Tag Archives: soymilk

Do You Like Coffee in Your Milk, or Milk in Your Coffee?

A recent article in the Washington Post discussing the effects of various foods on heart health identified the greatest health risk of coffee to be weight gain from blended coffee beverages packed with empty calories from sugar and dairy fat.

Lately, it seems the creator and biggest purveyor of the beverages has been trying to rise above criticism they’re as guilty as McDonalds and other fast food chains for contributing to high rates of obesity and diet-related diseases.

Along with introducing oatmeal to its menu, Starbucks published guides to 20 Drinks Under 200 Calories” as well as “Favorite Foods under 350 calories” on its website.  Unfortunately, Starbucks plays down the healthiest beverages (full-leaf teas, brewed coffee, espresso, caffe Americano, etc.) which all have under 10 calories. For example–if you’ve grown tired of Pike Place–did you know you can order any beans Starbucks carries be prepared with a French-press?

Adding milk or cream and sugar to brewed coffee is so common among Starbucks’ U.S. customers, the baristas “leave room” in the cup by default. No wonder hard-core coffee drinkers (those who know the difference between an ibrik and a v60) don’t take the chain seriously, especially after it introduced the lightly-roasted Blonde coffee (now its most popular), further blurring the line with pedestrian coffee.

Of course, only Starbucks’ pure coffees/teas and those made with soymilk–instead of dairy milk–are of any interest to those on a whole foods plant-based diet (those who haven’t given up caffeine, at least).

For the record, Starbucks custom-blended soymilk contains more calories and saturated fat than its skim milk. However, soymilk contains no cholesterol (vs 5g for non-fat milk) and does contain fiber, a beneficial nutrient found only in plant-based foods. Continue reading

Easiest Vegan Breakfast Recipe – Bircher Muesli

Bircher Muesli was a long-time breakfast treat, discovered in hotel breakfast buffets around Asia. While typically made with dairy products, such as milk, cream or yogurt, this vegan version uses soy milk and lemon juice. I can think of few breakfasts that are as easy, healthy or delicious!

Ingredients: (2 servings)

1/2 cup rolled oats or other whole-grain cereal

cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)

1 tablespoon shredded coconut (or other dried fruit)

1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds (or other nuts/seeds)

1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 medium apple, unpeeled

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Combine oats with soymilk in the evening (or several hours before you plan to eat) and place in refrigerator.

Prior to eating, add lemon juice and mix well (soymilk will thicken).

Cut apple into quarters, remove core, and grate with cheese grater.

Stir grated apple, fruits, nuts and seeds into oats.

Chew well to enjoy nutrition far exceeding processed breakfast cereals. Just try it, and see how good you feel! Continue reading

Warming Up to Vegan Masala Chai

The first time an Indian friend prepared masala chai (tea) for me, it was one of the most heavenly things. I had his recipe affixed to my refrigerator for years, but somehow stopped making it after giving up dairy products. Making a vegan tea masala is so simple, it’s silly, but that was before I realized anything is possible without animal ingredients.

Hot chai tea masala is great  in the winter, due to the warming effect of fresh ginger. Iced chai tea masala makes a super satisfying drink in the summer, too.

Ingredients (2 servings)

2 TB black tea (I use Brooke Bond Red Label orange pekoe, but Assam is also good)

1 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy) milk – unsweetened/unflavored

1 cup water

2 TB fresh ginger (grated)

1-2 cardamon pods (slightly crushed)

Tea masala spice mixture (powdered ginger, black pepper, bay leaf, green cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and nutmeg), to taste


Place tea into a small sauce pan and add soy milk, water, ginger, and cardamon pods

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Don’t let your eyes off the pot, because it boils over in an instant!

Reduce heat immediately, and simmer for another 5 minutes

Shake some tea masala spice into the bottom of a cup.

Pour the tea into cup through a strainer, stir, and enjoy!

If you’re used to drinking traditional tea masala (most Indian restaurants don’t offer a choice with soy milk), it may take some getting used to the taste of non-dairy tea masala, but enjoy knowing it has no cholesterol and is loaded with anti-oxidants. Use sugar sparingly (if necessary), in order to appreciate the taste of the masala spices.

How Soy Matcha Latte Breaks Milk and Coffee Habit (and Shatters Centuries of Tradition)

Like the Italians who believe milk and sugar ruin the taste of espresso and that cappucinos are not for real men, Japanese purists must be shocked to see their prized matcha green tea being mixed in everything from lattes to ice cream to Oreo cookies, candy bars, and martinis, too!

Some of us may have even added sugar to Japanese green tea when we first tried it (what are those packets of sugar doing on the table, anyway?) However, since most people with an appreciation for Japanese culture and cuisine prefer their green tea straight, I was recently surprised to meet a Japanese-American who sweetens her green tea.

After serving a wonderful macrobiotic dinner, she offered us a “matcha latte”. Once I explained that I limit milk (non-dairy) to a single cafe latte at breakfast (for caloric purposes, not out of respect for Italian taboo), she insisted that we just give it a try. Mixed with sweetened vanilla soymilk and honey, the green tea bag and the tiny amount of matcha powder that accompanied it were overpowered by the sweetness of honey and added sugar in the flavored soymilk.

Ever since that day, I had been craving a matcha latte made with the rich taste of Kyoto (“Uji”) matcha and unsweetened soymilk. Once I got past the idea of pairing matcha with my breakfast oatmeal, I’ve been happily alternating matcha lattes with chai lattes and cafe lattes ever since. Try it for yourself, and let me know what you think!

Continue reading

Matcha Vegan Ice Cream Beats The Heat

Here’s an idea for those who love matcha but don’t find hot drinks quite so inviting in the summer.

While there are countless non-dairy ice cream recipes, few are matcha-flavored, and on the healthy side, too. I found one that used soy milk as a base, but wanted to experiment with some raw cashews I had on hand. I was so pleased with the results I wanted to share them with anyone else craving a mid-summer matcha fix. Continue reading

Vegan Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

Everyone (at least everyone who’s seen a tub of Quaker Oats) knows oatmeal is good for your heart. Now, if only everyone understood the most effective way to reduce cholesterol and dramatically improve your health is–plain and simple–by eliminating animal products from your diet.

In Honolulu airport recently, I glimpsed a large sign outside Starbucks with a photo of a bowl of oatmeal. Later, an article in January’s Entrepreneur Magazine confirmed the trend: While Starbucks in U.S. has offered oatmeal since 2008, more quick-serve restaurants–including, of all places, McDonalds–plan to offer healthier options, such as fiber rich and whole-grain oatmeal, to meet calorie and labeling requirements of federal healthcare reform.

Although eating oatmeal for breakfast is a far cry from everyone adopting a vegan diet, influential restaurant chains offering oatmeal (hopefully not laden with dairy products, sugar or chemical preservatives) can only help to make people more aware of health benefits of plant-based foods. Continue reading

“Four M’s” to Enjoying Espresso Drinks Without Milk

Could your morning cappucino or latte fix possibly be keeping you from giving up dairy products and progressing toward a healthier diet and lifestyle?

For many people, switching to a non-dairy milk in their coffee takes more than a little getting used to. It doesn’t help that the big chain coffee shops charge extra for soymilk, but eliminating dairy milk from your espresso drinks may be just what you need to build momentum for becoming vegan. Continue reading