Nut milk showdown | Non-Dairy January

Today I am officially one week into my month-long non-dairy challenge. I am happy to report, Sturdy Women, that it is going better than expected. The first few days were touch-and-go as I overhauled my food choices, retrained my taste buds, and waded through headaches and fatigue, but I seem to be emerging into the light finally. Yesterday I even surprised myself with the thought, I think I can do this! Like permanently! Read on to find out which nut milk finally converted me.

The first few days without dairy were the hardest as I felt achy and grouchy and fought off cravings. Reddit is full of threads where new vegans report similar symptoms, but I didn’t find a lot of hard science to back up dairy detox claims… although the idea made it easier to suffer through pounding headaches. Cravings also hit me pretty hard. As I explained last week, dairy has been a cornerstone of my ketogenic way of eating for more than a year and heavy cream’s decadence seemed irreplaceable. It’s as perfect in coffee as it is whipped and perched on top. I missed it – and my Parmesan crisps – immediately.

The week’s first game changer and sparkle of hope came in the form of my Bodum milk frother. I picked it up after my friend Kristin Arntz, a nutrition coach at Lipedema Simplified, suggested frothing my nut milks could help my dairy free coffee still feel special and decadent. I was skeptical, but it was more than worth the $30 I invested. It’s quick, quiet, and I feel like a boss barista every time I pour foamy, hot milk into my cup. The only problem was that the first few nut milks I tried did not froth, like at all. I might as well have tried whipping water. So what did work?

Silk Cashew Milk | Rating: Won’t buy again I had high hopes for this milk because I like cashews but they are a bit carby for my brand of keto. Silk’s unsweetened vanilla cashew milk has 2g fat and 2g total carbs per 8oz serving. This isn’t terrible, but it’s a bit low on fat and high on carbs compared to other options. The taste was ok, but after I finish this carton I won’t buy another. Of everything I tried this week, it produced the least foam in my frother.

Califia Farms | Rating: Uninspiring but drinkable This brand has some good low carb options and I like that it is carrageenan free. It happened to be on sale at my grocery store last week, so I picked up several types to try. Both had 3-4g fat and 1g total cabs per 8oz serving. It only took one sip of the unsweetened almondmilk to know it wasn’t for me. I pushed it to the back of the fridge and it has stayed there. The toasted coconut and almond tasted much better, but that was likely because it is sweetened with monk fruit. I didn’t realize that when I bought it and I try to avoid even low carb sweeteners when I can. Neither one of these frothed well, but after a few days the coconut almond grew on me enough that I warmed some in a mug for an evening treat when I missed my yogurt. If it hadn’t been for our snow storm a few days ago I probably would have settled for this one, but luckily for me I was forced to keep looking.

Nut Pods unsweetened almond + coconut creamer | Rating: Good for those who need flavor Winter arrived in Washington, D.C. this week and I didn’t want to brave icy sidewalks to get to the grocery store. Thank you, next-day Amazon delivery! I started looking online for shelf-stable nut milks that could be delivered to my door. I quickly realized reviewers loved Nut Pods and not just the vegans, my keto brothers and sisters too. Their claims of flavor and decadence seemed almost too good to be true, so I was intrigued. A flash sale on a variety packed pushed me over the top and I clicked buy. What did I think? I haven’t tried all the flavors yet, but I can see why people would like it. A 1tbsp serving has 1g fat and 0g total carbs and it does have actual flavor you can taste. I couldn’t drink it alone though (which I understand isn’t the point) because it has a strong taste I can’t quite place. It’s a little bitter and a little unpleasant, but that’s less obvious in coffee. Since I already brew flavored coffee, having flavored creamer isn’t important to me. I’ll finish these cartons, but probably won’t buy more, particularly since they seem expensive for the size… also something much better arrived in the same Amazon box.

Milkadamia Unsweetened Latte Da | Rating: Winner! I knew I couldn’t be the only one disappointed by un-frothy nut milks, so I launched an internet search on the topic and quickly discovered macadamia nut milk. I didn’t know that was a thing. Even though macadamia nuts are notoriously expensive, Milkadamia costs about the same as the other milks I tried. Better yet, the website and reviews claimed that it “foams beautifully” and is loved by baristas. Say no more! The unsweetened “latte da” flavor wasn’t available at my local stores so I ordered a six-pack from Amazon, promising myself that I’d drink it all even if it was a disappointment. Wow! Wow! Wow! In less than two days I polished off one carton. Compared to the almond and coconut milks, the flavor is subtle, creamy, and ever so faintly sweet. You can taste the macadamia if you look for it but the flavor doesn’t push to the front the way almond and coconut milk can. And the foam? It truly does “foam beautifully” into tiny bubbles that will hang around until you empty the cup. In fact, it sometimes foams too much and I have to leave it to settle a bit before it overflows my mug. The Milkadamia Unsweetened Latte Da has 4g fat and 1g total carbs per 8oz serving – the same as Califia Farms – but the subtle creamy flavor and beautiful foam put it over the top. I’m serious when I say that on first sip I thought Yes, I can do this dairy free thing!

Do you have a favorite non-dairy low carb milk? Does dairy increase your swelling, inflammation, or lipedema pain? Drop me a note below about your favorite dairy alternatives. Now if only I could find something low carb to replace my Greek yogurt!

Be sure to follow my blog so you get next week’s update.

PS – I have no affiliation with any of these companies and received no incentives for this post. Real genuine opinions here!

Author: Rebekah

Vibrant, creative, thirty-something living life to the fullest with chronic disease.

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