It can take some effort to find a ‘healthy’ commercially-prepared substitute for cow’s milk. One will go through a number of different milk products before even finding which is best; but know this, there is an alternative to conventional cow’s milk that stands out above the rest.
First to get crossed off the list is soy milk. Soy milk is made from soy that in all likelihood is genetically modified, to say nothing of its isoflavones which disrupt hormone balance, and its phytates that rob the body of minerals.
Rice milk doesn’t do it either because it’s mostly water, rice (a high glycemic food), vegetable oils, and tapioca starch – not much nutrition there. So today, most people are into almond milk. Does it measure up?
Anyone might expect almond milk to be made simply from crushed almonds and water. But a look at Pacific brand organic almond milk, a brand found in high-end healthy image grocery stores, has a lot more than that. In addition to water and almonds, there’s:
- Rice starch – Almonds are somewhat expensive, so as an extender, rice starch is added. Rice starch is high on the glycemic index too, and because it is almost pure carbohydrate, it can produce an insulin spike that can leave you ravenous a couple of hours after drinking it.
- Carrageenan – This is another extender and thickener that is extracted from red algae, but this one has no nutritional value whatsoever. Animal studies have shown carrageenan induces inflammation throughout the intestinal tract. When fed to rats, it promotes loss of epithelial cells. What’s more, carrageenan is classified as a potential human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization. Health advocates such as Dr. Andrew Weil has been telling people for years to avoid carrageenan because of its toxicity to the digestive system.
- Vitamin A Palmitate – This is a synthetic version of real vitamin A, created by producing its mirror image. It is one of the synthetic vitamins used in ‘research’ that makes people believe vitamins don’t work. Synthetic vitamins are not well-used in the body and even in small amounts, fat soluble vitamins like A palmitate can quickly become toxic. The Organic Consumers Association warns that isolated vitamins produced synthetically can’t be recognized or used by the body in the way natural vitamins can.
- Vitamin D2 – This is a similar situation. Vitamin D2 is not the version of this vitamin (which is really a hormone) that the body needs. D2 is created industrially by the irradiation of yeast. It is not sound practice to add D2 to any food product, especially if it is to be given to children, because it can become toxic at lower doses. Vitamin D3 is the best version of vitamin D you can get. The best way to get vitamin D is to let your body make it in response to the sun, thus not shutting down vitamin D receptors.
- Natural flavors – What does this term mean? It’s a hidden catchall for anything processed from nature. Cyanide is all natural, but you probably don’t want it in your food.
Related: Goat Milk vs Cow Milk
There is No Winning, Healthier Alternative to Real, Raw Milk
Traditional foods seem to be out of style today, but they have a long history of being the most nutritious. They are the foods that powered the discovery and growth of America. They were the foods eaten by the people you see in history books.
Why Raw Milk is Best
At the top of this list is raw milk from grass-fed cows, a food that was used commonly up until the early part of the past century. From the days of Hippocrates until World War II, milk nourished and healed countless numbers of people. In fact, raw milk is so nourishing that a person could live on it exclusively.
Nutrients in Raw Milk
What’s in raw milk? Here’s a list.
- All eight of the essential amino acids
- Lactoferrin, an immune-booster with anti-cancer properties
- Lysozyme, which can obliterate cells of undesirable bacteria
- Immunoglobulins, which provide resistance to viruses, and may reduce allergy and asthma symptoms
- Lactose, energizing milk sugar
- Medium-chain saturated fats that have several key roles in maintaining health, such as construction of cell membranes, synthesis of hormones, and allowing fat soluble vitamins to function. Medium chain saturated fats are burned as energy, not stored as body fat
- Cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone that reduces the chance obesity by telling the body when to stop eating.
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) with many potential benefits including increasing metabolism, lessening of abdominal fat, fueling muscles, normalizing of insulin levels, boosting of immunity, protection against food allergies, and protection against cancer
- All the vitamins in natural form, including vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, E, and K
- A broad spectrum of minerals, from calcium, potassium, and phosphorus to the trace minerals, including iodine and selenium, and all highly bioavailable.
- More than 60 enzymes that have a multitude of functions. Enzymes take the burden off the body to produce pancreatic enzymes.
- Small amounts of cholesterol needed for cognitive function, synthesis of hormones, and body repair.
- Probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and form 80% of the immune system
If you can’t get your hands on raw milk, you will lose some of these benefits as you go down the chain. The next best is organic milk that has not been homogenized. At the bottom is the milk found in conventional grocery stores that has been pasteurized and homogenized and may come from factory farms.