5 Dairy Free Alternatives
A Little Dairy History
In the wild and in nature, female mammals feed their young with their own milk until their young has grown significantly. Once cut off from milk, the young mammals no longer show interest in milk or have access to it. It’s always confused me that humans are the only mammals who consume milk through adulthood, and from another mammal, and especially one with such a complicated digestive system which contains four stomachs.
Now that dairy is here, it’s not to say that we need to do away with dairy products, but it should be noted that dairy is not part of a humans diet. Most people are lactose intolerant meaning they lack the digestive enzyme required to digest dairy. Most people are consuming way too much dairy which is loaded with fat and cholesterol and contributes to clogged arteries and heart disease.
Concerns in Dairy Production
Nowadays dairy production and methods are suspect. After giving birth, most cows produce milk for up to 300 days. In order to keep up with the high demand for milk, cows are given a controversial genetically engineered growth hormone called bST or abbreviated BST, which stands for Bovine somatotropin. Reports found that use of the drug often resulted in severe and unnecessary pain, suffering, and distress for cows, and also associated with serious mastitis, foot disorders, and reproductive problems prompting Canada and the European Union to ban the drug and its use. To maximize production of milk, cows are kept pregnant most of their lives. This alternatively causes their estrogen, and progesterone to sky rocket. There’s concern and evidence that high hormone content in dairy products is linked to high rates of breast cancer amongst American women.
For those who consume dairy it might be wise to seek an alternative or try organic. There are no added hormones, chemicals, or antibiotics in an organic cow’s natural diet. Higher levels of vitamins A, E, and antioxidants are also found in organic milk.
Here’s a list of dairy alternatives:
- Almonds. Made from ground almonds, and contains no lactose or cholesterol but high in natural fat. Commercial brands contain vanilla, vitamins, and sweeteners, while unsweetened varieties are available too. You can make your own almond milk and milk from other nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts, and Brazil nuts.
- Coconut. Coconut milk comes from taking the liquid from the meat of a mature coconut. Naturally the coconut is sweet and the milk is thick because of it’s high oil content. Coconut oil is becoming very popular and can be found in the canned section of most Asian foods section, but can also be found in the health and beauty section because of it’s skin and hair benefits.
- Rice. Rice milk is made from combining water and brown rice. Rice milk is higher in carbohydrates than cow’s milk but with a lighter taste and texture. Like almond milk, commercial brands have added sweeteners as well as calcium, iron, and B vitamins.
- Oat. Oat milk is high in fiber and low in protein. It is made from blending cooked oats and water.
- Soy. Soy milk is a popular alternative to milk and has been produced in Asian countries for centuries. Soy milk is made from the liquid of whole soybean extract, and is a great source of protein, B vitamins, and iron. Of the dairy free options, soy is the most processed and not suitable for children.