The Milo Replacement Debate

I know I keep harping on about this vegan thing, but it’s something I’m conscious of lately, it’s often at the forefront of my mind. You know how when you’re just learning how to do something, you have to think about it, nothing is second nature? That’s how it is for me still. Vegetarianism was like that too for a while, but it became automatic eventually, and so will veganism. It will just take time. For now though, living vegan feels like one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, commitment-wise. It’s not that it is difficult to eat vegan generally, but it is tough (particularly as a new vegan, I think) to keep it up, day after day. Especially when it means missing out on foods you love, for which there doesn’t seem to be an adequate replacement.

Don’t get me wrong – as a vegetarian and now as a vegan, I’m discovering so many new foods and food combinations that I enjoy. Check out my StumbleUpon favourites if you want some examples! Most of the foods I’ve given up were never very healthy for me in the first place. Some I ate more often than I should have. Overall, I think I’m better off as a vegan, although I’m not experiencing that wonderful, bouyantly healthy feeling many new vegans brag about. I wonder if that’s because it’s been such a slow transition for me, and the non-vegan things I did eat weren’t chock full of dairy and eggs. I have been on mostly soy and oat milk for years, so I guess it wasn’t such a shock to my system, like it was when I first went off drinking milk. I had to do half cow/half soy for a while to allow my body to adjust. I got there, and soon only ate a few non-vegan things.

But those few non-vegan things I did eat! Most I’ve since given up without much concern (such as ice-cream or custard), but there are others that have been more difficult – cheese for example. It seems to be the universal vegan stumbling block. This has, however, worked in my favour regarding cheese. Since everyone finds it tough to get over, there are lots of recipes and ways around it, advice, suggestions and commiserations. There are some other things that seem to be more unusual though, and I’m actually finding those more of a struggle.

milo

Milo: chocolatey goodness that is actually good for you! But it's not vegan. 😦

Milo, for example. For those of you who don’t know, Milo is a chocolate ‘energy food’. It’s something like chunky Nesquik or Ovaltine, but with the vitamins of Sustagen. You add it to a glass/mug of cold or hot milk (non-dairy, in my case), and stir it in. Unlike other chocolate milk powders, it doens’t entirely dissolve in cold milk, but  also leaves a moist, chocolatey, slightly crunchy top layer of ultimate tastiness. Milo is low GI and provides a bunch of vitamins, minerals, iron and calcium. It’s brilliantly tasty and I’ve been eating it all my life. It was pretty much my stand-by for whenever I wanted a chocolate bar but didn’t think I should have one. Milo gave me the flavour without all the bad fat and sugar. It also helped ensure I got my vitamins and minerals. At work, I was known for having a giant tin of Milo on my desk. I heard more than my fair share of Milo and Otis jokes.

Unfortunately, in addition to the malted barley and cocoa and sugar and other fabulous ingredients Milo is made from, it also includes milk powder (just a little bit), so it’s not vegan. That means no more drinking Milo. And since this doens’t seem to be a global phenomenon, there doesn’t seem to be a comparable vegan alternative. At the moment, I’m drinking Akta-Vite, which does the trick for vitamins and minerals, although not so much with the sugar, taste and texture. (As a colleague said, it looks like little chunks of rat poo. It does, fortunately, taste better.) It’s not the same though. Akta-Vite dissolves completely (except for random chunks left at the bottom of the cup), so it’s not a good replacement for cold Milo. As a hot drink, it tastes a bit like Horlicks (who came up with that name!?). Malted, but not so chocolatey. I know I can drink hot cocoa, but it doesn’t solve my vitamins, minerals and sugar problems. And what about a cold drink?

I am out of ideas! Aside from drinking Akta-Vite (which I’m doing), making my own inferior batch, or somehow convincing Milo to go vegan… what can I do?

And if, as I suspect, there’s nothing I can do… how on earth do I get over it?!

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8 thoughts on “The Milo Replacement Debate

  1. Maybe you could try mixing soy protein powder with cocoa powder or ready made cocoa mix? Or if the milk powder is just for milkiness and not protein, you could mix in some soymilk powder (you can find this in Better Than Milk brand). I’m pretty sure you can also buy powdered barley malt. I have some liquid stuff, but I’m pretty sure I’ve read that powdered stuff exists, if that’s easier to work with. You can get the vitamins from supplements, or from fresh fruits and veggies.

    • Making my own does sound like a potential plan. The protein doesn’t bother me so much (I am drinking it with soy/oat milk, so I get protein there anyway), so regular soy milk powder should work. I can get it from the supermarket easily enough. Malted barley powder might be more difficult… I will have to investigate.

      It’s a good idea, I will look into it – thank you!

      P.S. What do you use the liquid stuff for?

  2. Noooooooooooo I was doing so well!!! I recently went from carnivore to herbivore, and have managed really well on a completely vegan diet…..until now.
    About an hour ago I made myself a big steaming mug of yummy soy Milo and was halfway through it when I suddenly realised what I was drinking!!!! COMPLETELY forgot it had milk solids in it!!!! SO unfair, like you I’ve grown up on the stuff and I feel so unAustralian for having to give it up 😦
    So of course I ran to google “milo vegan alternative” with no luck. Found your blog though, which has made my day 🙂
    If you come up with something similar – or want help lobbying to get Nestle to make a soy version of Milo! – pleeeeeeeease let me know!!!! – brookejarrah@yahoo.com.au

    • I know just what you mean! It was a distressing day when I realised I couldn’t have Milo anymore. My co-workers were all astonished that I was giving it up as I started every day with a Milo… I guess it showed my dedication to veganism though.

      I used a tin of Akta-Vite when I first went off Milo, which was a good transition… but then I found out Akta-Vite isn’t vegan either. It contains vitamin D3, which comes from sheep (as opposed to D2, which is from plants). It was a good place to start, I guess… I’m try not to beat myself up about veganism. If it takes me a while to get to a certain point, then it does… as long as I’m working towards it, I think I’m doing ok. So if it took me a tin of Akta-Vite to wean off Milo, then I figure that’s ok.

      I got lots of suggestions for alternatives from the Vegsoc forum – those guys are great with ideas – but I’m a bit of a slacker, so I haven’t given them all a go yet. I can’t figure out what the purpose of the milk solids is in Milo, so I may yet start writing to Nestle when I get some more time… if I do, I’ll let you know. If you decide to do the same, please let me know!

      In the meantime, I’ve been drinking chocolate soy milk (Vitasoy Lush is fantastic… I think they changed the name to Vitasoy Soy Milky Chocolate but it is basically the same). It’s good hot or cold, but it doesn’t have the crunchy Milo topping. I’m finding that after a few months, I don’t miss it that much anymore though… and the Lush gives me the chocolate milk taste I want. Sometimes I add some Cadbury drinking chocolate (mint flavour) to the Lush for a different taste… it’s pretty good! (And who would think anything by Cadbury would be vegan?)

      None of them are the same as Milo though… I feel your pain!

  3. Akta-Vite is not vegan apparently… http://www.vegsoc.org.au/forum_messages.asp?Thread_ID=9174&Topic_ID=1

    Thank you for your enquiry regarding the vitamin D in AktaVite.

    The vitamin D used is synthetic, however a carrying agent derived from sheep
    wool is used to convey the vitamin D into the product mix.

    We typically regard this as vegetarian suitable but not vegan, this is
    dependent upon your beliefs of course as the sheep is not killed in wool
    harvesting.

    • Hi, thanks for the information on Aktavite! I do tend to avoid the sheepy products so I will give Aktavite a miss. I’m finding the Cadbury Mint Drinking Chocolate is a going down a treat.

      Thanks anyway!

    • Hi,I have noticed many comments on using soy milk(products) in the conversations.If you think soy is healthy consider reading “The story of Soy”
      Thanks Darren

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