I think it's time to create a new series here on the blog. Nothing weekly, but something every so often where we can all chat about FOOD! I'd like to call it, "Let's Chat About...". The first topic I wanted to chat about was milk, specifically dairy-free and plant-based (obviously). So let's chat!
The dairy industry is horrible. There is nothing else to say. You all know I am dairy-free and choose to be because of ethical reasons being number 1, and some sketchy sensitivity results.
No one needs dairy. Our bodies were not made to digest it. That's why over 75% of humans do not contain the enzyme Lactase to digest Lactose (the sugar in dairy). Each mammal has their own milk formulated for their young. Humans have their mother's breast milk. Calves have their mother's milk. Self explanatory. Why would you drink another mammal's milk when it was not created for you? You're actually stealing it away from a calf. Which brings me to the horrors of the dairy industry.
"At least 5 million cows raised for milk in the United States live on factory farms under conditions that cause them tremendous suffering. They do not graze contentedly in fields; they live in cramped, concrete-floored milking pens where they are milked by machines that often cause cuts and injuries that would not occur if people did the milking.
In addition, while many consumers have heard about the cruelty of the veal industry, most people don’t know that the dairy and veal industries are inextricably linked. Cows, like humans, only give milk after they’ve had a baby. Thus, in the eyes of the farmer, the cows’ offspring are simply a byproduct of this milk-production cycle. Perhaps the greatest pain suffered by cows in the dairy industry is the repeated loss of their young, which is quite traumatic to these extremely maternal animals. Female calves may join the ranks of the milk producers, but the males are generally taken from their mothers within 24 hours of birth and sold at auction either for the notorious veal industry or to beef producers.
Within 60 days, the cow will be impregnated again. For about seven months of her next nine-month pregnancy, the cow will continue to be milked for the fluid meant for her older calf—and this cycle is repeated until her milk production wanes, at which time she is sent to slaughter, most likely to be ground up into fast-food burgers. Calves will continue to suffer as long as there is a market for dairy products." (source)
That's only the light version. These mommy cows are impregnated, stripped of their baby, drained of their milk (that is FOR the baby) until there is nothing left, and then the process is repeated until they can't stand any longer and die a premature death. I can't even handle this horror. Fun fact (scary fact): Because the cows are milked with brutal rough machines, puss, blood, etc. is frequently in the milk supply. Just so you know. (Not to mention the hormones added to conventional dairy).
Plus, we don't need dairy to get calcium. Our bodies were designed to get dairy from real foods. Take a look at real food calcium content: (source)
Collards (1 cup) 357mg
Spinach (1cup) 291mg
Blackeyed Peas (1cup) 211mg
Calcium set tofu (3oz) 163mg
Canned Baked Beans (1cup) 154mg
Broccoli (280g – 1 stalk) 112mg
Green Peas (1cup) 94mg
Fortified Soymilk (1 cup) 93mg
Kale (1 cup) 93mg
Oranges (1 cup) 72mg
Almonds (1 oz - 24 almonds) 70mg
Here is another gem if your worried about not getting enough calcium: (source)
"Osteoporosis? You don’t need milk, or large amounts of calcium, for bone integrity. In fact, the rate of fractures is highest in milk-drinking countries, and it turns out that the keys to bone strength are lifelong exercise and vitamin D, which you can get from sunshine. Most humans never tasted fresh milk from any source other than their mother for almost all of human history, and fresh cow’s milk could not be routinely available to urbanites without industrial production. The federal government not only supports the milk industry by spending more money on dairy than any other item in the school lunch program, but by contributing free propaganda as well as subsidies amounting to well over $4 billion in the last 10 years."
This article is also awesome and full of everything. I like this the most "2. Less dairy, better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis."
Plus, if you want some insurance, just take a calcium supplement. It isn't the best, but it can help just a bit. I take 1 pill supplement with dinner of Calcium Citrate with D that has 315mg Calcium and 200mg of D per pill. Just a little extra, but I eat gallons of greens, broccoli, beans, nuts, etc. so I am not worried. My heavy strength training also plays a number 1 role in keeping my bones super strong! (Get lifting!)
Now I have a treat for you. Never fear switching to plant-based milks. It is as easy and 1, 2, 3,...4, 5. Haha! Look!
Want an even more exact recipe? I finally made my own nut milk over the summer and it was so much fun! I made a mix of almond and cashew and it tasted so fresh and clean.
Homemade Raw Almond Cashew Milk
Ingredients: (serves 5, 5 cups)
+ 1 Cup Raw Almonds
+ ½ Cup Raw Cashews
+ Soak 1 cup of almonds and ½ cup cashews in 3 cups of water overnight (10/12 hours).
+ Drain and rinse the nuts.
+ Place the soaked nuts in a high-powered blender with 5 cups of water. (You can add some stevia or a date to sweeten the milk, but I did not.)
+ Bland until there are no nuts left and the water is white! Strain the milk into a bowl using a nut pulp bag or cheese cloth to capture the nut pulp.
+ Squeeze the bag or cloth with all your might until you get no more drops of milk out of it!
+ Pour the milk in a closable container or large jar and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before drinking. (Lasts for about 4-5 days).
+ Save you nut pulp for baking! Just let it dry and then freeze it flat in a plastic bag of later!
You can use these plant-based milks as a substitute for dairy in any recipe. Obviously, lighter milks, like almond act like skim milk (depending on how much water you use). Coconut milk (culinary and canned) are used for thick recipes like curry or even to make pie fillings! If you need buttermilk, just add 1 tablespoon of acid like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of milk!
Really, what prompted me to write this post was the fact that my beloved unsweetened Silk almond milk (which by the way, has 50% MORE calcium than dairy) has been NO WHERE to be found in DC. Safeway didn't have it for the last few weeks and I had to try the unsweetened vanilla almond milk which was really good! Then last week, they had no silk almond milks at all! I had to look in Whole Foods but found out they don't even carry and Silk milk products (WTF?!). So I found this gem of unsweetened Flax Seed Milk by Good Karma Foods. It is carrageen-free (carrageen is a questionable additive ingredient in a lot of plant-based milks (to make it creamy, etc.) that may be linked to bad health outcomes and digestive upsets) just like Silk so I went for it. I am so happy I did too because it is amazing! And like I shared on Friday, I am on the look out for Silk's new Cashew Milk! Ah!
So tell me:
+ Let's Chat! Let me know you thoughts on the dairy industry and plant-based milks!
+ What is your go-to store-bought plant-based milk?
*Recipe linking up for the week! Allergy Free Wednesdays, #RecipeFridays, #RecipeOfTheWeek, #StrangeButGood, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Friday, Gluten-Free Fridays, Tasty Tuesdays, Savoring Saturdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, #WeekendBites, Real Food Recipe Roundup, Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Meatless Mondays, Lena’s Tasty Tuesdays!*
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