Can Vegetarians Drink Milk?
Our world is facing many different challenges! Perhaps, you are currently experiencing many of these challenges where you live. Perhaps, you are suffering from drought. You might not have enough water to have sustainable agriculture in your country. As a result, the price of food is increasing more and more in your region. Or, you might have enough water but not land to grow agricultural products.
What else? Many cities in the world are dying out of pollution and other human-made obstacles. It might not be very apparent but many of these problems originate from the current food industry. In addition to all these issues which threaten the future of humanity, the current food industry is unethical too.
Every day, millions of animals must be killed in order to feed humans. The situation in slaughterhouses is extremely unhealthy for animals and they suffer through their lives. However, there is good news. New lifestyles have been arrived to change this.
Not many years ago, people didn’t think about their food habits a lot. They take eating meat and animal products for granted as humans have been eating them since the dawn of humanity. This is how we have been able to acquire the required proteins for our body. However, gradually, we started to realize that behaving like this is not sustainable at all.
Currently, food production is practically wasting all the resources we have available. If we keep doing this, we will not be able to get fed in the future. Intensive agriculture has been responsible for many of our current miseries.
Veganism and vegetarianism are our current solutions to stop this madness. It basically means that we have to stop eating animals and animal-related products. It might sound amazing to be able to get rid of all those problems associated with the current food industry. However, it is not that easy!
For example, for hundreds of years, humans have got used to getting protein, nutrients, etc. from meat and dairy products, right? If they are going to be vegan or vegetarian, where they should get these compounds? Take milk for example. Milk is essential to humans because it is one of the most important sources of valuable materials that secure our health.
If we are supposed to stop drinking milk, how should we get what we need? Fortunately, there are solutions. Do you want to know these solutions? If yes, please, then walk with me through this article because I am going to discuss how vegans and vegetarians should cope with the fact that milk from animals should not be part of their food habits. Let's get started.
Who Are Vegetarians?
So, let's start with a simple definition of vegetarianism. As a vegetarian person, you must not eat meat. You have to replace meat with plant-based materials. However, you are allowed to use animal products. For example, ice cream, eggs, cheese, paste, etc. can be eaten by vegetarians. Milk is not prohibited in the vegetarian lifestyle.
So, you don’t need to replace it with plant-based liquids. But, there is a catch here. The final goal of becoming a vegetarian is turning into a vegan person. I mean, for many people, vegetarianism is the first step toward veganism. So, they have to prepare themselves for the limitations posed by the vegan lifestyle too.
Are there any differences between vegetarian and vegan lifestyles? Sure there are! And, these differences should force you to consider all the options you have available to free yourself from dependence on meat and all other animal-related products including milk.
To summarize, as a vegetarian, you are OK to drink milk but not as a vegan individual. Sooner or later, you have to do something about it. Before talking about milk, let's make it clear what the advantages of vegetarianism are. Then, you might continue this article better.
The Advantages Of Vegetarianism
As I said before, vegetarianism is the first step toward veganism. If you know the benefits of stopping eating animal products, you might start today. Here are some reasons for you to believe why it is worth becoming a vegetarian and then vegan.
- Heart disease is one of the main dangerous conditions which often leads to death. However, studies have shown that with plant-based food, you are less likely to get them.
- Different types of cancer are also life-threatening diseases that can slowly kill many people. However, scholars believe that most plant-based foods have anti-cancer properties in them. the colorectal, gastrointestinal tract and female-specific cancers are usually very deadly. But, plant-based food can make you resistant to them.
- Preventing type 2 diabetes, lowering blood pressure, decreasing asthma symptoms, and promoting bone health are some other health benefits of plant-based food.
- What about environmental health? This is as important as the health of individuals in a country. With plant-based food, millions of hectares of land on earth will be free and many millions of lands will be protected against destruction. What do I mean by that? Let me explain.
The first and perhaps the most environmental impact of vegetarianism or veganism is that we will stop destroying jungles, forests, and all other natural sources we have available. You know, in order to raise animals and then serve them as food for humanity, you have to first feed yourself. It means that lands must be cultivated with plants in order to feed animals.
This has led to the destruction of much natural landscape. Also, these animals need millions of tons of water every day. So, land and water as two of the most important natural sources will fade away if we keep eating animals. So, we are going to save them by becoming vegetarian or vegan.
What Are The Benefits Of Milk?
Many people might say that humans cannot stop drinking milk because they need it so badly for their health. What are the benefits of drinking milk? And, later, we will discuss whether there are any alternatives for it.
In terms of the value of nutrition, milk is one of the richest liquids. Different materials found in milk are responsible for many aspects of our health. For example,
- calcium is found in milk which is responsible for developing and maintaining healthy bones and teeth, helping with blood pressure and wound healing, maintaining normal blood pressure, and controlling muscle contractions.
- Stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, loss of muscle mass, and loss of bone mineral density are all avoided because of Potassium found in milk.
- Another important compound of milk is Vitamin D which decreases the chance of osteoporosis, osteomalacia, and rickets. Also, the strength of the immune system and heart health is associated with the presence of Vitamin D in milk.
- Additionally, milk is a good source for many different useful proteins such as casein and whey protein.
Which Animals Can Produce Milk?
It is not just cows that produce milk across the globe. In fact, cattle, buffalos, goats, sheep, and camels are some of the main sources of milk in the world. However, as we said earlier, it is not justifiable to produce milk traditionally. So, we have to change that.
Can Vegetarians Or Vegans Drink Milk?
So, you might already know the answer to this question. As a vegetarian, you are allowed to drink milk from animals. However, it is prohibited for vegans to do so. In my opinion, vegetarians should stop drinking milk too because sooner or later they start their plan to become vegan. If they practice this earlier, being a vegan will be more enjoyable for them.
Are There Any Alternatives For Animal-Produced Milk?
One of the challenges faced by vegans or vegetarians is how to get nutrients necessary for their health if they are supposed to stop drinking milk. As you saw earlier, milk is a very rich source of different materials, minerals, and nutrients. So, what should we do if we stop drinking milk?
There is good news. Now, we have lots of alternatives for animal-produced milk. In fact, milk with similar properties can be produced by plant-based materials. And, that's what we are going to focus on for the rest of our article. We are going to introduce some of the best alternatives to normal milk. Then, we will introduce some of the most famous brands in the market.
Alternatives To Animal-Produced Milk
Nowadays, you can get milk with the same taste, properties, and food value from other sources than animals. It is not only healthy but also ethical. Do you know why? Because in many farmlands, farmers separate newborn animals from their mothers because they want to suck milk from their mothers.
However, the milk, as long as farmers are concerned, belongs to humans, not newborn animals!!!! So, many small animals are kept alone without their mother's milk. This has to be stopped. Plant-based milk is a solution to this dilemma.
Soy, almond, coconut, oat, rice, cashew, macadamia, hemp, and quinoa are some of the most famous sources for the production of vegan or vegetarian milk. Now, we are going to briefly mention the benefits associated with each of these sources.
Soy milk is produced from soybeans or soy protein isolate. However, in order to make it, tastier thickeners and vegetable oils are usually added to the final product. the flavour is mild and creamy. It is one of the alternatives to cow's milk. You can easily use it with coffee or on top of cereal. In terms of food value, one cup of soy milk has
- 80 to 90 calories,
- 4 to 4.5 grams of fat,
- 7 to 9 grams of protein, and
- 4 grams of carbohydrates.
These values are very close to cow's milk. Soy milk is exceptional in providing complete protein with all the essential amino acids. This is very important because essential amino acids aren’t produced by the body.
One of the concerns that people usually have is the effect of soy on hormones. You know, there are isoflavones in soy that can impact estrogen receptors in the body affecting the function of hormones. Aside from that, it is currently used by millions of people around the world.
Another issue associated with soy milk is that it might cause digestive issues such as gas and bloating. Also, people who have FODMAP intolerance or want to eliminate it from their diet, shouldn’t drink soy milk. You might be wondering what FODMAP is? Actually, they are short-chain carbohydrates which might lead to digestive issues.
Soy Milk Products On Amazon
Many brands are currently producing soy milk for vegans and vegetarians. Here, I am going to introduce a few of them to you.
365 by Whole Foods Market, Soy Milk Unsweetened Organic, 64 Fl Oz
This product is from the brand 365 by Whole Foods Market which costs 2.99 dollars. The main ingredients are organic soymilk. It means that the soy plant has been raised without any fertilizers or biocide agents. Additionally, calcium carbonate, organic locust bean gum, sea salt, natural flavours, gellan gum, and Vitamin D2, B2, and B12. It has an unsweetened flavour.
This product is from the brand Silk which costs the same as the previous product. An advantage of this product is that it is GMO-free. Do you know what GMO is? GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. Some studies are suggesting that plants associated with GMOs have some health issues. With this product, you don’t need to be worried about that. Other ingredients are cane sugar, calcium carbonate, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, Riboflavin, vitamin B12, sea salt, etc.
Silk Organic Soy Milk, Unsweetened, Dairy-Free, Vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified, Half Gallon
This is from the brand Silk and costs 2.99 dollars. The flavour is organically unsweetened. The main ingredients are organic soymilk, carrageenan, sea salt, and natural flavour. There are some features associated with this product. First of all, all the soy used in this product are coming from North America. There is no added sugar involved. By buying this product, you are sure that it is completely free from carrageenan, gluten, egg, peanut, or MSG. it is enriched with calcium, very low in saturated fat, and has zero cholesterol.
Almond milk is made from almonds, almond butter, and water. It can be added to coffee and tea with a sweet and nutty flavour. It is also one of the best substitutes for cow's milk in desserts and baked goods. One cup of almond milk has
- 30 to 35 calories,
- 2.5 grams of fat,
- 1 gram of protein, and
- 1 to 2 grams of carbohydrates.
Compared with cow milk it has fewer calories which makes it the best option for people who need to lower the number of calories they are consuming. Vitamin E and a group of antioxidants are found in almond milk. Almond milk has only 2% milk in it. The type that doesn’t have skin has a lower amount of fiber, protein, vitamin, and mineral content.
It is recommended to buy almond milk that has 7 to 15% almond in it which makes it perfect in terms of nutrients and other health benefits. One concern is that almond milk has phytic acid in it which might lead to a decrease in your body's absorption of iron, zinc, and calcium.
Almond Milk Products On Amazon
Almond milk products are also popular and many buy them online. Here are three of them for you to go and taste:
365 by Whole Foods Market, Almond Milk Unsweetened Organic, 64 Fl Oz
This product which costs 2.79 dollars is from the brand 365 by Whole Foods Market. it has organic almond milk, organic locust bean gum, sea salt, sunflower lecithin, tri-calcium phosphate, etc. It is a good source of vitamin D and calcium.
You can have a pack of 12 of this product for just 23.27 dollars. It is from the brand Blue Diamond Almonds store. The main ingredients are almond Breeze dairy-free almond milk and unsweetened original. If you don’t like dairy milk, soy, or rice milk, you can drink almond milk which has no lactose in it. it is enriched with calcium but free of soy and gluten.
This product is suggested by Amazon and recommended by its editorial team. The company that produces this product is Califia Farms Store. There are four types of this product available including Almond Barista original, Almond Barista unsweetened, Hemp Barista original, Oat Barista mushroom, and oat barista original which cost 22.5, 21.48, 35.94, 35.94, and 22.74 dollars. The main ingredients are almond milk, cane sugar, calcium carbonate, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, potassium citrate, and others.
Coconut milk is a combination of water and white flesh of brown coconuts. Coconut milk comes in solid form in cans in southeast Asian countries and Indian cuisines. Just like other previously mentioned products, it tastes creamy but doesn’t have carbohydrates and proteins.
Compared with cow milk, it has 30% fewer calories. Coconut milk is not a good suggestion for people who need have protein requirements. However, people who wish to reduce their carb intake can happily use these products. reducing appetite, assisting with weight loss, and improving cholesterol levels are often associated with coconut milk.
Gums, oils, and salt are added to a mixture of oat and water to make oat milk. It goes very well with cereal or smoothies. The number of carbohydrates is higher in oat milk compared with cow milk. However, the level of protein and fat is lower. One of the health benefits of oat milk is that it is associated with decreasing the risk of heart disease as it lowers cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol in particular.
It is made from water and rice. If you are allergic to different compounds, probably, you should drink rice milk as it is the least allergenic of the non-dairy kinds of milk. Also, if you want to increase your blood sugar levels, you have to drink rice milk as your body absorbs the milk quickly in the gut.
This is because rice milk has a high glycemic index of 79 to 92%. Other groups that can greatly benefit from rice milk are growing children, athletes, and the elderly because they need proteins a lot. Some studies are showing that rice milk has high levels of inorganic arsenic which could lead to certain cancers and heart disease. So, be careful about that.
Cashew nuts, cashew butter, and water are used to make cashew milk. You can use it in desserts. The fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals associated with the cashew itself are lost in cashew milk. It is a good option for those who are looking for losing weight because cashew milk is low in carbohydrates and sugar content.
As you saw, there are many different types of vegan and vegetarian milk. So, when deciding which one to buy, you have to consider some issues as we briefly explained in the article. Added sugar, calcium content, vitamin B12, cost, additives, and dietary needs should be considered when you are deciding which one to buy.
Becoming a vegan or vegetarian doesn’t seem to be optional anymore. In fact, you have to become one. If you don’t, we cannot survive anymore. This is one of the best ways to save our natural resources and stay healthier. You might think that we can replace many foods and drinks with vegan or vegetarian alternatives.
This is not true. For every food that we are used to eating, there is a vegan or/ vegetarian alternative. You just need to go out and find it. Today, we talked about vegan or vegetarian milk. There are both environmental and health-related benefits associated with it. Stay healthy and go vegan.
I trust you enjoyed reading the article about Can Vegetarians Drink Milk? Please stay tuned. There are more blog posts to come very shortly.
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Ideas? Thoughts? Questions? I would love to hear from you. Would you please leave me your questions, experience, and remarks about Can Vegetarians Drink Milk in the comments section below? You can also reach me by email at Jeannette@LivingTheVeganLifestyle.org.