Ah, milk. We were always told it does a body good. But it doesn’t seem to be that way these days, at least not for the type of milk often found on the shelves of most of our supermarkets. The majority of milk being sold in the US has hormones and GMOs and who knows what else in it. It’s sad to me that we have to worry about these sort of things in our food supply. But that’s another rant for another day. Luckily, organic milk is an option and certainly a better bet. But what does one do when you have a dairy intolerance?
Here’s a little background history on milk consumption in our house and some options we came across.
Dairy hasn’t been an option in our house for the last four years. First we dealt with my son’s food intolerances, which were what initially caused us to look at cassein-free alternatives. But by the time we knew he couldn’t handle dairy, my son was already a year and a half old and was starting to eat a more well-rounded diet, so we didn’t feel the need to rely on milk as a major part of his calcium and vitamin intake. When my daughter was around five months old, we realized that she also could not tolerate dairy. She would break out in red splotches all over face whenever she consumed anything with cassein and would get very constipated. Because she was so young at the time, we needed to find other options for her. We ended up giving her goat milk in the form of Holle Toddler Formula. This was the purest option we could find at the time that would meet her dietary needs. However once you have a dairy allergy, apparently you can be sensitive to goat milk as well. This was my daughter’s case, and she continued to have some constipation issues. Despite this, we kept my daughter on the goat milk until she turned one (to make sure her other dietary needs were met) and then offered her almond milk, coconut milk, and hemp milk. I was making the almond and coconut milk myself to try and keep away from the extra additives that were in most of the almond and coconut milk I was finding in the stores. But I felt my homemade batches were a bit too watery for her and weren’t sustaining her enough. So eventually the hemp milk won out, and that is what she has been drinking every since.
As for my son, we introduced camels milk when he was around two and a half, after reading about the amazing benefits it offered, especially for children on the autism spectrum. Read one mom’s success story with camel milk here. There are several other testimonials like this. Camel milk was a great addition to my son’s supplement regimen at that time, and I felt like just a small amount everyday helped get his gut healing fast. At this point, my son was already on his way out of the fog that was autism, but I felt good knowing he continued to heal from the inside out. We loved the healing properties of camel milk so much that my husband and I would take a shot glass a day as well. We started adding some to my daughter’s bottles as well.
So that’s the long and short of the many milks that have seen there way into our grocery cart. It seems like most people these days go for coconut or almond milk when looking for an alternative to dairy. But I think these other types of milk should get their chance in the spotlight too. Here’s the low down on the benefits you can hope to get from each of these dairy alternatives.
As mentioned we used Holle Organic Goat Milk Formula when my daughter was younger. But any source of good pure goat milk would work. Shop your local organic coops for the best quality. Those with mild dairy intolerances should be able to handle this type of milk, but if you have a more serious dairy intolerance, this may not work for you. Benefits of drinking goat milk: believed to be anti-inflammatory, closer to human milk and so easier to digest and assimilate in the human body, low in fat and nutrient-dense.
Hemp milk is made out of hemp seeds and water and is a vegan product. (Contrary to popular belief, it does not contain marijuana. The levels of THC in hemp milk is too low to cause psychoactive effects, so you’ll have to get your kicks elsewhere :). We love the Tempt brand and mainly buy the unsweetened original version. This milk has a slightly more bitter taste to it, but my daughter doesn’t seem to mind. It is chock-full of vitamins, such as Vitamins A, E, B-12, folic acid and the amino acid GLA. It is rich in protein, magnesium, iron and potassium, and contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Giving it to make my daughter makes me feel like I am successfully rounding out her diet, even when she’s being picky.
This stuff is called “liquid gold” in the middle east. It has been consumed for thousands of years by many cultures. Camel milk contains fat, protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron and copper. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is believed to reduce food allergy symptoms. It has also been reported to help regulated insulin levels in diabetics and tame cholesterol, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis and leaky gut. A few years ago, it was still impossible to buy camel milk in the US, and parents would have to try and get it shipped from Israel. We are lucky to now have The Camel Milk Association of America. Didn’t know the US had one of those? Well, we do! I also can’t believe how much camel milk tastes like real milk to me. Note: to maximize the benefits of camel milk, you should be cow milk/cassein free.
So if you’re looking for alternatives to dairy, these are some good options – and they taste great to boot!