Whether you’re trying to cut fat content down, have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance or are going vegan, there are alternatives to the traditional dairy milk many of us have grown up with.

Vogue.com recently broke down some of the better tasting dairy milk alternatives, on the heels of an alarming quote by culinary nutrition expert and cofounder of That Clean Life, Abigail Hopkins. Hopkins said that a whopping 75 percent of people are lactose intolerant, meaning they can’t properly digest dairy products.

“When you don’t have the proper enzymes to break it down, it can result in some serious discomfort. I’m talking gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, fatigue, and the like,” she told Vogue.

First up we have almond milk, which is made by blending unsweetened almonds with water and straining the excess grounds, according to Vogue. If you want to make your own, Hopkins said that the homemade kind can last up to four days in refrigeration. Grocery store-style almond milk last about a month if refrigerated, but shelved almond milk, if unopened, can last up to a year. Hopkins told Vogue to stick to original unflavored milk with no artificial sweeteners. if you’re sweetening at home, use honey, maple syrup, dates or cacao powder to sweeten. One cup of almond milk is only about 40 calories.

Coconut milk, which is made by combining unsweetened shredded coconut with water can be naturally sweet and thicker in texture, according to Hopkins. It’s also higher in fat that almond milk, so it can keep you fuller and more energized. Hopkins told Vogue that organic coconut milk will last up to four days if refrigerated.

Cashew milk has a similar texture to coconut milk, according to Vogue, and can be made at home by blending unsweetened cashews with water. Cashews are a softer nut, so you may not have to strain this milk at all if making at home.

On the docket for those with dairy allergies is rice milk, which is becoming increasingly popular on grocery store shelves. Hopkins told Vogue that rice milk is higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein. Shelved, non-refrigerated rice milk can last up to a year. An opened carton in the fridge can last about a week. With a texture similar to cow’s milk, Hopkin’s said it’s great with your morning cereal or oatmeal.

Last on Vogue’s list is hemp milk, which is high in protein at five to six grams per cup. Hemp milk has a consistency comparable to skim milk, and Hopkins said that “hemp milk contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids—a super-beneficial nutrient, but one that’s hard to get through a regular diet.”

There are other dairy-free milks you can make at home with items such as oats, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax.

If you have questions about dairy-free whether a dairy free lifestyle is right for you, contact our Functional Medicine and Clinical Nutrition Team. We offer a range of diagnostic tests, including food sensitivity testing, and free consultations at several Chicagoland locations.

Join us: On June 14th and June 28th, we’ll be debunking dairy myths and answer your questions in person with a bi-monthly lunch-n-learn. Visit us here to RSVP.

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