I dream of milk. I dream of Frosted Mini-Wheats floating like tiny frosted rafts on the surface of a very, very full bowl.
For me, self care is a bowl of cereal drowned in milk, a teensy return to childhood full of crunch and sugar and fat. I want every flake and morsel to retain their crunch as they traverse a miniature ocean. I want to feel the velvety texture of leftover cereal milk, a mouthful of everyday decadence.
There's just one problem.
Why I Can't Drink Cow's Milk
Milk and I broke up years ago, and it was not mutual. I would've kept it around, but my stomach shut down that relationship. I'll buy some to bake with once in a while and then get tempted and douse a bowl of cereal. But the chaser for this afternoon nosh is always a stomachache that leaves me stranded on the couch, miserable and mildly heartbroken.
I barely eat cereal anymore because I never feel like non-dairy alternatives measure up. The flavor is off, the texture is always too watery. I've bought or made a bunch of different milks and it's always the same — not quite right. Non-dairy milks feel like their own category of beverages, not an actual replacement for milk, which is what I crave. I thought all of that for years and years, until I tasted Oatly.
Why Oatly Is the Best Non-Dairy Milk for Cereal
Oatly doesn't have a thin texture or hyper-sweet, artificial flavor. It doesn't make me feel like I'm drinking a ground-up vanilla candle or leave a lingering air freshener-esque aftertaste in my mouth. It tastes and feels like whole milk.
Oatly has a sweetness that tastes like dairy sweetness and a creamy richness I've never encountered in a non-dairy milk. It's almost unsettling, like I'm bracing for a stomachache and have to remind myself that it's cool, I can comically overfill a cereal bowl with Oatly and not be too concerned.
The power of Oatly is that it doesn't feel like a substitution; it feels like the real thing.
Buy: Oatmilk, $25 for six, 32-ounce cartons
Oatly believes that it's creating "the post-milk generation." Their products are gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, and packed with fiber. The recipe is mostly oats and water, and maybe witchcraft? Just kidding.
Which Version to Buy
There are three different styles of oat milk available on their website. The super-rich Barista Edition Oatly has become a mainstay of coffeeshops in my neighborhood. I tried the chocolate milk and was wowed by how much it tasted like melted chocolate ice cream, in the absolute best way. And plain oat milk is a delightful everyday milk. I've tried the barista milk on cereal and loved it, but the plain oat milk has more of a straightforward, 2% milk vibe.
Oatly is a little hard to track down in stores, where it's apparently is starting to gain some shelf space. After I tried it, I couldn't find it in my local grocery stores and it was seriously expensive on Amazon. Your best bet is to order it directly from their website, where it's way more affordable.
Have you tried Oatly? What did you think?