Like many of you, I grew up drinking dairy. My parents told me I needed multiple glasses of milk everyday in order to grow and be strong. Since this was the early 1990’s, I can forgive them. We simply didn’t know any better. But now, in 2017, we do know better and there is endless research on the dangers of cow’s milk, yet we still hear about how we need cows milk for calcium. Are you surprised to know that a cup of almond milk contains the same calcium and Vitamin D as cow’s milk?
Dairy intake is actually known to cause heart disease, increase cancer rates and create inflammation. Over 70% of human being are actually completely unable to digest cow’s milk. And, if you need more facts, women who drink dairy are at higher risk to experience bone fractures then those who don’t! The hormones and antibiotics that are added to cow’s milk are also a big cause for concern. Why do we want to put unnecessary drugs into our bodies?
We, as human beings, do not need to drink milk of any form. Our bodies need to drink water. But if you want to drink “milk”, plant based “milks” allow us to enjoy the taste without harming or participating in the maltreatment of cows.
Here is the breakdown of some of my favourite plant based milk alternatives.
So, soy gets a bad rep. But I will always fight that soy milk in moderation is NOT GOING TO HARM ANYONE, unless you have an allergy. Soy is generally genetically modified so be sure to use a GMO-free product if choosing soy milk. On a positive note, soy is high in protein, containing 7 grams per cup. It’s also high in flavonoids which have antioxidant properties. Soy milk contains 9 essential amino acids and is high in calcium and iron. Soy milk is fairly easy to find if travelling or at a restaurant, but at home I tend to use almond milk as I find it suits my needs the best.
Rice milk is where I have the least experience. I have used it a few times but I often find it to watery for my liking. One cup has 110 calories and 1 gram of fat, 2 grams of protein. It is high in niacin, magnesium and iron. There are no allergy reactions but it tends to be very high in sugar.
Almond milk is high in vitamin E and interestingly enough contains as much calcium and vitamin D as cow’s milk. Almonds are naturally high in calcium but companies fortify their milk to balance the calcium and Vitamin D, so the best quality almond milk is one that you can yourself at home with organic almonds. Almond milk is low in calories at only 30 calories per cup but it’s also low in protein at 1 gram per cup.
Hemp is a complete protein, so there’s a big win right there. It also has a great balance of calories, fat and protein, at 140 calories per cup, 5 grams of fat and 3 grams of protein. It is high in calcium and high in phosphorus which helps bone health. It is also high in omega-3 fatty acids. I think that hemp milk is the most well-rounded milk alternative.
One important note to watch out for is carrageenan’s. These are added as a sweetener or thickening agent and it causes intestinal inflammation and colon cancer. Also watch for sodium and sugar levels, as these may be added to enhance flavouring. Like always, buy organic and watch for ingredients that you cannot pronounce.
I suggest trying out different milk alternatives and different brands until you find the one that works best for you. Each of us needs something different, so there is no “perfect” plant based milk.