Got (Vegan) Milk?: A Plant-Based Milk Guide

Dairy?! Isn’t that so like, 2011? With so many new, modern vegan alternatives, dairy is on its way to be a thing of the past! The dairy industry hides that ethically, they are even worse to cows than the meat industry. Just like a baby zebra gets milk from their zebra momma and a baby giraffe gets milk from their giraffe momma, the only breast milk humans need to receive is from their same species, not a cow’s! Milk has additionally been proven to be linked to acne, ovarian cancer, bone fragility, and more (thanks for the links, PETA!) And can you just imagine that how that one milk-discovery dude even got to finding it? Talk about weird! There are so many non-cow milks these days that it’s almost overwhelming to pick just one. And even with all those vegan milks already out there, I feel like I hear of a new type just about every week! But don’t stress! I’ve done my fair share of experimenting, and will help you find the right plant-based milk for all your dairy-free needs!

  • Coconut milk: You can always find a few cans of coconut milk in my pantry! And if you’ve seen Chef Kristina’s episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, you know how dire coconut milk can be! Coconut milk is rich, thick and creamy. It makes a great homemade whipped cream, base of a rich soup, or can even be a good binder! It has a pretty strong taste on its own, but you can throw coconut milk and coconut oil into your coffee to make it extra foamy!
  • Cashew milk: Props to the vegans who lived through the grim times before cashew milk was known to human kind! Cashew milk is my absolute favorite in any plant-based alternative. Cashew milk ice cream and cheeses (*cough cough,* V-Grits cheeses 😉 ) are what I have found to be closest in taste to the harmful dairy products we grew up loving! The ice cream (SO Delicious is my favorite) is super creamy, and has even fooled my family of omnivores. Even on its own, cashew milk is delicious in a glass. A little maple syrup goes a long way to spice it up, though!

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  • Almond Milk: Almond milk is definitely the hippest milk out right now! Every coffee shop is carrying it, even Starbucks adapted to the trend and started selling it this year! Almond milk is a little sweeter and tends to be a little thinner than the other milks. It’s also yummy on its own, but especially with a chocolate chip cookie nearby! 😉
  • Soy Milk: Soy Milk is the OG milk!! It was every vegan’s go to for any dairy alternative back in the day. Soy milk still is great in coffee, and does well as an ice cream base! Soy milk also tends to work well as a dairy-milk replacement for recipes!
  • Banana Milk: Bananas are one of the most beneficial foods for your body! This milk typically isn’t found in stores, but throw some bananas and water in a blender, and you’ve got banana milk! Banana milk is a great drink on the go to get a little extra energy and potassium boost in!
  • Hemp Milk: Hemp milk is another super healthy milk worth trying! I’ve primarily used this milk for smoothies!
  • Rice Milk: Rice Milk is low in fat and one of the least allergenic milks out there!! I’ve had rice milk over fruit, and it is yummy in or as the base of desserts!
  • Ripple: One of the newest milks on the dairy-free block is Ripple, or pea milk. If you’re wondering why they call it ripple, maybe just say pea milk out loud! 😉 Ripple is getting trendy due to having high protein levels (one gram of protein per ounce!), just like peas. I have yet to try this milk, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some!

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As stated earlier, there are an endless number of milks out there! These days people make new vegan milks just to test if a food product can be turned into a milk! Other replacements out there include hazelnut milk, macadamia nut milk, quinoa milk, oat milk, flax milk, and more! So make an ethical and healthy turn into the dairy-alternative section next time you go grocery shopping, I promise you won’t regret it!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

V-Grits Heads to Chi-Town!

This past Saturday, the V-Grits crew had a rad time selling our vegan cheeses at Chicago Veganmania! We came, we ate (a lot), we sold, we left. Here are some highlights from our trip (mostly food, of course).

  • Rocket 88: Out first stop was in Indy! We needed some donut/coffee power to get us to Chicago, so a stop at a local coffee shop with a lovely selection of vegan options was definitely needed! Some veg-friendly menu items included Apple Pie Donuts (delish!) and savory Tempeh Waffles. If you’re in the neighborhood, I would definitely check it out!
  • Chicago Diner: I ordered a Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Chocolate Chip Milkshake with whipped cream Saturday night. How’s that for plant-based? 😉 Chicago Diner is doing it right, with their awesome slogan “Meat free since ’83!” Meat free is how we like to roll! Of course, no diner is complete without country fried steak, spicy chicken sandwiches, and Reubens, right? This spot had it all, and was packed from wall to wall when we visited! We love to see vegetarian spots thriving, and this one kept our bellies full (for a couple of days) and our taste buds content!
  • Pick Me Up Cafe: Another vegan-friendly diner we ate at was Pick Me Up! This diner had everything from vegan jalapeño poppers, to french toast, to steak pizza grinders! The portions will not disappoint! Not to mention, a killer tea selection! I opted for a dark orange cinnamon clove tea, and regret not asking for another tea bag!
  • Chicago Veganmania: We had such a blast at this event! While selling cheese out the wahzoo, we met some inspiring folks, including Jasmin Singer, co-host of podcast “Our Hen House” and Senior Editor of Vegnews, cookbook author and YouTube star the Vegan Black Metal Chef, and NFL vegan David Carter, aka the 300 pound vegan! Talk about starstruck! The day was completed with some amazing food (mango lassis, ribs, typical vegan stuff), educational seminars and cute vegan apparel! It was a great day all around, we can’t wait until the next one!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

V-Grits Spotlight

       Highlighting our creative and compassionate customers, V-Grits will share a monthly spotlight on some of the cool-cats that have crossed the orange truck’s path! This month’s V-Grits spotlight goes to avid Louisvillian cyclist, Tom Hughes! Here is a little bit about Tom and his adventures!
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Q: How long have you been a V-Grits fan?
A (Tom): I’ve been a V-Grits fan since before it existed! I rode my bike out to Shelbyville a few times to get Kristina’s baked goods earlier on. I saw her Cutthroat Kitchen victory and knew she had a great future ahead. I bought two meals from the Kickstarter page to help her get started and have been hooked ever since.
Q: What’s your favorite V-Grits indulgence?
A: The Where Do You Get Your Protein Burger and the Loaded BBQ Jackfruit Mac and Cheese!
Q: If you could be a new crayon color, what color would you be?
A: The color of rad wine!
Q: How long have you been vegan?
A: I’ve been vegan since the October of 2012. I first started as a way to help my mom control her cholesterol. Then I just fell in love with all the recipes I was making and I felt my health and energy improving a ton right away. I found out about the ethics of animal agriculture and the needless exploitation animals in undergo and wanted no part of it ever again.
Q: What adventures are you up to currently?
A: I’m currently cycling across the country, powered on a purely plant based diet of course!
Q: What are different experiences you’ve faced while cycling?
A: Getting enough calories has been a challenge at times through the Midwest. I need at least 4000-5000 per day! The entirety of Kansas seems to revolve around a menu you might find at a carnival or state fair. I rely a lot on dried fruits and nuts. When I find a restaurant it’s typically French fries and a sweet tea. To get enough good food I have a small steel pot and camp stove so I can cook rice, lentils, chickpeas etc. and whatever veggies I can carry. I also brought a mini cutting board and kitchen knife to prepare meals while camping.
Q: Did I read you also want to teach others that people can travel vegan on a budget while consistently exercising?
A: Yes that’s the plan! When I get home I’m going to collect my recipes and tips for traveling on a budget and getting enough calories and nutrition to power whatever adventures lay ahead with minimal supplies!
Q: How many doughnuts are you capable of eating in one sitting?
A: I’ve never tried but I figure I could eat at least 13! That’s a good challenge, I need to find out!
      You can read and see more of what Tom is up to and what dreams of his he is accomplishing on his blog! You can also come to his West Coast, 3,000 mile point celebration party Wednesday, August 17th at Seidenenfaden’s tomorrow night to celebrate the journey he has made and show him support for his ride back home! Donations will be made to local animal sanctuary Upland’s PEAK, and to help Tom get a headstart on a book he intends to write about traveling vegan on a budget. Check it out!
                                    Signing off for the sentient,
                                                                                    Sammi

New Jersey 6th Grader Says We Should Create More Social Action Projects!

“I used the resources I was given, and I want people to pass that down and use the things they’re given to create more social action projects—and do it just for fun, and not make it feel like a chore, ” says Marley Dias, 11, of New Jersey. What caught Marley’s attention? There were hardly in black girls in the books she read for school. So she did something about it. Marley launched a campaign to collect 1000 books that feature a black girl as the main character. The book drive and hashtag #1000blackgirlbooks has been a success and reportedly met half it’s goal, and will continue collecting books to send to a school in Jamaica, where Marley’s mother grew up. “When you see a character you can connect with, if they learn a specific lesson, you’re more likely to apply that to your life,” Marley said. Thanks for being an inspiration for all of us to take more positive social actions, Marley!

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