Healthy Milk Alternatives

Following my brief review of the 3-A-Day of Dairy Weight Loss Program yesterday, I was curious about what healthy milk alternatives are available to people who don’t eat products that contain cow’s milk. Many moons ago I tried a vegan diet for about six months and during that time I diligently steered clear of all foods made with animal products. Being a novice at vegan dieting however, I only substituted cow’s milk products, such as milk and cheese, with soy products. Even at that time, many years ago now, there were some other wonderful and tasty milk alternatives that I failed to try. So today I hope to broaden my own knowledge about the various alternatives to cow’s milk that are available and perhaps I will give a couple a try.

Whether you have lactose intolerance, an allergy to dairy or simply want to make a diet change, there are a number of healthy milk alternatives to choose from.

Whether you have lactose intolerance, an allergy to dairy or simply want to make a diet change, there are a number of healthy milk alternatives to choose from.

Some may wonder why even bother having milk alternatives. After all, dairy is full of nutrients, such as calcium, potassium and protein. However, consuming cow’s milk is not something everyone can do. Some people need to avoid dairy products because they are lactose intolerant (inability to digest milk sugar), others have an allergy to milk, some avoid it because of the fat content while others simply dislike the taste of it or choose not to drink it for lifestyle choices or beliefs (e.i. vegetarian or vegan). Regardless of the reason, for those who cannot consume dairy products, there are a good number of healthy alternatives that can be enjoyed.

The most common healthy milk alternatives available are the following:

Goat’s Milk – Goat’s milk, although made from an animal, is a wonderful cow’s milk substitute for people with dairy allergies. Although the full reason for this is still not fully understood, initial studies have shown that goat’s milk lacks certain proteins that are contained in cow’s milk and known to cause allergic reactions. Thus, for people with an allergy to cow’s milk products, goat’s milk products, including goat’s milk and goat cheese, may be eaten instead. From an overall health perspective, goat’s milk is a rich source of calcium, the amino acid tryptophan, protein, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and potassium.

This past summer I decided to buy some goat’s milk to try instead of cow’s milk because I have often felt that I have a sensitivity to dairy. I must say, though, that the taste of goat’s milk is an acquired one, at least for me. Although most people will say that goat’s milk tastes very similar to cow’s milk, but with a milder taste, I would tend to disagree. I found that it had a rather “lamby” flavor and since I’m not a big fan of lamb I was disappointed to have to throw most of the milk away. So, if you haven’t tried goat’s milk before I suggest you buy a small amount to try first before stocking up.

Soymilk – Soymilk is the primary alternative that many people turn to when they are needing a healthy milk alternative. Soymilk is almost nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk, but has more fiber and has also been found to reduce cholesterol levels. It even has antioxidant properties because it contains isoflavones. Other health benefits of soymilk include increased bone health, reduced risk of heart disease and prostate problems. That being said, compared to milk from a cow, the soy alternative offers less calcium, but some products have actually been fortified with calcium to take care of this issue.

Soymilk is an excellent choice for people who cannot tolerate dairy. There are numerous soy products available, such as soy cheese (in all sorts of varieties, such as cheddar, mozzarella, feta and cheese slices), soy yogurt and even soy ice cream. The flavor of soymilk is very mild and many varieties are sold flavored with chocolate or vanilla, which are delicious. One thing to remember with soymilk, however, is that most brands are not low-cal. If calories are a concern for you then look for a lower calorie soy milk brand, such as Soy Slender.

Almond Milk – This product is rich in magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, calcium, as well as the antioxidants selenium and vitamin E. It is also very low in cholesterol and has few calories. It is quite the healthy option and if you don’t want to buy almond milk from the store, which can be pricey, you can try making it at home. There are a number of recipes for making almond milk available online.

Rice Milk – While rice milk is considered to be an ideal source of carbohydrates, it is not the best nutritionally-speaking and is really only useful when utilized for the purpose of adding flavor or for cooking. Also, some people choose to drink rice milk over soymilk because there is concern consuming soy products may cause health problems (for more information, see the post “How Healthy Are Soy Products?“).

Hemp Milk – This milk is made from hemp plant seeds and is recognized for providing a good source of calcium, omega fatty acids, protein and other minerals and vitamins.

Oat Milk – High in fiber, cholesterol and lactose free, oat milk offers folic acid, vitamin E and many other healthy minerals.

TAYO Milk – This is a 100% non-dairy beverage that is high in calcium, protein and contains nine essential vitamins and minerals. It is low in calories and sugar when compared to milk and contains zero fat, cholesterol, lactose and gluten. This particular liquid is made from potatoes and is, therefore, a vegetable based milk. Best of all, it is healthy and tastes great and can be enjoyed by itself or added to cereal, coffee, tea and in cooking.

As you can see there are a variety of healthy milk alternatives available if you are looking for options. Therefore, be sure to try different ones to see which you prefer in terms of both taste and nutrition.

Other Related Posts and Articles you May Find Interesting: “3-A-Day of Dairy Weight Loss Program”, “Link Between Vitamin D and Weight Loss” and “Weight Loss Vitamins in Your Diet”.

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2 comments to Healthy Milk Alternatives

  • Lisa

    You didn’t even mention the best-tasting healthy alternative to dairy milk! So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverages are high in vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin B12 and also provide all the nutritional benefits of the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut. Our family loves them!

  • Oh, you are so right, I forgot about this one. A friend of mine is lactose intolerant and treated me to some coconut milk ice cream this summer. Wow it was good. Thanks for your addition.

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