Find the real milk? If it’s all the same to you, I’ll pass  »

Oh, the food lobby. In its latest move, the California Milk Processor Board is trying to discredit milk alternatives like almond and soy milk with a new website that asks you to “find the real milk.”

Anybody who regularly enjoys milk alternatives knows that non-dairy—a.k.a. non-cruelty—milks don’t look the same as the stuff we take from cows, but my mother always told me not to judge things by how they look. When it comes to what I mix with my Cocoa Camino hot chocolate, I prefer to judge by factors like an absence of cholesterol, the presence of a nice dose of protein or omega-3 fats, and the fact that my favorite dairy-free milks got into my fridge by way of neither the callous removal of male calves from their mothers minutes after birth, nor the non-therapeutic application of hormones and antibiotics to dairy cows.

I’ll give them this: Milk producers have done a bang-up job of convincing the general public that milk is the perfect food, one we must all have in our diets lest we shrivel up and blow away. This totally ignores the millions of people around the world who don’t consume milk after they are no longer breastfed, and who do just fine for it. Many people can’t consume dairy, due to allergies or intolerance, and they are also perfectly healthy without it in their diets. Dairy’s association with weight loss has also been overstated.

The fact is, there are no nutrients found in milk from cows or any other mammal that we can’t get in our diets in another way, and there are plenty of things—especially in milk from factory-farmed animals—in cow’s milk that we’d all be better off without.

So what’s your favorite milk alternative? Mine’s almond milk, for sure. If you want to avoid additives, just do some label-reading—the extras aren’t in all non-dairy milks, contrary to what the Got Milk site implies. And better still, even a culinary fool like me can make homemade almond milk!

Terri Coles lives in Toronto, Ont., where she enjoys barbecuing, feeding feral cats, going to local music shows and getting really mad about hockey games. She blogs about her adventures in plant-based eating at The Vegina Monologues.

[photo by Luca Argalia via Flickr]

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