Milk How to Find the Right Non Dairy Option

These days you don’t just see cow’s milk at the grocery store. You see a slew of products that include “Almond Milk,” “Soy Milk,” “Coconut Milk,” and even others like oat milk, rice milk, and hemp milk. Of course these drinks are not actually milk but rather “non-dairy beverages” if you want to be technical about it. What I would like to know is: what is the deal with all of these milk substitutes?

Sounds like a Seinfeld bit from the 80s? Well, if they had all these different milks back in the 80s, maybe it would have been in his act.

Comedian Lewis Black actually did a bit on how the milk section has changed over his lifetime. He is partial to original milk, what he calls “moo cow f*#@ milk” and he talks about the substitutes like they are blasphemy. “Acidophilus milk, what the f*#@ are you talking about! Milk doesn’t need a friend! That sh*# belongs in the yogurt section.”

Kimberley Willis writes an article in the Examiner about fake milk and basically argues against it. She writes, “Why do we market and label such fake foods? People have been falsely told that milk isn’t good for us because of the fat and cholesterol in it.  We now know that natural sources of fat, in moderation, are actually good for you.  When kids drank whole milk more often, there was less childhood obesity than there is now.” Aside from the obvious point that these drinks are not “milk” she points out that “Modern research has shown that these fake milks have no health benefits over real milk.”

Not only is it not necessarily better for your health, but what most people don’t think about is that, by definition, most fake milks are processed. Those health extremists that believe in an all-natural lifestyle might have a slight conflict of interest since milk substitutes have to go through processes and vitamins have to be added for it to be worthy of taking up shelf space in the drink aisle.

Perhaps Kimberley works for the dairy industry, but regardless she does make some interesting points such as that “Making a fluid product from plants that is similar to milk uses more energy and natural resources than a cow does to make real milk.  And it sure doesn’t cost less.”

While I am not against non-dairy beverages and I think most products out there are labeled as such (the politically correct people probably got to those companies a while ago), we can’t fool ourselves into thinking these are healthy alternatives. I drink almond or soy milk on occasion not because it is healthy but because it is just a different drink with a different taste and texture. I don’t cook with it. I don’t think it is particularly good or bad.

If you are vegan, then it is a possible drink in your diet—and for you these products make sense.

If you are not vegan, drink regular milk. If we get into an environment where we start feeding our children milk substitutes instead of natural cow’s milk, then this could be a bad thing. Do you want us to all turn into those people that order the “soy decaf triple shot sugar-free venti latte” or other such drink that is far from what nature intended? Children need the calcium and other nutrients in regular milk, let’s hope parents keep being aware of that. Perhaps the slogan should be changed to “Moo cow f*#@ milk, it does a body good.”

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