Free
Our Organic Oat Milk is cholesterol free, lactose free, and has no added inulin, sugar, or any other artificial sweeteners or additives. It is an excellent alternative to dairy milk for use on your breakfast cereal or with your cooking.”
“This product contains organic whole oats, filtered water, organic sunflower oil and a pinch of sea salt.”
This is my go-to packaged milk. Paul won’t drink anything else! He has no qualms using this over his cereal (he will NOT touch soy or almond milk and he hates rice milk). If I haven’t soaked any nuts to make my own, I’ll buy this.
It’s super creamy, tastes fantastic, and doesn’t make my tummy upset. It’s what I use to bake cakes and muffins with, to make chai, and also smoothies. It’s perfect for more savoury dishes- like zucchini bread.
ORGANIC ALMOND MILK
“Pureharvest Organic Almond Milk is a delicious fully flavoured non-dairy milk made with 10% activated organic almonds.
Our organic almonds are soaked in the traditional manner. By soaking the nut we begin the germination process which helps bring the ‘nut to life’.
Pureharvest Almond Milk has no added Cane Sugar
Pureharvest Almond Milk is Gluten Free
Pureharvest Almond Milk is Cholesterol Free
Pureharvest Almond milk contains up to four times the number of almonds than some other brands. Because of the large number of almonds we don’t need to enhance the flavour of our milk with the use of almond essence or cane sugar.
Unlike other brands our Pureharvest Almond Milk does not contain cane sugar or use any added flavours or gums.
Our Pureharvest Almond Milk is soy and lecithin free, being a great alterative to both dairy and soy milks.”
“This product contains organic activated almonds, organic rice syrup and a pinch of sea salt.”
I’ve had the organic almond milk before and it’s great. Shake it well- it does settle- but once you do, it’s consistent, creamy and tastes great. Great for sweet baking and drinks.
ORGANIC COCO QUENCH
“Coco Quench is a delicious new non-dairy drink made from organic coconut and rice milk.
Pureharvest Coco Quench contains no added Cane Sugar
Pureharvest Coco Quench is Gluten Free
Pureharvest Coco Quench contains all the benefits of Organic Coconut Oil
Coco Quench is a finely balanced drink with a full bodied taste. The fats from the coconut complement the sweetness and sugars found in rice milk, while the complex carbohydrates in brown rice reduce the richness and high fat profile that is typical of coconut milk.
Coco Quench is an excellent drink for young children and is also a great healthy option for people looking to reduce their saturated fat intake.”
This does taste delicious! Great for smoothies and nice, thick, consistency.
The one downfall of the website, is that they don’t have full ingredients listed.
You can find out more here
Organic Almond Milk
“This delicious milk contains the goodness of organic almonds with the benefits of no added cane sugar, no gluten and no lactose. Best of all, it is endorsed with the Australian Certified Organic Bud Logo to ensure consumers of its organic authenticity.”
Ingredients: Filtered Australian Water, Organic Almonds (3%), Organic Agave Syrup, Organic Sunflower Oil, Salt.
Mild tasting, but I’ve found this separates easily, especially when it’s heated. It’s fine for use in smoothies, but hot drinks just don’t cut it (I don’t like the ‘floaties’).
You can find out more here
“Vitasoy Coconut Milk uses real coconuts to make it’s coconut cream and is perfect to add a twist to your breakfast. They contain the goodness of calcium and are naturally lactose and dairy free. They also contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.”
Filtered water, coconut cream (min. 8%), raw sugar, minerals (calcium phosphate), emulsifier (471), stabilisers (407,418), natural flavour, sea salt
The emulsifier 471 has no origin- it possibly could be animal derived. Stabiliser 407 is Carrageenan, which we’ll be touching on soon. I’d avoid.
Vitasoy Blended Milks
“Vitasoy Blended Milks allow you to enjoy the nutritional benefits of our soymilk and oatmilk with the great taste of almonds. Both blends are made with Australia cold pressed almond oil and are naturally lactose and dairy free with no artificial colours or preservatives.”
Filtered water, whole soy beans (min.14%), raw sugar, almond oil (min. 1.3%), gum arabic, minerals (calcium phosphate), natural flavour, sea salt
I’m just not sold. Has anyone tried this?
“The Vitasoy Soy Milky range has all the goodness of soy with a great milky taste that is easy to enjoy. The products in the Soy Milky range are all gluten free and taste the most similar to dairy milk so are ideal for people making the switch to soy.”
Ingredient Declaration: (This I find interesting- is that the minimum ingredients they have to divulge?)
Filtered water, whole soybeans (min 14%), raw sugar, sunflower oil, minerals (calcium phosphate), vegetable gums (460, 407, 466), flavours, sea salt, food acids (340, 331).
Too many numbers for me.
You can find out more here
“Made from almonds, Almond Breeze Original is a deliciously creamy alternative to dairy and soymilk. Almond Breeze Original is lactose free, calcium enriched, and 98% fat free and no cholesterol.”
INGREDIENTS: FILTERED WATER, RAW SUGAR, GROUND WHOLE ALMONDS (2%), CALCIUM CARBONATE (GROUND LIMESTONE), SEA SALT, CARRAGEENAN, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN.
I have tried this a few times, and the taste is delicious. It’s got a great consistency, but after learning about carrageenan, I’m steering clear. great that it’s got sunflower lecithin instead of soy though.
So, what is ‘Carrageenan?’
Hard to pronounce, I know.
I’ve done a fair bit of research about it, but will leave it to the experts to explain it better than I can:
“They are a family of linear sulphated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. They are widely used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. Their main application is in dairy and meat products, due to their strong binding to food proteins. There are three main varieties of carrageenan, which differ in their degree of sulphation. Kappa-carrageenan has one sulphate group per disaccharide. Iota-carrageenan has two sulphates per disaccharide. Lambda carrageenan has three sulphates per disaccharide.” Source
Where does it come from?
“Carrageenan comes from the gelatinous protective layer in cell walls of several red seaweeds. Because red seaweeds must live in the violent intertidal ocean environment, their living cells must be protected from damage. Carrageenan gels serve this purpose in nature. After searching the world for several decades for natural stands of carrageeenan bearing seaweeds, the industry has settled on two Eucheuma species that thrive under cultivation in tropical waters and the abundance of naturally growing Gigartina species along the Chile coast line south of Santiago.” Source
Why is it added to food?
“Many food manufacturers—even some makers of commercial organic foods—are adding “carrageenan” to foods like yogurt, chocolate, soymilk, and even ice cream to give the foods a thicker consistency and to make low-fat versions taste fuller. Derived from red seaweed, it’s often added to beverages to keep their ingredients from separating; you’ll find it in many nutritional shakes, milk products, and milk replacements. The ingredient even crops up in certain frozen dinners, soups, and commercial broth products.” Source
Why is it bad for you?
“Although derived from a natural source, carrageenan appears to be particularly destructive to the digestive system, triggering an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella. The result: “Carrageenan predictably causes inflammation, which can lead to ulcerations and bleeding,” explains veteran carrageenan researcher Joanne Tobacman, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Chicago. Source
Phew. That’s a hell of a lot of information to absorb!
So, in summary, what are my choices?
Homemade, above all else. Using my own organic products and filtered water. If homemade isn’t an option- I choose Pureharvest. The ingredients and the taste are, what I consider, the best.
If you do want to make your own almond milk, you can watch this video here:
- 1 cup raw almonds soaked overnight or 4 hours
- extra filtered water as needed
- dates and vanilla bean seeds, if desired
- Drain and rinse soaked almonds
- Add all ingredients to a blender and process for about 2 minutes
- Strain through a very fine sieve, nut milk bag, or muslin cloth
- Will keep in the fridge for 3 days in a glass jar
Did you enjoy this blog?
Have you got anything you’d like to add?
Have you got any questions?
Why not share and comment below?
Lots of love,