FRIA’S INGREDIENTS: Alternatives to dairy milk

Apparently, people have been drinking cow’s milk for thousands of years and, for the most part, for thousands of years all’s been well… or so we thought. With modern technology and some serious science behind it, we now know that there can be certain issues around drinking dairy milk; for some more than others.

Let’s talk lactose, the most prominent of these issues. Lactose is a sugar found in dairy milk and people with lactose intolerance are unable to digest it, which means nausea, cramps, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

Dairy milk allergies? Yes, they can be ‘a thing’. Dairy milk allergies can cause reactions from vomiting to anaphylactic shock, and it usually effects children more than adults.

Just briefly – because I’m not a scientist – what’s come out of even more recent scientific reports:

  • It might not actually contain as much calcium as we’ve been led to believe
  • Not many people know that dairy milk contains bad cholesterol, but no plant-based dairy contains any cholesterol whatsoever
  • A single serving of full cream milk can contain more than 20% of your recommended daily allowance of saturated fat. Dairy products, such as cheese, are even worse!
  • Cows are often given antibiotics to keep them producing milk in not the greatest of living conditions, so if you drink lots of milk you’re ingesting a certain amount of it and that may be one of the reasons we’re experiencing antibiotic-resistance

… just a few things to think about


Just a few alternatives to dairy milk: coconut, hazelnut, walnut, almond, cashew and pine nuts.

For these reasons Fria’s treats are dairy free. But because we do need certain vitamins and minerals found in milk, and we’re all trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, here is some alternatives (not specifically listed from best tasting to worst!):

Coconut Milk

One of my favourites, but not necessarily to drink in coffee and tea.

It’s creamy and delicious, and it’s packed with healthy fat, potassium and vitamins. Just keep it unsweetened, and like with anything, use it in moderation.

Almond Milk

Almond milk has been around almost as long as dairy milk. It’s low in calories and high in vitamins.  Finding a tasty, fresh almond milk without preservatives is a bit of a challenge, but fortunately local Capetonian brand Almond Creamery came to the rescue.  The only real downside of almond milk is that it’s lacking protein (but that’s why we have Vibrant Health Pro Matcha, right?!)

Cashew Milk

Newer to the market than almond milk, cashew milk tastes nuttier and it’s a good source of fiber, antioxidants, copper and magnesium; but like almond milk it’s low in protein. Never fear, there are vegan protein powder products that can fix that right up!

Oat Milk

A good alternative for those not only intolerant to dairy but allergic to nuts as well. It’s high in fiber, protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals. There are no saturated fats and whilst it may be higher in carbohydrates, it’s a good source of energy if you’re being good elsewhere in your diet.

Pea Milk

Not easy to get your hands on in SA, but it’s low in saturated fats, high in calcium and contains pea protein… thumbs up!  If you know the taste of pea protein then you can imagine what pea milk tastes like, though, so this is one that I still have to try before I will recommend having it in your coffee!

Rice Milk

Be careful. It’s good for cooking or baking but not great as a daily substitute. Apparently ‘lactose-free’ is about as far as it goes.

Soy Milk

So… soy, hmmm. The jury is still out.

The soybean is the world’s foremost provider of protein and oil.  Of all the milk substitutes it’s the highest in protein, low in saturated fat and by far the most widely available. BUT soybeans are also believed to contain elements that prevent your body from absorbing essential minerals.  Most soy beans are grown from genetically modified seeds, and the debate whether the GMO or non-GMO bean should be bought will probably never end.  You decide.

Hemp Milk

Have you ever tried it?  I haven’t, but they say it doesn’t have much of a taste. It’s seemingly rich in omega-3 fatty acids and amino acids but lacks calcium. Hey, if you try and feel that it works for you, there are always calcium supplements.

As with all things, you need to find what works for you. Always read the labels. Always do your homework. And if need be, take a good supplement if you’re lacking in protein, vitamins or minerals.



Aaron Burr




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