The ancient Egyptians were big fans of the hemp plant. They use its seeds to make fiber for things like clothes and fishing nets, and even to wrap mummies (yes, seriously). But they probably also ate the seeds. And today, we still use hemp seeds, also known as linseed, in a variety of ways. They are used to make linen for bed sheets, for example. But they’re a nutritional powerhouse, which makes them a popular cereal ingredient. And, in recent years, as the market for non-dairy milks has grown, so have they been used in milk production.
It might seem a little strange to drink milk from something that can also be used to make your sleeping sheets, but trust us: Flaxseed milk is delicious, nutritious, and versatile. In fact, it could be your new go-to. Here’s what you need to know.
What is flaxseed milk?
Today, many plants, nuts, and seeds can be used to make cow’s milk alternatives, and hemp seeds are no exception. The process of turning them into milk is relatively simple, as it involves mixing ground flaxseed or cold-pressed flaxseed oil with water. (Try it at home with your own blender, and you’ll notice that, after a while, the liquid starts to look satisfyingly milky!) Next, the mixture is often strained or filtered to remove any residue (but not always).
Good Karma, one of the leading flax milk brands, puts all of its products through the same “steam-flow ultra-high temperature pasteurization process” as cow’s milk. According to the brand, this exposure lasts only a few seconds and ensures “safety and quality” as well as “helps preserve taste and nutrients”.
Plus, as an added bonus, because flaxseed milk is made with seeds and not nuts (and it’s dairy-free!), it’s generally a safe choice for most food allergy sufferers.
Flaxseed milk nutrition
Flaxseeds are renowned for their health benefits and have even been given the coveted “superfood” title by some experts. That’s because they’re packed with nutrients like fiber, thiamin, protein, manganese, lignans (an antioxidant-rich plant compound) and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid. In fact, they are one of the best food sources of ALA, as one teaspoon of oil can contain more than six grams.
Flaxseed Milk vs. Cow’s Milk
If you’re considering switching from cow’s milk to flaxseed milk, the latter may offer more than just nutritional benefits. Unlike the dairy industry (which farms more than nine million cows in the U.S. each year), its production requires zero live animals. It’s not only good for animals, it’s also good for the planet.
Animal agriculture contributes 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gases and requires large amounts of land and water to sustain. Hemp, on the other hand, has a lower carbon footprint and requires fewer natural resources. Flax experts at Manitoba Milling Co. confirm that the plant needs no irrigation, for example, since it grows “rapidly and healthily without water.”
In 2018, the largest food production analysis ever suggested that cutting out meat and dairy and adopting a plant-based diet is one of the best ways to reduce a person’s impact on the planet. “A vegan diet is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, lead researcher on the study.
How does flaxseed milk taste?
Flaxseed milk is slightly creamy, light and slightly nutty, although not as nutty as other plant-based milks on the market, such as almond or hazelnut. And while some non-dairy milks can be a little thin and watery, like rice milk, flaxseed milk is a bit thicker. In fact, it’s like cow’s milk, so you might not notice one huge The difference in texture when you pour it over your cereal or use it to make a latte.
How to use flaxseed milk
As with any plant-based or dairy milk, you can use flaxseed milk in a variety of ways. It’s great in cereal or coffee, for example, or you can add it to a shake, a smoothie, or a steaming mug of hot chocolate. You can also use it in baking or as a sauce base while cooking.
Best flaxseed milk brands
For anyone who uses milk in their daily lives (and let’s be honest, that’s most of us), flaxseed is worth a try. So, the next time you’re stocking your fridge, here are some of the best brands of vegan flaxseed milk to buy.
1 good karma
Just 10 years ago, Good Karma was one of the first brands on the flaxseed milk scene. At the time, its main priority was to create a dairy-free drink that most allergy sufferers could enjoy. But the Colorado-based brand has since developed a range of creamy, nutritious flax milk products that cater to everyone, regardless of dietary requirements. Try its Unsweetened Flaxmilk + Protein, for example, which also has added vitamin D2, B12 and pea protein.
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2 Malibu milk
Malibu Mylk, which you might guess, is based in Los Angeles, hitting grocery stores for the first time in 2019. As well as shelf-stable options such as Unsweetened Flax Mylk and Unsweetened Flax + Oat Milk, a range of canned drinks has also recently been launched. Flax + Oat Milk Coffee contains organic beans, while Milk Matcha is made with official grade matcha. Both boast three grams of fiber per serving.
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Manitoba Milling Co.
3 Manitoba Milling Co.
In western Manitoba, Canada, the PG family has been growing flaxseed for generations, so they are quite the experts on the crop’s potential. That’s why they decided to launch Flax Milk in 2017 through their consumer brand, Manitoba Milling Company. Right now, its unsweetened and sweetened varieties are only available in the US, but if you want to try your hand at making your own flax milk, you can buy its whole-milled flaxseed directly from its website.
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Not content to use just one seed, Brooklyn-based plant-based milk brand Lechia decided to combine the nutritional benefits of flaxseed with chia seeds, meaning its vanilla-flavored chia and flax milk is packed with nutrients. And it’s definitely creamy and delicious.
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