The Milk of Human Kindness – Dairy-Free Milks
Avoid animal milks. This might fly in the face of all you were taught, but the evidence is now overwhelming.
Dairy milk, especially cow’s, is strongly linked to cancers, heart disease, auto-immune diseases – practically all of the diseases currently plaguing the West.
Most people in the world – over 70 per cent – don’t drink cow’s milk; they are lactose intolerant - in other words, lactose intolerance is the norm for most of the human race! Being lactose intolerant means that they are unable to digest the sugar in milk (lactose) and so avoid milk and dairy products altogether. All babies have the enzyme (lactase) needed to digest lactose but most lose it after weaning around the age of two. Without lactase, lactose ferments in the large intestine and produces gas. The result can be nausea, cramps, bloating, wind and diarrhoea and you usually know about them a couple of hours after eating. The treatment is simple – avoid lactose, which means cutting out all dairy foods and checking labels for dariy products in bread, chocolate and other processed foods.
In addition, many scientists are concerned that milk may be linked to breast cancer because our milk comes from either pregnant cows or those who have recently given birth. After all, it is designed to help a large young animal grow quickly, not given to another species! Basically, cow’s milk is laced with a cocktail of naturally occurring 35 hormones and 11 growth factors which can make human cells grow out of control. This 'cocktail' is great to help a young calf grow quickly but can play havoc with humans.Goat, sheep and any organic animal milk are not the answer either, despite the hype.
Build strong bones by regular weight-bearing exercise, which is the most effective way to promote bone health – not drinking the milk of an animal. It’s also kinder to animals.
For more in-depth information see our website White Lies Amongst other things, it examines
- the health consequences of dairy
- its impact on all animals bred for dairy: cows, goat and sheep and others
- the environmental impact of dairy
- why organic isn't the answer
What's the alternative? The most common are soya and rice but increasingly, coconut, almond, oat, quinoa and others can be found in the shops. These taste a bit different from cow's milk but it's worth experimenting until you find those that you like. Also, don't forget that your tastebuds will change after a few weeks. Remember, dairy milk tastes strange to vegans when they taste it by accident!
Organic is always good, but unfortunately, if vitamins and calcium are added, they can’t be labelled organic by law, even if the beans/rice are in fact organic.
It’s up to you – some of our recipes specify fortified plant milk, but if you feel strongly that you’d prefer to be 100 per cent organic, make sure you get your vitamin B12 elsewhere (a supplement or regular intake of B12 fortified foods) and that you eat plenty of calcium-rich foods such as dark green leafy vegetables and sesame seeds (tahini – sesame paste – is very good). It is an ingredient of hummus but can be eaten on toast or made into sauces and dressings. Dried figs and most tofu products are also a rich source of calcium.
Top Tips for Dairy-Free Milks
- Soya milk is great in tea
- Fresh soya milk (as opposed to longlife) doesn’t usually curdle in coffee – Alpro; So Good and Tesco own brand fresh are all very good.
- Almond milk is good in coffee also and some places serve both soya and almond!
- Soya milk does not curdle when you buy it as a cappuccino or latte in a coffee bar – in fact it is delicious.
Longlife soya milk may curdle in home-brewed coffee so follow these tips:
Fresh coffee: 1. Heat soya milk – the heating process stops it curdling
2. If you don’t have time for that, let the coffee cool a little or add some cold water
3. Then add the coffee to the soya milk rather than the other way round
Instant coffee: 1. Put hot water and soya milk in cup first.
2. Let it cool a little.
3. Add the coffee powder and stir briskly.
Viva! and VVF Taste Test – Soya Milk Recommendations (Longlife/UHT)
Top of the list came
1. Alpro sweetened (blue pack)
2. Alpro unsweetened (orange pack) was a close runner-up
3. We also liked So Good and Soleil
Almond milk (especially Ecomil’s organic) was also very popular as a drink in its own right.
Try them out in our tasty Moroccan Rice Pudding recipe
FFI on dairy-free alternatives see Why You Don't Need Dairy