Which Dairy Free Milks I Personally Choose
When I first went dairy free I was far from eating healthy and I don’t want you lovelies falling into the same trap as I did. I initially chose to go dairy free after deciding to become vegan for ethical reasons.I was vegan for 9 months no meat, butter, cheese, milk, honey, yoghurt or cream (I’ve now made the change back to eating all things non-vegan as I’ve gotten to know my body, but that’s a whole other blog post for another time!)
The first milk I’d like to discuss is soy as it was my first choice when I made the switch to dairy free. After all, it was being promoted as a health food right? If I had been aware of the health implications soy could cause I would have avoided it like the plague.
It’s a tough one to avoid as they put soy or soy derivatives like soy bean oil and soy lecithin literally in everything from chocolate to ice cream, biscuits and crisps. They even pump it into meat and feed it to animals as a cheap source of protein (a problem in itself as what the animal consumes so do we).
In China, soy farming begun 1100 BC but they knew that soy was not tolerated by humans and so used it as a cheap way of feeding livestock and building up soil fertility. It wasn’t until the Chinese discovered they could ferment soy that it became digestible by humans for example miso, tamari, tempeh and natto. These have gone through a lengthy ferment time, which helps to break down the “phytates” in the soy. Unlike some other grains, seeds and nuts, phytate levels in soy are so high they won’t break down by soaking in an acidic solution alone, so to make it digestible require a really long ferment time.
They don’t actually consume large quantities of it at all! In fact the average Asian only consumes it as a condiment and only in its fermented state (so about 2 teaspoons a day). They also always consume it with bone broths,meat and seafood this is the real reason they have low osteoporosis rates (not calcium from soy). In Western diets, we consume tofu as the main meal and in it’s highly processed form.
The modern food giants process soy using extremely high heat and pressure. This does not remove the phytates at all, in fact when you see how they process it you might just change your mind about consuming soy and its derivatives.You can learn more about the process in this article
by author “Nina Planck”
5 Main Health Concerns Surrounding Soy
- Phytoestrogens (Geinsteins)
These are never safe for us to consume. In fact excess estrogen in the body can lead to a whole host of problems like breast cancer. (see study here) There are of course always industry-funded studies and the soy industry is big business so hopefully we will start to see more independent studies soon.
Phytoestrogens can lead to infertility and well as lower libido and uterine fibroids (see study here.) Women who are going through menopause often fall into the trap of consuming soy. This is not so good as women going through menopause are already estrogen dominant and by adding soy into the mix, an estrogen rich food, is a disaster waiting to happen. Phytoestrogens don’t actually replace estrogen in the body, they mimic estrogen which actually confuses your hormones more.
- Soy is Goitrogenic (destroys thyroid function)
This is one of my main concerns with my mum having an underactive thyroid. Why would I want to consume anything that would destroy that that function? It does this by suppressing the thyroid and stopping it from absorbing iodine efficiently. When this happens you may find it difficult to remove weight if your thyroid is under active. You will also tire easily and may find it difficult to concentrate and remember tasks. Check this study for the effects of goitrogenic levels in soy and its effect on the thyroid.
If you have ever been paleo you will recognise this word. Phytates are enzyme inhibitors and soy is naturally very high in these. They bind to the minerals stopping your body from absorbing them. You can see a detailed explanation of phytates and why they cause a problem here written by “Weston A Price”. These can be lowered by extremely long ferment times, making soy actually much safer for us to consume in small quantities.
- Soy and Baby Formula
This is the one that concerns me the most, as babies cannot choose what they are fed. This study is interesting because babies fed with soy formula, developed large fibroids. In this study, lab rats weened onto soy formula did not grow as much as those fed milk based formula. In this article featured in the american scientific “Infants drinking such formulas take in 10 times as much of an immune-suppressing, hormone-like compound as do adults eating a high-soy diet and 200 times as much as infants consuming breast milk or cows milk. ”
So What Do We Do If We Can’t Consume Dairy or Soy?
This leads me to stage 2 of my realisation. Lots of processed nut milk products of the shelf contain sunflower oil (vegetable oil). Sunflower oil is just as bad as soybean oil. Author and food critic David Gillespie explains in his book “Toxic Oil” you can buy his book here. Check out what David had to say on the matter. I highly recommend reading this one, it’s a great read. Here’s a short excerpt.
“The oils that I’m talking about (in Toxic Oil) are things that appear on the label as ‘vegetable oil’, which is ironic because you can’t get oil from a vegetable. What they are, mostly, is seed oils produced by industrial processes which didn’t form part of the human diet prior to about 1920.
A seed oil is something like canola oil, sunflower, soybean, grapeseed or rice bran oil – these are the oils that I’m sure we should avoid and the reason we should avoid them is they’re very high in a type of fat called omega 6 which was extremely rare in our diets prior to about 1920. The reason that we’re consuming vast quantities of these oils now is because they’re cheap. It is very much cheaper to make an oil or a fat out of applying an industrial process to a waste products like seeds than it is to raising and slaughtering an animal to get its fat which is what we did as humans for millennia prior to 1920.”
So we get the point, vegetable oils are bad but what option does that leave us if we’re not drinking processed nut milk? You can either make your own delicious nut milk at home
I understand that we are all busy these days and it’s not always ideal to make your own seed or nut milk so I thought I’d include a link to my favourite alternative when I’m short of time. This coconut milk has no sunflower oil or other oils and although it’s not paleo due to the brown rice, it only contains 4 ingredients: filtered water, organic coconut milk, organic brown rice and sea salt. It’s thinner than a regular coconut milk so it’s suitable for tea and coffee or on your cereal plus it’s only around $3-$4 per Litre.
Sign up to the blog if you would love to learn more recipes and articles. There’s an amazing seed milk recipe for those who have time following this post so stay tuned
Had a go at one of our recipes we would love to see your creations and what your cooking and discovering in your zero dairy kitchen. Hash tag us under #zerodairykitchen