Alternatives to milk

Possibly 75% of people around the world are lactose intolerant – which might go some way to explaining why there are so many alternatives to milk.

But there are numerous other reasons too, it might be simply be beneficial to health, or autism related, or asthma, or galactosaemia, or a sensitivity to casein or one of many other problems with drinking milk.

Whatever your reason it’s important to make sure you’re still getting the calcium, iodine and vitamins that you need.

Here are some of the alternatives…

Goat’s milk
Rich in nutrients and easier to digest (even though it still contains lactose). It has less casein but almost as much fat and calories as cow’s milk. However, it can cause a vitamin B12 deficiency in children.

Sheep’s milk
Sheep’s milk has twice as many minerals, eg. calcium, phosphorus and zinc and the vitamin B-complex, as cow’s milk. But it is also higher in calories and fat. Like goat’s milk, it is easily digested. And it’s also a good source of iodine, which helps if you suffer with thyroid problems.

Camel’s milk
Five times as much Vitamin C as cow’s milk. Helps with diabetes. Contains some lactose. Not easy to source.

Buffalo’s milk
Higher in calcium, protein and iron and contains more vitamins and minerals (including calcium and iron) and 43% less cholesterol than cow’s milk. But it also has twice as much fat and still contains lactose. Not easy to source.

Hemp milk
Half the amount of protein of cow’s milk, and calcium is often added. Rich in Omega 3, minerals and vitamins, hemp milk also has a creamy consistency. No lactose.

Quinoa milk
Quinoa is a very digestive food and nutritionally well balanced. It’s protein contains all essential amino acids and it is rich in unsaturated fatty acids. No lactose.

Spelt milk
A good source of fibre and B-complex vitamins. Cholesterol free. No lactose.

Oat milk
Rich in fibre, lowers cholesterol and low-GI. It’s actually the preferred energy drink of many athletes. A pleasant milky taste. No lactose.

Barley milk
Has a higher phosphorus and potassium content than regular milk. Helpful in repairing the body, though it doesn’t contain calcium. No lactose.

Kamut-wheat milk
Highly recommended for its milk-like taste. No lactose.

Millet milk
Lower in fat, higher in fibre and less calories than cow’s milk. Rich in protein and minerals. No lactose.

Rice milk
Compared to soya, rice milk is considered closer to cow’s milk in taste and texture. It is naturally sweet, low in fat and high in fibre. But it’s also low in calcium and protein. No lactose.

Soya milk
Soya milk is high in protein so it’s useful for cooking with. It is also comparatively cheaper than other milk alternatives due to its ubiquity. However, some avoid it because it can raise estrogen levels. No lactose.

Almond milk
Tastes great, and has some of the lowest calorie counts of all milk alternatives. No lactose.

Hazelnut milk
A thicker consistency. It also provides calcium and sulphur. No lactose.

Coconut milk
Lots of phosphorus, iron, magnesium and fibre makes coconut milk a superfood. It’s low in calories, boosts immunity and has a distinctive creamy taste.

Cashew nut milk
Delicious but not easy to find. Just as well it’s easy to make… Cashew’s are a good source of copper and magnesium.

Raw milk
The argument is that pasteurisation destroys some of the goodness in milk which would actually make it digestible for people with gut problems. It remains to be seen whether ‘green top milk’ is actually helpful for people with psoriasis and high blood pressure.

UV milk
Possibly the milk of the future: milk that is treated by UV instead of pasteurisation?

Lactose-Free milk
Or, of course, you could take the lactose out of the milk

You can also make milk from peas, peanuts, or seeds!

Richly coloured fruits can reduce blood pressure

Who’d object to some more blueberries or strawberries? Now, you may have good reason to eat them.

Richly coloured fruits contain flavanoids which help to prevent high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, of course, is bad and can lead to heart attacks or strokes, and also kidney and eye problems. It tends to be more of a problem as we get older, but is best prevented when we are young.

Diet is the new wonder drug when it comes to high blood pressure. It is worth consulting your doctor about changing your diet if you want to reduce your blood pressure.

But studies which focussed on the eating of bright coloured fruit, particularly with a type of flavanoid called anthocyanins, showed that people under 60 could reduce their risk of high blood pressure by 12%. Other flavanoids: apigenin, catechin, and epicatechin (found in parsley and green tea) also reduced blood pressure for some people.

So, enjoy more blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries, by adding them to your cereal or dessert, and your body will thank you for it. And keep eating lots of colours throughout the day.

Flaxseed – the benefits

Flaxseed has hit the newspapers, TV and Hollywood. It is credited with improving hair, skin and nail quality, aiding weight loss and preventing conditions such as arthritis, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. With such claims as these in the media one might expect to pay exorbitant prices, but that’s not the case!!

Other items of interest

The Healing Power of Flax

Dr Herb Joiner is a Naturopath and the world’s leading expert on Flaxseed. The fifty year-old from Seattle has been studying the seed for the past thirty-three years and has recently written a book on the subject called “The Healing Power of Flax.” Dr Herb teaches at the University of Boston where his specialist areas are nutrition and Western herbal medicine. He has lectured here in the UK on the benefits of Omega 3s.

Omega 3

Omega 3s are the essential fatty acids found in fish oils. However, the richest source of Omega 3s is the flax plant, and in particular flaxseed oil. We are told to eat oily fish three times a week, but most people don’t meet this quota and therefore need to get Omega 3 from other sources.

What is Flaxseed?

Flaxseed is claimed to benefit every molecule in the body! It improves the quality of hair, nails, and skin, as well as helping to regulate bodyweight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and prevent arthritis and cancers.

The flax plant, an ancient crop, yields the fibre from which linen is woven, as well as seeds (linseed or flaxseed) and oil. The oil, also called linseed oil, has many industrial uses – it is an important ingredient in paints, varnishes and linoleum for example.

Like olive, canola, and most other plant oils, flax seed oil is highly unsaturated and heart-healthy. Lignans and other flax seed components may also have antioxidant properties, which means they may reduce the activity of cell-damaging free radicals.

How can I take Flaxseed?

Flaxseed or Linseed has a pleasant, nutty flavour and can be sprinkled on cereals, yoghurts and smoothies. Alternatively, it can be taken as a supplement in capsule or as flaxseed oil. It can be used in cooking and has a much richer flavour than other cooking oils.

Flax tips

  • Grind the seeds or else chew them very well to get the most benefit – whole seeds simply pass through the body. Grinding the seeds just before using them best preserves flavour and nutrition, but pre-ground seeds are more convenient.
  • Keep them refrigerated
  • There are no nutritional differences between brown and yellow seeds
  • Combine flaxseed flour with wheat flour for breads and pancakes
  • The oil can degenerate quickly; keep refrigerated or in a dark place. It usually comes in dark bottles to extend its shelf life
  • Flaxseed oil cannot be used for frying or sauteing.
  • Pregnant or lactating women should not eat lots of flax