Sunday, August 16, 2015

Almond Milk Versus Real Milk

Milk according to most experts in the nutrition field is healthy because it offers calcium and protein.  Many people cannot drink milk because of allergies or some diets like macrobiotics or vegan vegetarians feel milk is an animal product and is not healthy.  Ayurveda views milk as a special and unique nutrition that cannot be derived from any other type of food.  However, as with all foods, Ayurveda teaches that unless a food is digested, it is not beneficial and may even cause harm.  Therefore to digest milk properly, it should not be consumed cold right out of the refrigerator, and it should be brought to a boil and spiced with ginger or turmeric to reduce its heavy, mucous causing qualities.  Further, milk should be organic, whole and non-homogenized because it is pure and easy to digest.

Because the issue of milk consumption can get complicated, people turn to alternative beverages like almond milk.  Almonds are healthy and provide fiber, protein and healthy fat.  However, this benefit does not translate to almond milk, because there is very few almonds in almond milk.  Almond milk has been shown to simply be a small quantity of almonds, water, sugar and added vitamins.  It isn't bad for you, but it doesn't provide the nutrition that you may think.  It does have the benefit of being low in calories.

There are many other substitute milks available for purchase.  Personally, I prefer coconut or rice milk for taste and health reasons (also I like almond milk but know it is not packed with the benefits of almonds as the name implies).  Coconut milk is made with grated coconut and water.  The fat in coconut is lauric acid, which is a type of medium chain fatty acid (MCFAs),  MCFAs have been linked to weight loss and shown to be immune boosting.  Rice milk is similar to almond milk in that it is a small amount of rice with added water, sugar and vitamins.  I like to get organic and unsweetened to reduce potential contaminates like arsenic and to avoid added sugars.  Finally, I avoid soy milk because soy that is not fermented can be hard to digest and has been linked to some health issues.  Fermented soy like tofu, tempeh or miso gives the benefits of soy and are easily digestible.  Also, most soy today is genetically modified, which is something I try to avoid.

Cheers to your milk or milk substitute!

Stay healthy & well,

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