Milk is a product that’s a great source of all the essential amino acid proteins with a series of fats, carbohydrates and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
This would lead us to believe that milk is a super food; a great source of nutrients the body needs to be strong and survive in one easy to consume package. So a lot of people are switching off drinking milk for a variety of reasons, myself included.
Why should people stop drinking milk isn’t the question we are answering here. The question is, where do we go from here to replace the nutrients that have now been removed from the diet without a using replacement soy or rice milk?
Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein
Because milk is the only food a baby calf has for a period after birth it needs to have all the macronutrients (carbs, fat and protein) for survival and basic growth and development. These macros are easy to get from a variety of foods for humans through out the day for example.
The only carbohydrate found in milk is lactose which actually cant be found anywhere else apart from in milk, although it does crop up in processed alcohols (baileys and such), margarines, processed meats, instant coffees etc but this lactose is a synthesised form and all of it is derived from milk. Carbs are found in a majority of foods and can be easily replaced with an intake of fruits, vegetables and grains.
Milk (depending on how skimmed you buy) contains fat, most of which are found in many other foods however milk does have a some essential fats (not made in the body), Omega 3 (in oily fish ) and 6 (in nuts, cereals, most vegetable oils, poultry and eggs).
Protein is essential for muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth that is). Milk has a good amount of all the essential amino acids meaning that none of them are limited creating a great source of protein.
As a meat eater it is easy to get all of these proteins in order to replace what is missing; a great source being from red meats which also contains plenty of iron (that is missing in milk but extremely important in the diet).
For vegetarians, eggs have all the essential amino acids to replace these missing proteins. The healthiest way to cook is in a poached form with the lowest fat cooking methods.
For vegans there are loads of sources of protein; lentils and tofu (to name a couple) these both have all essential amino acids for the bodies needs.
Bone health is becoming a huge issue in the UK with more children suffering from Rickets (softer bones that cause a bowing in the legs) and osteoporosis in older members of the public.
So when deciding to cut milk out of the diet where can we get this all important calcium?
Well, because calcium is a mineral and minerals come from the earth we can get them from vegetables and some fruits, bok choy, kale, white beans, canned salmon, dried figs, instant oatmeal, oranges and firm tofu are all great sources of calcium making our amazingly strong bones.
Everybody thinks that milks is only good for calcium but there are 3 other minerals that are in milk that are equally as important that are:
Potassium – You can also get from bananas, avocado, spinach, sweet potatoes and white beans.
Phosphorus – Contained in fish, shell fish, Brazil nuts, soya tofu, beans and lentils.
Selenium – Brazil nuts, wheat, eggs, spinach, meats and fish.
Minerals are only needed in small amounts or they could have a toxic effect on the body in large doses (its hard to get to this point), but they are needed in the body.
Vitamin D is a weird one, there will be a blog purely about vitamin D to come, but how do we get it into the diet? Well to put it simply; oily fish, small traces in beef, liver and egg yolk but mostly oily fish which is unfortunate for vegan readers and I think this is when they should consider a vitamin supplement for the intake of vitamin D especially in winter (less sun which is another source of vitamin D).
Looking at all this thinking milk is a good choice as a nutrient dense food is right, but again it is made for baby calves to help them grow survive and get all the nutrients they need. It doesn’t take too much diet modification to get all of these nutrients as tofu, beans and lentils were food that kept popping up during this blog all of which are vegan (if that is a lifestyle you choose) with the exception of vitamin D.
So in summary with the addition of these foods you can live milk free with out missing any of the benefits of it, which is great for what ever reason you’ve chosen to go milkless.
Cheers guys, see you all on the next one.