However, it is important to always read labels and look for additives, like vegetable oils, gums, carrageenan and added sweeteners. Canned coconut milks and creams often contain emulsifier to stop the coconut fats and water separating in the can but this can negatively impact our gut integrity.
Barista versions of milks will froth better for coffee with the addition of gums and other additives. Unfortunately, some of these gums have been shown to be harmful to gut health when used as a food ingredient. Generally speaking, the shorter the ingredients list, the better.
Some brands of tetra pack milk alternatives to add to smoothies which I recommend are – Isola Bio Organic Oat Milk, Pure Harvest Coco Quench Unsweetened Coconut Milk, Pure Harvest Unsweetened Almond Milk and Pure Harvest Unsweetened Organic Oat Milk, Nutty Bruce Organic Coconut Milk and Nutty Bruce Organic Almond Milk.
Many dairy-free milks are easy to make and often taste better than the store bought.
Please note: unless fortified (added-in), dairy-free milks are typically low in calcium. Remember to include a variety of non-dairy calcium foods, such as canned sardines and salmon with bones, leafy greens including collard greens, black strap molasses, whole nuts and seeds (especially raw almonds, sesame, poppy and chia seeds and tahini) and legumes.
How to make a simple dairy-free milk
1 cup raw nuts (eg almond, cashew, macadamia), soaked overnight in cold water, drained and rinsed
4 cups filtered water (less to thicken, more to thin)
1 pinch sea salt
2 pitted dates (or other sweetener of choice such as maple syrup. Omit for unsweetened)
½ tsp vanilla optional.
Add your soaked nuts, water, salt, dates and vanilla to a high-speed blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Keep it running for at least 1-2 minutes. Strain using a nut milk bag or thin dish towel if you want it completely smooth and store in the fridge for up to two days to use in smoothies, on porridge etc.
Dairy-free spring smoothie recipe
1 cup Pure Harvest Coco Quench Coconut Milk
2 fresh medjool dates, seeds removed
½ frozen banana
½ cup fresh mint leaves, stalks removed
Small handful baby spinach leaves
1 Tbsp chia seeds
Blend until smooth and enjoy straight away.