Flax Milk vs. Oat Milk vs. Almond Milk vs. Cow's Milk
One of the most common questions I get from new malibu mylk drinkers is, "how is flax milk different from almond milk, oat milk or even cow's milk?" Let's dig a bit deeper into these common milks and explain exactly what you're getting (or lacking!) in your glass.
I was born in the eighties and it was all about cow's milk. As a child I had a huge glass of what was definitely NOT grass-fed or organic cow's milk with practically every meal. Milk does a body good, right? Well, that's what big dairy paid millions in marketing dollars for our families to believe and it worked, until it didn't… Allergies, hormones in animals, diabetes and more eventually led to the tipping point for big dairy and milk sales in general. "Whole milk consumption has plummeted in the United States, falling 40 percent since 1975," according to statista.com. Meanwhile, the plant-based milk market is worth $2 billion and growing steadily.
So, what's the hype? Are all plant milks really that much better than big, bad dairy? It really depends, but for this post we are focusing on 4 major players: cow's milk, almond milk, oat milk and flax milk.
No matter which milk tickles your fancy (or your tongue!), it's best to reach for organic. Non-organic milk, be it from a cow or a nut, can contain harmful pesticides.
Cows are meant to eat grass. Not corn, soy or other grains. When you're getting organic cow's milk, at least 30% of their diet is coming from pasture grasses. If you want to be sure your cow is getting even more grass, look for the 100% grass-fed labels, which are becoming more and more widely available. The more grass in the cow's diet, the more omega-3s that end up in your glass. Regardless, about 65% of adults do have a dairy intolerance according to MindBodyGreen.com and thus having dairy can cause bloating, gas and/or diarrhea. Furthermore, the dairy industry contributes approximately 3% to global gas emissions and according to the National Center for Biotechnology, a new study finds that "exposure early in life to cow's milk may increase the lifetime risk of developing diabetes in high risk children."
Almond milk seemed to really gain traction in the last decade. In 2013, almond milk surpassed soy as the most popular plant-based milk in the US. You won't find the health issues associated with cow's milk as there is very little to almond milk. Despite being made with almonds, almond milk has little to no nutrients unless fortified. It's low in protein and fiber and unfortunately is incredibly unsustainable. A single glass of almond milk requires approximately 20 gallons of water to produce and is the least sustainable plant-based milk available. In 2014, California produced 2.14 billion pounds of almonds, as 80% of the world's almond supply is coming from California.
Water isn't the only resource being depleted for the revered almond. "A recent survey of commercial beekeepers showed that 50 billion bees […] were wiped out in a few months during winter 2018-19 […] Beekeepers attributed the high mortality rate to pesticide exposure, diseases from parasites and habitat loss. However, environmentalists and organic beekeepers maintain that the real culprit is something more systemic: America's reliance on industrial agriculture methods, especially those used by the almond industry, which demands a large-scale mechanization of one of nature's most delicate natural processes," shares theguardian.com. So think twice before reaching for a glass of almond milk.
Oat milk is one of the newer movers in the plant-based milk category and seemed to take the US by storm. Created in Sweden in the 1990s, it gained traction in Europe before coming to the US. While oat milk is much more sustainable than almond milk, there are other issues with oats that need to be looked at before drinking up. Glyphosate, or roundup, has been found in most oats tested. "Glyphosate, an herbicide linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization, was found in all but two of 45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats," notes EWG in Breakfast with A Dose of Roundup.
In addition to likely being loaded with chemicals, oats are high in sugars (although natural sugars) and thus high in calories and fat. A whopping 160 calories per glass and 9 grams of fat packs on more than a little extra "richness" to your daily routine.
And last but not least we have our beloved flax milk! Not all flax milks are created equally. What makes malibu mylk unique is that it is created from organic whole flaxseeds. That's where the fiber, protein, omega-3s and prebiotics come from. Fiber is incredibly important in the human diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, a high fiber diet helps maintain bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels, aids in achieving a healthy weight and helps you live longer.
Not only is flax full of nutrients, but the flax flower is sustainable, and the only water required for growth is natural rainfall. The flower is also considered self-pollinating, so no bees are brought in to pollinate the crops. Low in calories and fat, flax milk has a slightly nutty flavor and a nice thick texture due to the ground seed being blended and suspended in the milk.
Flax milk is one of the only allergen-free milks on the market. "Food allergy represents a major public health concern, particularly in the developed world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), its prevalence increased by about 50% between 1997 and 2011, and now it affects around one in 13 children," according to News-medical.net. Flaxseeds are free from the top 8 allergens and offer a great dairy and nut alternative for kids and parents alike.
Regardless of your choice of milk, we hope this was helpful in giving you the real facts so that you can make an informed decision! Questions and comments welcome below!