7 alternatives to cow’s milk

Most of us have consumed or continue to consume large quantities of milk. This food has been with us since childhood, but do we really need it to live?

Animal milk has negative effects on the body because it is not physiologically suitable for digestion and absorption. From the fifth year of life, an enzyme called lactase, which digests lactose – cow’s milk proteins – starts becoming inactive, which gives us the first symptoms of disturbed digestion (flatulence, heartburn, problems with vitamin absorption, gut affliction, etc.). 

Animal milk also contains casein, which is not tolerated by 60% of the population.

The final problem is the actual composition of milk.Unfortunately, milk from cows fed with GMO feed and feeds containing antibiotics and hormones will contain these substances. The next step is pasteurization of milk, which gives us a useless liquid full of undesirable substances.

Food preferences often do not go hand in hand with health. So if you voluntarily or for health reasons decide to give up cow’s milk, be sure to find out which vegetable milk is right for you.


Rice milk

Rice milk has a sweet aftertaste and a smooth texture. This milk is created by mixing boiled rice with water. When you add enzymes to this mixture, the starch turns into sugar, which gives it the sweet taste. As with other alternatives, rice milk is often enriched with calcium and Vitamin D, which helps maintain strong bones.

The advantage of rice milk is that it is a hypoallergenic product, which makes it safe for people with dairy, nut, or soy sensitivity. They will also be appreciated by people suffering from mucositis, stomach ulcers, lactose intolerance, and casein intolerance.

It is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Rice milk does not contain gluten, so it can be used by people with celiac disease.

The disadvantage of rice milk is that it has a higher level of carbohydrates than other types of milk. Depending on where the rice was grown, it may contain arsenic, which can cause cancer and increase the risk of heart disease.

Irrigation of rice crops with groundwater containing arsenic has only been reported in Southeast Asia, but much more research is needed to determine if popular rice milk products contain any traces of arsenic. Therefore, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid this product as a preventative measure.


Soy milk

Of all plant-derived drinks, only soy milk matches cow’s milk in terms of nutrients. It is produced by soaking, crumbling, and cooking soy. Squeeze the water from the soy properly to isolate the liquid.

Soy milk does not contain lactose, which makes it suitable for people with lactose intolerance. It also reduces the risk of cancer and atherosclerotic and cardiac diseases.

However, remember not to consume more than 50 g of soybean per day because it can disturb the functioning of the digestive tract. Consumption of a larger amount may have negative health effects, such as diarrhea, flatulence, vomiting fever, and goiter.


Almond milk

Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts. They are a rich source of protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals, including copper, magnesium, zinc, riboflavin, folic acid, and Vitamin B and E (Vitamin E is an antioxidant that improves cell health and promotes healthy skin). It is formed by grinding almonds soaked in water. The resulting mixture is filtered using a sieve to remove solids.

Almond milk is low in calories. It reduces appetite and does not contain saturated fat.


Cashew nut milk

It has a delicate creamy texture and amazing taste. It is prepared in the same way as almond milk and is usually enriched with nutrients such as calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and zinc. Zinc plays a role in many different enzymatic reactions in the human body, including the production of testosterone.

Cashew nut milk is especially recommended in low-calorie diets. While cashews are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, the milk is low in calories. One glass of nuts is about 800 kcal, but one glass of milk from these nuts is 60 kcal. So if nutrition is your priority, you should just eat the nuts instead of drinking the milk. (More about nuts in the article: Something about nuts)


Hemp milk

If you are looking for an idea for instant homemade milk, hemp milk will be the best choice. If you are using shelled hemp seeds (a completely legal and edible version of cannabis), it is enough to blend them with water. Shelled hemp seeds do not need to soak, unlike many other seeds and grains. It is simple and quick to make. Fresh hemp milk is very tasty, has a delicate nutty-sunflower flavor, and most importantly, is very healthy.

Hemp milk provides a higher level of Omega-3 fats than other milk drinks. It is a good source of iron, unlike cow’s milk. Unlike soy, cannabis is never genetically modified, and it does not have typical allergens such as nuts, dairy, soy, or gluten.
Read here: Cannabis- the best source of Omega acids and proteins in the vegan diet


Coconut milk

Coconut milk from cartons is especially recommended for people who like coconut and are on a low-calorie diet because it contains much less fat than coconut milk from a can. It is made by adding filtered water to coconut fluid pressed from the grated coconut flesh.

Both the milk from the carton and the milk from the can have bactericidal, virucidal, and fungicidal properties. Therefore, people who suffer from acne or frequent infections and inflammations should introduce coconut milk in their diet.

Unfortunately, coconut milk contains only a small amount of protein, which makes it less filling, and no fiber.


Oat milk

Oat milk is similar to soy milk in taste, although the former has a lighter consistency.  It is an excellent choice for vegans, people with lactose intolerance, and those who are allergic to soy and nuts.

The advantage of this milk is that it contains fiber and folic acid as well as 15 vitamins and 10 minerals, including twice as much Vitamin A and more calcium than cow’s milk. One cup of oat milk covers as much as 36% of our daily calcium demand while an equal quantity of cow’s milk covers only 28%.

Officially, oat is considered a gluten-free product. However, it is not contraindicated for celiac disease or hypersensitivity to gluten as it contains avenin, which has a similar action on the intestine as gluten.

Cow’s milk substitutes can be found in general grocery stores, hypermarkets, and health food stores. However, we should not expect them to provide us with the same benefits as nuts, seeds, or grains.

Each alternative milk has a unique taste and nutritional value, but due to the overall low protein content, it may not meet all our nutritional requirements. Therefore, people following a vegan or vegetarian diet should take care to include the right amount of protein in their diets from other foods.


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