With the wide variety of dairy alternatives on the market today, people often assume that regular cow’s milk isn’t as healthy as soy or almond milk. For those looking for milk alternatives, Julia Ward, MD encourages you to be aware of a few facts before making that decision. Her medical practice, Balanced Body Image, offers a whole-patient approach for resolving the underlying cause of health issues.
Not all dairy substitutes are healthy!
Known for causing digestive issues, one unhealthy component in most milk substitutes is carrageenan — a seaweed derivative used as a food stabilizer. Read the labels of dairy alternatives like coconut milk, hemp milk and almond milk and watch for carrageenan. Also, be sure to avoid products with added sugars.
What about soy?
Soy milk is a plant-based dairy alternative produced by soaking dried soybeans and grinding them in water. Although it is free of lactose, cholesterol and saturated fat, soy has natural toxins that interfere with the digestion of proteins.
Also, avoid processed soy proteins — such as isolated soy protein. Any possible health benefits of the soybean are stripped away during processing. Soy isolates are particularly allergenic since they are not really food, but fillers of the processed food industry. In fact, almost 90% of all soy produced in the United States is considered to be a genetically modified organism (GMO).
For those who choose to consume soy, it should be organic and in moderation. A better option for anyone looking for benefits of soy is to eat steamed edamame (fresh soybeans) for an occasional snack, or miso for a quick soup.
Balanced Body Image, your Sugar Land med spa, recommends almond milk as a great alternative to dairy or soy. Almond milk is lower in calories than dairy milk and free of cholesterol, lactose and saturated fat. It is important to note, however, that although it is high in protein, almond milk is not a good source of calcium like dairy milk.
Almond milk is actually easy to accomplish at home. Simply soak raw almonds in water overnight, rinse them well in the morning, and then blend them with fresh, filtered water. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth into a pitcher and add your preferred method of flavor (organic vanilla, sea salt, or natural, unprocessed sugar). You can store it in the refrigerator for up to one week. The almond milk will separate — just shake well before use.
Dr. Ward’s mission is to help you know more about – and understand – your body and your health. For more information about Balanced Body Image, contact our Sugar Land medical spa, call (281) 710-3380.