Swapping out cow’s milk for lactose-free vegan milk made from plants is probably the easiest change you can make for animals and the planet. Vegan author Carol J. Adams even features this switch as Daily Action #1 in her book Protest Kitchen. These milks are made from a wide range of beans, nuts, seeds, and grains. Boxes, bottles, cartons, and cans of plant-based milk can be found in grocery stores across the world, and new flavors and brands are showing up on the shelves all the time. I regularly stock my fridge with vanilla, chocolate, unsweetened, and plain flavors depending on what taste I’m craving and what I plan on cooking or baking. You can even make your own plant milks at home by soaking unsalted nuts like almonds and cashews, seeds, or grains in water overnight, blending them, and straining the mixture through a cheesecloth.
But maybe you don’t know what plant-based milk to try, or if plant-based milks can stack up to the nutrition in cow’s milk. What vegan milk should you use for what in the kitchen? What are the environmental impacts of different plant-based milks? Is soy bad for you? Read on to answer these and other questions.