Whether you are vegan or not, understanding the health benefits of dairy free milk is important. If you suffer from acne, acid-reflux, allergies, ear infections or really any serious health problem, looking underneath the mustaches of the most successful marketing campaign in history might provide some answers for what ails so many of us. It’s time for the “Got Milk” mindset to “Get Real”.

According to the USDA, which provides nutrition education to physicians, dietitians and schools, dairy is an essential food group from which we should consumer 2-3 servings a day. But in addition to educating the American public on what and how to eat, the USDA is also tasked with promoting agricultural commodities, contributing over 10 billion in subsidies over the last 10 years to the dairy industry alone.

There is ample scientific research that offers many reasons to switch to dairy free milk:

  • Lactose is the second-most common allergy..right behind peanuts. The good news is that it’s not usually life-threatening; the bad news is that symptoms vary widely and are not easily linked to dairy consumption. But nearly 70 percent of the population is lactose intolerant to some extent, with some nationalities as high as 95 percent!
  • There is a direct link between milk and acne. Skim milk poses the highest risk. If you have skin problems, eliminating dairy is the most effective action you can take. Why haven’t you heard that? Because the dairy and pharmaceutical industries are BIG money!
  • Heartburn, acid-reflux, bloating and gas are symptoms of lactose intolerance. Sixteen billion dollars is spent each year on medications that treat these symptoms. And use of these OTC and Rx drugs inhibits the absorption of the very nutrients, vitamins and minerals that milk provides.
  • Non-organic dairy comes from cows that are given growth hormones and antibiotics, and the rising number of associated diseases and hormone disorders is not coincidental. Oh, and non-organic milk has significant amounts of pus in it from mastitis caused by unnatural milk production. Mmmmm….Got milk?
  • Osteoporosis and bone-fractures rates are highest in countries where dairy consumption is greatest. This is because the dairy protein (amino acids) must be neutralized with salts such as calcium. So instead of absorbing the calcium as one might assume, the body actually leaches it from the bones.

Dairy free milk may not taste “normal”, but normal is defined by what you do on a regular basis. If you’d never tasted cows milk, that would seem weird too! (In fact, if you really think about the fact that diary milk is simply breast milk designed to grow a calf into a 1500 pound heifer or bull, it really gets even weirder. Most people would be grossed out if a lactating woman offered them a cup of freshly pumped breast milk. Yet drinking it straight from a cow udder is acceptable?

The bigger picture is that the only “Real”, and “All natural” drink that mother nature insists on is WATER. I use plant milks for cooking vegan cream sauces, baking treats, drinking coffee and occasionally eating a bowl of cereal. But I can’t remember the last time I poured a glass with a meal. We’ve been s(t)old that milk is the beverage of choice, and we’re used to serving it with all foods. But it’s quite easy to get un-used to it. It’s not necessary.

The good news for die-hard milk drinkers is that dairy free milk is a healthy alternative and easy to make on your own. Of course, there are countless options available at the grocery store, but if budget restrictions leave you feeling like you “can’t afford” it, it’s easy to make them on your own.  I’ll be honest, though. You may not get it right the first time. I’ve done the best I can to write recipes that reflect  months of trial and error, but what works for me may not be ideal for you. My best advice is don’t make too much at once. If it doesn’t turn out, it’s less of a loss. Adjust your expectations, because while it not be as “perfect” as the store bought varieties, and you may get lucky and find you’re own style is much better!  It’s so easy to work with! You can water it down, try a different grade of strainer, strain it twice, add a different flavor, or more/less sugar. There’s unlimited potential when you are the boss!

 

Please let me know which dairy free milks you like best, and what, if any, adjustments you make. I’ll add them to the recipes so we can all benefit from trial and error. Good luck!