The Yamas and Niyamas are yoga’s ethical guidelines laid out a million years ago in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Most of modern yoga finds its tenets here. The Yamas are things you should not do; the Niyamas are things you should.

The first of the Yamas is Ahimsa, non-harming. Ahimsa is first because it is the most important. In many such sacred texts, the first is the most important – the first sutra, the first line, the first word. (Satya, truthfulness, comes second among the Yamas, an also ran to Ahimsa.) I am not a great yogi. I don’t practice asana every day. I don’t meditate every day. I’m not a vegan. But in my way, I try to do no harm, which is why I’ve come to Oat Milk.

The earth is in danger. The climate is in crisis. We need to stop harming it! The latest beach closures on Lake Champlain due to blue-green algae blooms bring the climate crisis too close to home. It’s time to act. Each of us needs to do something to care for the earth. Not all of us will do everything, but each of us must do something to preserve this home we’ve come to love.

I used to eat meat, now I don’t. I used to drive a 1982 Mercedes sedan that weighed about three tons and had crank windows (God, I loved that car!); now I don’t. I bought a Prius C which gets 55+ miles per gallon. I am trying to banish single-use plastic bags from my life. I need to do more.

I have tried to give up dairy, but love cheese and pizza too much, but I’m cutting back. Oat Milk is the answer. (Or at least part of it.)

Being someone who dislikes substandard stand-ins, I have never been a fan of things like tofu pups. Tofu is not a meat replacement and should never be consider as such. By the same token, coconut milk is not something that should ever be anywhere near a café latté. (I am unintentionally channeling Nick Offerman right now, but if you imagine him reading these sentences aloud, you’ll have more fun too.) I was initially reluctant to even taste Oat Milk but given the devastating environmental impact of almond production (it takes more than 29 gallons of water to grow just one almond!), I tried it. So, I am as startled as the next guy to hear myself say that Oat Milk is actually good.

And oats are much easier on the environment to grow. According to the North American Miller’s Association, “Oats are an ideal low-input crop which, when included in rotations, encourage crop diversity to reduce soil erosion and control plant diseases, insects and weeds…” And, horses love em.

The first oat milk I tried was Oatly. It’s pretty good but has more ingredients than I care to ingest and has a little bit of a chemical taste. I used to make my own almond milk, so I decided to make my own oat milk. Holy cow! It is amazing. Here’s how to do it:

1 cup whole rolled oats – choose organic and local
4 cups water – from the tap
1 date – or if you’re going totally local, choose 1 teaspoon of maple syrup (optional)
1 teaspoon hemp seeds (optional)|
½ teaspoon Vanilla
A pinch of salt
4 ice cubes*

Put it all in a high-speed blender (I use the Magic Bullet)
Pour it through a strainer
Drink it

That’s it! No soaking, no nut-milk bags, no waiting, no hooey!

It’s a small thing, but it is something you can do right now that will help shrink your footprint on this earth. It is part of my practice of Ahimsa. It actually tastes good and it makes me feel great. Non-harming is good for you. I think oat milk is, too.

*the ice cubes make the milk cold right away, which is when you should drink it.

C. Jane Taylor

PLEASE NOTE: I used this milk to make oat milk chai. It turned into oatmeal chai. Tasted great, but definitely NOT a beverage.