(When horses were fed a lot of oats, the husks stung at the anus, which resulted in a rather lively behavior. Therefore, the phrase "Stung by the oats" as a sign of cockiness.)
by Udo Pollmer / June 7, 2021 - updated Sept. 2023
As the list of side effects from soy milk grows longer and more unappetising, despisers of dairy products are now turning to a similar liquid, this time made from oats. Fortunately, oats do not have any of the nasty side effects of soy.
From the point of view...
...of the milk refusers, cows suffer terribly under the milking machine, they say milking is a perfidious way of "exploiting" the poor animals. In the fight against the exploiters, the milking machine strikers must have been stung by the oats, and now their wallets are being milked instead: for a litre, which consists of almost 90% water with a handful of oat flakes in it, they shell out up to 2 euros and more. The value of these raw materials is in the single-digit cent range.
The processing of the oats into flakes is already priced into the few cents. Before it can be eaten, the inedible outer layers have to be removed. Centrifugal hullers hurl the grains against an impact ring until the husks flake off. Shell residues are removed by the polishing machine. The hulling residue, about 25 % of the grain, is good fodder for rabbits, horses and cattle. The brightly polished kernels are treated with steam to kill the enzymes. Otherwise, they become bitter and rancid.
Without enzymes: gruel
Some drink manufacturers use these kernels as the starting material, others grind the grain and husk into fine particles using special mills. This is very much like smoothies, which are also used to relieve the burden on the organic waste bin instead of the digestive tract. In any case, they are thoroughly filtered to separate even the finest shell fibres. Otherwise, their abrasive surface would ruin the homogeniser. The filter residue ends up in the dairy cattle's feed trough.
If the crushed grains are heated with water only, the result is a bland, gelatinous gruel, typical stomach food. To transform the gruel into "milk", not only a lot of water is needed, but above all enzyme preparations. The starch is broken down in two steps until isomaltose and glucose are finally produced. The result is a sweet liquid. In this way, oat drinks "without added sugar" usually contain as much sugar as an apple juice spritzer.
Along with the fibres, the protein bound in them is also separated, so that the protein content, which originally amounts to about 15 percent, is often only in the per mille range in the finished "oat milk". For comparison: cow's milk contains about 3.5 percent, otherwise the calf would starve to death. The separated mixture of protein and fibre is used as porridge to feed the dairy cattle.
It is even possible to produce gluten-free oat drinks for patients with coeliac disease. The gluten usually enters the end product via wheat grains, a hardly avoidable contamination during the oat harvest. Special enzymes are now available that break down the gluten. Or even the undesirable phytin, which inhibits the bioavailability of minerals.
The creaminess can also be improved with enzymes such as glutaminases. Transglutaminases, on the other hand, make everything thicker, which is important for "oat yoghurt". Oil is often added. To prevent fat from forming, gellan or carrageenan is added and the whole mixture is put into a colloid mill. This way, less sediment forms and the drink does not seem so slimy when it is finished. This also creates the milky-white appearance. For a "smooth mouthfeel", one of the suppliers even adjusts the electrical "net charge of the fat globules".
Enzyme preparations are preserved with copious amounts of benzoic acid and sorbic acid. There is no need for a declaration on the package. For optimal enzyme action, the pH value must also be correct. That is why manufacturers need acidity regulators such as citrates and phosphates. Phosphates also contribute to stabilising the milk's appearance. They have already proven their worth as emulsifiers in processed cheese.
Oats vegan pimped
A new development are flavour modulators, i.e. substances that mask unpleasant sensations such as bitterness or even transform them into pleasant flavours. Sour tastes sweet, musty tastes fresh and watery tastes full-bodied. A great ingredient to help quirky liquids gain acceptance. Legally, this crap is called "natural flavouring".
Since pure "oat milk" contains less calcium, iron and vitamin A than milk, they are added "so that the end product is a nutritional substitute for milk", as Wikipedia fabricates. Nutritionally, protein always comes first, and that is exactly what is missing. That is what our cattle get. Since our body cannot do without protein, it demands the missing nutrients - compared to whole milk - through its appetite. How about a delicious beef steak? It has everything that cow's milk has to offer. By the way: if you can't tolerate milk but still want a milky coffee, there's coffee creamer - a classic imitation. Not only the eco-balance but also the taste is better than that of oatmeal.
Compared to milk, for example, Wikipedia reports that hardly any land is needed to produce oat milk; compared to milk, about 7% of the amount of water is enough. What nonsense! The water consumption for dairy cattle is calculated in these "life cycle assessments" from the water that rains down on the pastures whose grass the cows eat. Hence the "huge consumption". Even if the cattle are not on the pasture and the farmer harvests the grass, it is nothing but rain. The water that rains on the roof of an oat distortion factory could just as easily be calculated as "consumption".
The "consumption" of "land" is just as abstruse because good arable land is needed for oats, but cattle graze on grassland that is not suitable for growing grain. Otherwise, ruminants eat the leftovers from the processing of plant raw materials, such as citrus peels from juice production, glycerine from biodiesel production or the expellers of oil mills. The correct translation would be: oat milk ties up arable land, which would be used more sensibly if people ate oatmeal and drank milk. Dairy cattle improve the ecological balance sheet.
When you consider that only about 40 per cent of the oats are used for oatmeal, the rest is cattle feed, the eco-balance is disappointing. What's really wrong with mixing oatmeal with milk and sugar, as children used to do, and adding a pinch of cocoa? It tastes good, it gives you strength. And it's holistic: the oatmeal goes to the cattle. The saponins it contains protect the cattle from parasites. In return, the animal provides us with meat and milk. Its faeces are a good fertiliser. This more than doubles the oat harvest. At no cost. If the cycles are broken, the ecological balance is ruined. Without animal husbandry, there is no real veganism.
Resistance to the parasitic way of life
Dairy farming also benefits our health: cattle do prevent rheumatic diseases. Seriously. The most common form of chronic joint inflammation, popularly known as "rheumatism", is Lyme disease. The cause is Borrelia, nasty pathogens that lurk in the saliva of ticks of the Ixodes variety. Lyme disease is the most important tick-borne disease. Curiously, Ixodes bloodsuckers are much rarer where cattle graze and the few that still dwell there are also rarely infected with Lyme borrelia.
This could be proven, for example, along a hiking trail in the Franconian region in Bavaria. For two summers, the ticks were collected there and immunologically examined. The result: for hikers and walkers, the chance of catching Lyme disease along a cattle and goat pasture is only one fiftieth of what they face when walking through a nature conservation area.
I quote the conclusion of the parasitologists: "Extensive landscape management that uses domestic ruminants not only serves to maintain cultural and natural heritage in Germany, but also seems to confer a health benefit for hikers and others seeking recreation."
It's the milk, stupid!
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Copyright: EU.L.E. e.V.
Originally published in June 2021: => Wohl vom Hafer gestochen
English editor: Josef Hueber, Eichstätt