From soy milk to almond milk, the supermarket shelves are awash with alternatives to cow’s milk. For those with dairy or lactose intolerances there is now a new player in the market, an dairy free milk made from peas.
Ripple Foods have created the first dairy free milk made from the protein found in dried yellow peas. If you’re embracing a plant-based lifestyle or trying to reduce your consumption of animal products, this looks like a winner. And it’s an even healthier and environmentally sound choice than the majority of other milk alternatives like soy or almond.
While peas may seem a strange choice as the base for a milk substitute, they’re the most sustainable source of plant protein around.
Better For Your Health
Ripple milk is nut free, lactose and dairy free, gluten free and 100% vegan making it the perfect milk product for almost everyone. The pea based milk also stands up to all the other milk alternatives on the market and successfully competes based on 5 nutritional factors:
- Protein – Ripple has 8g of plant-based protein per serving, the same as normal dairy milk and more than 8 times the amount found in most other dairy alternatives.
- Sugar – Ripple has half the sugar of normal animal milk and 15% less than the other dairy alternatives.
- Saturated fat – Ripple is very low in saturated fat with only 0.5g per serving, compared to 4.6g in normal dairy milk and 4.5g in coconut milk.
- Calcium – There is 50% more calcium in Ripple than there is in dairy milk, the same amount present in both almond and cashew milk.
- Vitamin D – Ripple contains 50% more vitamin D than milk from animals and more vitamin D than other dairy alternatives.
Being healthy and eating good food shouldn’t come at the sacrifice of taste. Dairy free milk doesn’t have to be thin and watery, chalky or bitty. Which is unfortunately the case for a number of the milk alternatives on the market. Ripple milk is reported to have a rich creamy texture not unlike the dairy milk they are trying to emulate.
Better For The Environment
Yellow peas are one of the most sustainable plant products on the planet.
When grown in the areas that receive a lot of rain, yellow peas require little or no additional irrigation. Compared to both traditional cattle or nut products, like almonds, this is a massive saving on one the earth’s most valuable resources.
It takes 93% less water to make Ripple than it does dairy milk and 85% less water to grow peas that it does almonds. Or, in cold hard facts, it takes 60 gallons of water to make 1 glass of dairy milk, 20 gallons to make 1 glass of almond milk, and only a half a gallon to make a glass of Ripple milk.
Water is not the only environmental factor where Ripple wins the argument. The farming of peas produces significantly lower levels of greenhouse gases than both dairy and almond milk.
Dairy cattle need massive amounts of carbon-intensive feed and also release huge amounts of methane into the environment. Both of these lead to a very high level of greenhouse gas emissions.
Legumes don’t require the high level of nitrogen fertiliser (produced from natural gas) that almonds do as they are able to produce their own nitrogen from the air.
In raw figures it only takes a half a pound of CO2 to make a pound of yellow peas. It takes 1.6 pounds to make a pound of almonds and a whopping 17.6 pounds to make a gallon of cow’s milk.
Ripple appear to have excluded making comparisons with soya milk. For this reason we suspect it’s likely that both pea and soy milk has very similar health and environmental benefits.
Better For Your Conscience
Ripple Foods aren’t on a mission to save the planet. But they do believe that making small changes can have a big impact. As they so succinctly put it:
“We don’t claim that making plant-based foods will save the world…but we think it can help. And we know it makes us happier and healthier.”
At Eco & Beyond, we love this sentiment and it’s very much in line with our ethos of taking a number of small actions that add up to have a large positive impact.
If you care about your health and the environment you may have considered the option to replace some or all of your diet with plant based products. But moving to a fully plant-based diet can seem quite a daunting task. Especially when there are still a limited number of products on the market.
Ripple Foods and their non-dairy milk provide a great plant-based alternative. From all accounts it appears to be as good if not better than dairy milk; so it’s definitely worthy of consideration. In the U.S. it’s available in Target and Whole Foods and the brand will be expanding to other supermarkets in the near future. It remains to be seen whether expansion outside of the US will happen any time soon.