A Comparison of Non-Dairy Milks

The New York times published an article today on how multiple studies are showing that cow’s milk dairy is actually NOT beneficial, and may be more detrimental than beneficial.

This is something I learned both through personal experience and through nutrition school, and have been talking about often at my lunch & learns.  It is a highly controversial topic though, because it’s been engrained in our minds that ‘milk = strong bones’. Ummmm..remember these ads? Even if the message isn’t amazing, I certainly didn’t hate looking at these growing up hehe!!

Why Cow’s Dairy Might Not Be Your Friend

Approximately 60-70% of people are lactose intolerant, with a higher propensity to it in ethnic populations. When the body lacks ‘lactase’ the enzyme to digest lactose (found in dairy products), the lactose remains in the gut, where it’s broken down by the bacteria in your gut (it actually feeds them) and the breakdown process produces gas, bloating, and even diarrhea in extreme cases.

Furthermore, many people can actually have food intolerances to whey and casein, the proteins found in milk.

Food intolerances activate your immune system and immune cells are located throughout the body but in higher quantities in the nose, throat, lungs, skin and GI tract, along with in tissues.  So, chronic consumption of a food that you have an intolerance to, leads to inflammation in these common areas.  Inflammation in these areas can show up as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis – tisuse inflammation
  • Asthma – lung inflammation
  • Sinusitis – nose/throat inflammation
  • Gastritis (And any digestive issues) – GI tract inflammation
  • Acne – skin inflammation

**Note: Goat & sheep’s milk dairy tend to be much better tolerated, so for cheese and yogurt this is a lovely option!

The Super Easy Solution

If you’ve walked a grocery store in the last year, you’ve likely seen a gajillion litres of almond milk lining the shelves and aisle ends. It’s popular!

There are a LOT of non-dairy milk alternatives now, including almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, and soy milk and there are pros and cons of each.

I want to preface that I recommend making your own non-dairy milks, because these milks still have quite a few additives to make them the right consistency or taste a certain way.  Homemade nut milk is SUPER easy to make:

  • Use a ratio of 1:4 nuts/seeds to water
  • First soak the nuts or seeds overnight, and then rinse them (don’t keep this water they’ve been soaking in)
  • Blend on high in a high speed blender for up to a couple of minutes, until the nuts or seeds are fully mixed
  • Using a cheesecloth (you can get at the dollar store), strain the pulp so that you’re left with milk
  • The milk will last 3-5 days in the fridge (you’ll be able to smell once it’s gone off), so you can freeze it too!

**Note: Save the pulp from straining the milk and use it in baking or raw crackers!

Understanding that you might feel too busy to make your own, here is a comparison chart of non-dairy milks.

Mix it up and don’t use just one! I switch between almond, hemp and coconut milk! What’s your favourite to use?

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