Non-Dairy Milks: Think Twice Before Buying!

Carrageenan, vitamin D2 and more... here is why you should think twice before buying "healthy" non-dairy milk! (plus the best non-dairy milk options)

Icky additives in non-dairy milk

Almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, hazelnut milk, oat milk, hempmilk… new varieties of non-dairy milks have been popping up all over grocery store shelves. But are these milk substitutes healthy? Well, not really. While these milk substitutes sound good according to the claims on the packages (things like as much calcium as milk and heart healthy), the ingredients in these processed products tell a different story. Here are seven reasons to think twice before buying non-dairy milks:

1. Carrageenan

This seaweed-based additive is extremely inflammatory and should be fastidiously avoided. As a matter of fact, carrageenan is so caustic to the digestive tract that researchers use it to induce colitis in lab animals! The World Health Organization classifies one type of carrageenan as a “possible human carcinogen” (learn more about carrageenan here). Lesson? Just because a carton of Almond Milk claims the titles “organic” and “heart healthy” does not mean it should be a part of your diet.

2. “Natural flavors”

This term conveniently eliminates the need to list unsavory additives on the ingredient list. “Natural flavors” can even mean forms of MSG and artificial sweeteners. I want to know EXACTLY what is in the food that I eat. That is why I prepare most of my food from scratch and only purchase ingredients from companies who have the rare integrity to list every single ingredient on their product. I feel a visceral distrust of a company that puts “natural flavors” on their ingredient list.

3. Vegetable oils

small olive oilMost nut or seed milks contain canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower seed oil, and/or soybean oil which are all bad news. Vegetable oils are a freak of nature… after all, it takes a lot of effort to get a gallon of oil from corn! Vegetable oils are extracted with toxic solvents as well as high heat and pressure, agents that rancidify the delicate chemical structure of the fatty acids. Further, corn and soy oils are most likely from heavily-sprayed and GMO crops.

To prove my point, watch this video on How Canola Oil Is Made. You won’t believe it until you see it! Canola oil is simply not fit for human consumption (or animal consumption, either, for that matter).

Vegetable oils = icky. Period.

4. Soy

When it comes to non-dairy milk options, soy milk is by far the worst choice. For the sake of keeping this post a reasonable length, I am just going to give you some of the detrimental health consequences of soy in a nutshell:

  • Soy contains high amounts of phytoestrogens which may cause estrogen dominance. Pre-pubescent boys are most susceptible to (often irreversible) hormone damage by consuming soy products and parents should make a careful effort to never feed their babies soy-based formulas.
  • Soy impairs thyroid function which lowers metabolism. This leads to hair thinning, skin problems, and weight gain.
  • Soy contains substances that interfere with protein digestion. This can cause serious pancreas problems, including pancreatic cancer.
  • Soy is super high in mineral-blocking phytic acid.

Want more details and studies on the horrors of soy? I recommend The Whole Soy Story by Dr. Kaayla Daniels.

5. Vitamin D2

The natural vitamin D in real milk, as well as the D the human body produces from sun exposure, is D3. Vitamins in a whole-food form, such as in raw milk, provide an easily-assimilated form of the nutrients along with important cofactors for absorption. Vitamin D2 is a synthetic and isolated form of the vitamin and, as a result, is extremely poorly absorbed (here’s the study). It offers no viable benefit to the body and may actually be harmful.

Some experts believe that D2 actually desentitizes the D3 receptors, making us more prone to vitamin D deficiency! Stay far, far away from the D2.

6. Other isolated vitamins

tabletsWhen it comes to processed foods, the sum of the parts does not equal the whole. Here’s what I mean in the case of milk substitutes: companies isolate forms of vitamins and minerals and add it into the milk substitute base. But just because a rice milk claims to have as much calcium as regular milk does not mean the body absorbs and utilizes the calcium from both items the same way. I believe nutrients are always better absorbed in the whole-food form.

For example, real, whole milk provides adequate saturated fats to help the body utilize the calcium and fat-soluble vitamins in the milk. Non-dairy milks offer no natural co-factors to allow assimilation of the vitamins.

As another example, non-dairy milks often contain synthetic vitamin A. While naturally-occuring (non-isolated, food-source) vitamin A only creates toxicity in uber-extreme doses, moderate overdoses of synthetic vitamin A can cause toxicity (read more about synthetic vs. natural vitamin A). This is because the body cannot assimilate the synthetic version of the vitamin.

7. Bonus: Phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors

(Not an additive, but natural anti-nutrients)

As explained in Nourishing Traditions, traditional cultures soaked their nuts and seeds in a salty brine and then dried them in the sun. This reduced the phytic acid content (a substance which impairs mineral absorption) and the naturally-occuring enzyme inhibitors (which cause digestive distress and impair protein digestion). I know that many of you are already fans of soaking and dehydrating your nuts/seeds to make the nutrients more bioavaiable. Unfortunately, commercially-prepared non-dairy milks are not made from properly prepared nuts/seeds.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the ingredients in popular non-dairy milk options.

soySilk Original Soymilk

Soymilk (Filtered Water, Whole Soybeans), Cane Sugar, Sea Salt, Carrageenan, Natural Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12.

Well, the first ingredient is soy. Need we read further down the ingredient list before we place the product back on the shelf? No, but let’s anyways, out of morbid curiosity. I see carrageenan, that caustic carcinogen that we discussed earlier. I also see isolated calcium and vitamin A, which aren’t going to be optimally absorbed by the body. And there is that useless vitamin D2. The verdict? Don’t touch this stuff.

Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

Almond milk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Locust Bean Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan Gum, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Zinc Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2.

The real red flags here are the foreign-sounding ingredients. Locust bean gum – what in the world is that? Here’s the explanation from Wikipedia:

“[Locust bean gum is a] vegetable gum extracted from the seeds of the carob tree [...] The long pods that grow on the tree are used to make this gum. The pods are kibbled to separate the seed from the pulp. The seeds have their skins removed by an acid treatment. The deskinned seed is then split and gently milled. This causes the brittle germ to break up while not affecting the more robust endosperm. The two are separated by sieving. The separated endosperm can then be milled by a roller operation to produce the final locust bean gum powder.” 

That is definitely not an ingredient that can be prepared by the home cook! Even if it is from a natural product like a carob pod, I know it is not truly “natural” if it requires such strange and complex extraction methods. The same goes for the sunflower lecithin (a highly processed byproduct) and the gellan gum (a product of a bacterium).

And there is that ominous “natural flavor” label… that’s bad news. The verdict on this popular almond milk option? Avoid it.

Rice Dream Unsweetened Rice Milk

Organic rice base (filtered water, organic rice), organic tapioca starch, organic expeller pressed canola oil and/or safflower oil and/or sunflower oil, tricalcium phosphate, carrageenan, natural flavors, sea salt, xanthan gum, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, vitamin B12.

Okay, so we have some red flag ingredients discussed above like vegetable oils, carrageenan, natural flavors and D2. It also lists xanthan gum, a highly processed, bacterial byproduct ingredient. It certainly doesn’t pass the test of “would your great-grandmother have recognized this as food?”

hempTempt Hempmilk

Hemp nut base (filtered water, hemp nut [shelled hemp seed]), natural flavors, sunflower lecithin, tricalcium phosphate, carrageenan, sea salt, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, riboflavin, vitamin B12. Contains a trace of sugar.

Like other nuts and seeds, hempseeds are a whole food that has been enjoyed by traditional cultures. And the good news is that hemp seeds do not contain phytic acid, so they do not need to be soaked. But unfortunately, this commercial non-dairy milk contains that darned and dangerous carrageenan as well as the red flag ingredients of natural flavors, sunflower lecithin, and D2. Verdict? Pass on this one.

What about coconut milk?

I frequently use coconut milk in my recipes on Empowered Sustenance. Although it is a seed, coconut has an excellent fatty acid profile with lots of metabolism-boosting medium chain fatty acids and very little PUFA. But we have to be careful when buying coconut milks because they can have the same problems of other milk substitutes. I don’t recommend buying cartons of coconut milk, because these often contain carrageenan.

The best option is additive-free coconut milk in BPA-free cans, although the can lining likely still leaches chemicals into the milk. I feel totally comfortable consuming 1-3 cans of coconut milk per week.

In my option, the best non-dairy milk is homemade coconut milk. You can also make coconut milk at home from unsweetened coconut flakes. Make a couple of batches and keep some in the freezer. It will lasts months in the freezer and about 4 days in the fridge.

What milks and milk substitutes are best?

milk pourI believe the most nourishing option is real raw milk. Why is raw milk so special? So many reasons! I explain the benefits of raw milk in my post here. That post also debunks the myths about the “risks” of raw milk consumption and addresses the question “isn’t cow milk for baby cows?” If you think you are lactose intolerant or believe you can’t tolerate dairy milk, I encourage you to give raw milk or raw goat milk a try. You will be pleasantly surprised at how well you can tolerate it!

If you still want a nut/seed milk, then the best option is making it from scratch. Again, I recommend homemade coconut milk because it contains the healthiest fats and is free of anti-nutrients like phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. 

If you choose other nuts/seeds, it is best to soak and dehydrate your nuts/seeds according to the directions in Nourishing Traditions. This reduces the problematic phytic acid (remember, it prevents mineral absorption) and enzyme inhibitors (remember, those harm your pancreas). Then blend up the nuts/seeds with filtered water and strain it through a nut milk bag. You can find unlimited recipes  for homemade nut milk on the internet.

Carrageenan, vitamin D2 and more... here is why you should think twice before buying "healthy" non-dairy milk! (plus the best non-dairy milk options)

What kinds of milk do you drink? Are you going to make the transition away from commercial nuts milks? 

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Comments

  1. Christine says

    All of your posts are so amazing! I learn something new each time. I’m only a teen, but reading your blog gets me so motivated to change some everyday habits of mine, which will definitely benefit me as the years go by. My family and I have been drinking soymilk for the past couple of months for no reason, and neither of us are lactose intolerant. Maybe just the taste and the fact that the carton states that it’s a good source of calcium? Once I read the section of the post on soy, I was in shock! I’ll definitely try to talk my family into the idea of raw milk.. Thanks for the information!

    • says

      Christine, I am so happy to read your comment! Thanks so much for the kind words and I’m glad to hear that this post has provided motivation for you to move away from soy milk.

      • Sachiko says

        Unfortunately, Coconut milk is not a good option for someone with nut allergies, as many of my friends are. And many of them also have difficulty buying this kind of stuff in bulk, So, what other options can you provide then? …?

      • Michael Hodson says

        Hi Lauren I tried to join your mailing list but your site is telling me my email is fake. You may be losing potential customers so please rectify this problem. I enjoyed reading your non-dairy milk information but i still have a few questions about homogenisation and coconut milk. I can assure you my email address is legitimate. I’m from Australia.

    • Charissa says

      Excellent post! Have you found any brands of coconut yogurt without carrageenan?? Or have you tried fermenting the Trader Joe’s coconut milk?

  2. Maple says

    Excellent post! I often see “healthy” blogs talking about almond milk etc., but everytime I try to buy them and see all those foreign ingredients… I’m just wondering why the heck would anyone buy that!

    Looking forward to more great posts. :)

    • says

      Thank you, I’m glad you liked the post! And that is my pet peeve too, when I see a health food blog calling for commercial non-dairy milks in recipes.

    • Leslie says

      You can look for recipes to make your own coconut, almond and other milk. For almond, you run them through your blender with water (check recipe) squeeze out the almonds and presto. I used unsweetened almond milk in my smoothies and add a touch of Stevia.

  3. Michaela says

    I agreed with Maple! I was always baffled by the people who denounce multi-vitamins for being synthetic (not that I take them) but then drink almond milk by the truckload! I felt like I must have been missing something. Glad to see I’m not the only person who refuses to drink non-dairy milk. Since I’ve recently developed a reaction to cow milk, I’ll have to try making my own coconut milk.

    • says

      This is just a suggestion, but you may be able to tolerate goat milk (preferably raw!) if you can’t do the cow milk. I’m a big fan of goat milk… it is quite the superfood. Homemade coconut milk is also healthy and delicious, though, so have fun making it!

      • Michaela says

        I’ll definitely give that a try! As many other food items I make from scratch, it’d be nice to have help somewhere! =S Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. Tracy says

    I am allergic to dairy, I don’t like the taste of coconut milk or almond milk either. I don’t like in an area where I can buy raw goats milk or raw cows milk. What do I drink? I have been drinking the Ricedream Rice milk since it seems to be the only one I like the taste and texture of. Help!

    • Cassandra says

      I am allergic to cow milk. cant drink cows milk organic, raw, pasteurized, etc. or eat dairy. Also cant have goats milk or even use goats milk soap. I support peoples right to have raw milk, but you raw milk drinkers falsely believe everyone and anyone can and should have raw milk. Anything that is edible and a food has at least someone allergic to it! Ive known people allergic to blueberries, broccoli, coconut and my husband is allergic to like 20 things including alfalfa! Oh and he is allergic to cow and goat milk too, yes organic, raw, etc. My husband is also allergic to cheese as well as dairy, how? Cheese has different additional bacteria which my husband is also allergic to. You can be allergic to cheese but not milk and dairy. So if my husband has cheese of any kind (including raw) it is a double whammy. Allergies dont care how healthy the food is

      • Sparky says

        Amen Cassandra! Note that humans are the only species where ADULTS drink the pressings from the teets of other animals. Does not occur anywhere else in nature. Perhaps that should be a clue!

      • Beth says

        Cassandra, I would suggest you and your husband consider going on the GAPS diet, especially the GAPS intro diet, to resolve or at least minimize your multiple food allergies since they are indicative of leaky gut syndrome. Simply put, when the gut is impaired, it allows undigested or partly digested food particles into the body and bloodstream, causing the body to see these particles as foreign invaders and mounting an “allergic” response. The GAPS intro diet will heal and seal the gut lining.

      • Tim McGee says

        I have found that people with allergies are suffering from a Candida infection which produces D – Lactic acid and toxins into the blood stream, for which causes the allergic responses that people have in many different situation, from itching skin to swelling of the legs to the food allergies that are bought on by the Candida, for which can be eliminated from the body by no refine sugar consumtion and this knew product that I found that help me and my wife help beat the breast cancer she had, this product was worth its weight in gold. Look up Shannon brown’s this product works, its like five products in one when it come to fighting Candida and D- Latic acid in the body.
        look it up you be glad you did, I sure glad I did, cuts the time of removing this bad bacterial from my system as well as my wife.

  5. says

    Thanks for this post! I definitely learned some new information! That locust bean gum sounds horrible! I used to buy the unsweetened silk almond milk because I thought it was healthy because it doesn’t have carrageen and only minimal sugar, but I hated the “natural flavor” aspect. You never know what that means!! I quit buying it a couple of months ago and I’m sticking to coconut milk! You just reinforced my decision! Thanks for this info!

  6. Yvonne says

    Thanks for posting this! There is always something new to be learned, and your posts are so informative. I love all your posts, in how helpful they are, and this one especially. I’ve been straying away from alternative-milks, but was originally lactose-intolerant, but haven’t been able to source a decent raw milk (or even goat raw milk) yet. Would organic milk substitute, or is there anywhere in Ontario, Canada you can say would have it?

    • says

      If you can find non-homogenized, low temperature pasteurized milk (preferably from pastured cows) that would be the next best thing to raw milk. Otherwise you may be able to find raw milk on the black market and you can contact your local Weston A. Price chapter for help locating it.

  7. Amber says

    Hi,

    First off thank you so much for ALL of your amazing information. I truly appreciate the knowledge you share. Finally, what would you suggest for children? Both me and my daughter have so many allergies, we are celiac but also milk/dairy has bothered us terribly. We started out with soy and found out all the dangers, and now almond milk. Would you really suggest for children to consume raw milk? if so, is there yogurt and cheese u recommend too? Always looking for ways to keep my 7 year old happy :) thanks!

    • says

      I would absolutely recommend raw milk for children. I don’t know where you live, but if you have a Whole Foods around they carry Ervian Yogurt which is non-homogenized and from grassfed cows. They also have some great raw milk cheeses.

      • melody Joy says

        I would say that if there is a definite milk allergy + Celiac, tread carefully w/the raw milk. Try like 1/4 tsp first and wait. My husband was allergic to milk & tolerated raw just fine, but our son’s leaky gut was so advanced that raw dairy (both goat & cow) still caused him to break out in hives (his poor little face was puffed right up w/them). Raw milk is a wonderful thing but leaky guts are not so predictable, so do exercise caution. But I do think raw milk is “safe for children,” in general. Our son is also allergic to nuts & to coconut, though, so we make sure he gets plenty of minerals through broth and such, but his cup is only ever filled w/water kefir, kombucha, or water (and mostly it’s water).

        • says

          Yes, I agree. If there is a real milk allergy, be very careful with raw milk. Usually, raw goats milk can be tolerated when there is an allergy to cows milk because it has a different protein structure.

          • Liz says

            I have not tried any raw but less then 2 oz of goats cheese sent me to the ER. I am going to start soon on trying to heal my gut, but I will be very careful with introducing any dairy. The most difficutl part is avoiding whey for me as I have teased out over time that is my main trigger as protien bars effect me the same as having a lot of dairy, but the allergy disapeared with one of my two pregnancies. I may need to stick to bone broths and coconut milk. Thank you for your info and good luck to everyone out there

  8. Jessica says

    Thank you! I love this post! I don’t understand how others can write off cow’s milk so readily, but consume all the nastiness you spoke of. Even though I can’t get my hands on raw milk (flat out illegal in Canada), I think organic is better than consuming nut/seed based “milks”.

    • sam says

      Because some of us do it for ethical reasons. Drinking a little almond milk with my coffee and cereal is fine. I refuse to be a part of an industry that abuses animals. Not every reason is for health. Sometimes health of the planet, health of the cow and health of my conscience outweighs. ALthough Im not totally on board that a little carageenan is horrible for me. I do make my own from time to time. Balance.

      • says

        I also refuse to be part of an industry that abuses animals, and that is why I purchase my milk from local, grassfed jersey cows. But I also refuse to be part of an industry that prioritizes profit over the health of their customers and that is why I would never buy almond milk that contained carrageenan.

        • Lindsay says

          Do some more research! Your “local, grassfed jersey cows” are still artificially inseminated (read raped), impregnated, and their male babies taken (read torn away) away from their mothers to become veal, their female babies are forced into slavery like their mothers—I’ll stick to my nut/seed milks, thank you very much.

            • me says

              Lauren you sound like you are irritated by previous writer not wanting to be a part of the cruelty that is the dairy industry… raw or not. I get tired of the never ending list of what we should or shouldn’t eat…allergy to this and allergy to that…I have no doubt that there are true dietary ailments out there but I also believe that many spend way too much time staring at their navel dreaming up another problem they can cry about. Food merely sustains live and it is not a recreational pass time as so many in developed nations treat it. You only have to turn on the tv to see some having a cry and snot because some fat git tells them their sauce is not saucey enough on one of those revolting chef shows…personally I think eating in moderation and getting off your fat backside and move a bit more would help the vast majority. Also, have allergies professional ly confirmed instead of self diagnosising through some claptrap found on internet. My belief is more veg..nuts..fruit and legumes and a whole lot more of just getting on with it would help a lot.

          • says

            Lindsay, you are over-dramatising the cows treatment.

            I live on a dairy farm. Cows are bred to produce milk or beef. It is their life’s purpose. They don’t get depressed over it.

            Ever had a smear test? That’s about how invasive artificial insemination is. Are you scarred for life because of it? Neither are they. The worst thing is having to take their calves off them. But they get over it and soon get back to their favourite thing – eating.

            They are quite happy and have very good lives grazing all day.

            • mia says

              Cassandra s
              How do you know cows don’t have feelings .. I’ve seen videos where cows cry over their babies being taken away they get depressed too …all animals have feelings…

            • Annie B says

              Imagine human mothers having their babies taken away from them to be slaughtered while they are hooked up to milking machines so others can enjoy a nice bowl of cornflakes.
              Why should cows have to endure this horror? They are extremely maternal and feel the same as a human would. If you assume otherwise you are simply deluding yourself.

        • dana says

          your information on soy is outdated. recent research actually shows that for those woman who consume soy (organic and non gmo), soy has a breast protective effect. Additionally, you are misinformed if you think that grass fed means cruelty free. babies are still taken from the mother cow; males sold to veal farmers where they will spend their short lives in boxes, never seeing the light of day. girl calves will become milk cows like their mothers, who, after having 5 or so calves, will be spend and slaughtered. there are only so many slaughterhouses. so while you may know where your milk comes from, I can tell you were it ends up, and how it dies.

    • Cassandra says

      I am allergic to cow milk. cant drink cows milk organic, raw, pasteurized, etc. or eat dairy. Also cant have goats milk or even use goats milk soap. I support peoples right to have raw milk, but you raw milk drinkers falsely believe everyone and anyone can and should have raw milk. Anything that is edible and a food has at least someone allergic to it! Ive known people allergic to blueberries, broccoli, coconut and my husband is allergic to like 20 things including alfalfa! Oh and he is allergic to cow and goat milk too, yes organic, raw, etc. My husband is also allergic to cheese as well as dairy, how? Cheese has different additional bacteria which my husband is also allergic to. You can be allergic to cheese but not milk and dairy. So if my husband has cheese of any kind (including raw) it is a double whammy. Allergies dont care how healthy the food is. I use to have chronic ear aches, sore throats my WHOLE life up unitl age 19 when I gave up milk it went away. I have been ear ache free for 6 years. So yeah, that is how someone can give up dairy without hesitation. It was either that or have my tonsils removed. I also lost 30 lbs effortlessly and kept it off, cleared up my acne and am no longer anemic. I am thriving without calve milk! I know, surprising I dont need the secretions from another species mammary glands to live healthy!

      • Cassandra says

        I agree that milk substitutes arent healthy either but that doesnt make milk (yes even raw and even goat) healthier to do process of elimination

      • Lin says

        Cassandra, what you may not realize is that all cheeses come from either a cow, sheep, or goat. Different cheeses have varying amounts of whey and casein. Your husband might be able to tolerate the hard cheeses more than soft cheeses, however, it doesn’t mean he’s not allergic to cheese. Both my son and I are very allergic to dairy, though being 17 and rebellious, he still insists on eating Romano cheese from sheep because he can tolerate it. I on the other hand cannot tolerate anything from an animal.
        I don’t look upon this as a death sentence any longer. Why? Think about it….. humans are the only species that drinks the milk from another species. Kind of weird!
        next, keep in mind where those cows/sheep/goats are….outside. Drinking from streams or other water supplies which are receiving acid rain, or runoff from people’s fertilizer and pesticide infested lawns, junk people pour down the streets (fuel, oil, and yes, even toxic materials). The animals drink this! or they eat the grasses that are also receiving this water (runoff). Not to mention, the farm animals are beefed up with all manner of antibiotic and steroids to beef up their growth and production . that is then transferred into their milk, as well as their muscle tissue…so you are receiving steroids and hormones in the milk, and bovine growth factor by eating the meat….hello? has anyone noticed the exponential growth in the number of cancers lately? it’s all due to the hormones and growth factors in the food supply (animal).
        do yourselves a favor, listen to your bodies…these allergies are your signals that what you are eating is BAD for you!
        sure, oils aren’t great for you either, but, if you want to bake a cake or breakfast muffins once in a while and need a cup of almond Milk (or some other brand), or you want to have a dairy free cheese on a pizza once a week….what’s worse? ingesting something from a cow laced with chemicals and toxins? or taking in a little vegetable oil and flours? Going Vegan (Non GMO) is the best and most assured way of eating healthy and with the least amount of chemicals, and the healthiest way to eat (especially when organic).
        for a factual (historically factual) and scientifically based truth on the dairy industry and the ways in which animal milk is bad for you, see Whitewash: the disturbing truth about cow’s milk and your health by Joseph Keon and Jon Robbins.

        • says

          We are NOT the only mammals that drink the milk of another species. It is not weird. I explain in my Raw Milk post. If we have an allergy to a common allergen like dairy, it means that we have gut and digestion problems. It does not mean that the food is inherently bad. Raw milk is not ideal for everyone, especially because modern humans have severely leaky guts. But in a historical perspective, real milk has nourished humans for millennia.

            • Jamie says

              what other mammal takes nuts puts them in the blender, mixes with water, presses through a nut milk bag and makes milk? This line of questioning is asinine.

          • Ann says

            Unless you are referring to cats and dogs which drink milk only because we feed it to them – no animal other than humans drink the milk of other species. In fact many adult humans lack the enzymes necessary to digest lactose and dairy intolerance is common in adults (but I will read your raw milk article in case you address this).
            I looked into your interesting comments on the thickening agent, it seems most of the studies done showing negative effect have used a processed form which is no longer used in food, and which is considered as unsafe even by the food industry.
            Lastly, in reference to your comment about buying ‘ethical’ milk that doesn’t harm the cow; something has to happen to the calf that is supposed to be getting the cow’s milk we humans are drinking. Most commonly they are shot.

            • Ann says

              I’d like to comment further after reading your raw milk article – especially the bit about other animals drinking other species’ milk, which was very new to me and very interesting! I would like to withdraw my above comment about us being the only species to do so, but I would like to replace it with the comment that we are the only species to do so regularly.
              I’m sure animals would exploit any food source available, and I’m sure they would drink more milk if they could. Nowdays humans have more choice about whether they can – or should – exploit all food sources available.

      • Beth says

        Cassandra, I would suggest you and your husband consider going on the GAPS diet, especially the GAPS intro diet, to resolve or at least minimize your multiple food allergies since they are indicative of leaky gut syndrome. Simply put, when the gut is impaired, it allows undigested or partly digested food particles into the body and bloodstream, causing the body to see these particles as foreign invaders and mounting an “allergic” response. The GAPS intro diet will heal and seal the gut lining.

  9. Sharon V. says

    I am fortunate to live near Trader Joe’s and I like to take a can of the light coconut milk, thin it with a can of filtered water and then use it as a milk substitute in my morning tea, or sometimes I just drink it.

      • lorrie says

        I just found my answer! I opened a can of coconut milk this morning since after reading this post I pitched my carton brand. It was way too thick so I was searching for a way to thin it down. Thanks :-)

  10. Courtney says

    Thank you for this post! I knew that the carton-packaged non-dairy milks weren’t great, but I just never understood what was wrong with all of the ingredients. This post is very informative.

    I recently started drinking raw milk from a local farm and I’m in love! For the longest time I cut dairy out because it was the popular thing to do. Knowing what I know now about homogenized, pasteurized dairy I’m glad I did, but I turned to cartons of almond milk and coconut milk instead. I still consume coconut milk, but I started buying the full fat stuff in a can. My local health food store sells the Native Forest brand, which is relatively affordable. It’s only additive is Guar Gum (non-GMO project verified). There’s nothing on the label about the can being BPA free, but for now it’ll have to do. I’m about to start the GAPS diet to heal my eczema and I’ll probably start making my own coconut milk.

  11. Liliana says

    Thank you, your article it’s very interesting. I have one question, when you say raw milk it means straight from the cow?, I remember when I was a girl we used to go to a ranch to get our milk, and the pour the fresh milk in our bottles but my mom used to boil it at home. So should we boil or not?

    • says

      Yep, straight from the cow without being boiled. Just be sure to get the milk from a farmer who uses very sanitary milking conditions.

  12. LilianaVQuintero says

    One more thing. Where is the coconut milk recipe ?. I live in Florida and once I was soaking almonds and they turn bad because it is so humid. Should I soak them in the refrigerator, somebody living in a humid place to give me some tips. thank you so much.

  13. Mary says

    Hi,
    I really appreciate all the information you share. I have learned a lot on how to better feed my family, thanks!!
    My question is regarding Xanthan Gum. Why is it bad and can I replace it in my gluten free bread machine recipe?
    Thanks again and God Bless!

    • says

      I don’t think xanthan gum and guar gum is a huge deal, but it isn’t a whole food or a truly natural food. I don’t know of any substitutes for them.

      • Lee says

        Xanthan Gum is made from the outer layer of a tiny inactive bacterium called Xanthomonas campestris. Guar Gum is derived from the seed of the Guar plant. Each are used as thickeners or binding agents in gluten-free cooking. Both are high in fiber. A little goes a long way. You can substitute psyllium husk powder or the husks themselves in place of it.

  14. Molly says

    Lauren, I really appreciate the knowledge you share, I only wish I knew at least 1/4 of what you know. At my age (65) it’s also too late to learn everything I need to know about what’s good for you and what’s not. I have a daughter with special needs and we found out 4 years ago that we’re Gluten Intolerance and I have been going crazy since.
    My daughter had pain for 10 years or more before we found out and she still in pain and they have said they have check for everything that they can think of. Before GI we were on the IBS diet and it worked ok but still stomach pains. Than we went GF diet and it work for about 6 or so months before the stomach pain came back and I know that even thou I try really hard to keep her meals GF it’s really hard for me to understand some of the ingredients in some of the item we purchase for instance like the non dairy milk your talking about now. I do use the non dairy milk for alot of cooking items and smoothies. I’m in the kitchen more than I like to be so that I can cook all of her meals from scratch but we do go out and eat sometimes. During my life I always prayed that I would live for retirement and now that I have made it I’m now working harder on just trying to make my daughter feel better and with all the unknowns out there it’s really hard. I wish there was a way that we could find out what is really good for us and what’s know. Your sight is wonderful and you know so much but I wish I could ask you something everyday because one sight might say something and than you might something else where is a old lady to turn. For instance I received info that Rice, Corn and Oats or Gluten and some people say it’s not. It’s really hard for us in any respect because I’m also GI and show or feel any symptoms and my daughter has pain everyday put it hard for her to explain were she really hurts.
    There is also goat cheese is that ok, or what do I need to look for in that? Also what is the problem with Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum which I also use for baking?
    Also I have read from a Dr. that commercial Kefir & Kombacha is not good for us as well as just about all the yogurts out there? I haven’t look into raw milk yet but when I look at it not really sure I guess I just have to try it, it might be too expense for us as much as I use milk for smoothies and cooking?
    I’m also with Mary what can you use for Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum?
    I guess I’m said enough but THANKS for letting me vent my frustrations.
    Thanks again for all the information you share it helps so many people I only wish my better half would believe that we need to eat right, he is so lucky he has No problems and can eat anything he wants.
    Thanks again for all you put into learning for the rest of us. I wish I could turn back the clock so that I could absorbed all there is to learn.
    Take Care and God Bless,

    • says

      I know how overwhelming it feels to find a “healthy diet” when we have contradicting information coming at us from all sides! I don’t know all the answers, either, and I am always learning. I wish I could answer all your questions, but to address a few of your questions here: homemade kefir, yogurt and kombucha is preferable, but I think store bought is okay as long as the ingredients are good. I don’t think xanthan gum and guar gum is a huge deal, but it isn’t a whole food or a truly natural food. I don’t know of any substitutes for them.

      • Nova says

        Molly,
        Go http://www.gapsdiet.com and read everything there. Pay particular attention to the intro diet and follow it step by step. First order Dr. Mc Bride’s first book, the yellow one. Second print the recommended/avoid food list and put it on your fridge. Then really read. Use notebook paper to write down everything for
        stage one on one sheet, for stage two on a second
        sheet, and so on. Writing the info for each stage on seperate pieces of paper allows you to glean what you need from the website (and when it arrives, the book) and to organize it in a way YOU can use it.
        Finally, when you get all of the info for stage one the way you want it on your first notebook paper. Put it on your fridge next to the recommend/avoid list. Then rest.
        You may want to make a second copy of the list for stage one to put in your purse or car for when you go to purchase your food. That way you’ll remember it and if you lose it, you can always make another from your ‘fridge post.
        This process helps seperate the why (theoretical) from the HOW (practical).
        It will also allow you to focus on each step and only that step which helped me change from feeling overwhelmed and confused to empowered and confident. I hope it helps you, too!
        God Bless you!

        • Nova says

          Molly,
          After you’ve done the above and RESTED. Get a cardboard or other box and go through you kitchen and box up everything that “isn’t allowed.”
          Give it or throw it away.
          It was and is difficult for me to “waste” so many expensive items, but eliminating what you can’t use anyway helps eliminate that confusion and sense of being overwhelmed…
          I am doing gaps for severe ADHD and I work 50+ hrs/week to pay for it all. I can truly empathize with your feelings. Stay the course. It does get easier with time.

          • Molly says

            Nova,
            Thanks for the info, I need all the help I can get.
            Bless you,
            Also to all the others that gave info. I don’t really blog much at all as you can see from my long vent blog. I’m just get mad at my self for not knowing more or being able to absorb as much as I use to. Also I have a problem throwing out the item we don’t use because of my better half he eat anything he wants. And sometimes it’s hard to keep telling my daughter no she can’t have that. I do try and keep them on different shelves.
            Thanks again to all.

  15. Tehoja says

    I have found this Oatly branded non-dairy milk. It is made from oats. Organic version have only water, oats and salt in it. Good taste and good for those who do not wish or can’t use dairy or other non-milk dairy.

    I’m not sure is it sold in US, but in EU it is. Also there is many recipe online, to make your self. Also it is gluten free.
    I do love raw milk, I remember from my childhood my aunt had a farm and we did drink a lot raw milk. I sometimes use raw milk, when I get it or organic milk but I tend to avoid soy, rice and normal dairy these days.

    Many non dairy milk alternatives can be made at home and there is additive free versions, so these can be good for some uses in kitchen.

    For links to this Oatly brand: http://www.oatly.co.uk/products/oatly-oat-drink-organic
    And recipe for self made: http://www.naturalhealthstrategies.com/oat-milk.html

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your experience! My concern with oat milk is that oats are very high in phytic acid. I think it would be preferable to make oat milk with oats that have been soaked overnight in water with whey or lemon juice, but that may make the milk taste too sour.

  16. Amy Ungerer says

    Your blog is my absolute favorite. I share it with everyone. I started taking a Nutrition Consultant course in May and have been giving free nutrition talks for a while. Milk was the big topic on Thursday night so your timing on this article is amazing. I have passed in on to a big group so I hope you get more followers. I tell people that plant milks are highly processed but you have given such great detail on what that means. People get so upset about the milk and grain issue. They feel the answer is plant milks then I have to tell them that they are bad, too. You can just see it on their face. It’s overwhelming and a big obstacle people think they can’t tackle. Drinking raw goats milk and giving up grains has given me control of my life and health. Because it was so hard and life changing I feel I should tell everyone. God bless you and all that you do! You are my inspiration!

  17. DeAnna says

    I recently (this week) started drinking WestSoy Soy Milk (contains only water and nonGMO soybeans) to try to deal with my hot flashes. I read several “healthy” posts about upping soy consumption to address the hormonal deficiency during menopause. What is your opinion of this? Are there better food choices for addressing menopausal symptoms?

    • says

      I know that soy is a typical “treatment” for menopausal symptoms, but it makes me cringe because it does more harm than good. My new book “Quit PMS” is targeted at PMS symptoms, but it is very applicable for premenopausal and menopausal women because it explains how to balance your hormones and support your adrenal glands. I would recommend the book if you want to learn more about balancing hormones naturally.

  18. Jan J. says

    Great article! We did the almond milk thing for a while but it just didn’t feel right and now I have a good explanation why. I so wish we could find raw milk – I grew up on it and miss it so. I hope someday to have our own milk goats but not enough income right now. My sister had no milk when her baby was born premature and he threw up every formula that was tried and lost down to 4 pounds. Goat milk was the key – he thrived and was super healthy, and I loved the taste of it! I always wonder whether ultra-pasteurized organic milk is better if that is all you can find or the commercial whole milk that doesn’t have the hormones added since it is heated to a lower temp.

  19. Beth says

    If I may, here’s #8 for your most excellent list:

    8. Oxalates, which are very high in both soy milk and almond milk. Oxalate, or oxalic acid, is a natural plant toxin designed to protect the plant from being eaten, and when consumed can accumulate in many tissues of the body, wreaking havoc.

    Bravo to you for educating more people on the many issues concerning these fake milks.

    Hooray for Real Milk! (AKA, raw, unprocessed, additive free, grass-fed milk as Mother Nature intended.)

  20. Beth says

    Be careful with cans labeled “BPA free” since companies can use other forms of bisphenol like BPS, etc., and still legally be able to label it as BPA free. Best to call or write to the company and ask if their cans are free of ALL forms of hormone-disrupting bisphenol. Besides, they need to hear this request repeatedly and know that more consumers are becoming more savvy about these things and demanding safe alternatives.

    • says

      Excellent point! I prefer to use as little BPS-free canned products as possible, but sometimes it is just so convenient to reach for a can of coconut milk.

  21. says

    Hi Lauren

    I am alittle confused about milk and whether my family should drink it or only have it fermented. With GAPS you cant have milk so how can that make raw milk a perfect food for everyone when so many people have digestive issues etc and need to go on GAPS Are you saying it is the perfect food if you are completely healthy? Can I also ask why they say cheese is so hard to digest as isnt it cultured milk which should make it better than milk? As I said I am alittle confused with dairy as a whole and would love your thoughts.

    Thanks again

    • says

      I don’t think raw milk is the perfect food for everyone, but I do think it is the case for many people. I use raw milk to make my GAPS yogurt and I think raw milk kefir is also beneficial for those who need a more digestible form of raw milk. I think dairy is a very personal issue… everybody needs to tweak their dairy intake to fit their body. It sometimes is a trial and error process. Personally, I find cheeses much harder to digest than my yogurt but some people have the opposite experience.

  22. Molly says

    I’m sure this is a silly question but, Can you purchase filtered water or do you have to buy some kind of machine?

  23. says

    All good and well, but I have SEVERE food allergies (soy, dairy, gluten, lime, mint and grapes, just to name a few), especially dairy, which causes anaphylaxis if I ingest it, so I don’t need to be scared off from the few other choices I have left. I do not choose alternatives on some PC, bandwagon or trendy whim. I, like MANY others with food allergies, NEED alternatives.

  24. Billie-Jo says

    Hi, I was just wondering what you thought about carob kibble? Its pods broken into snack sized bites…Would that be processed the same way as locust bean? I have the powder too..
    Thanks in advance :)

  25. says

    i’m vegan, so i drink plant based milks. but i make my own from whole nuts and seeds. anything from hazelnut, walnuts, to hemp seeds. it’s easy and i know i’m not getting any of the additives that pop up in commercial foods.

  26. Casandra says

    I purchased raw milk from a local farm for 3 years. My 3 older kids developed IBS, asthma, and cyclic vomiting while on it, the baby just flat refused to drink it. While I would much prefer to use a ‘natural product’, they just can’t tolerate dairy at all. (No cheese or yogurt either)
    I use coconut milk for creamy stuff, but they prefer almond milk for everyday use. Kroger’s Simple Truth brand does not contain carrageenan and they insist it is most like ‘real milk’ texture and taste.

  27. DIANE says

    Why recommend “light” canned coconut milk? The fats in full-fat canned coconut milk are very healthy.

    • says

      I agree, but I only recommend the Trader Joe’s light coconut milk because it doesn’t contain gums and additives, while the Trader Joe’s regular coconut milk does (much to my disappointment!). If you are not bothered by guar gum, then their regular coconut milk will be an option for you.

  28. Sandra says

    I agree w Sam. Are you aware of the amount of pollution a single cow produces in a year? More than a single automobile.

    In this day and age, when there are unlimited sources of organic plant based foods packed full of protein year round, there is NO reason to turn to slaughtering defenseless animals, especially in the name of soft skin.

    Do you have a recipe that is vegan friendly? The thought of putting rendered animal fat on my skin is just beyond my comprehension.

    After these grass-fed cows are no longer able to produce milk, what happens to them?They are slaughtered, usually w a nail gun type of device to the head.

    Best of luck to you in your future endeavors.

    • says

      My site is not a vegan blog and I am sure you can find a vegan body butter recipe (since you are referring to my Whipped Body Butter recipe) somewhere else.

  29. says

    I enjoyed your article and I appreciate the scientific touch in your articles. In the article you mentioned that carrageenan should be avoided and that it is a seaweed-based additive. Does this mean that seaweed is unhealthy or only the additive is unhealthy?

  30. Gwen says

    Wow, I had no idea some brands have all those extra ingredients. Mine has two: water, soy beans. And just FYI (for your readers), the jury is still very much out on soy; take a look at http://zenhabits.net/soy/ (a good overview that links to opposing research). I only put about a tablespoon in my tea each morning, so it’s not a big deal to me one way or the other, but I’ve come to see that anyone who thinks that soy is 100% good or 100% bad probably needs to do a bit more reading.

    • says

      I’ve done my research and, as many others who have done even more research than me, I have come to the conclusion that soy is pretty much bad news unless it is traditionally fermented in small amounts such as natto.

  31. Kate says

    I have read on other blogs like yours that often say if you are lactose intolerant then you will tolerate raw dairy just fine! Some even claim that lactose intolerance is a myth. I urge anyone out there who is lactose intolerant to go very very easy on raw dairy because after reading posts like this I thought I would give it a shot and I ended up with a stomach ache I havent had the likes of in years since going dairy free.

  32. says

    not only do these products taste so artificial, they are so bad for one’s health as they are so highly processed. I loved your article, you have explained things so clearly. Keep up the good work.

  33. joanie eblourn says

    Thanks for the info. I have been a vegetarian for 35 of my 51 years. I am allergic to wheat , and have had the tests ( and life experience) to know I am lactose intolerant. I do not have enough money to buy almonds to make my own milk or to buy “real” milk, unpasteurized. I gave up processed foods back when doing so was definitely NOT cool. Still, ever so often I have a bowl of homemade granola etc.. and need something one it besides homemade yogurt ( I can tolerate homemade plain yogurt if I take enzymes with it.) When I do want some granola, I use SOLK pure almond unsweetened… if has natural flavors, but no carreg. etc.. I have 4 genetic conditions and a host f things that come off of those things. I can, freeze, dry, pickle my homegrown fruits and veggies, work hard on our 5 acres of land and homeschool 4 children, and work 3 jobs from the home. While it would be nice to be able to make my own almond milk ( I do make tofu, tempeh and about everything else)… I cannot , as I said afford the almonds. so, sometimes we do what we can and that’s it : ) just saying.. not everyone can afford some of the things we would like to do . Thanks again for sharing..

  34. joanie eblourn says

    ah, and research recently said canned foods ( most) have nasty things in the can lining… how are coconut milks with that ?

    • says

      Yes, that is true. Natural Value and Trader’s Joes coconut milk (that I discuss in the post) are BPA-free. But that doesn’t mean they are entirely safe, so I think it is best to strictly limit even BPA-free canned goods.

  35. Kerry says

    Oh for God’s sake. I alter my habits to try to do the best thing for my health, one of which is don’t ingest pasteurized cow’s milk with “acceptable” levels of pus and antibiotics and switch to plain almond milk. Then everyone has to find fault with that. I guess I should just give up eating altogether.

  36. says

    Unfortunately, milk is basically liquid carbs, which for me as a diabetic wreaks havoc on my blood sugars. Almond milk works well for us. I don’t use soy products at all.

  37. says

    Managing celiac disease and 25 food allergies, the one processed thing I buy is alternate milks. I’ve made nut and seed milks (and rice milk) in the past, but now with making everything from toothpaste to nut butter to baking powder to powdered sugar to food colorings to household and body care products, I have to choose my battles and rely on as much convenience as possible (which is so extremely little!). We currently use almond, coconut, rice, and Tempt Hemp Milk (which is the only milk my super allergic daughter can drink). I’m so glad you pointed out that soy is NOT the “healthfood” it was touted to be!

  38. Cassia says

    I take everything with a grain of salt. I think you made good points but cows milk was designed for cows not human beings.

    • says

      I thoroughly disagree with the “argument” that cow milk is not suited for humans and I address that point in my post about raw milk which I linked above.

    • Jim says

      And vegetables are designed to be eaten raw and not cooked. Birds are designed to fly, not humans. Cows milk was not designed for cats. Bacteria was not designed to be used in vaccines. Space was designed for asteroids and planets, not humans.

      Welcome to the present.

      • AmandaS says

        well.. many vegetables are designed to be eaten raw – at least part of the time. The rest only release their anti-nutrient factors after special preparation (soaking, sprouting, steaming etc). Take goitrogens in cruciferous vegetables which impact the thyroid, or enzyme-inhibitors in almonds.

  39. Kelly says

    Sorry Lauren but you couldn’t be more wrong about cows milk. Cassia is absolutely right. A little more research needs to be done on your part honey, our digestive system is not made to digest cows milk no matter what form it is in.

    • AmandaS says

      Kelly, I think there are a few factors at play here. Such as the ‘genetics’/microbiome of a person. ie. the amount of lactose-eating bacteria in the gut which can also be influenced by the amount and quality of probiotics one consumes. For many native people, raw milk has been life giving and their bodies are very receptive to it. The type of protein in the milk is also a factor.

  40. Christie says

    I grew up on a dairy farm..our milk came fresh and cold out of the tank every day. We lived on and lived for that stuff. Im 35 yrs old and have the strongest bones. I drink skim milk nowadays…..but will NEVER go to the processed “soy,almond” or any other “fake” milks.

    Great article!!

  41. Jennifer says

    Curious what your opinion to this is…….If the only milk in your budget is currently a processed jug milk in gallon size at your local store…….then would Silk Almond Milk still be a better option (iyo)? It’s unfortunately our only option at the present (hope to change it soon though!). I just don’t have time currently to make my own almond milk but will once we are firmly settled again.

  42. Sarah says

    I’m lactose intolerant… grew out of it, I guess, but some dairy products still give me mild problems. A friend’s husband is a dairy farmer (Ontarian— we have strict laws about antibiotic use and somatic cell counts up here so it’s not like the issues you have in the States). This dairy farmer grew up drinking his own milk, as most dairy farmer kids do.

    He is severely— and I mean SEVERELY— lactose intolerant. He can drink lactose-free milk but that’s about it… normal dairy, cheese or dairy products even in small amounts will immediately send him into severe cramping for hours. Bit ironic…

  43. says

    Thank you for this article, but as much as I want to switch, I cannot. I am allergic to the dairy protein, so as much as you promote raw milk, it’s not always an option for some of us. Also, raw milk is illegal in Canada, unless you own the cow. Living in an urban area, I can’t even own chickens to control what I get in my eggs, so owning a cow is not even an option. I’ll still have to purchase unsweetened almond milk, but I’ve already started to make my own a few times, when I have the time and money to purchase raw almonds! It’s not always financially an option, as well!!

  44. AmandaS says

    I’d love to see the list of drinks in the ‘least bad’ order. Because its easy to say no to everything but sometimes a continuum of bad – least bad is helpful for people who can’t make perfect choices all the time.
    Personally, I keep the pantry stocked with almond milk for special occasions. I look for carageenan free, low sweetner, organic and more (great guide above!). I choose almond for the higher protein amount.

  45. Tamela says

    What about people who have Crohns disease? I get violently sick if I drink milk so never drink it and haven’t for years. The only options I have is the non-milk or milk alternative. Any advice?

  46. says

    Alas, the great state of Florida has made it illegal to sell or actually consume raw milk. If someone does drink raw milk here, it is (no joke) an outright act of civil disobedience. Insane, but there it is.

  47. Sherri says

    Why do so many people think they have to drink any type of milk product. If you have milk allergies, then don’t drink milk. If you don’t like what’s in the milk substitutes, then don’t drink those either. Drink water, fresh fruit or vegetable juices, organic teas, etc. Milk or milk substitutes are not a mandatory part of our diet. Simple.

  48. Paul says

    I love your blog/website! Thanks so much for all of your hard work and research. I am a vegan but I love tweaking your ideas and recipes as needed. It is so hard to find good quality information and recipes that actually taste good.

    First of all I am lactose intolerant and have been sick for years without knowing the cause. My parents never made the connection. In addition, my family also has a history of crazy allergies, so I decided to go all natural and cruelty-free. The change has been amazing and drastic. I have never felt better in my life. Concerning milk-alternatives, is making your own nut/seed milk economical? I drink maybe 2 gallons of coconut milk a week, if not more.

    Thanks Again!

  49. Laurie says

    Your website is full of wonderful and creative ideas. However, allergies – the one’s that cause anaphylactic responses which can and do lead to death, digestive issues- vomiting, digestive inflammation, diarrhea, intense pain, etc. are not something one can ignore and just “try” something else. They are a medical condition, not a lifestyle choice. If one is allergic (ANA or digestive such as eosinophilic esophagitis) to dairy, and all its derivatives, there is no way one could consider goats milk, or raw milk. Carageenan and Guar gum and the like are not ideal, but what is a truly allergic person – not just someone who doesn’t want any chemical in her body – a wonderful goal – to do! Truly? I ask this question quite sincerely. My son has Eosinophilic Esophagitis. The protein in dairy, in any form, causes damage to his esophagus and, of course, various forms of pain and occasional vomiting. Please, please don’t suggest to allergic people to try dairy in its most raw form. It is irresponsible. Allergies are a medical condition, not a lifestyle choice. Thank you.

    • Christine M Ruback says

      I agree with you Laurie and a few others here that the author really doesn’t know enough about allergies to dairy. I don’t think it is cool to put down all the milks & oils derived from plants, especially Hemp milk. That is one of the only milk replacements that my own 8 year old son can handle. We recently found out that he is allergic to so many things – besides dairy he is allergic to corn, soy and nuts, so even though he liked it, no more almond milk. ; ^ ( This was such a big issue for him to find all this out and try to deal with no more of some of his favorite foods! He got depressed on the hour drive home from the allergist when he was thinking about Mac -N-cheese, ice cream, pizza, and grilled cheese & not tasting them anymore. He is also slightly allergic to coconut – (On a 1 to 3 scale, he had a “1” reaction to coconut, banana, cucumber, and tomato). His allergist said we can try re-introducing some of the foods he had an antigen blood reaction to, but for right now while we are trying to get him healed up from some terrible eczema, we shouldn’t push it. We were told by the Doc (whom is allergic to dairy himself) that he may be able to tolerate goats milk or cheese. Our own Doctor can have some of these occasionally without any problem. Today I am happy to report that he can have goats cheese – he had it on pizza made without gluten/ wheat and can take a bit of tomato sauce as well! He was so happy today when we had dinner. The crust was a potato & tapioca flour mix that I bought from our local health food store. Lol – I forgot to mention his allergy to wheat! Anyway, our son is starting on imunotherapy treatment for his inhaled allergens (Dust, mold, cat & dog dander & POLLENS) and we were told that his food allergies may improve over time with the treatment. I think this is because there is a kind of cross-over from pollens and the food families that he is allergic to. An example would be his Corn allergy —> Corn is really in the Grass family so, Grass pollen = corn grain/grass. Another example is his pine nut allergy in correlation to his pine tree POLLEN allergy. We are all very allergic to the White pine trees in our back yard in the springtime when they start to spew forth the yellow powder.
      —- Any who, I just wish the author knew what it is like to have to avoid so many good foods. It stinks! making school lunches is a bit hard, providing enough Variety is the hard part, but I am learning.

  50. Bev says

    What Sparky said on August 1 is certainly true! ” Note that humans are the only species where ADULTS drink the pressings from the teets of other animals. Does not occur anywhere else in nature. Perhaps that should be a clue!” This is a fact that we all should remember.

  51. Kelly says

    Carrageenan is in a lot of things. For instance most cottage cheese, Heavy cream, half and half, ice cream yogurt and so on. Its in a lot of dairy products, so watch out for that also.

  52. Joel Wright says

    Water has hydrogen atoms in it, did you know that hydrogen is flammable and oxygen is poisonous to our lungs (pure oxygen will cause pulmonary fibrosis after about 2 hours, I’m not making this shit up) not to mention free radical damage to our cells. We should stop drinking it and breathing it, it’s dangerous as hell. Truth is, unless the compounds are outright poisons, or we have an allergy to something, most things in moderation aren’t that bad. We are after all, apes that evolved from eating whatever the hell we could find around us, we are quite an adaptable species.

  53. Rebecca Lindsay says

    I wholeheartedly agree that raw milk is the best option BUT I am allergic to casein… and it causes my arms to break out… and I am a little bit too vain I guess to just live with it. So I usually avoid all milk products because they all have casein. Do you think people with casein allergies are better off just making their own nut milk or is drinking raw milk worth a shot (despite the fact it has casein as well)?

  54. Iva says

    1. I’ve avoided cow milk lately, due to hormone and antibiotics involved in dairy industry. Not only the milk, but also cheese and cow milk based butter. It certainly boosts the growth of cancer cells in our body. That’s why I take ORGANIC soy milk in a proper daily serving therefore I don’t think I face all these “severe look” problem you wrote as listed below. Beside, I believe ORGANIC soy can combat cancer cells as well.
    Soy contains high amounts of phytoestrogens which may cause estrogen dominance
    Soy impairs thyroid function which lowers metabolism
    Soy contains substances that interfere with protein digestion
    Soy is super high in mineral-blocking phytic acid

    2. Most (if I can not say a hundred percent) soy planted in US is GMO (eeewww!!) and you can ask Monsanto for that. My choice of soy milk is pure powdered ORGANIC that planted in the best soil on earth for growing soy, which is in Heilongjiang province in China, near Russian border.

    3. Your suggestion on coconut milk is quite interesting, as we have plenty of coconut here in Indonesia (in fact I don’t think we have that unsweetened coconut flakes in our supermarket, LoL). My question is, can we drink that coconut milk directly after blended and strained? Because I believe we never do that, as we used to take this coconut milk as one of cooking ingredients so much that we never think we can drink it as is.

    Thanks so much for the articles and reply :)

  55. Bryan says

    The majority of these comments talk about allergies, etc. Why do you think you’re allergic to something? It’s because your body has NO idea what to do with it, which means you aren’t supposed to be eating/drinking it. Come on people…

    It doesn’t matter how “healthy” someone tells you dairy milk is, and how “bad” non-dairy milks are… but here are the facts:

    1. Dairy milk is meant for THAT species, period.
    2. The dairy industry is considered more inhumane than the meat industry. Cows are kept in stalls barely their size, with machines pumping 24/7, milking them every second. Those machines create infections in their utters… and guess where that puss goes. Yea. Into your milk. I won’t say nothing else about their treatment; search for yourself.
    3. Casein makes up about 80% of the proteins in dairy milk, compared to less than half that in human milk. It’s used in paint, glue, plastics, etc.

    If you cared this much about eating healthy, then you should also care about the source of the thing you’re eating. Yes, carrageenan isn’t all that great, but there are great non-dairy milks that don’t have it. Truth be told, as much as it matters what non-dairy milks have in them, none of them are the product of extensive torture and cruelty to animals.

    • says

      Ugh, please read my Raw Milk article where I address that silly idea that milk is “meant” for its own species. Also, consumers like me who are advocates of humane animal treatment buy our milk from humanely treated animals. And the research of Dr. Ray Peat, a nutrition pioneer, shows that casein is actually better digested than the whey part of milk/cheese. The problem is not the casein but the pasteurization combined with our improper, processed diets which make our guts permeable and inflamed.

  56. Nolen says

    “As a matter of fact, carrageenan is so caustic to the digestive tract that researchers use it to induce colitis in lab animals!”
    … How much carrageenan did it take to become caustic?
    If you give an animal too much WATER it will die, too. Should we avoid water?

    “The World Health Organization classifies one type of carrageenan as a “possible human carcinogen” (1). ”
    …Yes. One type of.
    And “possible” not “definite.”
    Is that the type of carageenan that’s even in this non-animal-milk?

    “Lesson? Just because a carton of Almond Milk claims the titles “organic” and “heart healthy” does not mean it should be a part of your diet.”
    … Lesson?
    Just because someone wrote it on a blog with insufficient use of “data” to make their claims doesn’t mean Almond Milk or Rice Milk or Soy Milk is gonna erode your guts and give you cancer.

  57. Lori says

    Unfortunately not everyone can afford raw milk, nor does everyone have time to make their own nut milks, or can afford one of those great blenders that can make the process easier and faster. I don’t disagree with you, but sadly it isn’t quite in step with reality of a lot of people. I do want to get a hold of those coconut milks you linked and try those in my daily smoothies though (the only time I consume anything “milky”) since they aren’t expensive and are healthier.

  58. Tami says

    I love reading your posts and I have learned so much. I have to admit I literally laugh out loud every time I read “organic canola oil” as an ingredient since there is no such thing. I am a huge fan of coconut milk and buy the Trader Joes light in the can. I used to buy the cartons until I read an article about carageenan. Some day when I have the time I will try to make it myself. Thank you for all you do! You ARE making a positive impact in this world. Keep up the great work!!

  59. Carmel says

    After reading the ingredients on store-bought almond milk, I decided to make my own. This version is as simple as it gets: 3 T. organic raw almond butter, 3 T. honey, 1 t. vanilla, a pinch of salt, and 3 c. water. Blend well. Very tasty and no wasted almond meal. I love it in chai tea. Best for me right now rather than animal milk.

  60. Robert says

    You should never rely on sources like Wikipedia!!! Wikipedia is open to outside editing, meaning that anybody and everybody may go in and edit a page, thus not a reliable souce of information.

  61. Torey says

    The problem with dairy is that 1) It also causes inflammation in a majority of people starting from the mouth, and all the way through the digestive system. For example, with in minutes of eating dairy I get a nasty, gooey (mucosy?) cough that lasts hours.
    2) If you have issues with acne, STAY THE HECK AWAY FROM DAIRY! It’s one of the major causes of acne in anyone who gets acne. In other words, unless you have gorgeous skin and only get a few zits a year, not eating dairy will make your skin clearer.
    I agree that coconut milk is probably the best out there. Though I had never heard about carrageenan before, and will immediately look into it! yikes!

  62. Lokyi says

    Hi! I find your blog very interesting. I always learn something new from you.

    Anyways, I have a question about milk. I can’t take milk due to religion, so raw milk is not an option for me. I currently make my own soy milk and buy oat milk. Apart from coconut milk, which milk do you think is the best? Thanks!

  63. ang says

    Have you read that milk actually depletes calcium from our bones? Man. The dairy world has a seriously good marketing team:
    “Like all animal protein, milk acidifies the body pH which in turn triggers a biological correction. You see, calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer and the biggest storage of calcium in the body is – you guessed it… in the bones. So the very same calcium that our bones need to stay strong is utilized to neutralize the acidifying effect of milk. Once calcium is pulled out of the bones, it leaves the body via the urine, so that the surprising net result after this is an actual calcium deficit.”
    -Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

  64. John says

    I am a college student in the nutrition and dietetics program, and have been lacto-vegetarian for a couple of years now. I am commenting on two matters that I have stumbled upon while reading this article and its comments:
    1) The “complications” of soy
    2) The discussion between Cassandra and Lindsey about farm animals.

    1) All research that has been conducted up to date (research from ebscohost.com) has inconclusive evidence that soy products affect the oestrogenic levels in such ways as to effect and complicate human health. No matter the research, none has any concrete evidence that soy causes such problems because there are too many interfering factors.
    2) Cassandra, I realize that many farms do not abuse their animals, artificially inseminate their cows, or take a mothers calve when it is born. However, many farms do abuse their animals and partake in horrific activities like those as previously mentioned. The one farm you live in may not, but others certainly do. Where I live, there is not a farm – that I am aware of – anywhere around that does not artificially inseminate. In addition, big companies (PET, Horizon, etc.) are victims to these acts, and so are many small farms, unfortunately. Lindsey was just trying to convey to the author that there are reasons to not purchase some farms cow’s milk.

    In conclusion, this is a good article, and you’re correct on most things you pointed out. However, some things are not proven, and make sure you realize this before displaying it for all to read. Nevertheless, always use and consume products IN MODERATION. Everything is bad for you, in its own excessive amount, specific to that product. A little soy milk will not wreak havoc on your estrogen compounds and screw your system up. Remember, there are pros and cons to every food, and we must realize this and make healthy, as well as ethical decisions. Thank you for the article!

  65. Brita says

    I’m late to the discussion BUT I’m curious what people do as a milk substitute for children who are dairy-free? We are a dairy-free family, namely because of allergy/intolerance, but also because we feel dairy can be inflammatory and we just don’t believe we should be consuming another animals milk every day – especially our children. Instead, I make a blend of rice milk and coconut milk and add additional coconut oil, but I blend from the Rice Dream Enriched and So Delicious Coconut Milk BECAUSE of the added vitamins and minerals so that my kids can have one other avenue for absorbing. It was recommended by our nutritionist – who also said that the Carrageenan is in such a small amount and not to worry. I trust in her, but also felt like this was my only option. So, just curious if there’s anyone out there that has found another, more natural dairy-free milk option or way for their kids to get Calcium. Or any thoughts at all. Thanks!

  66. Christine says

    I like your post and I am sure I will avoid all these ingredients that I didn’t know it was bad for you, however I don’t really understand why soy is on this list. I have heard a lot about the bad soy, but can’t really understand since I have eaten a lot of soy all my life and so my entire family, since we are from Japan. The Japanese diet is so high in soy and they have the lowest cancer and highest in life expectancy. I just don’t get it.

  67. Cella says

    Hi, first let me start by saying your a wealth of info an so helpful. I also have UC and am currently trying to curtail my diet, because. once again, conventional meds fail me. I’ve come to realize I can’t tolerate almonds/almond flour right now and read your posts that explain why, but I am wondering does almond milk actually contain enough of the inflammatory ingredients as almonds because it is strained and doesn’t actually contain almonds? So my question is, if I can’t tolerate almond flour, what about almond milk, could that be damaging as well? Also, I only buy the almond milk with out carrageenan, sugar etc. Thanks!!!

    • Charlie says

      Hey Heather- I cut out all dairy (I was 18 months into post-pill acne and literally at my wits end- ready to try anything) and low and behold- the acne vanished. I drink a variety of non-dairy milks in small amounts now; i’m not sold on the soy-is-the-devil argument. I also kept using benzac (benzoyl peroxide treatment) on my face and persisted with it (it didn’t work straight away) and i’ve not had a pimple in months. If you could have seen my chin and neck before you would understand that’s a huge deal. So i’m not sure if it was a combination of my hormones settling themselves out, no dairy or persistance with the benzac treatment- but it only took about 2 months from not drinking any milk etc for my skin to clear up. I’m certain that was at least inflaming the acne (I understand that the ‘hormones’ in cows milk make your skin go into overdrive, causing excess oil and coupled with the p.acnes bacteria you’re in for a miserable and painful time). Anyway don’t know if any of that will work for you but I know how desperate I was before it went away and how awfully miserable having adult acne is. Good luck!

  68. Ivan says

    Lauren I just looked up the nutritional therapy association it shows you went to and it is listed on the list of questionable associations to not take serious cause it’s not credible to real dr’s, not many true health professionals task that place serious, I’m just bringing to light things everyone should know before jumping on your bandwagon of thinking

  69. Tracey says

    Dr. Mark Hyman recently wrote a blog called Got Proof? The Lack of Evidence for Milk’s Benefits, which was based on a research article by Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Walter Willett from Harvard, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study by Ludwig and Willett showed a lack of evidence for the government’s recommendations. The Harvard scientists found no data to support the claim that the consumption of dairy leads to better bones, weight loss, or improved health. They also found some serious risks tied to dairy consumption, including weight gain, increased cancer risk, and increased fracture risk. It turns out milk does not build strong bones! They also found that dairy may cause other problems like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, gas, diarrhea, allergies, eczema, and acne.

    So, is milk nature’s perfect food? Yes. If you’re a calf.

    While it is true that some people can tolerate dairy in small amounts—for example, descendants from Northern Europe and people who don’t have allergies, lactose intolerance, or a leaky gut—it should not be a staple of our diet. We should not be putting it on or in everything.

    Dairy contains some very allergenic proteins, such as casein, which can be problematic for many people. And to make matters worse, the casein that’s in our modern dairy—sourced from modern, hybridized cows—has been genetically altered, creating a much higher likelihood of inflammation, autoimmune disease, and even type 1 diabetes. With this in mind, I strongly recommend that you limit the amount of cow-sourced dairy that you consume.

    If you want to eat dairy, I suggest you try goat and sheep dairy, such as sheep cheese and yogurt or goat cheese and yogurt, both of which are widely available now. It is also important to choose organic when you can, because pesticides and chemicals are concentrated in the fat found in non-organic dairy.

    This leads to another frequent question I receive: “Is organic dairy OK?” Organic cows are often milked while pregnant, producing milk that’s full of hormones. In fact, the average glass of milk has 60 different hormones in it. These are anabolic hormones, which means they help you to grow. But not all growth is good. You don’t want to grow cancer cells. You don’t want to grow big bellies. You don’t want to grow in ways that actually may be harmful.

    http://drhyman.com/blog/2013/10/28/milk-dangerous-health/

  70. Caroline Taylor says

    Totally agree with your comments about non dairy milk they are gross. How do you make the coconut milk.

  71. samantha says

    umm what about people who cant have dairy? i love dairy like no other! but now it seems to not agree with me to where i cant even drink milk, so i have to turn to non-dairy milk because of the fact i miss having a bowl of cereal from time to time…i disagree with alot in the post being that for one soy is very good for you and coconut milk is as well…now days it really doesnt even matter what you buy from the store, even so called “organic” foods still have things in them people arent aware of that arent good for you..now matter how hard you try to so called “eat right” there is always gunna be something in the food we buy from the store that isnt good for you, unless you grow it yourself…people need to just make good eating habits and just live life, you only live once why waste it on reading every single little thing on back of a box…

    • Caroline says

      Label reading is NOT a waste of time, some people have conditions that force them to avoid certain foods because it would endanger their health , while others have food allergies and how many of us are overweight nowadays. It’s true that organic is not a guarantee of necessarily good for us but that’s precisely why consumers need to read labels and be aware. There needs to be more education about label reading. In an ideal world we would grow and make all of our own foods but we have become so dependent on commercialization that’s unlikely to happen.

  72. Shannon says

    I just made this tonight and it is by far the best milk of any sort I have ever tasted. This was my first time making my own. Before I bought organic coconut or Almond milk. I was oblivious to the harmful contents in them until I started reading your posts and blogs. So today was my first grocery shopping day of only Paleo foods. I’ve been busy in the kitchen for 10 hours and I’m excited. Thank you :)

  73. Gina says

    Do you know the nutritional break down of homemade coconut milk? I would like to give this to my dairy free/soy free 1 year old and want to know what other nutrients I would need to cover as compared to cows milk. Protein, calcium, etc.

  74. Monika says

    wow then im really out of luck then im unable to drink milk it has hormones and my acne flares up I cant drink coconut milk i have an intolerance to it i get really bloated no fun cant drink almond milk again my acne flares up soy i know is just bad for you as well as the taste is just nasty alone as well as with anything else so my only 3 options are rice or flax milk have not tried them yet but if their any good im stuck using them or the 3rd just do calcium vitamins and say goodbye to a lot of food =( anyone ever tried rice milk or flax milk if so are they ok and how would you describe their taste

    • Monika says

      Just to let everyone know i have tried rice milk its not to bad i don’t mind it i picked up enriched vanilla rice milk that i use in my coffee, the color of my coffee is still dark but the taste is pretty good. Also i picked up the chocolate of rice milk and its a nice treat.
      So if your looking for a coffee milk/creamer replacement and you cant drink milk lactose or hormone whatever the case may be or your going vegetarian, pick up some rice milk you can find it in the healthy section of your groceries store, I found it at the Zehrs Markets store in my town but you can probably find it at a sobeys or independent it comes in both cold with the milks and cremers as well as worm on the shelf. In original, Vanilla, and chocolate hope my comment helps the people looking for a milk alternative

      peace out
      Monika

  75. Mindy says

    I’ve recently been trying to go dairy free as I’ve had congestion, swollen eyes, etc. for months and months with nothing helping. I’ve ran into one hurdle, I LOVE MILK and always have so I have to have some sort of alternative. Here is the bigger problem – I don’t like almonds and have tried all the almond milks to no success. The coconut milk is just weird and hard to come by where I live. Soy milk isn’t as bad (if i buy flavor) but I’ve heard it’s not always the best alternative if you’re dealing with milk allergies as they often run hand and hand. Rice milk I like but it doesn’t contain much at all for nutrients. Any suggestions?

  76. Jeni says

    So, I have the very same symptoms if I drink cow milk or soy or almond or any dairy free milk.: Diarrhea, bloating, terrible pain for at least a week. I wonder what they have in common because obviously is not the lactose. I also feel bad when I eat bred, however when I go to Europe I can eat any bread I want and have no issues, or at least so I think.

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