Soya Milk, Almond Milk and Coconut Milk are healthy plant milks that serve as alternatives for those who can’t digest regular milk.

Some of us are unable to digest milk  because of the decline in our body’s production of lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose. At this stage, a plant based milk that is lactose free may be more suitable. Here are three of our favourites:

Soy milk (Protein: 7 g, Calories: 50 to 130 per cup)
Soy milk is sourced from soybeans, and is a traditional staple of many East Asian countries. A popular vegan alternative to dairy, it is also naturally cholesterol free and low in saturated fats. Soy milk is also a complete protein source containing all the essential amino acids, vitamin D, potassium, iron, and calcium (when fortified).

Being free of milk sugar, this is a good choice for those with lactose intolerance. Commercially available soy milk may contain added additives used to stabilize and thicken it.

Soy milk recipe

  • Soak soybeans overnight in water.
  • Drain and rinse thoroughly.
  • Combine the soaked soybeans and 2 cups of water in a blender until smooth.
  • Strain through a double layer of thin muslin cloth or a fine sieve.
  • Add flavors (ginger, vanilla, chocolate, etc.) to suit you taste.

Almond Milk (Protein: 1 g, Calories: 30 to 60 per cup)
Popular among dieters, almond milk is a healthy alternative to dairy. It does not contain any cholesterol or lactose but has a healthy proportion of potassium and vitamins A and D.

However, it is a poor source of protein (compared to almonds) and calcium (unless fortified), making it unsuitable for babies, growing children, and people with osteoporosis. It is also not recommended for people who are allergic to almonds or nuts. Make your own almond milk at home with this recipe.

Almond milk recipe:

  • Soak almonds in water for about 2 days.
  • Drain and rinse the almonds.
  • Combine almonds and 2 cups of water in a blender until smooth.
  • Strain through a muslin cloth or a fine sieve.
  • Add sweetener, honey or other flavors.

Coconut milk (Protein: 5 g, Calories: 500 per cup)
Coconut milk is made by squeezing the grated flesh of a coconut with hot water, and resembles regular milk in its appearance. Even though it is a lactose-free, vegan alternative to dairy, it is not recommended by WHO because of the high levels of saturated fats in it.

The protein content of coconut milk is negligible compared to its very high caloric value, but this is a good source of vitamin C, B1, iron, calcium, and magnesium and has the added advantage of regulating the blood sugar level.

Coconut milk recipe

  • Grate the insides of a coconut.
  • In a blender, add grated coconut and 1 cup of water. Blend on high till the coconut is ground well.
  • Sieve and collect the thick milk. This is called the first extract.
  • Put the residual coconut back in the blender and blend with water.
  • Repeat this procedure again till you obtain very thin second and third extracts.