Going Green In 2019 Part 2: Got (Plant) Milk?
Many of us probably grew up being told by our parents “Drink your milk! Eat your broccoli!”. While some of us might still be traumatized by the amount of broccoli that was forced upon us as a child (or is that just me?), milk is still widely and heavily consumed by much of our western population.
But when you pause to think about it .. drinking cows milk is kind of a weird idea. You wouldn’t feed a cow humans’ milk... And a newborn mammal wouldn’t drink the milk of any other mammal... So why do humans (also mammals) continue to drink the milk of a cow long after infancy?
Science is shifting, and the western, white liquid staple we grew up conditioned to consume might actually have more problems associated with it’s consumption than benefits we’ve been led to believe as truths.
The strain on natural resources, the environmental impact of increased methane (read: cow farts), animal rights and concerns of compassion, and the impact on our own health; there are plenty of reasons why one could, and perhaps should, switch to a cow-free alternative for their milk fix. Currently two-thirds of the world’s agricultural land is used for the maintenance (feeding) of livestock. This means that much of the food produced on earth doesn’t even go toward feeding humans ... it goes toward feeding a machine whose byproduct is consumed by humans.
At the current rate of dairy consumption worldwide and the trend predicted to increase (due to increases in world population), the land required to raise cattle in a sustainable manner simply does not exist to meet consumer demand.
So what’s the alternative?
Creamy, customizable, cost-effective, and the potential to be completely zero waste - enter plants!
Plant-based milks can be derived from a wide variety of nuts, grains, or seeds; chances are you probably have an ingredient in your cupboard right now that can be transformed into a delicious, dairy-free ‘milk’ !
Plant-based milks are:
Free of cholesterol
Low in sugar
Free of hormones and antibiotics present in cow’s milk
High in vitamins and minerals, including calcium & iron
Easy on your digestive system (did you know 65% of the human population actually has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy?!)
Check out this guide for simple, stress-free alternatives to your dear dairy.
The beauty of blending your own plant-based milks is the ability to customize to your preference.
Prefer a creamy milk? Use less water.
Chocolate milk? Add cocoa powder!
Sweet tooth? Add a date or tbsp of maple syrup.
A fan of savoury? Pinch of salt and vanilla will do the trick.
These recipes are only a small fraction of the plant-based foods that can be ‘milked’! Hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, rice, buckwheat - the options to meet any taste bud are endless. Here’s a quick comparison of a few plant-based milk options, the ease, and cost!
These milks will last in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 5 days. Depending on how finely you strain them, they will likely need a quick shake before consuming. Enjoy on its own, in smoothies, as a coffee creamer, with granola, or in any baked good recipes! I like to portion some of the milk into an ice cube tray, and then pop into my smoothies. This is a great way to preserve extra if you don’t think you’ll be able to consume the entire litre in 5 days.
In 2019, we’re going green. It’s time to ditch the dairy and consider our many nutritious and delicious alternatives. And I promise, these milks will STILL satisfy even the most acclaimed oreo-dunker.
About the author:
Olivia has a degree in Kinesiology and has worked in the fitness industry for the last 8 years. Her deep dive into veganism three and a half years ago sparked a serious interested in cooking and nutrition. Currently she is working toward developing Plant-Based Cooking Classes to offer in Winnipeg, in the spring of 2019. Olivia is currently completing a rigorous online course to receive a certificate in Plant-Based Culinary Training. Next on her education horizon is to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist through the Canada School of Natural Nutrition.
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