There’s something seriously wrong with the dairy industry.

For starters, most people in the world are lactose intolerant. It’s just a fact that the majority of humans aren’t meant to keep ingesting dairy from other animals beyond early childhood. Furthermore, the dairy industry alone produces tons of carbon emissions and directly contributes to global warming at a scale only matched by other big farming industries, like the meat industry.

Because of these negative effects, lots of people are looking into milk alternatives so they can continue to enjoy their favorite foods and beverages without damaging the environment or their digestive systems. 

Fortunately, there are tons of great milk alternatives to choose from these days. But which milk alternatives should we be drinking? Let’s break down all the top choices!

Coconut Milk

Those with nut allergies have another alternative in coconut milk, which tastes especially good when chilled. Coconut farming is climate-friendly since it has a relatively low land impact and it doesn’t take a lot of water to grow.

This being said, coconuts take a lot of energy to transport from their natural growing environments in tropical locations like Indonesia and the Philippines to reach markets in America. So you might still accidentally contribute to global warming by drinking tons of coconut milk.

Additionally, coconut milk is relatively high in saturated fat. Overall, coconut milk can be considered healthy and is a staple milk choice for everyday.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is a great choice if you need a non-dairy milk and are avoiding nuts. However, note that oat milk has some nutritional differences from regular dairy milk. It generally has less fat and protein and more carbohydrates, so keep this in mind if your diet is already carb-heavy. The best option is to look for one that does not have any additional sweeteners added and be weary of any bad oils.. 

Almond Milk

Almond milk is another popular dairy milk alternative. However, almond milk has one black mark on its record: it takes a ton of water to produce compared to other milk varieties. While the dairy industry overall emits more greenhouse gases than the almond milk industry, it’s just because we produce less almond milk in general.

Still, almond milk may become a more viable alternative in the future if it is grown in areas where water is not scarce (for now, most almonds are ironically grown in California). Almond milk is hugely  nutritious   and healthy, though it’s lower in calories than you might be used to. It’s a popular choice for mixing into smoothies. 

Soy Milk

Soy milk is arguably more well-known than almond milk. Soybean production is mostly directed toward the animal feed industry, but more and more people are using soybeans to create plant-based milk.

Soy milk has about 6 to 7 g of protein in each serving, which is roughly equivalent to dairy milk. However, soymilk farming practices aren’t always the best. Lots of farmers create soybean monocultures, which can destroy soil over time. Soybean farming significantly contributes to deforestation, especially in areas like the Amazon. Many soybeans are also genetically modified with pesticides, so beware of soy milk that contains GMOs. 

Soy milk is most recommended if you are experiencing menopause or estrogen deficiency. , Try to find organic soymilk and learn about the farming practices of the manufacturer before buying some from a given brand.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is a rarer milk alternative you might not have heard of yet. That’s partially because it’s primarily offered by organic coffee shops that want to provide it to customers who like soymilk. Unlike soymilk, hemp milk doesn’t trigger any nut allergies and it’s particularly good for mixing with espresso drinks.

It has a ton of calcium, plenty of omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. Ultimately, hemp milk is a good choice if you want a milk alternative that doesn’t isn’t derived from nuts or oats.

Cashew Milk

If nut milk isn’t off the table for your diet, consider the nutritious cashew milk. It’s quite delicious and has a high amount of iron and vitamin K without including lactose. Therefore, it could be a good choice for women, who need a higher amount of iron than men but who might want to avoid drinking dairy products.

ou can also find unsweetened cashew milk to make sure you don’t go overboard with your sugar consumption every day. Alternatively, consider using cashew milk as baking milk. Its consistency and texture make it a great mixing ingredient!

Macadamia Milk

Lastly, you might want to check out macadamia milk. Macadamia milk is grown in regions with plenty of water to spare and it’s quite low in calories. While it’s high in fat, it would  go well with any low-calorie diet.

Keep in mind it is less common than the other milk varieties discussed above and many people might be unsure about the taste. That said, it’s worth giving macadamia milk a try for yourself before turning it away!

Summary

In the end, we’re glad that there are plenty of milk alternatives we can choose from as we collectively try to fight climate change and lessen the impact of harmful farming practices, while also choosing milks that are inherently better for us after infancy. 

Sources

https://www.oatly.com/uploads/attachments/cjp9gpbd709c3mnqr8idyecwy-sustainability-report-2017-eng.pdf

https://globalforestatlas.yale.edu/amazon/land-use/soy

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/572117/nutrients

https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/lactose-intolerance/

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Livingood
Dr. Livingood, yes that is his real name, is the Founder of drlivingood.com natural health site and also the founder of Livingood Daily. He has authored two Amazon #1 Best Selling Books Livingood Daily and Make Food Simple. In 2007 after nearly losing his father to health conditions, Dr. Livingood was prompted to find a health care system to save his father’s life. Where medicine failed Dr. Livingood discovered solutions that got his father off 15 medications and overcame major heart and autoimmune conditions. As a Doctor of Natural Medicine and DC he now serves thousands of people in Morrisville, NC, and millions through his online and media presence. Dr. Livingood, his wife Jessica, and three kids spend their lives leading people nationally and locally in the hopes that others can experience real health.