Milk is one of those funny things that sparks up heated debate at the mere mention of one’s personal preference. There is really no crossing party lines when it comes to non-fat vs. 2% or whole milk. Clearly non-fat is the best and anyone to suggest otherwise might as well be admitting to worshiping the Devil himself (see what I mean?)
So, there it was. For the past 25-plus years of my life I thought I had milk figured out. No need to get adventurous. No need to branch out. No need to drift my tastes towards inferior substitutions to take the place of a sweet, crisp, refreshing glass of non-fat.
I guess sometimes we even surprise ourselves.
Apparently the fear of putting something toxic into your body is all it takes to reverse almost three decades of culinary conditioning. I heard a piece on NPR or BBC or some other progressive left-of-center news publications that stated commercial cow’s milk has a ton of sugar added to it, making it delicious, sweet and horrible for you. I don’t know why, but it came as a shock that something I loved so dearly was doing me so few favors in the health department. How far we’ve fallen from “it does a body good.”
I did a bit of research and here’s what I found out:
- Dairy contains allergenic proteins, such as casein, which can cause inflammation, even type 1 diabetes over time. (drhyman.com)
- Ironically, the calcium contained in cow’s milk is barely absorbed by our bodies, and actually depletes the calcium content in our bones! (savorourbones.com)
- High milk intake has been linked to several types of cancers, acne, multiple sclerosis, and other chronic and life-threatening diseases. (nutritionstudies.org)
Okay, so I’m not one to put a ton of stock into studies that link milk to cancer or MS. A glass here or a bowl of cereal there is well within the threshold of moderation, and to suggest cutting such a thing out of your diet completely is a scare tactic used by someone who’s probably trying to sell you on something that isn’t cow’s milk. However, it couldn’t hurt to start exploring some substitutions to round out a more balanced diet that doesn’t contain so much dairy (I eat cheese. Lots of it).
Which brings me to the whole point of this long-winded introduction. As a result of this research I decided to give an alternative a try, and I couldn’t believe how much I actually enjoyed it.
Holy shit, almond milk!
In what I’m now referring to as the Self-Aware Man’s Breakfast Soup (Cheerios, strawberries, almond milk) I’ve created an early morning staple that requires not an ounce of dairy. It has been a main stay during my 30-day breakfast challenge. Of course, I had to know more about the milk of the almond.
Here’s what I learned (pros and cons):
- Almond milk has no cholesterol, is low in sodium and high in healthy fats such as omega fatty acids. (lifehack)
- Almond milk is very low in carbs, which means it contains almost no sugar. Sugar=bad news. (lifehack)
- At first it’s going to taste weird, especially if you’re used to the richness of 2% or whole milk. It might take a carton or two to get used to. (personal insight).
- It’s more expensive than cow’s milk. And it’s going to get more expensive with the recent drought in California, where most of the world’s (yes, world’s) almonds are grown. (personal insight)
- It’s void of the inflammatory proteins that are contained in cow’s milk. You’ll likely feel less sluggish and have fewer stomach issues.(Sherlock Holmes-esque deduction based on what I know about cow’s milk).
So maybe almond milk isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Is anything really? It does, however, prove one thing: I’m not as stubborn and set in my milky ways as I thought. If anything I’ve expanded my horizons and gained a little knowledge.
That’s good enough for me.