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You may have heard about, and experienced, the growing trend towards plant-based milk alternatives. For many years, experts told us that it was important to drink milk to build strong bones and prevent fractures. However, it turns out that there actually isn’t strong evidence to show that cow milk is an essential part of our diets! In fact, there are a myriad of reasons why we should ditch the animal milks and make the switch over to plant-based milks.
- The production and consumption of cow milk has a huge environmental impact! Cows eat a lot of food and they also produce a lot of solid waste. Their manure pollutes our waterways and gives off an incredible amount of methane (which is much more harmful to the atmosphere than CO2). Also, it can take up to 600 gallons of water to produce a single gallon of cow’s milk.
- Plant milks don’t have hormones or antibiotics in them! Many cows are given a growth hormone called rBGH to make them produce more milk than they naturally would. They also produce hormones such as estrogen and progesterone naturally, so when you drink cow’s milk, you’re ingesting all of those hormones.
- Cows are not happy on dairy farms! Have you ever driven past a dairy farm? Have you ever seen a video of one online? The living conditions of cows on dairy farms is a sad sight to see, and it is one that we can’t turn away from or pretend isn’t there. On dairy farms, cows are kept close together, with little room for grazing or enjoying their natural environment. Cows are also often forced to stand in their own poop for much of their dairy-producing years. The way that dairy farmers impregnate female cows through forced insemination so that they will be able to produce milk again and again is violent and unjust.
- Plant-based milks are delicious and nutritious! The nutrition facts of plant-based milks vary based on the nut, grain, or legume they’re made of. To learn more about the nutritional components of soy, almond, coconut, oat, rice, and pea milk, check out this article.
- Plant-based milks can be made at home and actually require little skill to make! Do the environment an even bigger favor and skip store-bought milk altogether. Check out one of our favorite Almond Milk recipes from The Minimalist Baker here.
This article was written by Haley Lovejoy of A.G.A.P.E. Wellness