One of my boys has dairy sensitivities, but beyond that we’re just not big dairy drinkers. For one, the milk you buy in stores is highly processed and is stripped of much of its original nutrients, as well as good bacteria, and enzymes which help break down the lactase, which are needed to digest lactose (the sugar naturally found in milk).
Enthusiasts claim raw milk dishes out more flavor, vitamins, minerals and beneficial proteins, enzymes and bacteria than milk that has been “degraded” during pasteurization. But unless your grandfather owns a farm and milks his own cow, goat, or sheep (like my grandfather use to), then chances are you’re at the grocery store buying a product that, in my opinion, demands ridiculous amounts of pressure from animals to supply!
So in some ways, my son’s lactose intolerance was a blessing because it shifted us to get better educated on other healthy options, that are not only good for us but also can give those over supplying animals a much needed break.
Now the other concern that comes up is, how ‘fresh’ is all this alternative milk you buy in a box that can also sit on a shelf without refrigeration, and what about additional additives? To answer the first question, all forms of milk (including dairy) goes threw a sterilization process that prevents spoilage and ‘seals’ freshness, that same process is applied to alternative milk.
“Not so good” additives in alternative milk to look out for are:
- Carrageenan (seaweed-based additive is extremely inflammatory & classified as a human carcinogen)
- “Natural flavours” (could mean msg, artificial sweeteners, etc)
- Vegetable oils
- Vitamin D2 (is a synthetic, and isolated form of the vitamin which is very poorly obsorbed, and actually has no real benefit)
- Synthetic vitamins— and any other words that you don’t understand! And by the way, ALWAYS do your own research.
Yah, so that basically eliminates most brands, but here’s another brutal truth, dairy also has additives such as antibiotics and hormones that are often administered to cattle. So now what?!
Well the aim is to get as many nutrients as possible from whole foods as opposed to processed and fortified foods. The nutrients found in whole foods are more easily absorbed by our bodies; naturally packed with other enzymes and nutrients to maximize absorption.
Non-dairy sources of calcium include leafy greens (especially Kale) and broccoli, Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds as well as quinoa also are rich sources. For the potassium typically found in dairy foods, you can try sweet potatoes, beet greens, and tomatoes. And mushrooms are the best vegetarian food source of vitamin D.
MAKE YOUR OWN milk:
My personal favourite is coconut milk, but it’s also one of the more ‘time-consuming’ options. The easiest is cashew milk, and all you need to do is soak 1 cup of nuts in water for a couple hours or over night, rinse, add to a high speed blender with 4-6 cups of water (depending on your taste preference), 2 pitted dates, perhaps a splash of vanilla, blend for 2 minutes and viola, you’re good to go. Most DIY milks will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days in a glass jar.
If you choose almond, or coconut milk, then you’ll need a nut bag (found in most health food stores) to strain the milk. Otherwise, the process is the same for all.
Eat well my conscious peeps…and please feel free to share any other tips;)