Alternative Milks: The Good, The Bad, and The Delicious!
Got milk? Probably not anymore! It seems like everyday there is a new alternative to the traditional cow’s milk we all grew up with. But what most people don’t know is how different each alternative milk can be from one another and from regular cow’s milk too! Whether you are lactose-intolerant, do not support dairy-farming or the use of animals for consumer products, or just all together don’t like milk, this list of alternative milks- and their pros and cons- can help you find the right milk for you and your lifestyle! But first, let’s start with the basics and why people may or may not want to stick with regular cow’s milk.
Cow’s milk definitely serves as a great addition to a meal plan where no dietary restrictions are necessary. It contains high amounts of vital nutrients our bodies need! Calcium is number one. The comes vitamins A and B-12, protein, and potassium. Drinking cow’s milk can curb your appetite, improve your weight and bone density, and prevent diseases like type-2 diabetes and heart disease. However some people have very severe milk allergies that are linked to the antibiotics found in cow’s milk! Cow’s milk has also been shown to contribute to the appearance of acne in teens and adults. Drinking too much cow’s milk has also been linked to the formation of prostate and ovarian cancer.
If you’re one of the many people out there who need a healthy alternative to milk, well then look no further…
Soy milk is a great vegan alternative for those individuals who are lactose, milk protein, or gluten intolerant! It is a good source of protein and essential fatty acids too. But soy milk contains isoflavones, which have a structure similar to that of the hormone estrogen- a hormone our bodies produce. As a result, drinking soy milk can influence the effect of estrogen in our bodies. Soy milk can also cause reactions to people who may have a soy allergy as well (I actually cannot drink soy milk because it causes a slight allergic reaction!)
While high in calories, coconut milk contains vital nutrients- including magnesium, iron, and potassium. It also contains lauric acid, which is a fatty acid that is used for energy inside the body. When buying, look for pure, organic coconut milk (typically sold in a can) to avoid any unnecessary additives that add to the calorie count!
Almond milk is definitely my recommendation for anyone going the non-dairy route when it comes to milk! It contains neither lactose, soy proteins, nor gluten. Almond milk has anti inflammatory properties and is easier to digest than other milks- dairy and non-dairy. The protein count is high due to the use of almonds! But what it is lacking is that high calcium count. Buying “plain, original, and unsweetened” almond milk is the best way to go to get the most out of your almond milk and for the lowest amount of calories.
Oat milk is not for those with gluten sensitivity, but is a great alternative to cow’s milk otherwise. Contain high amounts of fiber, oat milk fuels you and fills you quickly! It also keeps your digestive tract in great shape. Although the high amount of carbohydrate found in this milk, could be a deal breaker for some. It also contains three times as many calories as “plain, original, and unsweetened” almond milk.
Whatever you choose, you really cannot go wrong! All milks have their good and bads- and you just need to choose the one that fits with your body and lifestyle.