Are all milk substitutes healthy?
In my opinion, not really!
With so many of us looking for dairy alternatives like Soy, Almond, coconut, oat,rice or hemp milk… there have been so many new varieties of non-dairy milks popping up in our food stores.
While these milk substitutes sound good according to the claims on the packages, the ingredients in these processed products tell a different story.
Here are some reasons to think twice before buying non-dairy milks:
Does it contain CARRAGEENAN?
Carrageenan sounds seemingly harmless right?– after all it’s natural as its is derived from red seaweed found throughout the coasts of North America and Europe. It is used in some organic products, as a thickener, stabilizer, and/or emulsifier, it is used in dairy products (sour cream, yogurt, ice cream, etc),dairy alternatives (non-dairy milk, non-dairy cheese, jams jellies etc), deli meat products, toothpastes, prescription pills, and a heap of other things.
As it turns out, several studies in the early 2000s suggested that a certain type of carrageenan — degraded carrageenan, which has been hydrolyed, or broken down by acid. Some research links carrageenan to gastrointestinal inflammation, lesions, and even colon cancer in animals. Individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease or other gastrointestinal disorders are cautioned to avoid this ingredient as it can make symptoms – and inflammation – even worse.
For many people the stomach acid is a little stronger than other people and so their stomach breaks the molecule down further, allowing it to be passed into the blood when it normally wouldn’t be, and as a result it turns into a carcinogen that the body attacks with an immune response, which in my case is inflammation of the digestive tracks and then inflammation of the skin.
Like many other food additives, carrageenan has been deemed safe for consumption in small quantities. As it’s in many process foods (even the good organic ones!) just limiting your intake of these foods will limit your intake of additives like carrageenan.
With all my allergies I will always continue my research (if you’re doing the same, here‘s a great place to start) and be more mindful of the additives that are in the products that we buy.
Check out this research on carrageenan see this PDF document
If you have any tummy bloating, pain, discomfort please look into this ingredient and make your own informed opinion.
What about Natural flavours”?
There is nothing pure or natural about the flavors they produce – strawberry and vanilla can come from a “beaver’s backside,” according to the Givaudan scientists. Most of us know artificial flavors derived from petroleum aren’t good for us,
Natural flavor can legally contain natural occurring “glutamate” bi-products like MSG, some of the chemicals that cause your taste buds to experience irresponsibility when it comes to food.
I want to know EXACTLY what is in the food that I eat. That is why I prepare most of my food from scratch.
I highly recommend watching this clip below
Meet the scientists who create flavors that make foods and beverages so tasty that critics say they’re addictive
Any Added Synthetic and Isolated Vitamin?
Vitamin D2 is a synthetic and isolated form of the vitamin and, as a result, is extremely poorly absorbed (here’s the study). It offers no viable benefit to the body and may actually be harmful. Some experts believe that D2 actually desentitizes the D3 receptors, making us more prone to vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin A only creates toxicity in uber-extreme doses, moderate overdoses of synthetic vitamin A can cause toxicity (read more about synthetic vs. natural vitamin A) efficiency!
Isolated calcium, is not going to be optimally absorbed by the body. Best explained on this post
What about Locust bean gum and Guar Gum?
If you have gut issues, it would probably be best to avoid locust bean gum and Guar Gum.
Do they contain refined vegetable oils?
Most nut or seed milks contain refined canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower seed oil, and/or soybean oil.
Corn and soy oils are heavily-sprayed and 90% is from GMO crops.
Vegetable oils are extracted with toxic solvents as well as high heat and pressure, that become rancid and toxic.
What about Soy Milk?
When it comes to non-dairy milk options, soy milk is by far the worst choice.
Soy contains high amounts of phytoestrogens which may cause hormone damage by consuming soy products.
Over 90% of soy produced in the U.S. is genetically modified and the crops are sprayed with the herbicide Roundup, which may be associated with adverse effects on health.
Read more about soy here
- Soy is super high in mineral-blocking phytic acid.
- Soy impairs thyroid function which lowers metabolism. This leads to hair thinning, skin problems, and weight gain.
- Soy contains substances that interfere with protein digestion. This can cause serious pancreas problems, including pancreatic cancer.
What about coconut milk?
Coconut has an excellent fatty acid profile with lots of fat burning medium chain fatty acids and very little PUFA. But we have to be careful when buying coconut milks because they can have the same problems of other milk substitutes.
I don’t recommend buying cartons of coconut milk, because these often contain carrageenan. The best option coconut milk in BPA-free cans and additive-free, although the can lining likely still leaches chemicals into the milk.
So what can you use instead!
Find some brands that don’t contain any of these ingredients, now that you are armed with this knowledge read the label.
In my option, the best non-dairy milk is homemade is best, it is super easy!
I love coconut milk.
Make a couple of batches and keep some in the freezer. It will last about 3-4 days in the fridge, and months in the freezer.
Homemade coconut milk instructions
- 4 cups water
- 1.5 – 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- Heat water until hot (but not boiling).
- Add shredded coconut and water to blender (preferably a Vitamix!) If all of the water won’t fit, you can add it in two batches.
- Blend on high for several minutes until thick and creamy.
- Pour through a colander to filter out the coconut pulp, then squeeze through a cheesecloth
or nutmilk bag to filter the smaller pieces of coconut.
- If you separated the water into two batches, put the strained coconut back into the blender with the second batch of water.
- Drink immediately or store in the fridge. Fresh coconut milk should be used within 3-4 days of making it for the best flavour and texture.
So why are these ingredients allowed in our organic foods? watch this quick video
Mark Kastel Presentation About Organic Watergate