First up, I use the spelling mylk when referring to non-dairy, plant-based versions of cow’s milk, as it helps to distinguish which product is being referred to. It’s a subtle way to increase awareness for a plant-based product that is helping with reducing the negative impacts the dairy industry has.
‘Got milk’ was a slogan used in a multi-million dollar ad campaign by the dairy industry that saw celebrities endorsing their product, claiming that drinking more dairy milk was beneficial for weight loss and even PMS! Their claims were based on one study funded by…the dairy industry. No other evidence supports this.
So what are the impacts of consuming dairy?
Environmental: Animal agriculture is now the number one cause of climate change. The dairy industry is placing a great strain on the environment through deforestation and loss of pastures to grow feed for livestock and concentrating large numbers of animals in one area leading to huge amounts of slurry to dispose of and water pollution.
Welfare: Just like humans, for a cow to produce milk she must give birth following a nine month pregnancy. Cows are kept in a near constant cycle of pregnancy, often being milked whilst pregnant which places a huge strain on their bodies. When their young are taken away from them a day after birth, this of course creates psychological distress for the mother. They live a fraction of their natural life expectancy and are sold to the cheap meat industry once their overworked bodies are spent. Female calves will face the same destiny of enslavement whilst male calves will be killed at birth or raised for veal.
Health: As a source of animal protein, saturated fat, hormones and even antibiotics, consuming these foods has implications for human health. Saturated fat contributes to raised cholesterol levels which in turn increases our risk of heart disease and stroke. Dairy products have been linked to breast, prostate and bowel cancer, diabetes, asthma and digestive issues. About 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant so milk is not the naturally intended food for humans that we so often think it is. Humans are the only mammal to drink the milk of another mammal, and who continue to consume milk after weaning.
Plant Based Mylk
Thankfully, there is now an abundance of choice of plant based mylk products as an alternative to cow’s milk, so it’s just a case of figuring out which one you prefer. Or maybe you’re like me and have your favourite mylk for different purposes. The plant based mylks listed below are widely available at supermarkets and health food stores, soya mylk perhaps being the most commonly available in smaller stores and cafes. Choose a fortified mylk as this makes an important contribution towards daily intakes of vitamin B12, calcium and Vitamin D.
Rice Mylk: Naturally sweet and great for use in baking, poured over breakfast cereals and to make porridge.
Almond Mylk: Great on cereal, in hot drinks or just to drink on its own. Also good for baking sweet dishes.
Hazelnut Mylk: I only recently tried this type of mylk and it goes nice in porridge.
Oat Mylk: Another nice option.
Hemp Mylk: Not so commonly available and one I have yet to try.
Coconut Mylk: The pure coconut mylk made from the coconut meat and usually comes in a can, is great for using in curries, soups and desserts, but far too rich for drinking! You can also get rice mylk blended with just enough coconut mylk to give a flavour, great for creamy porridge or smoothies.
Soya Mylk: The most available of the various plant-based mylk options, soya mylk is stocked in many cafés so lattes are not off limits! It has the highest protein content making it a great option for baking, or for a creamier texture in hot drinks as well as boosting your daily protein intake.
Mylk…. ‘Like milk, but for humans’ – CEO of Oatly
What’s your favourite variety of mylk? Has anyone tried hemp mylk or discovered any other types of mylk?