The first cow arrived into the United States in 1611 to the Jamestown Colony. Since then, the US stands strong at 9.23 million dairy cows on 49,000 farms. That's an average of 187 cows per farm. One cow drinks 35 gallons of water per day to produce an average of 6.5 gallons of milk.
Let's do some quick math. If 9.23 Million cows drink 35 gallons of water a day, that is 323,050,000 gallons of water consumed by an animal that produces milk for human consumption. So I ask you, do we need even need milk? Could we put 323 million gallons of water into a farm to grow vegetables instead? Ask a California Avocado Farmer who's cut down thousands of trees because they don't have enough water to grow their crops. These numbers are just for Dairy Cows... I haven't even touched the Beef industry yet.
America has the highest rate of dairy consumption in the world. America has the highest rate of osteoporosis in the world. If milk is truly good for us, how are these statistics possible?
A 2012 study published in the American Medical Association Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine stated that active children who have a higher amount of dairy consumption have more bone fractures than children who don't consume as much.
Humans are also the only species on the planet that drink milk after infancy. We are also the only species that drinks another species milk.
Milk is the #1 source of saturated fats in children's diets. So why are we feeding this to our children? What the hell are we thinking? I'm included, I've done it. My daughter drinks milk if she has the opportunity. But, I stopped buying it. We think that this is the only source of calcium, however, here are some vegetables which are also a source of calcium without such fracturing side effects
Breads and Cereals
By using milk as our primary source of calcium instead of vegetables, we are missing out on beta carotene, fiber and iron.
These days, 65% of humans suck at the ability to digest lactose after our infancy months. People wonder why lactose intolerance is so common these days. Well, we aren't baby cows... so there's that.
Marketing is such a political nightmare. We see what industries want us to see. We hear what they want us to hear and they use their financial ability and moral flexibility to influence our decisions on where we spend our money and what we feed ourselves. The Physicians Medical Group had requested that the American Heart Association retract an endorsement to drink milk because of the statistics listed above and what's even worse, the dairy industry funds had influenced the AHA endorsement.
So what's the alternative?
Today there are a TON of dairy alternatives for milk. I captured this picture while I was shopping at Sprouts Market a few weekends ago. These would be practical to eat with your cereal or add to a smoothie, even your coffee. Making a nut milk is really nothing more than Water and get this, Nuts... that's it. Barista's will often use milk alternatives with more gums (xantham for example) which will help thicken and hold air in the milk to make a more enjoyable Latte or Cappuccino. For your own purpose at home though, you can easily make your own in a few steps
1. Soak your nut of choice in water overnight
2. Dump out the water and add fresh water and the nuts to a blender. Blend until smooth.
3. For nuts like almonds, you'll probably want to strain the milk through a filter, fine strainer and or cheese cloth.
You'll want to use raw nuts. They will be the softest. Definitely don't use a salted nut. That would get weird. You can experiment with blending different varietals of nuts, using vanilla beans, coconut milk as a base, etc. This is YOUR milk and you can do what you want with it! At least you'll know the ingredients because you see them with your own eyes and taste buds.
You Should Still Beware of the Alternatives!!
Just because it's not made from cow's milk, doesn't automatically make it GOOD for you. Remember that I define Good or Healthy as something that actively improves your health from where it is today to where you need or want it to be in the future.
Have you seen a vegetable in a garden ever melt like cheese in the sunlight? Have you ever squeezed sour cream from a plant? Noope, because it's not natural. It's processed, man made, done with science. So the long term affects are still unknown. If you are fighting off high cholesterol, then yes, this is a better alternative than dairy. Of course plant based processed foods have a purpose and they help us make the transition from a cows teat to a plant based diet, but remember, moderation of additives is still really important. Even if it's replacing the puss in cow's milk.