Mooove over cow milk, there are some new (and not so new) milk choices in town. Many people are opting for dairy free milk alternatives and fortunately there are some great options out there. With just as much calcium and vitamins in milk alternatives, there are a variety of reasons for steering clear of dairy.
Why Stay Away From Dairy
- Allergy or intolerance to dairy.
- Dairy can cause excess mucus.
- Cows are given steroids and other hormones to plump them up and increase milk production-if you’re not drinking organic milk these toxins could be passed on to you in a glass of milk.
- The pasteurization process removes vitamins, proteins and enzymes while killing potentially harmful bacteria.
Rice milk is a staple in our home. We stopped drinking cow’s milk when two of our children were diagnosed with seasonal and food allergies. We’re not completely dairy free-the kids still eat dairy filled cheese, yogurt and ice cream (I’m in on this one too). It is generally organic, enriched with vitamins and calcium and has no added sugars.
Almond milk seems to be the most common nut milk-found on many store shelves. Occasionally I spy hazelnut and cashew milk. These are all great alternatives to dairy (provided there is no concern of a nut allergy. CAUTION: Most nut milks have added sugars unless they are labeled unsweetened. Opt for the organic nut milks to avoid any pesticides and other toxins.
Careful with this one-there is sugar added to most soy milk (Silk has all natural evaporated cane juice). Soy milk does have lots of protein and calcium. If your soy milk isn’t organic there is a good chance that the soy has been genetically modified. The Silk soy milk label also contains an allergen warning “may contain almond, coconut” so be careful if there is a nut allergy (or soy allergy). I don’t like the taste of soy milk, but your taste buds may have a different opinion.
Hemp Milk is made from hemp seeds that are soaked and ground into water which turns into a creamy, nutty drink. It is made from the same plant used to make marijuana. Don’t get excited-the seeds don’t contain any THC delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Hemp milk also contains 10 essential amino acids, making it a good vegetarian source of protein. It is a bit thicker than soy milk and rice milk.
Whether you’re drinking cow’s milk or a milk alternative, always try to drink organic milk produced without synthetic chemicals, hormones or antibiotics.
What type of milk do you drink? Have you tried any milk alternatives?
[Top photo used under Creative Commons from James Lee/Flickr]
[Rice Milk photo used under Creative Commons from Andrea_44/Flickr]