My eczema warriors opened my eyes to the world of dairy free alternatives, as they have it in the bottle, we have it in our tea or coffee, homemade ice cream, pasta sauce, etc. This review of dairy free milk brands is the result of years of sniffing out the healthiest and tastiest dairy substitutes available in the market.
Our stringent criteria
Since this list of dairy free milk alternatives are bought off the shelves, they are commercial products, whereby manufacturers have everything to gain by making it more tasty, last longer, and of the right texture, so that they get happy customers who will go back to them.
Of course you can make your own dairy free milk at home, it’s actually not that difficult. But if you just want the convenience, like me, and at the same time want to stay away from substances added to boost sales but not in the best interest of our health, then keep your eyes peeled on the labels and ingredients lists.
The criteria I use in choosing dairy free milk for my family:
- Minimum or zero additives – common additives found in dairy free milk includes:
- Problematic vegetable oils (for instance, I would avoid canola oil, due to its bad reputation in recent years).
- The fewer ingredients, the better – to me, a company that uses few ingredients does not attempt to make the perfect product, but simply presents the food in its natural, minimally processed form. With practice, it is not too hard to identify companies that hold true to their principle of giving their customers the best, not letting it override their profits objective.
Why dairy free
The above criteria are of the utmost importance to me, as I remind myself every single trip to the supermarket, about our aim of eating clean, natural and wholesome. Why we went dairy free in the first place, is for the sake of our two eczema warriors. We want to eliminate anything that can possibly cause inflammation or make their gut unhappy, and dairy is one of the big triggers in people with eczema.
So obviously we also do not want to include all kinds of additives in their dairy free milk, as these will just add to their toxic load that the sensitive little bodies have a hard time processing.
An example of a dairy free milk that I definitely would not purchase:
Good Karma Flaxmilk (Unsweetened) – take a look at their ingredients
- Flaxmilk (filtered water, cold pressed flax oil)
- Pea protein isolate
- tapioca starch
- Natural flavors
- Tricalcium phosphate
- Sunflower lecithin
- Sea salt
- Gelan gum
- Xanthan gum
- Vitamin A palmitate
- Vitamin D2
- Vitamin B12
Suspicious characters: natural flavors, pea protein isolate, and gelan gum. Tapioca starch and xanthan gum should be quite harmless, but still, I do question why they need to be included in the first place. I really wouldn’t trust this product to be in the best interest of my health. This is a maker trying to create a perfect milk, so smooth and fragrant, so that you will keep going back for more.
Knowing what is good and what is not, you can be assured that the list below is made up of the cleanest products we have found.
Here is the list of dairy free milk brands for 2018, going by type of milk
The best dairy free milk brands for rice milk, soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk:
Rice milk – Kirkland Organic
Kirkland Signature Organic Rice Milk has the following ingredients:
- Filtered Water
- Partially Milled Organic Rice
- Organic Expeller Pressed Sunflower Oil and/or Organic Expeller Pressed Safflower Oil
- Tricalcium Phosphate
- Sea Salt
- Vitamin A Palmitate
- Vitamin D2
- Vitamin B12
- Folic Acid
It has no additives, ingredients are all good and real, and tastes awesome. Thin in texture, it is great as a nutritional boost without being excessive in fats, calories or cholesterol.
Soy milk – Organic Edensoy (Unsweetened)
Soy has its own issues and controversies, putting it in not-so-good light due to its estrogen-like compounds, as well as the fact that many soy products are GMOs (genetically modified organisms). But if you love soy milk and it has not been giving you problems, and you are able to find certified non-GMOs soy milk, then why not?Organic Edensoy (Unsweetened) has the following ingredients:
- Reverse Osmosis purified water
- Organic soybeans
That’s about as complicated as it gets. I love the clean flavour of pure soybeans, and they are verified to non-GMO Project Standards.
Almond milk – Elmhurst
Almond milk is naturally rich in Vitamin E, and also low calories as well as carbohydrate. It contains healthy fats which may reduce the risk of heart diseases. Elmhurst Milked Almonds (Unsweetened) has the following ingredients:
- Filtered water
This is a super rare find, as most almond milk brands contain emulsifiers or thickeners. So this is really the cleanest and purest you can get. It is made with 18 almonds in every glass, great for drinking straight, or adding into your cereal or smoothie for an invigorating boost.
Oat milk – Oatly
Oat milk is on the rise in the dairy free market. Full of nutrients friendly to the heart, and low in fat, calories, and contains zero cholesterol, it is becoming the favourite of many on the vegan diet.Oatly Organic Oat Drink (Original) has the following ingredients:
- Oat base (water, oats 10%)
- Sea salt
This is definitely for purists and those who like to keep it simple. But if you are looking for something fortified with vitamins and extra calcium, then this version below is for you: Oatly Oat Drink (Original) has the following ingredients:
- Oat base (water, oats 10%)
- Rapeseed oil
- Calcium carbonate
- Calcium phosphates
- Iodised salt
- Vitamins (D2, riboflavin and B12)
Both Oatly oat drinks are great with cereal, and can be used in cooking in the same way as your regular dairy milk.
Coconut milk – Native Forest Simple Organic
Coconut milk is a great source of many vitamins and minerals, so it is a nutritious addition to your foods. However, it is high in calories, so go easy on the amount you add. Native Forest Simple Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk has the following ingredients:
- Organic coconut milk (organic coconut, purified water)
It is packed in BPA-free cans. As it has no emulsifiers added (like guar gum or xanthan gum), it can clump up, just shake it vigorously before you open the can, that will break up the clumps and you get a creamy, rich taste of heaven. This coconut milk is great for cooking soups, curries, sauces, desserts and in beverages like milk shakes and protein shakes.
It is not so suitable for drinking straight. Unfortunately, all the carton coconut milk products that I have scoured have additives or other unhealthy substances, so I won’t be recommending any here. Do let me know if you come across any brand of carton coconut milk that is as pure as the Native Forest Simple Organic.
As you can see by now, the dairy free milk brands recommended here are in their most natural, minimally processed states, with little to zero additives, not even the emulsifiers deemed necessary by most manufacturers to create a smooth and homogeneous emulsion. The perfect foods by nature do not have to look perfect, I will forego the cosmetics of beautifying a food, if it means feeding my one and only body with crap. I will take clumped up vegan milk anytime, thank you.