There are plenty of healthy milk substitutes available on the market these days. It's as simple as just choosing one that suits you.
Before we discuss the options available, we're going to show you why finding non-dairy milk alternatives may be the best decision you can make for your body.
Also, we'll be talking about the ugly side of the dairy industry, and the conditions under which cows produce milk products.
Dairy and Your Health
One major reason you may want to look into milk substitutes is to make sure you give your body a fighting chance to function optimally. Dairy has been linked with numerous health issues ranging from diabetes to autoimmune diseases.
Even though the linkages between dairy and certain diseases are still under investigation, there's no way to get around one simple fact: Milk keeps you sick.
Considering the acidic hormones, pesticide residue, and saturated fat it contains, how could it not? Not only is milk highly acidic, but it forms mucus in the body (which might explain why you can't seem to shake that cold or manage your allergies).
That wasn't enough to make me end my relationship with dairy. I could sacrifice a box of Kleenex and some cough medicine for the sweet savory goodness that is butter pecan ice cream. Fair exchange, no robbery..right?
It wasn't until I heard the anti-dairy arguments expressed in much simpler terms that I finally found the strength to let go. What were those words?
IT'S NOT HUMAN FOOD!
And just like that my search for non-dairy milk substitutes began...
The Truth About Milk, Calcium & Your Bones
We are told dairy would enhance our bone health, mainly because of its high calcium content.
Ah, calcium...the star attraction of every milk ad. You would think that milk is the only food on earth that contained it.
Ads are masterfully crafted to make people think that they can't live without the stuff. Yet as we all should know ads say whatever's necessary to prompt consumers to purchase the product.
There's much more to maintaining bone health than drinking a glass of milk.
What ad execs fail to mention is the high acid animal protein found in dairy actually contributes to calcium loss.
And it's actually quite difficult to compensate for that loss, depending on just how much your diet consists of those animal proteins. For most it is not possible to consume that much calcium. This is never the case when you consume a healthy milk substitute.
Ever wonder why Americans, who consume the most dairy, still have among the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world?
You'll also never read that boron, potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc & fluoride are just as important to bone health as calcium. They're not advertised because milk is not a significant source of any of those minerals.
The phosphorous content of milk throws off the body's pH balance, and removes calcium from bone in an attempt to stabilize it.
If dairy's acidity promotes calcium loss, then what foods hold the key to healthy bones?
Alkaline foods are the most effective in preventing bone deterioration. These foods, combined with a herb and supplement regimen, is a more comprehensive approach to maintaining/restoring bone health.
Does Dairy Lead to Autoimmune Disease?
The immune system is the body's strongest defense against illness, and it operates with one goal in mind: Protect the body at all cost.
The protein in cow's milk is extremely similar to those found in the human body. And often times those proteins are absorbed wholly into the bloodstream, where they come in contact with immune cells.
The body not only identifies the milk protein as a foreign invader, but memorizes it just in case it should happen to return. That memory allows the immune system to respond faster if those proteins ever show up in the bloodstream again.
Despite its practically flawless memory, the immune system has been known to mistakenly identify the body's protein as cow protein. In that instance, the body begins to attack its own cells. Ingesting the milk protein causes confusion and a template by which the body ends up using to self-sabotage. I'll repeat...with milk substitutes...not an issue
Additionally, calcium and vitamin D have a very complex relationship. Calcium rich foods have a tendency to inhibit vitamin D activation.
Vitamin D inhibits the overgrowth and development of immune cells (essentially preventing autoimmune disease). Studies have already shown the link between lack of sunlight and autoimmune disease. As we've learned, the sun stimulates vitamin D in the body.
What About The Cows?
Look at that sweet face? Doesn't it make that glass of milk a little less appealing?
Well, now that I've got the guilt trip out of the way, how about we address some facts.....
Dairy cows are generally kept in large feedlots, forced to exist in a layer of their own feces. Yuck!
In order to keep milk production high, cows are impregnated repeatedly.
If that's not bad enough, their calves are stolen, soon after their birth, causing anguish for both mother and baby.
All these factors cause extreme stress on the body of the cow.
It's no wonder most develop mastitis, and serve a combination of pus and blood along with that milk you're sold, that was intended to provide sustenance for their calves.
There are plenty of milk substitutes available in your local market, and if not, they're quite simple to make at home. When choosing your milk make sure that you select one that meets your nutritional needs.
I will give you a heads up: Some of these vegan milk substitutes are an "acquired taste"; so they may have to grow on you. It's trial and error really...but you're bound to find one that you'll absolutely love.
One of the most nutritious milk substitutes is made from those little things on the right: almonds.
Technically you can make a great milk with almost any nut, but almonds are probably most popular.
Almond milk is loaded with all kinds of vitamins and minerals that protect you from everything from heart disease to premature aging. Its smooth nutty flavor isn't bad either.
There are some awesome brands available on your grocer's shelves, but not beats learning how to make your own almond milk.
Hemp seeds are the stars of this milk substitute.
They are jam packed with minerals, vitamins and essential oils; a wonderful addition to any healthy lifestyle.
Hemp has proven to strengthen the body as well as the mind; the benefits are endless. I promise you will NOT get high; it's perfectly safe.
Coconut milk is a delicious alternative to dairy milk, but its high saturated fat content has been a cause for alarm for some health conscious individuals.
It has the potential to aid in weight loss & boost your immune system; so it's not all bad. We explore all sides of this milk substitute.
Soy based milk substitutes have become increasing popular among those looking for an alternative to dairy.
Although, research has raised some serious questions about its effects on overall health, many vegans still stand by this beverage. Is soy milk a healthy milk substitute?
Rice milk can be beneficial for those that may suffer from allergies associated with the other available alternatives.
Some commercial brands have been involved in a bit of controversy lately, but making your own may still be with the effort. How does it compare other milks nutritionally?
You have plenty to choose from here, but the possibilities are endless. I find new milk substitutes quite frequently, like sunflower seed milk. I would have never thought of that.
Whether you decide to peruse the shelves or take on the challenge of making your own, finding a milk substitute that works for you and your family is a great decision to make for your health.