How safe is it to consume cow’s milk? We all have heard the slogans that milk does the body good and builds stronger bones… what we don’t hear is that we can consume leafy green vegetables, nuts, and legumes and still receive the same nutrients as are touted to be present in milk. The preparation of milk these days is not the same as it used to be. Many store bought milks contain GMO’s, antibiotics and hormone residue, which have been linked to allergies and health issues. Most people in the world stop consuming milk after they are weaned off from breast milk. They simply cannot digest it, just like baby calves stop drinking milk and move on to eating grass. Cow’s milk by nature is meant to feed baby cows, not humans of any age.
A few things to consider when picking up a gallon of milk from the grocery store:
- rBGH: Many corporations keep cows in filthy conditions. Some may even pump them full of the hormone rBGH to stimulate milk production. A problem side effect of this practice is mastitis or the infection of mammary tissue, which lead to milk contamination by pus and bacteria like MRS or eColi. rBGH is a scary substance, it is banned in the European Union and around the world which should be a big red flag. rBGH is also potentially liked to certain cancers, diabetes, and early onset puberty (click here to read more).
- Antibiotics and Hormone Residue: Cow’s kept in crowded conditions are often given antibiotics to treat the diseases they develop, residues from these treatments are passed on to the consumer.
- Cancer: Cow’s milk has been linked to some hormone sensitive cancers, like breast or prostate that are influenced by phytoestrogens.
- Allergies: Cow’s milk allergies are the most common allergy in infants and children.
If you are going to drink cow’s milk, you may want to consider drinking raw, grass-fed milk.
What’s the difference?
The milk you find on the grocery store shelves today has been pasteurized. Pasteurization is a process developed by Louis Pasteur that uses heat to kill potentially harmful bacteria. Sounds like a good thing right? When it comes to milk, many people believe pasteurization does more harm than good.
Pasteurization not only destroys harmful bacteria, but also beneficial bacteria, minerals like calcium and natural lactose. Pasteurization has been implemented in the American system, which raises cows in crammed cages that increase the risk of breeding dangerous bacteria. In the 1920’s raw, grass-fed milk and cheese were the norm and milk-borne diseases were rare.
Here are some other potential benefits of raw, grass-fed milk:
- Raw milk contains minerals, enzymes, protein and vitamins.
- Raw milk has all eight essential amino acids.
- Most of the proteins in raw milk are easy to digest.
- Raw milk contains beneficial bacteria that aids in digestion.
- Raw milk contains 62% more omega 3 fatty acids than conventional milk.
- Raw milk contains unadulterated lactose which aids in digestion and elimination.
There is a lot of regulation around the sale of raw milk, but many farms still sell it. To find your own local source of raw organic milk visit realmilk.com/real-milk-finder
Nut Milks Nutrition and Preparation
Today it is easy enough to find milk substitutes made from almonds, cashews, coconuts, hemp and soy. Nut milks also pack in nutrients, though they vary from milk to milk:
Almond Milk: 1 gram of protein per cup, contains calcium, magnesium and vitamin E.
Soy Milk: 6 grams of protein per cup, contains potassium.
Rice Milk: 1 gram of protein per cup, contains calcium and vitamin D.
Coconut Milk: 5 grams of protein per cup, contains magnesium, iron and vitamin C.
Hemp Milk: 3 grams of protein per cup, contains magnesium and vitamin B-12.
Some of the nut milk sold in grocery stores are still quite processed, contain a lot of sugar and a lot of them have carrageenan which has been linked to cancer. So, I like to make my own at home!
Homemade Almond Milk
- 1 cup raw almonds, unsalted, soaked overnight
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 pitted dates, if you want to add a little sweetness
- Pinch of sea salt
- Add the soaked almonds dates, salt and vanilla to a high speed blender, and slowly add in the water. Blend until creamy and smooth.
- Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth and collect it in a bowl. Milk is strained to get the right consistency. Discard pulp, or save for adding to baked goods.
- Transfer milk to a jar or glass bottle and refrigerate. It will remain fresh for a few days.
Sources: Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM, foodallergy.org, SELF, USDA