Veggie Guy: Soy Milk

Truth be told, not all soy milks are created equal. I still remember my first experience drinking a brand purchased from a bio-shop in Spain that almost resulted in me losing my lunch...or breakfast, as it were.

Granted, I was very much a fan of dairy at the time. But I'm willing to bet my experience wouldn't have been so bad had I asked for a little advise from the hippie at the counter.

Here in the States we have so many soy milks to choose from, it's easy to get overwhelmed. So I've compiled a list of some of the most widely available brands of original soy milk--and tried 'em out for you guys. I even included a little nugget for my friends on Weight Watchers.

Silk Original Soymilk: Loved for its dairy-like color and consistency, Silk does a superb job replacing cow's milk in just about every situation. With its subtle sweetness, and soft notes of vanilla, Silk is even good all by itself! Of course, there's no shame in adding a dollop of chocolate syrup for an extra special treat. While some vegans swore off Silk after its acquisition by Dean Foods (the country's largest dairy producer and distributor), it's still a favorite of many. (100 calories/cup. 4 grams/fat. 1 gram/fiber.)

Soy Dream Original Soymilk: Soy Dream is mildly nutty, and sweet to taste. This soy milk works best in coffee drinks, cereals, and baked goods. Consumed alone, it has a smooth consistency upon initial swig, but will leave a slight residue on the palate. (100 calories/cup. 4 grams/fat. 2 grams/fiber.)

EdenSoy Extra Original Soymilk: I imagine the makers of EdenSoy love salted edamame so much, they decided to make a liquid version of it. Who knew there was a market for savory dairy alternatives? Bleh. I found this tan-colored soy milk rather salty and unpalatable. And maybe all the extra additives (malted wheat and barley extract, calcium carbonate, kombu seaweed, sea salt, vitamin E, beta carotene, and vitamin D2 and B-12) give EdenSoy Extra its extra chalky texture. Oh, yeah...and extra calories. (130 calories/cup. 4 grams/fat. 1 gram/fiber.)

WestSoy Organic Unsweetened Soymilk: If you're watching your sugar and fiber intake, this one's for you. But I'll warn you: it's got just a few less calories than Silk and Soy Dream, and only a slightly better taste than EdenSoy Extra...but only slightly. Though the chalkiness factor is not nearly as bad as EdenSoy, a decent amount of sediment will greet you at the bottom of your glass. (90 calories/cup. 4.5 grams/fat. 4 grams/fiber.)

Pacific Ultra Soy Plain: The absolute best--in flavor terms--of the bunch! It's rich and creamy from start to finish, and has a super sweet (almost banana-like) flavor. I should also add that this was the most expensive ($3.09 at Kroger). But totally worth it! (120 calories/cup. 4 grams/fat. 1 gram/fiber.)

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Eddie Garza