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Benefits of Plant-Based Milks

As a boy, I clearly remember my mom constantly telling me, “Eat your veggies” and “Drink your milk.” I’d be willing to bet that your mother did the same. It wasn’t long after, that catchy slogans like “Got Milk?” and “Milk does a body good” were seen everywhere. We all got the message that milk is that important. I mean without milk, what would we do with Oreos, our cereal, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Where would little kids get that tale-tell white moustache? What would they have to shoot out of their nose when they get the giggles at the dinner table?

coconut_milk_citrus_fruit_picOne of my all-time favorite comedy movies is “Meet The Parents.” Ben Stiller’s character, Gaylord Focker, is meeting his fiancée’s family for the first time. Their reception is cool at best, maybe even hostile. As they spar around the dinner table, Gaylord is caught in a number of funny little lies and even tells them he has milked a cat. When he’s challenged, he says, “Oh yeah, you can milk almost anything…” Well, I don’t know if that’s true, but let’s look at a few things we can get milk from.

First of all, you need to know that cow’s milk is actually extremely healthy, and very, very good…for baby cows, that is. Just as giraffe’s milk is healthy for baby giraffes, tiger’s milk is good for baby tigers, and human milk is good for baby humans. Many experts feel that milk is meant to be species specific.

But did you know you can milk an almond, a coconut, a soy bean, and even a little grain of rice? Let’s take a look at the difference and benefits of each of these plant-based fluids.

What happens when you milk a soy bean? You get a good source of essential fatty acids, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, all with no cholesterol. One cup only has 80–90 calories. There are some potential problems though. Soy milk is fairly rich in phytoestrogen so that it actually reduces testosterone levels in men, functioning like an estrogen replacement. Have any of you men heard of moobs? Dr. Mercola is pretty anti-soy as over 90% are genetically modified and have been associated with numerous adverse health effects from thyroid and blood clotting problems to protein digestion issues.

zain_saraswati_jamal_cashew_milk_recipe_picWhat about almond milk? It’s one of my personal favorites. It’s healthy, rich in minerals and omega 3 fatty acids, low in sodium, a good source of Vitamin E, and has 50% more calcium than dairy milk. It’s heart healthy by lowering cholesterol and sparse on the calories, with as few as 30 per cup.

Rice milk is a legitimate substitute for dairy milk, however it contains no vitamins, precious little protein, and no calcium unless it is fortified. It may be the least likely of the non-dairy milks to trigger allergies. It carries about 90 calories per cup and actually has little nutritional value except for what is blended into it.

Now for what I think is the Cadillac of plant-based elixirs, coconut milk. It is easy to digest and packed with an abundance of nutrients that provide energy and boost the immune system. You want Vitamins C, E, and a number of the Bs? How about iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus? Milk a coconut. It has lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid that is plentiful in mother’s milk. It’s rich in antioxidants to combat free radical damage.

Give a cow a break; milk an almond or a coconut. It does a body good.

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