I often get asked by people what type of milk they should use in their smoothies or as a milk replacement in their diet. There are so many choices nowadays – different types of cow’s milk – as well as goat’s milk, oat milk, rice milk, soy milk, almond milk, ….. so how do you know which one is right for you?
One of the first things that I teach people about is changing to a whole foods diet, that if the food is not in the form as nature intended, then it is best to avoid it. If a human’s has mucked around with it, you don’t need it.
If we are looking for optimal, vibrant health, then we need to eat living, vibrant whole food – and that is not found in a carton of processed pasteurised plant milk, and especially not in pasteurised homogenised animal milks. All of these are dead foods that don’t supply the body with the nourishment that it needs for optimum health.
The casein protein in dairy is highly allergic and can also cause mucous build-up in the ears, nose, throat and digestive tract. In laboratories it has been shown to stimulate the growth of cancer cells, and can contribute to deposits of calcium crystals in the joints, and the build-up of atherosclerosis in the arteries.
Just about every dairy product today is pasteurised, meaning the living enzymes and good bacterias that naturally aid it’s digestion are eliminated. Milk is also homogenised, spreading tiny particles of fat throughout the milk which are absorbed into our bloodstream creating congestion & imbalance. If any dairy products are going to be a part of the diet, then ensuring it is raw and unprocessed will be better than the junk found on supermarket shelves.
There is a vast difference between mass-produced dairy, full of antibiotics and hormones which is then pasteurised and homogenised and turned into the poisonous product you see on the supermarket shelves – and raw, organic dairy products. I am not a huge fan of raw dairy personally, because of its contribution towards many disease conditions and the inability of many people to digest it well.
A small amount of fermented raw milk – kefir – is the healthiest option if you do choose to have dairy in your diet, and there are positive benefits to having a small amount of cultured raw butter regularly. But on the whole, for most those who are buying litres of milk, cheese slices, sugary yoghurts, processed chocolate and chemical laden ice-cream, they are far better off without dairy products completely.
So What are the Options?
- If you like to use animal milks, then my suggestion is to only use totally raw, unpasteurised unhomogenised milk the way it comes straight from the animal. And even better than plain raw milk, is fermented raw milk. Fermented food is an essential part of a holistic lifestyle, that is often found in other cultures, but is missing in western diets.
- You can also make fresh nut and seed milks simply by soaking whichever nuts and seeds you like overnight, blending with the soaking water, and then squeezing them through muslin to create a fresh milk. The pulp can be used in many raw food dessert recipes or put into tahini balls. Almond milk is absolutely delicious done this way!
- Another way is to just not use any milks at all and make green smoothies. They taste great and are a simple and easy way to increase the amount of dark leafy greens in your diet.
- Replace Yoghurt with a home-made blend that tastes great. Of course this type of yoghurt is not fermented and doesn’t contain any good bacteria – so we would need to look to other fermented products for that – such as sauerkraut or non-dairy kefir – but more about those another time! Using fruits such as paw-paw, banana and berries, with a small amount of water so that it blends together into a creamy mousse-like texture, blend for about a minute, and pour over fruit or raw muesli. To firm it up for a “set” yoghurt, you can use a tablespoon of psyllium powder.
- Replace Cheese with spreads such as Cashew Cheese and other delicious spreads based on raw ingredients. Most raw food recipe books contain cheese substitute recipes, although I have never found one that replaces “block cheese” That is one item that is probably best put in the “gone forever” basket.
- Replace store bought chocolate with yummy Raw Cacao recipes! We don’t have to give up chocolate when we give up dairy, so get experimenting with recipes from any raw food book. Try the delicious ‘Heavenly Cacao Slice’ to get you going. Although be aware that Raw Cacao can be addictive too (I am speaking from experience!) and can be over-stimulating for some people.
- Eliminate processed and packaged food – there are very few processed foods that don’t contain dairy, milk solids, milk powder or casein.
Being dairy free doesn’t have to be chore, it is a new adventure, of simply learning a few alternative choices which will improve the health of your whole family.