OPINION

Dairy-free, plant-based milk trends take their place at the breakfast table

MYLK LOVERS: The number of plant-based "mylk" alternatives for the breakfast table is rapidly expanding as more people seek out dairy-free options. Picture: Shutterstock.

MYLK LOVERS: The number of plant-based "mylk" alternatives for the breakfast table is rapidly expanding as more people seek out dairy-free options. Picture: Shutterstock.

Look at my new healthy drink! It's on trend and I made it all by myself. It is ... banana milk.

I'm underwhelmed. While I appreciate our lockdown culinary education needs to move past banana bread, is a smoothie really the best you can do?

Ah, my ill-informed friend, this is no smoothie. This is the latest and coolest of the new-gen alternative milks - or 'mylks.'

Does the 'y' make them healthier? If so, I'm happy to share that last night I enjoyed chyps, pyzza and whysky.

The 'y' tells you it's dairy free. In some countries, alt-mylks are legally required to differentiate themselves from animal-produced milks.

More lifestyle:

So what's in your smoo- um, mylkshake?

Bananas and water, blended to a creamy liquid. If you want to keep it nut and dairy free and vegan, leave it as it is. Otherwise, throw in nuts or honey. Cacao, cinnamon and coconut are tasty in the mix too.

But coconut has a mylk of its own already, right?

Yes. It belongs to the rapidly expanding family of mylks seeking a spot at your breakfast table.

Plant-based dairy alternatives are a global industry estimated to be worth $20 billion. We're talking old favourites like soy and almond, and their buddies: oat, rice, cashew, coconut, macadamia, hemp, spelt, quinoa, pea ... if you can crack it or crush it, you can milk it.

I guess dairy's not everyone's dietary friend. It turns my husband into Timmy Trumpet. I hear around two thirds of the world are lactose intolerant.

True. And many mylk lovers are concerned about environmental and welfare issues with the dairy industry. But I'm not here to preach. I'm here to confirm that some mylks actually taste great.

Recommendations, please.

Oat is a neutral flavoured favourite. My local barista rates its performance in a "cappoatccino".

Nutritionally it's convincing too, packing protein and a handy fibre called beta-glucan, linked to improved cholesterol levels and reduced risk of heart disease.

And if that sounds too much like liquid porridge?

Go fully local, with macadamia mylk. Australia's favourite nut makes a lusciously creamy liquid that's tasty enough alone, or on cereal, in baking, smoothies and coffee. I've even had it in a decent pina colada.

I'm nuts about pina coladas. Let's drynk to that!

  • Amy Cooper is a journalist who embraces wellness, but has also used kale to garnish a cocktail.
This story 'Milking' the latest new-gen trends for a dash of dairy-free goodness first appeared on The Canberra Times.