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Moooove over Bessie, there’s a new nut in town…

June 26, 2009

There has been recent debate about the different milks available on more popular blogs, of which I hope to become (hint hint) so help me out readers and guide others! Yup, I’m blunt like that :p I have been lactose intolerant much my life and have varied from drinking lactaid, soy, almond, but never cared for rice or hemp. I did the calorie counting with some which at certain times of my life drove my choices, but it always ended up with taste. So I sat down this afternoon and did some research and here is a brief summary of what I found.

I first want to address the issue of why we eat the foods we do. The USDA has built a health pyramid for a reason so the average human being can hopefully get a balanced diet. For example:

Grains: they give us our carbohydrates so we eat breads, pasta, rice, cereals, that are ideally whole grains and have fiber.

Veggies: lots of color, we get our vitamins and minerals, even calcium and a bundle of other nutrients.

Fruits: more nummy vitamins and minerals that are easily digested. If one has fruit juice, pure is better!

Protein: Choose lean protein, vary with fish, nuts, seeds, meat, bean, legumes, etc. The recommendation is 0.8g/kg for the average human.

Oils: There are many wonderful types of all sorts and flavors out now and these are important when used in proper serving sizes. They have essential fatty acids that our body needs.

AND

Milk: the main reason of this category is CALCIUM!! I could go on and on about how strange it is for your yogurt to have six grams of fiber, but how much calcium does it have? If you’re eating a balanced diet you should be getting plenty of fiber from your grains, fruits, and veggies. Dairy, Soy, and Homemade Almond milk are also a good serving of one ounce of protein, but once again, that should not be your focus, you should make sure your product has at least 20-30% calcium. Vitamins A and D are also important, as the calcium cannot be absorbed without vitamin D.

Okay, ya ya, we’ve all see the pyramid, but what about the milks? There has been a long going debate about soy and whether or not it’s good for you and one thing you have to be careful about when reading these studies is, are they put on by the soy manufacture themselves? This is the bare bone nitty gritty:

DAIRY MILK: It is difficult for many people to digest because it clogs the intestines with mucus. It has been related to respirtaory and heart problems. About 60% of the world are lactose intolerant and others get extremely sluggish after consuming dairy (making sense to the old wives tale of drink a warm glass of milk before going to bed). The hormones and steroids the cows are treated with are actually more harmful to humans and the acidic conditions that dairy creates in the body actually pulls calcium away from the bones. However, some studies have shown that raw dairy milk which can be found, may be a more healthy choice.

SOY: I found so many articles on soy milk, but throughout them a main theme ran through and it actually surprised me, soy is not as great as we all think it is. Soy has a phytic acid property that actually inhibits the absorption of other nutrients. Both soy milk and tofu tend to be heavily processed which we all know when trying to consume whole foods is never a good thing. The less processed a food the better. It lacks both vitamin A and D which is vital for proper absorption of minerals and other water soluble vitamins. On a more positive note, it was found in many articles that fermented soy products are safe such as tempeh and miso, and if you do use soy products, look for non-GMO. If you are interested in a more in depth article, check out The Ploy of Soy.

ALMOND MILK: Almond Breeze definitely took the markets by storm after it got its never-ending Hungry Girl endorsements. It is popular among dieters for it’s sweet taste and low calorie count but when one actually looks at the label they question it’s nutritional value, and that’s because, sadly, there is little to none in commercially produced almond milk. However, homemade nut milks are probably by far you best alternative for a truly delicious, wholesome, and truly nutritious dairy alternative. Almond milk is high in Vitamins K and E, as well as so many minerals such as  copper, magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants. It’ is also high in phosphorus and mangaese to help maintain healthy bones. The reason commercially produced milk has so little nutritional value, is probably due to the low ratio of almonds used per carton which is drastically different than the method used to make nut milks at home. While all the recipes I’ve found are done with a Vitamix, I’m going to see if I can’t figure out something between my food processor and trusty blender this weekend, I was sure convinced!


Coconut Milk: This is pretty new still and when I tried to research it, all I found was stuff in regards to the coconut milk in the can and I’m pretty sure people were wondering about the Turtle Mountain Product.  When I checked it out at the store today, the main claims were the Essential Fatty Acids it had. It was low cal, had only 10% calcium, but did sound mighty tasty!! If the only benefit is the EFA’s, then I wouldn’t debate, wouldn’t it just be better to get it from oils and such? I can’t really say as of now, as I have not tasted it, but I have had their ice cream, and I would eat that over oil anyday :p

So after all of this, I’m sure you will drink what you enjoy, but remember to drink to your health as well. Having been a commercial almond drinker for the last bit (I go in kicks) I’m going to give homemade almond milk a shot, I’m sure you’ll see photos 🙂

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2009 8:00 am

    Great post. I’m with ya on the soy, although I do enjoy fermented soy products.

    I’ll email you regarding the homemade nut milk – you can totally make them without a Vita-Mix…and yes, give me coconut milk ice-cream over oil any day. 🙂

  2. June 27, 2009 4:05 pm

    Hooray for almond milk!!!!!!

    And I’m with you on soy, Ms. Faith.

  3. June 27, 2009 5:21 pm

    Great post! I like almond milk and recently got excited to see hazelnut milk on the shelves too… and then I got upset that there was no unsweetened version of it.

  4. June 28, 2009 1:11 am

    interesting article. ya know, i seem to have no problem enjoying cow’s milk, but mark gets terrible headaches and sticks to soy. i’ve heard hemp milk is also delicious.

  5. June 29, 2009 5:12 pm

    Your best bet when it comes to calcium is actually going to be with produce. Leafy greens…kale, collard greens, bok choy, turnip greens, etc. The countries that have the highest intake of dairy products also have the highest incidence of osteoporosis

    .

    • cottchz permalink*
      June 30, 2009 6:43 am

      These are great alternatives! However, you have to eat ALOT of them, sometimes up to 4 cups. Also, some people have trouble digesting them as well. Let’s be honest, produce is just great all in all, and when it comes to diet, everyone has to fine tune it for themselves. Thanks for your addition!

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