What the FLIK is…oat milk?
Looking into the crystal ball of food trends has many predicting that 2019 will be the year of oat milk, the latest alternative milk to hit the shelves of your grocery store and coffee shop. Along with its other non-dairy siblings almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk, rice milk, and coconut milk, baristas and nondairy eaters have more options than ever before.
So…what the FLIK is…oat milk?
Oat milk is a new(ish) alternative “milk” that is a great alternative nondairy milk product perfect for those who are allergic or intolerant to nuts. It launched onto the scene in late 2018 in larger coffee-culture cities like Portland, and now if becoming more mainstream.
Like many alternative dairy products, oat milk is the liquid that results after you take steel-cut oats or whole groats and soak them in water. The mixture is then blended together and strained through a fine mesh cheesecloth and the liquid left over is oat milk. Because oats absorb water more easily than nuts, the texture is notoriously creamier than nut-based milks. This texture also lends well to frothing, which makes it a great option for cappuccino and latte lovers. It can also be used in smoothies, creamy soups, and baked goods.
The leading oat milk brand, Oatly, is a Swedish based company that brought oat milk to Intelligentsia coffee shops in 2018. Starbucks quickly picked up on the trend and started offering oat milk in Europe. Now, this leading brand is available throughout the US through a number of major retailers including Whole Foods.
This new kid on the block is ultra-buzzy thanks to its plant-based nature and has become a fan favorite of vegetarian, vegan and other followers of plant-based diets. Following the Oatly Outage of 2018, foodies should keep their eye on oat milk – it’s not going anywhere.
So…is it healthy?
As it relates to alternative milks, oat milk nutrition competes with other top sellers. It has less protein than cow’s milk and soy milk, but often contains more protein than other plant-based milks like coconut, rice and almond milk. Despite this, it’s important to remember that even though it has more protein than its plant-based alternatives, it still isn’t a complete protein since it doesn’t contain the nine essential amino acids like is found in cow’s milk and soy milk. Because cow’s milk naturally contains nutrients like potassium, calcium, and vitamin B12, and is fortified with essential nutrients like vitamin D, many plant-based milks pale in comparison when it comes to nutritional value.
As always, read the labels on your products before you buy them! Hidden additives and flavoring can throw off the health benefits of any product. Especially important is the added sugar that’s often added to plant-based milks for extra flavor. Oat milk is no exception, so be sure to choose the unsweetened variety. Look for the brands that have short, wholesome lists of ingredients.
What We Were Talking About in 2018: Building FLIK's Wellness Platform with Nicole Feneli, Director of Wellness
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