My interest in milk alternatives was piqued after watching a video on the Timothy Keller Vandweller YouTube channel about two years ago. I wasn’t interested in replacing milk with a milk alternative, but I thought I might be able to save some money by buying less milk. At that time I was buying organic lactose free milk which has become quite expensive. I made it a point to check out the milk alternative offerings the next few times I went grocery shopping.
I was surprised by the variety of milk alternative offerings. I thought there was only soy and almond milk alternatives, but I also discovered hemp, cashew, rice, oat, and banana. The pricing for some of the milk alternatives was quite expensive in my opinion; some were $4.99 per half gallon. The other thing I noticed was that the majority of them contained some kind of gum; e.g. carageenan, gellan, locust bean, xanthan, etc. Additionally, most of the milk alternatives had added nutrients (vitamins and calcium) and most or all of them also contained preservatives.
I did a little bit of research about some of the gums I saw on the milk alternative ingredient lists and found out that they can change the microbiome (bacteria) in your gut. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it didn’t give me warm fuzzies. Soon thereafter, I lost interest in milk alternatives.
My interest in milk alternatives was rekindled sometime in 2020 when I read a comment that mentioned making your own oat beverage at home on a YouTube video I watched. Yes, I call milk alternatives beverages and not milk. Milk comes from animals, not plants. Anyway, the comment got my brain neuron synapses to start connecting and I concluded that homemade oat beverage was the solution to avoiding the added gums, nutrients, and preservatives in the milk alternatives offered in the grocery stores.
A few weeks ago, I looked up oat beverage (search term oat milk) recipes on the Internet and found one that I thought was a good one. I recorded the recipe in my Food Info, Tips & Recipes database that I initially created using Treepad and then converted to Emacs Org mode.
I then proceeded to research reasonably priced blenders on Amazon. The author of the oat beverage recipe I found recommended Vitamix, but that brand is quite pricey. I found a blender offered by another manufacturer that was more reasonable and added it to one of my Amazon wishlists.
I don’t have a lot of money, so I was hesitant to spend money on a blender just to make an oat beverage. Therefore, I thought I should try an oat beverage from the grocery store to see what it tastes like before I made the investment in a blender.
Once again I looked at the offerings at both Wegmans and Whole Foods Market and as before, all of them contained some kind of gum and none of them were sweetened. I don’t think I would like an unsweetened oat beverage. Yes, I could probably add sugar to a glass, but that’s a bit of a pain. I also really didn’t want to purchase a half gallon of the stuff in case I didn’t like it.
A few weeks ago, I was shopping for a few things at Wegmans and I was in one of the isles that contained shelf stable milk alternatives. I found a quart-size brand of oat beverage made by a company called Elmhurst. Elmhurst oat beverage (called milked oats) contains only five ingredients and comes in a few varieties. I chose the sweetened variety.
The cost of Elmhurst oat beverage is expensive. I paid $4.99 for a quart at Wegmans. However, the expense was acceptable to me because it would be a one time purchase, the oat beverage was sweetened, and the oat beverage didn’t contain any gum, preservatives, or added nutrients. The oat beverage being shelf stable was an additional benefit.
The week following my purchase, I placed the Elmhurst oat beverage in the refrigerator and opened it up two or three days later. I poured about four ounces into a small glass. The oat beverage looked like chocolate skim milk or a very weak coffee with cream. I took a few sips and was very surprised by the taste; I actually liked it. My other concern with consuming oat beverage is that it would cause flatulence. I get flatulence when I eat rolled oats and sometimes when I eat steel cut oats. I did experience some flatulence, but it was very mild.
After writing the draft of this post, I ended up purchasing the blender on my Amazon wishlist as well as the nut beverage bags and two of the Rubbermaid leak-proof half gallon carafes. I can’t wait to make my own oat beverage.
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Post header image courtesy of Mx. Granger, CCO, Wikimedia Commons.