When we speak, we often come across women who are allergic to different foods. Recognizing the great number of people who cannot ingest wheat, or any of its by-products, Dan Oaks, President of DVO, has just come out with a wonderful CD on Gluten-Free Recipes
. Another issue many face is being lactose intolerant. Below are some ideas as to alternatives.
There are several good reasons to question the quality of our milk today. Due to the use of steroids now being given to cows, many people (besides those who are vegan, allergic, or are lactose intolerant), are looking for alternatives to the milk issue.
(Some Material from Melissa Breyer, Producer of Care2 Green Living)
is the enzyme produced in our small intestine that breaks down lactose, the natural sugar in any milk. In toddler-hood we begin producing less lactase. It is the reduction of lactase that leads to lactose intolerance — which is the inability to properly digest milk.
Millions of Americans are lactose intolerant, and an estimated 90 percent of Asian-Americans and 75 percent of Native- and African-Americans suffer from the condition. Lactose intolerance can cause bloating, gas, cramps, vomiting, headaches, rashes, and asthma.
Having a milk allergy
is different: in this case the body has an allergic reaction to one or more of the proteins in milk (casein, whey, and lactalbumin). Milk allergies can incite gastric distress, as well as skin problems like rashes and eczema, and runny noses or nasal congestion.
The Calcium Issue
Here’s a good one.
According to an authoritative article by Anne Karpf in the British newspaper The Guardian, the issue of calcium and milk consumption was “explored exhaustively.” Here is just one fascinating fact she doles out: “American women are among the biggest consumers of calcium in the world, yet still have one of the highest levels of osteoporosis in the world…Most Chinese people eat and drink no dairy products and consume only half the calcium of Americans…yet osteoporosis is uncommon in China despite an average life expectancy of 70.” She goes on to propose that the bone loss and deteriorating bone tissue that take place in osteoporosis are due not to calcium deficiency but rather to its resorption: it’s not that our bodies don’t get enough calcium, rather that they excrete too much of what they already have.
One of the reasons that milk is so popular is because it’s an excellent source of fortified (added) calcium, B12, riboflavin, and vitamin D. Therefore, read the labels
to make sure that what you are buying as an alternative has been fortified
Also, when selecting a milk alternative be sure to compare nutritional labels
. You’ll be amazed by the amount of sugar some of these products have. One popular brand of soy milk rang in with a dizzying 19 grams of sugar per serving: that’s the equivalent of almost five teaspoons of sugar!
With only 2 grams of protein per 8 ounces, almond milk is not that impressive in the protein department—but almonds are one of the healthiest foods around. They’re rich in magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, and calcium. Almond milk has a nice sweet, nutty flavor and a good consistency, which makes it good for drinking as well as a good dairy substitute in cooking.
A personal favorite: Hemp milk is new to the market and is made from seeds grown in Canada, where growing hemp is legal. It is a good source of omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids, calcium, and phosphorous, and is commonly fortified with other vitamins and minerals. One (very delicious) brand, Living Harvest, states that unlike soy protein, hemp protein doesn’t contain high levels of enzyme inhibitors, phytates, which can interfere with the proper assimilation of essential minerals, or oligosaccharides which cause flatulence and stomach distress.
Oat milk is gaining in popularity and availability. It is high in fiber, is cholesterol and lactose free, and contains vitamin E, folic acid, and other trace elements and minerals. Oats are also rich in phytochemicals, naturally occurring chemicals in plants that help fight diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke. It is said to be highly tolerated by people with multiple allergies — however it’s not good for people with gluten intolerance
Rice milk is processed from brown rice and typically contains rice syrup, evaporated cane juice or another natural sweetener. It is usually fortified with calcium or vitamin D. It is generally very sweet, and pretty watery. The main drawback of rice milk is that it is mainly just a source of carbohydrates
— it is a good dairy substitute for cooking, but shouldn’t be used as a replacement for nutrients.
There was a time when soy was considered nothing short of a miracle bean. But times have changed. The preponderance of GMO strains drifting into soy fields is alarming (it is estimated that 90 percent of soy is genetically modified), and people are increasingly acquiring quite serious allergies to soy.
If you drink a lot of soy milk, you might want to read the arguments about possible health issues associated with soy. Dr. Kaayle Daniel, author of the book The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Health Food says: “Soy isoflavones–the plant estrogens in soy most often credited with cancer prevention–are listed as carcinogens in many toxicology textbooks.
They have also been proven to be mutagenic, clastogenic and teratogenic.” Excessive soy intake has also been linked to an increased risk of thyroid disease, and some feel that soy’s phytoestrogens may attenuate testosterone levels in boys. The jury may still be out on soy, but the bottom line might just be that soy milk is significantly more processed than the other milk alternatives.