Remember the Four Basic Food Groups?
The USDA started promoting the four basic food groups about 50 years ago, and meat and dairy were in the primary food group positions. Did you know the nutritional scientists who created this system were funded by the meat and dairy industries? The diet advocated lots of animal protein, fat and cholesterol. And as American’s diets shifted in this direction, so did heart attack rates and cancer!
The USDA also started using nutrient analysis (you know, the little box with nutritional facts you see on packaged groceries) basing the information on WEIGHT instead of by calories. This trick helped many people feel comfortable drinking more milk. Here's why.
Milk that is “2%” is not really 2 percent fat, it gets 35% of its calories from fat. They call it 98% fat free by weight only because of its water content. Low fat milk is not a low fat food. Neither are low fat cheeses or other low fat animal foods. Whole milk's calories are 49% fat calories.
Milk is loaded with “acceptable amounts” of blood, pus, and feces; plus viruses, bacteria, antibiotics, and other things you may think are gross, because they are.
Dairy has IGF-1, a high-growth promoting hormone that stimulates the growth of both normal and cancerous cells. There is a clear association with dairy and bladder, prostate, uterine, colorectal, and testicular cancers.
The fat in dairy is loaded with the potent carcinogen, dioxin.
Hip fractures and osteoporosis are more frequent in populations in which dairy products are eaten and calcium intake is high. The Nurses’ Health Study, which included 121,701 women ages 30 – 55, found the consumption of milk did not protect against hip or forearm fractures. Those who drank 3 or more servings of milk a day had more fractures than those who didn’t drink that much. The ads you see from the National Dairy Council that drinking cow’s milk prevents osteoporosis are a big fat lie!
If you are concerned about bone loss, studies show fruits and vegetables are protective against osteoporosis, and green leafy vegetables are extremely high in this mineral. Bok choy has 775 mg of calcium per 100 calories; kale has 257 mg and even cucumbers have 107 mg.
Other dietary factors that induce calcium loss in the urine (which depletes calcium reserves) are animal protein, salt, caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, nicotine, aluminum containing antacids, drugs like antibiotics, steroids, and thyroid hormones; as well as Vitamin A supplements. The vitamin A added to fortified milk contributes to calcium loss.
If you’re low in Vitamin D that can cause increased demineralization of bone. Almost 80% of Americans are below the minimum of 35 ng/mL (get tested!).
Weight bearing strength training keeps bones strong, too.
There are a lot of packaged boxed milk substitutes on the market. Take your pick from soy, rice, hemp or almond. I don’t recommend soy because it’s difficult to digest and the estrogenic qualities. Rice milk simply is very thin and not that good. Hemp or almond milk are good choices however when I look at the ingredients of two common brands, I can’t recommend them.
Blue Diamond Almond Milk
Ingredients: filtered water, almonds, calcium carbonate, tapioca starch, sea salt, potassium citrate, carrageenan, sunflower lecithin, natural flavors, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2 and d-alpha-tocopherol (natural vitamin E)
Blue Diamond has 40 calories per cup and 30 calories from fat which means it’s 75% fat.
Silk Almond Milk, Vanilla Flavor
Ingredients: filtered water, almonds, cane sugar, sea salt, natural flavor, locust bean gum, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum plus calcium carbonate, vitamin E acetate, zinc gluconate, vitamin A palmitate, riboflavin (B2), vitamin B12, vitamin D2.
Silk has 90 calories per cup and 25 calories from fat which means it’s 28% fat – almonds are higher in (good) fat than this, so I assume they use a lot of water and gum to make this milk lower in fat calories with a thicker consistency.
As you can see for yourself, boxed almond milk’s ingredient lists are a bit long for a simple product. Plus carageenan is potentially carcinogenic, and the vitamins added to supplement these products usually are very low quality isolated synthetic forms that are not natural or helpful. Even the vitamin D is not in the form that is best utilized by the body. Almonds are a high in fat and the Silk brand almond milk is only 28% fat so I wonder what they put in it to thin it out and make it seem milky.
I make almond milk at home and pour a cup in my morning cereal of sprouted buckwheat with fruit and raisins. It’s absolutely delicious, easy to make, and no boxed milk substitute ever tastes as good, ever!
All you need to make almond milk is raw almonds, water, and a couple dates!
First, soak 1 cup of raw almonds overnight in water in the fridge the night before you are ready to blend the milk. This releases enzyme inhibitors and unlocks the nutrients for you to digest them better! Try to find unpasteurized almonds if possible – ask if unsure.
Then, blend your almonds with 4 cups of water and 2 dates in a high speed blender. You’re almost done!
Lastly, you need to purchase a nut milk bag and use it to strain the milk from the fiber. Squeeze gently and thoroughly until no more liquid comes out. You’re done!
Store in a quart size glass jar in the fridge. This recipe yields 4 servings of lightly sweetened almond milk, and because freshly made almond milk stays good in the fridge for about 4 days, it’s the perfect recipe.