I recently gave up dairy for one month in an attempt to get to the heart of some sinus issues I had been having. I was fairly certain that I would not survive the month, but I did and, in fact, came out of it feeling much better.

Sadly, the success of this experiment means that I’ll have to continue on the path of no dairy (well, in theory at least–I’m only so strong and besides, as a chef I feel that if I’m making a batch of ice cream it would be unprofessional for me not to do some tasting for quality control purposes before serving it.)

One of the most difficult parts of my dairy transition was finding an acceptable, non-dairy milk substitute for my morning coffee. My requirements were that I find one that isn’t full of artificial ingredients and sweeteners, doesn’t feel chalky and gritty in my mouth and doesn’t taste gross. This was no simple task.

I set out on a desperate search, sloshing my way through every non-dairy “milk” including soy, rice, almond and hazelnut, sampling sweetened, unsweetened, chocolate, vanilla and plain until I finally came upon something I could live with…… plain, unflavored, unsweetened oat milk.

Who knew?

It has a mild, slightly sweet taste and a more full bodied, creamy mouthfeel than rice or soy milk. It also does not have the weird aftertaste of nut milks (nutty coffee, no thanks!) Nutritionally speaking, oat milk is comparable to 1% cow’s milk in calories and fat, and is a bit higher in carbs and lower in protein. It also has no cholesterol, but really, my main priority is how it tastes.

Given the choice I would still be drinking regular old cow’s milk in my coffee, but I’m glad, that I’ve found an acceptable substitute that has allowed me to continue my morning ritual with little disruption. I’ve been told that I’m not so nice without my coffee.