Got Oats? Green Steve Chooses His Milk Alternative

golden oats

A couple of weeks ago I set out on a mission to find an alternative to cow’s milk that will enable me to reduce my carbon footprint by up to 145kg per year without compromising on taste and my enjoyment.

The main thing that I realised throughout all of this is that even if you eat a cereal that has lots of flavour like I tend to do (I’m talking Frosted Shreddies, Cookie Crisp or Special K Honey Clusters), then no matter what you put on it, the overall taste is somewhat different to cow’s milk and it varies depending on what you use.

I found that the drink you pour over you cereal can actually enhance the flavour of the cereal or it can give a slightly odd after taste and that is what I have based my final decision on.

Bow Down To The Mighty Oat

As if my title hasn’t already given it away, I can reveal that I have decided to swap cow’s milk for oat milk because it was the one which I found had the best taste and a very good consistency. I was worried about how watery these cow’s milk alternatives would be, and so it proved with soya milk and rice milk which tended not to be viscous enough for my liking. Oat milk, on the other hand, was very similar to cow’s milk in that it has that slightly gloopy look and feel to it.

Feel The Goodness

While oat milk is only slightly lower in calories, sugar and total fat when compared to cow’s milk, it has significantly lower saturated fat and far more fibre. The major downside is the low amount of protein it contains (1g per 100ml versus 3.6g per 100ml of cow’s milk) but I have lots of chicken and fish in my diet so I’m not too concerned about that.

Oats are, however, good for you in other ways. My oat milk contains soluble fibre which has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and 250ml also contains one third of your daily recommended intake of beta glucan which is effective at lowering blood cholesterol and boosting the immune system. I would guess that my diet has been lacking in both of these things so I’m happy to be making this switch on health grounds too.

Counting The Cost

The only downside with oat milk is that it is substantially more expensive than cow’s milk in percentage terms. Now I tend to go through 1 litre of the stuff in 3 days and I did the same with 2 pints of cow’s milk so here is a rough comparison of prices for these and the 2 other alternatives; rice and soya:

Product Cost (per litre / 2 pints) Cost Vs. Cow’s Milk % Difference
Cow’s Milk £0.89 - -
Oat Milk £1.89 + £0.60 + 67%
Soya Milk £1.89 + £0.20 + 22%
Rice Milk £1.38 + £0.49 + 55%

Prices from Tesco.com

So over the course of a year, switching to oat milk is going to cost me roughly £73.20 more. Now this is fine for me but if we were to take a family who gets through a litre a day then the additional cost would be £219 per year which might prevent some people making the same switch.

Oats Float My Boat

In conclusion, I can say that switching to oat milk is going to not only reduce my carbon footprint, it will also be good for my health, and it tastes pretty good too.

One last thing remains and that is to try and find out the carbon footprint of Oatly (which is the only oat milk available that I could find) as accurately as possible. In my previous post I made an educated guess that oat milk has a very low carbon footprint based on figures I had found for wheat production and a homemade oat milk recipe.

I will make it my mission to find out a more precise figure for the greenhouse gas emissions of oat milk and my first step will be to contact Oatly direct to ask if they have any figures to hand. If not I’ll hunt elsewhere.

On a similar note, seeing as how I am moving away from dairy in terms of milk, I also made the decision to buy olive spread instead of my usual margarine – not only is it far lower in saturated fat, it too has other health benefits and should have a much lower carbon footprint.

What do you think about my choice? Have you tried oat milk yourself? Leave me a comment below and suggest any other alternatives I might try.

I also give a lot more insight into these and other green issues on Twitter and Facebook so don’t forget to follow me on these too.

Steve (156 Posts)

I am chief writer and editor on Green Steve. Blogging since 2011, I like to delve into a wide number of topics to help people reduce their carbon footprint. You should follow me on Twitter here. And add me to your Google+ circles here.

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