A few months ago, I started coming to terms with the fact that I may have some bizarre form of adult-onset lactose intolerance.  And, I gotta say, now is a pretty good time in history to be having these kinds of problems, because, if you haven’t noticed, there are so many milk alternatives out there. From soy to nuts to peas, the list of milkables just seems to keep getting longer and longer.  And while I’m sure they all have applications that make their unique qualities shine, there’s only room in my heart and also fridge for one when it comes to my main milk usage (cereal): oat.

And having recently had a bowl of cereal with accidental real milk (which strangely had no aftereffects?), I feel like I can say with confidence that oat milk is not just the best dairy-free alternative, it just is the best liquid to put on cereal.

Let’s start with the biggest factor here: taste.  Most soy milk I’ve had (by which I mean Silk, I’ve heard the freshly made stuff tastes almost like a peanut butter milkshake and I do wanna try some of that someday) has a bitter, acrid aftertaste that pretty much only can be vaguely disguised by chocolate.  So am I just supposed to eat nothing but Coco Puffs for the rest of my life? Or worse, eat not-chocolated cereals with a chocolate milk, like some kind of degenerate? I think not.  And with almond milk (I can’t necessarily speak for all nut milks here, but I can only imagine they can’t be that much different), I kept finding that it was almost too neutral.  Like, some nuttiness would pair really well with Honey Nut Cheerios or Honey Bunches of Oats, but they never seem to live up to that expectation.  And milk milk? There was just something not right with it that last time I had it, it was sweet and rich and seemed to really want you to know that it was the real thing.  

But with the humble oat?  Yes, the oat milk tastes exactly like oats.  But that’s why I think it shines in the context of cereal.  Most cereals nowadays (with the exception of a growing market of low-carb cereals made of things like beans) are made of either oats or corn.  So one one hand, you’re just upping the oats.  Like, no big surprise the oats are going to play well with the oats.  But with the corn?  The oat milk balances the corn flavor, which is especially helpful in cereals like the new formula for Count Chochula (and all the other Halloween cereals) which taste so overbearingly of corn that you don’t really get any of the flavorings.

But it’s not all about the flavor, there’s something to be said about the textures, too.  While I will concede that regular milk is probably the best texture-wise (also, I’m talking about 2% here, whole is too creamy and skim is basically water), oat milk probably comes closest to imitating it.  Soy also comes pretty close, but tends to have a somewhat chalky aftereffect (After-texture? Whatever you’d call the textural equivalent of an aftertaste) that can be distracting in a bowl of cereal, especially if I’m trying to scarf it down as quickly as possible (which is often the case, as most of my cereal consumption happens right before work). Most nut milks, on the other hand, just end up being too watery, unless you really like skim milk, in which case, you do you, I guess.

In short, oat milk doesn’t just suffice as a milk replacement, it elevates cereal to new levels of grainy goodness.

Ok, Big Oat, where’s my money.  You could afford that dumb super bowl commercial, surely you can slip me 5 bucks for this.

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