4 Alternatives to Dairy Milk

Many permaculturists chose to keep goats, sheep and even cattle, not for the meat yield they provide, but for the milk. This is of course a good way for vegetarians to experience livestock rearing as well as giving them access to milk that they know has been unadulterated by chemicals or other unknown additions such as preservatives. It also allows permaculture gardeners to avoid purchasing milk that has been produced by the industrial dairy industry. This industry is often reported to put great physical strain on lactating cows to produce as much milk as possible, sometimes leading to deformed udders and other physical complications from the virtually continuous cycles of pregnancy and milk provision that such animals are subjected to. The dairy industry, being predicated on the maximization of profit, also regards males calves born to dairy cows to be economically worthless, and male newborns are typically euthanized just hours after birth. Rearing animals to produce your own milk helps to avoid this senseless waste and cruelty.

However, if your permaculture plot or skill set does not allow you to raise animals for milk and you still wish to avoid drinking industrially produced milk products, or indeed if you are vegan and refrain from all dairy products, there are alternatives, namely plant-based milks. These can provide a wide variety of new and unique flavours, as well as different nutritional benefits. As with all food purchases try to source products that have been produced organically and have not been imported from a great distance, particularly from overseas where agricultural legislation with regard to environmental protection may be unknown or more lax, and to avoid the carbon emissions associated with long distance importation. (Of course, plant-based milks are also valuable dietary additions for those who are intolerant of the lactose that is a feature if dairy milk.)

Soy milk
Man people first become aware of soybeans as the primary ingredient in tofu, often used to replace meat in vegetarian dishes, but soy milk is actually a much more widely used soybean product, particularly in the form of milk. Made by soaking soybeans and then grinding them with water, soymilk has roughly the equivalent amount of protein in it as regular cow’s milk, although it has a thicker consistency and tastes rather bean-like. It also contains a high level of dietary fiber and B vitamins. It contains no cholesterol and is low in fat. Soymilk does not contain any calcium however, so many commercially available products have this added, but you could also get your calcium needs met via other dietary sources if you don’t want to drink adulterated soymilk. Soymilk is not without its ethical implications however. Indeed, it could be said to be a victim of its own success. Because soybeans contain a lot of protein for their size, and can be relatively simply turned into a cheap vegetable oil, they have become an ingredient in many products, even those in which you would not expect to find it, such as sausages, hamburgers and other processed foods. In fact some researchers have estimated that as many as 70 percent of products in a typical western supermarket contain soybean or soybean extracted products. The high protein content also means that it is widely used in feed for industrially produced livestock. This has created great demand so that, just like palm oil, vast swathes of native forests are being cleared, primarily in Asia and Latin America to grow soybeans to meet western demand. Consumption of soymilk could be said to contribute to this demand; however, you should be able to source ethically produced products that adhere to organic standards.

Almond milk
Almond milk is the non-dairy milk alternative that has experienced the biggest growth in consumptionalmonds-49603_1280 over the pastalmonds-49603_1280 few years. One reason for its popularity could be that it is more similar to dairy milk in consistency than soymilk, and it is generally sweeter, although it has more of a toasted nut flavor. It also has a consistency similar to that of cow’s milk, although it doesn’t contain quite the same levels of protein as soy or cow’s milk, but has many other beneficial nutrients, including magnesium, selenium and vitamin E hitch helps to preserve the integrity and strength of the cells in the human body. Almond milk is made by skinning and blanching the nuts before grinding and blending with water. The higher production costs of growing almonds mean that milk derived from these nuts can be more expensive than other plant-based alternatives.

Coconut milk
Coconut milk is a reasonably sweet, although comparatively watery alternative to dairy milk. However, it has a taste very distinctive from cow’s milk, so using it as a replacement in coffee or tea, for example, can take some getting used to, with the new flavors being integrated rather than seeking to mimic that of conventional dairy products. Coconut milk is produced by combining both the liquid and ground flesh from the nut with water, and while it does not contain very high levels of protein, it does have anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities. Coconut milk should be used sparingly as, compared to other dairy-free alternatives, its fat content is quite high. This fat can also separate from the liquid when the milk is kept in the fridge, but simply bring to room temperature and stir to combine before use.

Rice milk
In contrast to coconut milk, rice milk has among the lowest levels of fat of any plant-based milk. It also has virtually no cholesterol. However, it lacks protein compared to soymilk, and the calcium content is also negligible. This means that most commercially available rice milk products come with additives to increase their nutritional content. Be aware, however, that fortified products can also raise the sugar level of the milk, and rice milk already naturally contains quite high levels of sugary carbohydrates. Made by combining brown rice with water, rice starch and rice syrup, rice milk is probably the closest in taste to cow’s milk of the alternatives listed here, but with a more watery consistency. Many people find it a better dairy replacement in cooking than for everyday use.

3 comments
Turtle

As a fringe area health care practitioner I used to think that soy

Turtle

Hola y Buen Día a todo,
PLEASE AVOID ALL UNFERMENTED SOY PRODUCTS… legumes in general are not really good food for any animal due to difficulty in digesting, read methane farts, and soy in particular has several issues.

Please, of course, do your own research and take all opinions including mine “with a grain of [sea] salt”

Also, please pardon my dissertation this is somewhat lengthy, but food is a major thing we all need and our diets affect everything so this turned into an informational opinion piece on diet, based on my life experience … feel free to copy and share. Most of this is available on the net.

The following was my process in learning this:
I was a vegetarian for nearly a decade for ecological, humanitarian and political reasons.
My friends and I took it to heart and thus followed the definition of vegetarian to the letter, therefore, any use, including clothing, of any animal product disqualifys one as a vegetarian: “one who eats fruits and vegetables.”

We figured, what is the use of convention in language if we agree on something like a definition and then proceed to use the word differently? It’s meaning becomes useless, so we never called ourselves “vegan” because vegetarian already means “vegan.” Yes there is something to say for evolution of language but to us at that time, many decades ago, “vegan” was extraneous.

As such we researched foods and followed the fringes of cutting edged science and ancient, preagricultural diets, essentially becoming self taught dietitians/nutritionists. This was decades before the current “Paleo Diet” fad of today which primarily focuses on the hunter part and mostly ignores the staple foods which were gathered by the women and children. More later.

In the early 1980s, this ultimately led me to study Paleolithic, archeological dietary evidence, Permaculture and in 1994, Chinese Medicine, all of which effectively ended my vegetarian lifestyle because a vegetarian lifestyle does not allow for complete participation in a wholistic design and health system which includes all other animal species especially “farm” animals.

However, during my career as fringe health care practitioner, “acupuncturist,” I still thought that soy was a good alternative to animal milks. I used soy and nut milks regularly and tofu until I learned from my Chinese Medicine, CM, training that tofu compromises the digestion by slowing it down because tofu and soy milk are energetically cold.

A Registered Dietitian friend of ours, who also follows the cutting edge fringes of science and ancient wisdom, informed us that all soy oil is toxic to the body due to chemical contamination particularly benzene which is used in extracting nonorganic soy oil and thru cross contamination of organic extracts. She also taught us that non-fermented soy products are not ancient traditional foods, only used in the past few hundred years, and they are essentially indigestible.

CM also considers soy oil “toxic” meaning extremely heating to the body due to extraction processes as well as the cold energies of tofu and soy milk. CM goes as far as to say that soy oil is not a food, only good for lubricating machines and anyone with any cool or cold defienciency according to CM cannot digest tofu and soy milk.

– all seeds have toxins to protect them from being eaten upon sprouting, so when sprouting let them grow to the green leaf stage when the toxins dissipate.
-Legumes need to be cooked beyond recognition in order to be digestible without producing methane. And they are still difficult for our digestion to extract nutrients.
-to make soy milk and then to curdle it for tofu the ground bean slurry is only cooked for 10-15 minutes thus not really cooked to a level we can digest.
– all soy today is GMO or GMO contaminated, thus there is no such thing as organic soy products in my “educated” opinion.
– soy is a commodity grown to make money not food.
-most soy and other legumes are grown for livestock feed which in the case of drought and in general is why livestock grown for human consumption on a large scale is highly inefficient and wastes tons of water. 2500 gallons per pound of beef in your kitchen, over 500 gals per gallon of milk.
-extracted oils are not whole foods
-low fat anything is not a whole food.

My current understanding of human dietetics is that we evolved in a gardened, not farmed, landscape, grazing on roots, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, both fresh and dried with our staples being nuts and seeds skillfully gathered and processed into small cooked and dried “cakes,” mostly by the women and children, that we could carry around.
This was supplemented and mixed with various animal products that mostly the men killed and processed via highly skilled hunting techniques. Meat in my vernacular means any/all animal based muscles and organs.

Thus our pre-agricultural, Paleolithic diet consisted mostly of nuts, seeds, vegetables, roots, some fruit and muscle and organ based meats:
thus 60-70% of calories came from vegetable based oils and proteins, 10-20% from animal based oils proteins
and most food was cooked. Raw foods and fruits only consisted of the last 10-20%.
This of course varied according to climate, season and region with extreme northerners eating little to no, vegetables, i.e. the Inuit, but most pre-ag humans lived in the tropical to temperate areas of the Earth.

Note the lack of carbohydrates, particularly grains and sugar. Sugar is the worst, most toxic and highly addictive substance known in our diet. It damages arteries directly, causing cholesterol to patch the damage thus building up to obstruct arteries large and small. When single cell sized, arterial capillaries (arterial, arteries deliver fresh blood, veins carry away “depleted” blood) in the brain are damaged and burst, brain cells die.
Eliminating sugar and gluten allows the brain and body to heal, rebalance and grow new tissue including neurons and neural nets in the brain and throughout the body, potentially reversing nearly all the damage that leads to heart disease, diabetes, dementia, cancer etc… now this is not a cure all but is a big insidious problem along with others in our culture, but one you can control.

So, please learn to appreciate fats. 70% of calories should come from fats. Our brains, all neurons throughout our bodies and all cell walls are mostly made of fat, cholesterol. Most animal fats are not healthy, clarified butter and eggs being the only exceptions as they are great brain foods. So eat lots of vegetables, large variety, goodly amounts of nuts and seeds and some fruits and meats.

When we ingest sugar or carbs the liver takes the excess and converts it to body fat for storage. This is very difficult for the body to reverse and use as glucose as needed. When we eat healthy fats high in omega 3snthe liver breaks down the fats and stores the parts within itself, in the liver. These constituents can then be easily converted into glucose as needed when the blood sugar drops too low. This is our first line of defense during low blood sugar, then if starvation proceeds the body begins to eat itself from within first body fat is used and then muscle…

The best oils are coconut, olive, almond and avocado for cooking and eating daily. Avocado has the highest burn temp for stir frying followed by coconut, almond, olive. Do not eat any burn oil especially animal fats.
The best animal fats and meats are wild salmon and sardines with other fishes a close second.
Occasional fowl meats are good with all other land animals being least desirable and of those wild meats are better.

I have come to the conclusion that the agricultural revolution was not as beneficial as we were taught by our modern corporate based culture. And that sugar, carbs and gluten are potentially deadly and at least very detrimental.
Since the ag revolution, our brains have shrunk, we are less intelligent, have lower memory capacity, less overall strength, live shorter lives, have more disease and the Earth is in dire straits due to our population explosion which is due to our ever increasing food supply. There are many benefits but mostly in economies of scale not health. Our modern technology would likely have developed anyway, but quite differently obviously and likely only after the discovery of petroleum.
During Paleolithic times most humans knew their entire landscape in three dimensions. This took a bigger brain with millions more neural connections. Only taxi drive in NYC and London even come close to this level of connections before computers and GPS.

Now, I am not advocating a return to a total Paleo lifestyle, that would be impossible, however I do advocate a basic Paleolithic diet based on vegetable based oils as noted above. As you may know PCD primarily focuses on growing food based on natural and ancient principles, however the PCD principles can be applied to everything humans do and I agree with and live by PCD since the late eighties. I know in my heart that using PCD will save humanity once we hit critical mass.

It seems to me that our current cultural experiment in capitalism is collapsing and a return to tribal based ways of making a living will prove successful. I believe the tribal lifestyle is the only successful lifestyle we humans have ever invented and it is still successful today in infinite variety.

Anyway, I appreciate your attention and hope you come to similar conclusions upon your own research and experience and share your teachings for the benefit of the Earth First! so that seven generations hence we will have created a healthy, sustainable culture once again.

My sources are varied and many but my current favorites for info I have studied over the past 30 years that is only now being published are the following:
Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael series and teaching aides.
Dr. David Perlmutter, PhD, The Grain Brain.
Dr Mario Martinez, The Body Mind Code
Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing
Layna Berman, ND weekly talk show on KPFA, Tuesday’s 1 pm.
http://www.kpfa.org is the worlds oldest, original community radio station, originator of the Pacifica news network with 6 stations around the USA and a global network of reporters and stations.
Support community radio.

Salud a Madre Tierra, Muchas Gracias,
Always think of how our actions affect the Earth First!

Yours for New and Healthier Times, with Love and Gratitude
Turtle

They forget my personal fave… cashew milk. Easy to make and sooo yummy!

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