Who didn’t grow up watching the ads on TV all about how a glass of cows milk everyday was great for our bones, teeth and general health and wellbeing. The frosty glass of the white stuff was plugged at the doctors, the dentists and in the supermarkets as a superfood in the 80’s and 90’s. And then along came its alternatives, probably always available but never as popular as they are now, with all the same claims of benefits for our health and vitality and the slam of the good old cows milk began. For those with a cows milk intolerance, milk alternatives are a fantastic way to get the benefits and enjoyment from drinking milk, but what is the difference between them all?
Almond milk is a very tasty milk alternative, with a subtle nuttiness and a light texture. Almond milk is widely available in supermarkets and health food shops, but is often quite expensive. Luckily, it’s really easy to make your own at home.
Our Alternatives to Dairy post has a video link to show you just how easy it is. Or you can try this super-duper easy recipe:
- Soak one cup of almonds in water for six hours
- Drain and discard the water.
- Blend the almonds with three cups of fresh water and two dates until almost smooth.
- Strain with a cheesecloth or a nut milk bag then refrigerate for up to four days.
Almond milk is amazing in coffee and tea. It has a subtle nutty flavour and can make coffee taste hazelnutty, which is amaze-balls! It also does the same work as cream in scrambled eggs without overpowering and is great as the base for muesli or porridge because of its creamy texture. It’s also fabulous in quick bread based recipes like pancakes and waffles.
Almond milk does not contain cholesterol or lactose and although almond milk is high in antioxidant-rich vitamin E and low in fat, it contains much less protein than cow’s milk.
Coconut milk is luxurious, creamy, and decadent. Add coconut milk to smoothies for a match made in fruit-in-smoothies heaven. Coconut milk is high in healthy fat content, which makes it great for making ice cream, custards, whipped cream, patisserie cream, and in most cases where cream is called for. Try your next potato bake with it, you won’t look back!
Island populations around the world have used the coconut’s meat juice, milk and oil in everything from cooking to disease prevention. What you might not know is the unique fatty acids in coconut milk may aid weight loss, improve immune function, reduce heart disease risk and improve skin and hair health.
Coconut milk contains lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. The body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which may fight the viruses and bacteria that cause herpes, influenza and even HIV.
The medium-chain saturated fatty acids in coconut milk may also improve heart health.
The fatty acids in coconut milk are a natural antiseptic and may help treat dandruff, skin infections, wounds and dry, itchy skin. Furthermore, the high fatty acid content in coconut milk serves as a natural moisturizer for healthy skin and may help repair wrinkles and sagging in aging skin.
Cow’s milk is higher in calcium than most milks and is rich in protein. An excellent source of vitamins and minerals, it has long been recognised for its important role in bone health. Nutritionists recommend that milk and other dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese should be consumed daily as part of a balanced diet.
Cow’s milk products contain a good balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate and are a very important source of essential nutrients, including:
- vitamins A, and B12
Milk is an important source of nutrients for children. A glass of milk with a small amount of flavouring (such as one level teaspoon of chocolate powder) is a healthier option for children than other sugar-sweetened drinks such as soft drinks, flavoured waters, fruit drinks and cordials.
There are many types of cow milks on the market, including:
- Full cream full-cream milk contains around four per cent fat. For children up to the age of two years, full-cream milk is recommended.
- Reduced fat expect around half as much fat in reduced-fat milk as full cream. Children over the age of two years can drink reduced-fat milk.
- Skim milk contains a maximum of 0.15 per cent fat. There are some brands of reduced-fat and skim milk that have vitamin A and D added to replace the naturally occurring vitamins that are reduced when the fat is removed.
- Calcium enriched a 250 ml glass of calcium-enriched milk contains 408500 mg of calcium.
- Flavoured these milks can either be full cream or reduced fat. However, most varieties contain added sugar and should be consumed only sometimes.
- UHT (ultra-high temperature-treated) milk is treated with very high heat to allow milk to be stored for long periods.
- A2 – Most dairy milk today contains 2 main types of beta-casein protein, A2 and A1, while originally all dairy cows produced milk containing only the A2 type of beta-casein protein. A2 Milk comes from cows specially selected to produce A2 beta-casein protein rather than A1.
For years, some dairy milk manufacturers have engaged in the practice of diluting their milk with permeate without disclosing this fact to their customers. Permeate is a watery by-product of milk processing which is much cheaper than whole milk.
In response to heightened public awareness about the non-disclosure of permeate content by some milk manufacturers, in June 2012 several major milk brands started to remove permeate from their products and commenced advertising their milk as “permeate free” in the hope of regaining consumers’ trust.
Goat’s milk contains different proteins and fats to cow’s milk, making it easier for some people to digest. Goat’s milk is high in phosphorus, zinc, essential fatty acids and contains as much potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium as cow’s milk.
A recent study at the University of Granada study showed drinking goat’s milk regularly may help to reduce cholesterol levels, and support those with iron deficiency anaemia, since it helps to regenerate haemoglobin.
Some people find goat’s milk tastes unpleasant. It isn’t suitable for vegans, and still contains lactose, although this is lower than cow’s milk. Always look for goat’s milk that has been pasturised, warns dietitian Denise Griffiths . “Unpasteurised milk is a health hazard because of the dangers of bacterial diseases.”
You can substitute goat’s milk for cow’s milk without adjustment.
What’s your choice when it comes to your milk?
Sources: Better Health Channel, a2.com.au, Dairy Australia