Over the past couple of days I have given you a quick run-down on all things milk-related. From low/no fat and full cream, to unhomogenised and homogenised.
You see, not all people out there are into dairy. The thought of hormones and antibiotics in our milk is a major turn off for some, and I'm not even going to go into the treatment of cows to ensure their milk supply remains constant...
Cow's milk contains a type of casein (protein) that promotes inflammation and congestion in some people. This can worsen asthma and other lung conditions, and may also play a role in Type 1 diabetes, heart disease, autism, and autoimmune conditions. Hmmm...
But surely a glass of milk a day helps to keep your calcium levels up, no?
Well, while cows milk is a good source of calcium, many people aren't aware of just how many other foods out there are just as rich in calcium and can be easily added to our diet. In fact, calcium is in every single natural food that we eat!
Some good examples that are easy to add to your diet include green leafy vegetables, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, beans, almonds, oats and tofu.
So, if I've got you thinking that maybe, just maybe, you wanna try some alternatives to cows milk then check these out:
Probably the most commonly consumed alternative to cows milk, soy milk originated in China way back when.
There has been much controversy surrounding soy milk, with some people swearing by it's high fibre and protein content. Order a take away coffee and 99% of coffee shops will have a soy milk option on the menu.
One major negative is that most soy is genetically modified. If you haven't heard about genetic modification you should know it's bad (more on this soon...) According to Dr Mercola, a US based physician:
'The genetically modified variety planted in 91 percent of US soy acres is Roundup Ready -engineered to survive being doused with otherwise lethal amounts of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Monsanto produces both the Roundup Ready soy seeds and the herbicide Roundup.The logic - if you can call it that after all factors are considered - behind GM crops such as soy is that you can decrease the cost of production by killing off everything except the actual soy plant.'So the most important thing to do if you decide to take the soy road is to ensure make sure you look out for soy milk that has 'non genetically modified' on it.
The other thing is, for anyone with thyroid issues, soy milk is best to avoid.
Well, soy is a goitrogen. Goitrogens are foods that block the synthesis of thyroid hormones and interfere with iodine metabolism, thereby interfering with thyroid function. So for anyone, like me, with thyroid problems, you might want to give soy a miss.
Now the whole 'soy is good v's soy is bad' thing is a very contentious issue. Many people believe that soy is a great alternative to cow's milk.
If I go into the full argument I would be here for ages so I'll say make your own decision on this one.
Rice milk is becoming more popular, with supermarkets stocking many different brands on their shelves.
While it is quite high in carbohydrates and lacks the protein and calcium of cows milk, rice milk is a good alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or those that have nut allergies.
Rice milk is quite high on the GI scale so may not be the best alternative for those trying to lose weight, however can be good after exercise to help re-fuel carbohydrate stores.
It may not be as well known as some other cows milk alternatives, but almond milk is a good source of magnesium, selenium and Vitamin E. Selenium is good for our immune system. It helps in reproduction, and in the metabolism of thyroid (good news for us thyroidy people!)
Unlike soy milk, almond milk is high in protein and it is really quite easy to make. Check this recipe out:
1/2 kilo fresh raw almonds, preferably organic
4 cups filtered water
- Place 1 cup of almonds in a large bowl or container (bowl must be big enough to hold the almonds, as well as a few cups of water)
- Add 4 cups of water to the container
- Place in the refrigerator and let it soak overnight
- Put the water and almonds mixture in a blender and blend until smooth
- Strain the blended almonds through a cheesecloth
This should keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Oat milk is high in fibre and is lactose and cholesterol free. It is also a good source of Vitamin E, A, C, K, B12, folic acid and riboflavin B2. It is also high in iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and selenium.
Only thing for me is the taste. It was quite watery and not really an ideal replacement for me. But that's just me. Many people love the taste.
I am totally intrigued by coconuts of late. Coconut milk, coconut water and coconut oil. I love the stuff!
Coconut boosts immunity, as well as containing calcium, potassium, chloride, Vitamin A and E. It is anti-bacterial (kills bad bacteria in the gut) and can also aid in digestion.
Now, I have to say that when I think of coconut milk I think of savoury foods like curries, soups and stews, not really something I would put on cereal or in my morning coffee. Maybe this is something I'll have to give a whirl soon to check it out...
So there you go.
I might have confused you even more, or inspired you to go out and try alternatives to your regular cows milk.
Either way, it certainly is a great thing to see so many products out there for those with allergies, digestion problems or for the vegan community.
What's your thoughts on milk?