Dare to Skip Dairy

Our daily lattes and favorite cheeses are telling of our dairy craze. Cow’s milk is an excellent source of protein, calcium (135 mg in an 8-ounce serving), and other vitamins and minerals. Lately however, the quality of milk repeatedly gets a bad rap with concerns about synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides, which could have dangerous effects on our health in the long run.

65% of the population has intolerance to lactose, the sugar found in milk, causing symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and gas whenever consumed. On top of that, saturated fat and cholesterol in whole milk and full-fat dairy increases the risk of heart disease and obesity. The best choice is to consume milk wisely and in limited quantities. However, those who are lactose intolerant, vegan or for any other reason cannot drink milk have turned to these delicious dairy alternatives and they do not disappoint:

  1. 1. Almond milk – This alternative has a sweet, nutty flavor and also confers the benefits of the nut, which is high in Oleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid that reduces blood pressure. Almond milk has no naturally occurring sugars, so it won’t send your blood sugar rising. A cup contains 20% of your daily Vitamin E needs, which is good for your skin and helps protect against sun damage. Be sure to get unsweetened and, if possible, organic almond milk to truly reap the benefits.

  2. Cashew milk - Creamy and rich with a nuttiness a notch down from almond milk, cashew milk is also a great alternative that taste very close to the real deal. A cup contains 50% of your daily Vitamin E needs (more than almond milk!), which is great for the skin. It’s also low in calories, only containing 25 calories per cup of unsweetened cashew milk.  Be sure to get unsweetened and, if possible, organic cashew milk to truly reap the benefits of this drink.

  3. Soy milk – Soymilk is a healthy substitution for cow’s milk and has been so for many years. It also provides the benefits of the heart-healthy soy bean. Soy is rich in Phytoestrogen, which is essential in the prevention of prostate cancer and the alleviation of Postmenopausal symptoms. Shedding some weight? Soy milk can help as its monounsaturated fatty acids inhibits the absorption of fat. Be sure to get unsweetened and, if possible, organic soy milk to truly reap the benefits of this drink.

We love the creaminess of milk-based foods and drinks but there are many more ways to get the goodness of dairy and skip its downsides. Retailers and restauranteurs alike are giving us more options to be healthy so keep your eyes peeled for the ones that truly make difference in your pantry.