Mark Stengler, ND
Many people claim that after reducing or eliminating their consumption of cows' milk, they saw an improvement in fatigue, digestive problems, joint pains, skin conditions, mental fog, and a variety of other conditions.
Many people claim that after reducing or eliminating their consumption of cows' milk, they saw an improvement in fatigue, digestive problems, joint pains, skin conditions, mental fog, and a variety of other conditions. To get their nutrients, people have turned to alternative milks.
We are the only species that consumes the milk of another species. The milk of each species is specifically designed to protect and nourish its own young. There is no product on the market that compares to a mother's breast milk for an infant.
Cows' Milk Too Rich For Our Blood?
Why do so many people react to cows' milk? One reason has to do with the protein composition. Milk proteins can trigger the production of antibodies that lead to immune and possible allergy and inflammatory reactions. Casein is the most allergenic of all milk proteins. There is twice as much casein in cows' milk than in breast milk and this concentration may be too much for the human immune system. The process of homogenization also appears to make cows' milk proteins more allergenic.
Mooving Away From Cows' Milk
Fortunately, thanks to the natural health food industry there are many alternatives to cows' milk that people can enjoy.
Rice Milk: Once carried by only health food stores, rice milk has become extremely popular in the last decade and is now available in many supermarkets. Nutrition-oriented doctors consider rice as one of the least allergenic foods.
Most rice milk products are made from brown rice. The milk has a slightly sweet taste and is thinner than cows' milk. Often, vitamins A, D, and B12 are added to increase the nutritional profile. Calcium-enriched formulas are also available and these contain as much calcium as cows' milk at 300 milligrams per eight-ounce serving. Rice milk is available in a variety of flavours including carob, vanilla, and chocolate.
A downside of rice milk is the carbohydrate content. An eight-ounce glass of rice milk may contain 25 grams of carbohydrates and 11 grams of simple sugars.
Soymilk: Another popular alternative is soymilk. It is higher in protein than rice milk, but like rice milk is lactose-free. Soymilk may have natural hormone-balancing properties for premenopausal and postmenopausal women due to its phytoestrogen content.
There is some controversy regarding soymilk and detrimental effects of thyroid function, but the data is inconclusive. Those with existing thyroid disorders should avoid drinking more than eight ounces a day. Some researchers feel soy products may cause hormonal imbalance in children. People sensitive to soymilk may notice symptoms such as gas and bloating.
Oat milk: Popular among health food enthusiasts, oat milk has a sweet taste. Similar to rice milk, it contains a relatively high amount of sugar, so those with blood sugar conditions should use smaller amounts.
Almond milk: Milk made from almonds has a better protein-to-carbohydrate ratio than rice and oat milk. It also works very well as a milk substitute when baking.
Cows' milk was not designed to be compatible with the human body. Modern techniques of pasteurization and homogenization have compounded the health problems associated with it. Many alternatives are now available which may offer much healthier options for both children and adults.
Mother's Milk Nothing Like It!
|Cows' Milk||Mother's Milk|
80 percent casein, 20 percent whey
|40 percent casein, 60 percent whey|
|Fats||High saturated fat, no significant amount of essential fatty acids||Rich in essential fatty acids|
|Carbs||Hard for non-breastfed babies to digest||Twice as much lactose for energy and growth, contains bacteria that help digest lactose|
|Vitamins and minerals||Lower amounts of E, C, B and trace minerals||Higher amounts|
|Good bacteria||None||High amount|
|Processing||Pasteurization and homogenization cause loss of enzymes and protein structure changes||None|