March 23, 2014

DON’T CRY OVER SPILT MILK – COMPARE THEM INSTEAD

MILK - Superman milk mustache ad

Remember those “GOT MILK” ads from the ’90′s? Milk mustaches adorned the faces of movie stars, sports celebrities, comedians, singing celebrities and TV stars. The genius behind the milk mustache was the dairy industry and it worked like a charm. From the baby boomer generation until recently, cow’s milk was the milk of choice for most Americans.

Although cow’s milk contains nutrients, is it really the best choice for you? Now in the year 2014,  I’m sure you have noticed several milk choices in your local market. In fact, between the refrigerator aisle and the dry aisle your choices are plentiful and can be confusing. So, which milk mustache do you want to wear?

COW’S  MILK

Humans are the only mammals that drink the breast milk of another species. Except for a few forced situations, (humans feeding milk to animals or breast feeding one animal with another animal’s milk to keep them alive) humans are also the only known species that continues to drink another species breast milk well into adulthood. The dairy industry has been bombarding us with advertisements and brainwashing us into thinking that we need to drink milk to get our daily requirement of protein, calcium, vitamins A, D and B-12. Without drinking any milk, these vitamins can be taken in by many other healthy food sources to maintain a strong, healthy body. If you do drink cow’s milk, then compare your MOO JUICE of choice with non-dairy milk selections. You might be surprised and enticed to try a non-dairy milk source.

MILK - cow milking

The Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School criticize the USDA’s recommendation of consuming dairy products at every meal by stating, ”There is little evidence that high dairy intake protects against osteoporosis but there is considerable evidence that high intake can be harmful.” Considering the health differences between non-organic cow’s milk and organic is major and should be compared seriously if you are going to continue to drink milk from a cow. Not to scare you but…….Unfortunately non-organic cow’s are fed seed loaded with pesticides, are fed and injected with massive amounts of extra hormones and antibiotics and administered many more times than needed. These toxins are naturally passed on through the milk that the human body cannot use and can cause harm.

UDDERLY  CONFUSED?  Children  and  milk  consumption

Studies have proven that mother’s breast milk is best for human babies and young toddlers. The tricky decision a parent must make is once the child goes off mom’s breast milk….what milk choice is best? Obviously, as children grow, they need calcium, protein and many vitamins and minerals to maintain good health and fight disease. Most American parents introduce cow’s milk after breast feeding and most children drink and eat dairy products well into adulthood.  Lets’ face it……cow’s milk is an easy way to get a child to consume calcium, protein, Vitamin A and Vitamin D. It is sort of like a one-stop shopping nutrition meal. However…..is cow’s milk the BEST choice? Recently, there is much debate over whether long term consumption of dairy products helps bones at all. Several studies of teenagers have found that their adult bone health is more related to their physical activity not the amount of milk they drank or even calcium they consumed. Since there are many more healthy non-dairy choices available and information at our finger tips, it would be wise for parents to make the comparison in order to make a wise and healthy choice for their children.

ORGANIC  VS.  NON-ORGANIC

For argument sake…..the dairy and non-dairy choices/photos given here, and compared to each other, are all organic or natural choices only. Most of the health problems are associated with non-organic, or conventional, dairy products. Dairy products include health issues with cows and the food and drugs given to them. Most plant based (or non-dairy) non-organic milk concerns are with the way they are grown; pesticides, GMOs and in soil depleted of nutrients.

Non – Organic  Dairy  Products

  • Since cows are selectively reared to produce milk during pregnancy, estrogen levels are higher and the milk is rich in IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor).  In fact…. much more IGF-1 to a fault. Our bodies produce IGF-1 when we are children to stimulate growth but produce very little in adulthood. The imbalance ratio between estrogen and progesterone has been linked to breast cancer and prostate cancer. Hormone-disrupting chemicals send hormonal messages to the breast and prostate stimulating cells.  In addition, cows raised in the United States are treated with rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone), increasing imbalance of hormone levels. Growth hormone rBGH is banned in 25 European nations, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
  • Conventional farms that raise cows are kept in close quarters and fed food containing pesticides. These toxins are also spread on the farm to control pests and weeds. Although tests taken with milk containing pesticides vary from farm to farm, pesticide and herbicide residues accumulate in dairy fat (and meat) and are consumed by humans. Organic farms are not 100% pesticide free but playing it safe with organic seems to be the logical solution.
  • PUS AND BLOOD CELLS – Per glass of milk, USA national averages show at least 322 million cell count which is well above the human limit for pus intake. The pus comes from infected udders and has been directly linked to paratuberculosis bacteria, also known as Johne’s Disease and possibly Chrohn’s Disease. The USDA allows a certain amount of blood cells in cow’s milk: 1.5 million white blood cells per milliliter of commonly sold milk.
  • HUMANS TAKING ON THE LIFE OF THE STRESSED COW – Studies have shown that many cows are painfully infected with infections such as mastitis. Due to over-milking, artificial hormones, antibiotics and other medications, cow’s udders become chronically inflamed. Over time, bacterial invasion causes damage to the cow’s mammary gland. Diseases such as cancerous tumors and parasitic worms are often passed along to the next generation of cows and right into the milk we drink.

Organic  Dairy  Products

If dairy products from cows are your preferred choice, then I would implore you to choose organic. Choosing organic is especially important if you consume dairy, on a daily basis, in the form of milk, cheese, yogurt, butter and sour cream. To help lessen the negative environmental impact on society, support your local organic farmer by purchasing and consuming local (best within 100 miles) dairy products.

  • The USDA organic seal verifies that NO growth hormones are fed to any livestock.
  • The USDA organic seal verifies no use of preventive antibiotics. There could be a very small use of antibiotics in case of serious illness or the life of the animal is at risk.
  • The USDA organic seal verifies livestock are fed 95 – 100% organic feed.
  • Although a slight degree can vary from farm to farm…..If livestock is part of an organic crop farm and the cows are grass fed, the USDA organic seal verifies that irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms are not used. Visit the USDA National Organic Program to learn more.
  • Organically reared cows will eat high levels of fresh grass, clover pasture and quality grass cover silage. This produces milk that can be on an average of 50% higher in Vitamin E, and 75% higher in beta carotene (which our bodies convert to Vitamin A). Organic cow’s milk can yield two to three times higher in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthine. These antioxidants are needed for good eye health and macular degeneration prevention. Also, organic milk will have higher levels of 3 essential fatty acids.

MILK - cow - whole milk front cartonMILK - cow label - whole milk

THE  IMPORTANCE  OF  READING  NUTRITION  LABELS

It may seem time consuming at first, but reading nutrition labels are worth the effort. Obtaining the nutrient value will allow you to make the best health choice for yourself. For example, if keeping your caloric intake as low as possible is your goal, then labels with whole milk and skim milk, OR sweetened and unsweetened non-dairy milk should be compared. Including the serving size in your decision making is vital in comparing all nutrients when making your best choice.

NOTE: The following breakdown of nutrients (in dairy and non-dairy milk) listed is from the photo nutrition labels of milk shown here. Please keep in mind that there will be some slight variation between milk companies. My advice is to be diligent and thorough when reading nutrition labels and choose organic where available.

1  Cup  of  Whole  Cow’s  Milk:

  • CALORIES – 150
  • SATURATED FAT/CHOLESTEROL – 5 g/35 mg
  • CARBOHYDRATES – 11g/4%
  • SUGAR – 11 g
  • PROTEIN – 8 g
  • CALCIUM – 30%
  • VITAMIN D – 25%
  • VITAMIN A – 6%
  • IRON – 0% (zero)

1  Cup  of  Skim  Cow’s  Milk:

  • CALORIES – 90
  • SATURATED FAT/CHOLESTEROL - 0 (zero) g/< 5 mg
  • CARBOHYDRATES – 12 g/4%
  • SUGAR - 12 g
  • PROTEIN - 9 g
  • CALCIUM – 30%
  • VITAMIN D – 25%
  • VITAMIN A – 10%
  • IRON – 0% (zero)

Differences  and  Similarities – Skim milk has a lot less calories and no saturated fat when compared to whole milk. However, this brand’s sugar content is one gram higher in skim milk. BEWARE – low fat does not mean low sugar. Notice the iron content is zero. In addition to not containing iron, some studies show cow’s milk contributes to the impairment of a child’s ability to absorb iron increasing the risk of iron deficiency. One of the reasons very small children should not drink cow’s milk is the possibility of blood loss through the digestive tract.

THE  DAIRY  INDUSTRY  AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are the result of the great demand for dairy products and meat in the U.S. Also known as factory farming, dairy cows spend much of their lives severely confined. Twice a day, or more, cows are attached to milking machines. On conventional farms, cows are injected with bovine growth hormones to boost milk production to unnaturally high levels which leads to udder diseases and additional stress. To maintain and continue milk production, cows are continuously impregnated and newborn calves are removed from their mothers immediately after birth to prevent a reduction in milk produced by the mother. Nearly 10 billion farm animals die each year, in the U.S. alone, to produce dairy, eggs and meat.  Abuse of farm animals for consumption has been a big concern among vegetarians and animal activists for years. In addition to health benefits to drinking non-dairy products, it is also important to understand what these animals endure in order for humans to consume dairy products and another reason to consider healthy non-dairy milk choices instead. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, cattle emit about 5.5 million metric tons of methane gas, per year, into the atmosphere accounting for 20% of  U.S. methane emissions. Seemingly funny in the form of burps and farts, the extra abundance of methane gases are not so funny. Adding to the problem of global warming, livestock, around the world, produce about 80 million metric tons of methane annually, accounting for about 28% of global methane emissions from human-related activities.

GOAT’S  MILK - The “other” dairy milk

Over 60% of the world’s population drinks goat’s milk, not cow’s milk. Interestingly, goat’s milk is the closest milk to human mother’s milk. Although goat’s milk has slightly more calories and has more saturated fat, goat’s milk has more protein, calcium, more vitamins and minerals than cow’s milk, with the exception of folic acid (B9) and B12.

Benefits of drinking goat’s milk

  • Can be a better transition milk weaning from human mother’s milk.
  • Goat’s milk can be less allergenic since goat’s milk produces 89% less of the protein casein found in cow’s milk where cow’s milk allergic reactions can include vomiting, diarrhea and skin rashes.
  • Goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk. Amazingly, the human body can digest goat’s milk in only 20 minutes compared to cow’s milk which takes 2-3 hours! Drinking goat’s milk can benefit people with ulcers since it has more effective acid buffering capacity than cow’s milk and over the counter antacids.
  • Goat’s milk is the only animal milk that is non-mucus forming in humans.
  • Lactose intolerant? Some people who cannot tolerate cow’s milk can drink goat’s milk with no problems. Goat’s milk contains 7% less lactose (milk sugar) than cow’s milk and has smaller molecules enabling faster passage through the intestines. This fast process does not allow the lactose to ferment or result in osmotic imbalance.

Some disadvantages concerning goat’s milk

  • Taste – I don’t drink goat’s milk and my research confirms I need to warn you about store purchased goat’s milk. Apparently, goat’s milk from the local supermarket doesn’t taste that good. In fact, some people say it can curl your toes after one sip. However, many people who try fresh goat’s milk swear the milk is sweet and delicious. These people either raise dairy goats or has a friend who raises dairy goats. In addition to a nice tasting milk, some people swear their goat’s milk makes great yogurt and ice cream.
  • Since goat’s milk is a dairy product, it is not an option for vegans.
  • Approximately 11 grams of sugar per one cup serving, diabetics and low sugar dieters need to be aware inspite of goat milk having less lactose.
  • Lower in folic acid (B9) and vitamin B12 when compared to cow’s milk, the B9 and B12 nutritional values in goat’s milk are actually much closer to those found in human mother’s milk. An adult goat milk drinker would need to evaluate their own B9 and B12 requirements and supplement accordingly.
  • Consuming non-organic goat’s milk will most likely contain added hormones, antibiotics and pesticide toxins leaked into the milk.

COW’S  MILK  AND  GOAT’S  MILK  ARE  NATURALLY  GLUTEN-FREE

Gluten,  protein found in certain grains, cannot be fully processed by the digestive system of some people who suffer from Celiac Disease, an autoimmune illness of the small intestine. It affects the digestive system when food containing gluten is ingested. The intestinal damage can cause weight loss, bloating, diarrhea and sometimes vomiting. Eventually, the brain, nervous system, bones, liver and other organs can be deprived of vital nourishment and the reason some people become anemic. Gluten sensitive people can tolerate only a small amount of gluten and may experience some of the same symptoms but at a lesser degree.

Cows and goats naturally produce gluten-free milk. HOWEVER, dairy products that have malt flavorings, vegetable gum, or hydrolyzed vegetable protein may contain gluten if these additives are made from wheat or other grains with gluten. If you are on a gluten-free diet, check milk labels. Choose organic milk where available and look for a “gluten-free” label.

NON – DAIRY  MILK  CHOICES

In the past, non-dairy milk choices were few and usually consumed only by vegetarians and people who are lactose intolerant (lacking the enzyme lactase in order to digest the sugar in dairy products).

For more information on lactose intolerance, visit the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)

Today, there are several non-dairy milk choices that taste good and can be healthier than dairy milk.

 

MILK - soy front soy_milk[1]

SOY  MILK

Organic, unsweetened soy milk is my non-dairy milk of choice. Although I will drink almond, coconut and other plant based products, soy milk is probably the all around best choice when compared to cow’s milk to replace cow’s milk – nutrient vs. nutrient.

Soy milk is made of  the liquid residue of  cooked soybeans. Choosing wisely can be tricky and reading nutrition labels is the key. There are many soy milk products on the market that are processed and not made with real soy beans. Fresh, organic soy milk is best and found in the refrigerated section. In addition to reading nutrition labels, READ THE INGREDIENTS. Choose soy milk that contains whole soybeans – to avoid soy milk made from soy protein or soy isolate. Also note that US organic soy milk is not made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Compared  to  cow’s  milk

  • CALORIES – Soy milk has less than half the calories of whole cow’s milk, per serving. Skim  dairy milk from cows and unsweetened soy milk have about the same amount of calories.
  • FAT – All soy milk has almost no saturated fat and zero cholesterol. Whole cow’s milk has 5 grams of saturated fat per serving and 1% fat cow’s milk still has 1.5 grams of saturated fat per serving raising the bad (LDL) cholesterol level.
  • SUGAR – This is very important – 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk has 1 gram of sugar. 1 cup of skim cow’s milk has about 12 grams of sugar! In the dairy world of milk, low fat does not mean low sugar. In fact, many consumers don’t even realize that there is sugar in cow’s milk at all and, therefore, don’t check the labels.
  • PROTEIN – Although soy milk has about 7 grams of protein per serving compared to 9 grams of cow’s milk…..It might be wise to get the milk source from soy and make up the few grams of protein somewhere else.
  • CALCIUM – In spite of some belief that soy milk does not contain calcium, it is important for you to know that good, quality soy milk will have the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk. Again, I am stressing reading labels to ensure getting soy milk fortified with the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk if you require it.
  • VITAMINS AND MINERALS  -  Organic soy milk will have more of Vitamins A & D and iron than cow’s milk. In general, soy milk will also provide more selenium, magnesium, riboflavin, zinc, Vitamin B12, and fiber than cow’s milk.

WHO  SHOULD  CONSIDER  DRINKING  SOY  MILK

  • Vegetarians – Soy milk is non-dairy and plant based. It is a good substitute due to the nutrient content that vegetarians need to replace the nutrients in animal products.
  • Lactose intolerant - Soy milk is lactose free. When someone is lactose intolerant, that means they do not have the lactase enzyme in order to break down the sugar in cow’s milk and also disabling the absorption of vital nutrients.
  • Allergic – Cow’s milk contains a protein called casein. In some people, this protein worsens allergic symptoms, increases mucous and weakens the immune system. This is why it is often recommended to decrease cow’s milk consumption in children who experience frequent colds, ear infections or chronic bronchitis. Additionally, many children with asthma or sinus conditions are told to refrain from drinking cow’s milk due to the problems associated with the casein protein.
  • Diabetics – At least 10 grams of sugar are saved by drinking 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk, compared to drinking 1 cup of skim milk from a cow.
  • Low carbohydrate dieters – 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk will have about 4 grams of carbohydrates compared to skim milk from a cow that has about 12 grams of carbohydrates.
  • Anemics – 1 cup of soy milk will provide about 8% iron whereas cow’s milk provides little or no iron. Also, the extra nutrients in soy milk can help with vitamin absorption giving the anemic person added benefit.
  • Men and women – Soy milk is a rich source of phytoestrogen, a plant hormone that can inhibit the production of testosterone in men. Studies have shown that men who drink soy milk are less likely to develop prostate cancer. During menopause, estrogen production in women drop to a minimum. As a result, postmenopausal women have higher risks for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. In addition, the phytoestrogen in soy milk can diminish or prevent these postmenopausal symptoms and conditions such as depression, insomnia and mood swings.
  • Gluten-free dieters – Choose organic only and look for the “gluten-free” label.

WHO  SHOULD  AVOID  DRINKING  SOY  MILK

  • People who are allergic to soy and soy products.
  • Infants and babies until weaned off of mother’s breast milk.
  • Although ingesting soy is usually fine for a healthy and normal thyroid, anyone taking thyroid medication or has a history of thyroid issues should probably choose another milk source. Seek medical advice if necessary.

 

MILK - almond frontMILK - Almond in glassALMOND  MILK

Almond milk is a nutty, creamy flavored, non-dairy beverage that has been around since the middle ages. Since cow’s milk does not last long without refrigeration, medieval people processed almond milk into butter and cheese to preserve it. The nutritional content of almonds are extracted through a grinding/juicing process with water and strained to remove almond skins and sediment.

Compared  to  cow’s  milk

  • CALORIES – Almond milk is low in calories. Skim milk from a cow is about 90 calories a cup, whereas one cup of unsweetened almond milk is only 40 calories. In fact, the calories in almond milk are even lower than soy milk, rice milk, and coconut milk.
  • FAT – Almond milk contains no saturated fat and no cholesterol. Containing omega 3 fatty acids, almond milk helps protect the heart by lowering the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.
  • SUGAR – Unsweetened (and original/regular) almond milk has a lot less sugar than cow’s milk. One cup of unsweetened almond milk has less than 1 gram of sugar compared to 12 grams of sugar in one cup of skim milk from a cow.
  • PROTEIN - Almond milk lacks protein. There is only 1 gram of protein in one cup of almond milk compared to 9 to 11 grams of protein in cow’s milk.
  • CALCIUM – Almond milk provides 10% calcium compared to 30% to 40% calcium in cow’s milk. Consider your complete calcium intake daily to determine which milk source is better for you.
  • VITAMINS AND MINERALS – Almond milk is very high in Vitamin E and provides 50% needed daily, per serving. In addition, other nutrients provided include, copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and riboflavin.

WHO  SHOULD  CONSIDER  DRINKING  ALMOND  MILK

  • Vegetarians – Almond milk is non-dairy and plant based. It is a good substitute for cow’s milk as long as daily protein and calcium needs are met by other foods.
  • Lactose intolerant - Almond milk is lactose free. When someone is lactose intolerant, that means they do not have the lactase enzyme in order to break down the sugar in cow’s milk and also disabling the absorption of vital nutrients.
  • Allergic – Cow’s milk contains a protein called casein. In some people, this protein worsens allergic symptoms, increases mucous and weakens the immune system. This is why it is often recommended to decrease cow’s milk consumption in children who experience frequent colds, ear infections or chronic bronchitis. Additionally, many children with asthma or sinus conditions are told to refrain from drinking cow’s milk due to the problems associated with the casein protein.
  • Diabetics – About 12 grams of sugar are saved by drinking 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, compared to drinking 1 cup of skim milk from a cow.
  • Low calorie/low carbohydrate dieters – Except for probably cashew milk, almond milk has the lowest calories per serving. Also… unsweetened almond milk is very low in carbohydrates providing only 2 grams per one cup serving compared to 12 grams per serving of cow’s skim milk.
  • Gluten-free dieters – Choose organic only and look for the “gluten-free” label.

WHO  SHOULD  AVOID  DRINKING  ALMOND  MILK

  • People with tree nut allergies.
  • Infants and babies until weaned off of mother’s breast milk.
  • People who are not getting enough protein and (possibly) calcium from other food sources.

 

MILK - coconutMILK - raw coconutCOCONUT  MILK

Coconut is actually classified as a fruit but frequently confused as a nut. Coconut milk is a creamy, rich liquid made from the meat of mature coconuts. Also…Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water. Coconut water is sold mainly as an isotonic drink to balance electrolytes after long periods of exercise. Coconut milk is consumed mainly as a non-dairy milk substitute.

Compared  to  cow’s  milk

  • CALORIES – Coconut milk is low in calories. Skim milk from a cow is about 90 calories a cup, whereas one cup of unsweetened coconut milk is only 45 calories. Regular coconut milk is only 70 calories a cup with vanilla flavored coconut milk at 80 calories per cup.
  • FAT – Although there is about 4 grams of saturated fat per cup serving, there is no cholesterol. Coconut fats raise only the good (HDL) cholesterol levels and does not clog arteries. Cow’s milk has 5 grams of saturated fat per cup and contains a whopping 35 mg of cholesterol – the artery clogging kind of fat.
  • SUGAR -  Coconut milk has a lot less sugar then cow’s milk. Compared to skim milk from a cow which has 12 grams of sugar per one cup serving, coconut milk contains only 1 gram of sugar. Regular and vanilla flavored coconut milk only has 7 to 8 grams of sugar and when compared to cow’s whole and 1% fat milk, the grams of sugar are 11 to 14 grams per one cup serving.
  • PROTEIN – Coconut milk lacks protein and should not be considered as a protein source. Most milk drinkers are not drinking milk for protein but some people need the extra protein to make up for the lack of protein in their diets.
  • CALCIUM - Coconut milk provides 10% calcium compared to 30% to 40% calcium in cow’s milk. However, many countries consuming cow’s milk do not have lower osteoporosis (bone loss) cases. Eating whole grain foods, legumes and fresh vegetables will give most people the daily, optimum calcium intake their bodies require for good bone health.
  • VITAMINS AND MINERALS – Coconut milk contains 4% iron per serving whereas cow’s milk contains little or none. Coconut milk also contains vitamins A, D, C and E. Many B vitamins are abundant in coconut milk; such as vitamin B12 providing 50% (wow) of the RDA (recommended daily allowance). In addition, coconut milk contains lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that is in human mother’s milk. Lauric acid protects the body against viruses, bad bacteria  and many illnesses. Lauric acid has germ-fighting and anti-fungal properties for added protection. Lauric acid may be absorbed into the body more efficiently from coconut milk than from cow’s milk. Although inconclusive, some early studies in HIV/AIDS patients who are given lauric acid from coconut milk are showing some positive results.

WHO  SHOULD  CONSIDER  DRINKING  COCONUT  MILK

  • Vegetarians - Coconut milk is non-dairy and plant based. It is a good substitute for cow’s milk as long as daily protein needs are met by other foods.
  • Lactose intolerant - Coconut milk is lactose free. When someone is lactose intolerant, that means they do not have the lactase enzyme in order to break down the sugar in cow’s milk and also disabling the absorption of vital nutrients.
  • Allergic – Cow’s milk contains a protein called casein. In some people, this protein worsens allergic symptoms, increases mucous and weakens the immune system.
  • Diabetics – About 11 grams of sugar are saved by drinking 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk, compared to drinking 1 cup of skim milk from a cow. Also, 5 grams of sugar are saved with regular/vanilla coconut milk compared to whole and low fat cow’s milk.
  • Low calorie/low carbohydrate dieters - Along with cashew milk and almond milk, unsweetened coconut milk is low in calories with only 45 calories per one cup serving. Low in carbohydrates, unsweetened coconut milk provides only 2 grams per one cup serving compared to 12 grams per serving of cow’s skim milk.
  • Gluten-free dieters – Choose organic only and look for the “gluten-free” label.
  • For baking and beauty? Since coconut milk (including unsweetened) is thick and creamy, it is often used in a variety of recipes for sauces, desserts, soups, and as a rich coffee creamer. As a beauty treatment, there are claims that the fat in coconut milk is good for the skin because it locks in the moisture. The copper and vitamin C in coconut milk can improve the elasticity in the skin preventing wrinkles. Coconut milk can also be used as a hair conditioner.

WHO  SHOULD  AVOID  DRINKING  COCONUT  MILK

  • People who are allergic to coconuts.
  • Infants and babies until weaned off of mother’s breast milk.
  • People who are not getting enough protein and (possibly) calcium from other food sources.
  • AVOID CANNED COCONUT MILK – Seek organic and fresh coconut milk from a carton from the refrigerator section of your market.  BPA (bisphenol-A) is produced in the production of metal and plastic. BPA has been linked to breast cancer, infertility and premature puberty. Canned coconut milk can also contain guar gum, a polysaccharide that can cause digestive problems in some people.

 

MILK - riceMILK - rice milk with glass

RICE  MILK

Rice milk is a non-dairy grain beverage made mostly from brown rice and usually contains brown rice syrup and brown rice starch. Varying from brand to brand, many people claim rice milk tastes very close to cow’s milk.

Compared  to  cow’s  milk

  • CALORIES – Rice milk has a lot less calories than cow’s milk. In fact, one cup serving of unsweetened rice milk contains 45 calories compared to 90 calories in skim cow’s milk. Also, the vanilla flavored/sweetened rice milk has about 30 calories less per one cup serving than whole milk from a cow.
  • FAT – Rice milk has no saturated fat and zero amount of cholesterol. Depending on which brand is compared to cow’s milk, I’ll just say…..in general, the carbohydrate content is about the same.
  • SUGAR - Unsweetened rice milk contains no sugar whereas skim cow’s milk contains about 12 grams of sugar per one cup serving. Original/regular and vanilla flavored rice milk will have added sugar; anywhere from 9 to 13 grams per one cup serving.
  • PROTEIN – Rice milk is very low in protein containing only one gram per one cup serving compared to 8-11 grams per one cup serving of cow’s milk.
  • CALCIUM – Rice milk has a good amount of calcium ranging from 20% to 25%. Cow’s milk contains more calcium ranging from 30% to 40% per one cup serving.
  • VITAMINS AND MINERALS - Most commercial brands of rice milk are fortified with vitamins and minerals that match, or overtake, the nutritional value in cow’s milk. These nutrients can include protein, more calcium, vitamins A, D, B12, iron and niacin.

WHO  SHOULD  CONSIDER  DRINKING  RICE  MILK

  • Vegetarians - Rice milk is non-dairy and plant based. It is a good substitute for cow’s milk as long as daily protein needs are met by other foods. Look for fortified organic rice milk.
  • Lactose intolerant - Rice milk is lactose free. When someone is lactose intolerant, that means they do not have the lactase enzyme in order to break down the sugar in cow’s milk and also disabling the absorption of vital nutrients.
  • Allergic – Cow’s milk contains a protein called casein. In some people, this protein worsens allergic symptoms, increases mucous and weakens the immune system.
  • Diabetics - Anywhere from 11 to 14 grams of sugar are saved by drinking 1 cup of unsweetened rice milk, compared to drinking 1 cup of skim milk from a cow. Diabetics need to read labels and choose organic, fortified rice milk to ensure getting those extra vitamins, minerals and protein.
  • Low calorie dieters – Unsweetened rice milk has HALF the calories of skim cow’s milk. Even the sweetened vanilla flavored rice milk has about 30 calories less, in one cup serving, than whole milk from a cow. Regarding carbohydrate content, it is considered a wash with both rice milk and cow’s milk containing equal amounts.
  • Gluten-free dieters – Here is where it gets tricky and this is where reading labels become very important. If you are on a gluten-free diet choose organic/unsweetened rice milk. Non-organic and vanilla flavored rice milk can contain additives with gluten. Choose organic only and look for the “gluten-free” label.

WHO  SHOULD  AVOID  DRINKING  RICE  MILK

  • Infants and babies – Human mother’s milk is best for infants. Most rice milk choices do not have enough nutrients. If parents are considering rice milk for the family, and after weaning children from mother’s milk, then choosing organic/unsweetened and fortified rice milk is best.
  • Diabetics beware  - Although brown rice is good for diabetics and helps lower blood sugar in some cases, people who need to watch their sugar intake should read rice milk labels with a keen eye. Only unsweetened rice milk should be the choice for most diabetics and also for people who need to watch their sugar intake.

 

MILK - hemp and oat frontMILK - hemp milk with plantMILK - Oat Milk and grain1[1]

HEMP  MILK

Sorry if you are disappointed BUT you will not get high (or stoned if you are my age) on hemp milk! Hemp milk is a non-dairy beverage made from ground hemp seeds mixed with water and has a creamy, nutty flavor. Hemp milk is made from the same cannabis sativa plant that marijuana comes from except the “drug” part of the plant, known as THC, is not used to make the milk. Hemp producers use plants that contain less than 0.3% THC. In fact, many producers will guarantee zero percent THC. One cup of unsweetened hemp milk contains 70 calories, 5 grams of non-saturated fat, no cholesterol, 1 gram of carbohydrate, and 3 grams of protein. Unsweetened hemp milk has zero grams of sugar.

Compared  to  cow’s  milk

  • CALORIES – Unsweetened hemp milk has 70 calories per cup as opposed to 90 calories in skim cow’s milk.
  • FAT - The fat in hemp milk in non-saturated whereas the fat in cow’s milk is saturated.
  • SUGAR - One cup of unsweetened hemp milk contains no sugar compared to 12 grams of sugar in skim cow’s milk.
  • PROTEIN - Cow’s milk has more protein than hemp milk. One cup of hemp milk provides 3 grams of protein. One cup serving of skim cow’s milk will give you 9 grams of protein.
  • CALCIUM – Unsweetened hemp milk is a good source of calcium and has the same amount of calcium as skim cow’s milk – 30%.
  • VITAMINS AND MINERALS –  Hemp milk is a good source of calcium, iron, vitamins A, D, B12 and E. Hemp milk also provides phosphorus, riboflavin, magnesium and thiamin.

WHO  SHOULD  CONSIDER  DRINKING  HEMP  MILK 

Vegetarians, lactose intolerant or lactose sensitive people, diabetics (only unsweetened), low calorie/low sugar dieters choosing unsweetened and people with allergies should consider drinking hemp milk. Hemp has no known allergens. Hemp seeds do not contain the allergy causing components found in dairy, soy, or tree-nuts. Children with several allergies can benefit from drinking hemp milk. Hemp milk should be gluten free but to be safe, check for the gluten-free label on all brands.

WHO  SHOULD  AVOID  DRINKING  HEMP  MILK

  • Infants and babies until weaned off of mother’s breast milk.
  • A diet lacking in the RDA recommended amount of protein.

OAT  MILK

Oat milk is made from oat “groats” which are hulled grains broken into fragments and soaked in water for several hours and then filtered. Oat milk has a mild, slightly sweet taste. Sometimes referred to as a tonic for the nervous system, oat milk can provide nutrients that are essential for nerve health and development. Oat milk contains vitamin E and folic acid, essential nutrients for nervous system function.

Compared  to  cow’s  milk

  • CALORIES – Oat milk is not low in calories. Depending on the brand, calories can range from 80 to 150 calories per one cup serving. CHECK NUTRITION LABELS. Compared to cow’s milk, oat milk’s calories are about equal.
  • FAT – Oat milk contains a low amount of fat and it is unsaturated – the good kind of fat. Compared to cow’s milk which has saturated fat – the bad kind of fat.
  • SUGAR – Oat milk can contain a few grams of sugar or up to 19 grams of sugar per one cup serving, depending on the brand. Check nutrition labels and choose wisely. Across the board, cow’s milk contains anywhere from 11 grams to 14 grams of sugar.
  • PROTEIN – Oat milk provides half the amount of protein than cow’s milk. Oat milk will give you 4 grams of protein whereas cow’s milk will provide 8 grams of protein.
  • CALCIUM – Oat milk is a very good source of calcium providing 35% of the RDA and equals cow’s milk.
  • VITAMINS AND MINERALS – Oat milk is a very good source of iron, riboflavin, vitamins A, D, and E. Also included in oat milk are folic acid, zinc, magnesium and members of the vitamin B family. Oat milk is high in fiber.

WHO  SHOULD  CONSIDER  DRINKING  OAT  MILK

Vegetarians, lactose intolerant or lactose sensitive people, low cholesterol dieters, people who need extra fiber in their diets, anemics needing extra iron and people trying to improve the health of their nervous systems will benefit from drinking oat milk. 

Gluten free??

Pure oats are naturally gluten-free, but not always wheat-free. Many oat brands are processed alongside wheat, barley and other grains. As a result, the oats become contaminated. However, there are some brands that process their oats away from any possible contaminates. Check labels to make sure you are purchasing both certified wheat and gluten free.

WHO  SHOULD  AVOID  DRINKING  OAT  MILK

  • Infants and babies until weaned off of mother’s breast milk.
  • Possibly, people on low carbohydrate/low calorie diets. However, oats help lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. Keeping track of the carbohydrate count in oats is worth including oats in the average diet.

 

FLAX  MILK  AND  CASHEW  MILK

MILK - flax and cashewMILK - flax seedsMILK - Cashew milk with nuts

Flax milk is a non-dairy milk product made from cold-pressed flax oil. Since flax seeds have an abundant amount of omega 3 fatty acids……yes, you guessed it…flax milk is also rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids which is famously known for its heart-healthy benefits and brain cell boosting benefits.

Compared  to  cow’s  milk

  • CALORIES – Flax milk is low in calories compared to cow’s milk. Original or regular flax milk only has 60 calories per one cup serving whereas whole cow’s milk has 150 calories per one cup serving. Skim cow’s milk has 90 calories per serving which is still 30 calories higher than regular flax milk.
  • FAT – The omega 3 fatty acids are rich in flax milk. The human body does not produce this fat and has to be acquired from outside food sources. Most of the saturated fat in cow’s milk can raise the bad (LDL) cholesterol level in the body.
  • SUGAR – Original or regular flax milk has about 7 to 8 grams of sugar per one cup serving whereas cow’s whole milk has 11 grams of sugar. Unsweetened flax milk has no sugar but skim milk from a cow contains 12 grams of sugar per one cup serving.
  • PROTEIN – Flax milk lacks protein. Milk from a cow will contain anywhere from 8 grams to 11 grams of protein per one cup serving.
  • CALCIUM - Flax milk is a very good source of calcium providing 10%  to 30% of the RDA – recommended daily allowance. Cow’s milk contains more calcium – 30% to 40%.
  • VITAMINS AND MINERALS – Flax milk is comparable to cow’s milk providing vitamins A & D. Flax milk also provides copper, iron, vitamin B12 and phosphorus.

WHO  SHOULD  CONSIDER  DRINKING  FLAX  MILK

Vegetarians, lactose intolerant or lactose sensitive people, people with various allergies, diabetics (choosing unsweetened only) and those people who need more omega 3 fatty acids should consider drinking flax milk. Gluten free dieters and low fat dieters, who are concerned about cholesterol, benefit from drinking flax milk.

Flax milk contains none of the following: It is important to check the labels to be sure.

  • Wheat
  • Egg
  • Soy
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Gluten

WHO  SHOULD  AVOID  DRINKING  FLAX  MILK

  • Infants and babies until weaned off of mother’s breast milk.
  • A diet lacking in the RDA recommended amount of protein.

CASHEW  MILK

Cashew milk is a non-dairy milk beverage made from cashew nuts soaked in water and blended. The milk has a creamy, nutty flavor. To add sweetness to the milk, natural sugars like stevia, agave, honey or maple syrup can be added.

Compared  to  cow’s  milk

  • CALORIES – Unsweetened cashew milk can have the lowest calories per one cup serving than all other milk choices. HOWEVER, this category is sketchy for cashew milk. Calories can range anywhere from 35 calories for one cup serving to 80 calories for a HALF cup serving. Read labels and since many people make their own cashew milk, caloric intake will vary depending on how many cashews are used in making the milk. Cow’s milk will range from 90 to 150 calories per one cup serving.
  • FAT – Although cashew milk has about 3.5 grams of fat per one cup serving, none of it is saturated fat. On the other hand, whole cow’s milk contains 5 grams of saturated fat per one cup serving.
  • SUGAR – Unless sugar is purposely added to cashew milk, the sugar content is zero. All cow’s milk contain sugar. Including skim cow’s milk, containing 12 grams of sugar per one cup serving.
  • PROTEIN – Cashews are not the highest protein-containing nut and have about 4 grams per ounce. Depending on how many cashews are used to make cashew milk, the protein content can vary from zero grams per one cup serving to maybe 2 or 3 grams per serving. Cow’s milk contains anywhere from 8 grams to 11 grams of protein per serving.
  • CALCIUM – Cashew milk can provide 2% of RDA of calcium. Although the calcium content is lower than cow’s milk, providing 30% or more, cashew milk is a good source of magnesium acting as a balancer and assistant to calcium.
  • VITAMINS AND MINERALS – Cashew milk is very high in vitamin B12 providing a whopping 60% of the RDA. B vitamins are the group of vitamins that are involved in making red blood cells and are essential in the body’s metabolic activity. Cashew milk also provides more B vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6.  Additional health benefits come from copper, zinc, folate and selenium.

WHO  SHOULD  CONSIDER  DRINKING  CASHEW  MILK

Vegetarians, lactose intolerant or lactose sensitive people, diabetics (choosing unsweetened only), gluten free dieters and low fat dieters, to control bad (LDL) cholesterol levels should consider drinking cashew milk. Cashew milk is a great beverage for anyone who is chronically in need of vitamin B12. It is worth repeating that 60% of the RDA is provided in one cup serving!

WHO  SHOULD  AVOID  DRINKING  CASHEW  MILK

  • People allergic to nuts.
  • Infants and babies until weaned off of mother’s breast milk.
  • A diet lacking in the RDA recommended amount of protein and calcium.

RECAP  MILK  CHOOSING  TIPS

  • Whatever your milk choice is, choose organic and GMO free.
  • Read labels regularly and research ingredients.
  • Mixing different flavor milks can be beneficial and tasty.
  • There are many homemade recipes of non-dairy milk beverages on the internet.
  • When experimenting, and especially if you are consuming non-dairy milk for health reasons, carefully listen to your body’s responses.

Information and statements given here are for educational purposes and not intended to replace medical advice from your health care practitioner. If you have health concerns please consult your physician.

 

 

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