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Plant Based Dairy Alternatives

dairy cowWe’ve all heard through relentless ad campaigns that we should drink milk or eat dairy products to boost our calcium and keep our bones healthy and strong. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that animal proteins actually cause calcium to be leached from the bones and excreted in the urine. As a result, animal protein contributes to the acceleration of osteoporosis because keeping blood and tissues at a neutral Ph balance always takes priority over keeping calcium phosphate in the bones.

The US National Library of Medicine also demonstrates that consuming dairy products from animals offers no protection from bone fractures or osteoporosis. In fact, participants in a study who drank three or more servings of cow’s milk per day actually had a slightly higher rate of fractures than women who drank little or no milk at all.

plant calciumThere are many other foods and drinks that contain calcium and don’t come with the same risks as dairy (animal) products. Surprisingly, the best source of calcium comes from Earth’s plants – not the cow! 

Calcium is a mineral found in the earth’s soil that is absorbed into the roots of plants.   Animals (like cattle) get their calcium by eating these plants. So the real source of calcium comes directly from the earth’s plants – not the cows grazing on the earth’s plants. By drinking cow’s milk you’re literally getting the calcium second-hand instead of straight from the source.

Our body definitely needs calcium in order to function optimally. For example, calcium contracts all muscles in our body (including the heart), transmits messages (nerve impulses) between the brain and virtually every other part of our body, activates blood-clotting factors, moves blood through our veins and secretes hormones. Calcium also helps stabilize and optimize proteins and enzymes in the body.

animal welfare 2When it comes to animal welfare, there’s an enormous amount of pain and suffering that cows endure by being innocent byproducts of the dairy industry.

Like humans, cows carry their babies for nine months. To keep them producing milk, cows on modern dairy farms are artificially inseminated year after year. Female calves, like their mothers are raised for milk production. At a time when they should be sleeping curled in their mothers’ warmth, the infant calves are taken away from their mothers and isolated in individual crates. After several weeks they are moved to small groups where each calf has as little as 35 square feet (6’x6′). Throughout their adolescence they are fed a milk replacement, while humans drink their mothers’ milk.

Male calves are deemed useless to the dairy industry.  According to the USDA, “only a small percentage” of male dairy calves are raised as steers, as dairy cows are not considered the desirable breed for beef. Instead, most male dairy calves become veal, and spend their brief, miserable existence confined or chained in lonely stalls before they are brutally slaughtered for their tender flesh. Around 700,000 calves are slaughtered for veal in the U.S. each year.  (Reference: Cows for Dairy)

Watch this short two minute video.

In the end, whole plant based foods such as green vegetables, beans, seeds and even fruits are rich in calcium; you can get all you need from a whole food plant-based diet without having to consume dairy (animal) products as Dr. Neal Barnard with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Dr. Joel Fuhrman clearly illustrate in their research findings.

The good news is that you don’t have to give up milk when you switch to a plant based diet. If you like milk on your cereal or in your morning coffee, try a healthy plant based alternative. Almond milk is my personal favorite and it’s easy to make plus I think it tastes better than cow’s milk.

Watch this short clip from “The Vegans Corner” and learn how to make fresh almond milk that’s not only delicious but also highly nutritious.

For more dairy free alternatives, check out this helpful link.

Also, take a moment to check out these dairy free websites for some great vegan and plant based baking tips and recipes.

Peace be with you, and may you always find light on your path, good health, and true friends to make the journey with you.

Gena Livings


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