When I was first diagnosed with IBS, my school cafeteria started caring Silk soy milk. It was the very very vanilla flavor, which is ok if you really like vanilla. I’m not a huge fan of vanilla flavor. The smell of it gives me a headache. But I made do with it to have a bowl of cereal every now and again.

I started out buying Lactaid, a lactose free milk, since the doctors were telling me I was only lactose intolerant. It was amazing. It was like drinking milk without all the problems or the hassle of taking a pill before, or so I thought. I began to notice increasing problems with my digestion. The lactase pills and the lactose free milk were not helping. I soon realized without another trip to the doctors that I am not lactose intolerant, I am dairy intolerant.

I started buying plain Silk soy milk, since my previous experiences with very very vanilla were less than satisfactory on account of not liking vanilla. I am not a fan of the after taste that soy milk leaves. While, its consistency is like regular milk, maybe a little thicker, drinking it plain leaves an after taste in my mouth that makes it less than enjoyable. Its decent over cereal, and enjoyable when baked into something.

After moving to Cincinnati and working for a while, I got to talking about my digestive problems with a coworker who was going through a very large overhaul on his diet in order to cleanse his system (and his liver). He suggested I try rice milk. So I bought a half a quart of Rice Dream, enriched with vitamins and calcium, and I have to say that I like rice milk better for everyday use. It is a bit sweeter than regular milk or soy milk, and it has a consistency more akin to that of 1% milk. Just don’t let it sit in the glass for too long or it gets a bit chalky on the bottom. Also, because it’s a thinner milk, if you cook with it, it tends to come out a bit runny.

Soy Milk

Better for cooking
Consistency more akin to 2% milk

Bad after taste
Upon heating, a weird film forms on top
Does not work well for pudding

Rice Milk

Tastes better for drinking plain

Thin consistency makes for runny/less creamy food
If it sets for too long, it separates and gets a chalky flavor
Does not work well for pudding

I use rice milk for everyday use and soy milk for cooking. The great thing is both come in shelf stable versions, so you can buy several small containers of them and keep them for up to 4 months. Once open though, they need to be refrigerated and only last about a week.