30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 16 – Drink Plant-Based Milks

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2fePlant-based Milks: Ancient Beverages

“And because a mammal can not lactate without being pregnant (and subsequently giving birth), it’s important to point out that the offspring of a dairy cow (or goat or sheep) is merely incidental; he or she is simply the consequence of a pregnancy that is required to keep the animal lactating. Every year, 800, 000 male calves are born to dairy cows in the U.S. are slaughtered and sold as “veal” – all for a product that is definitely not necessary for humans to consume.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

A mammal's breast milk is for her young, growing baby. There is no way you can take her milk 'humanely'. It doesn't matter if it is a factory farm, a small hobby farm or an organic farm. It is all unnecessary cruelty and exploitation.
A mammal’s breast milk is for her young, growing baby. There is no way you can take her milk ‘humanely’. It doesn’t matter if it is a factory farm, a small hobby farm or an organic farm. It all involves unnecessary cruelty and exploitation.

It is a very simply equation. Human milk is for human babies. Rat milk is for baby rats. Cows milk is for baby calves. Sheep’s milk is for lambs. The only way you can get drinkable quantities of milk from a mother is to take away her baby. This is what happens with all dairy production. The cow is forcibly made pregnant, which causes her body to start doing what female mammals do. Then, at birth, the baby becomes competition for the breast-milk we want to make cheese, ice cream or to froth up our lattes. Calves, especially the males, are simply by-products of the highly profitable dairy industry; many of the female calves become replacements for their mothers on the milking machines.

The New Zealand economy depends on dairy exports; as evidenced by the ubiquitous dairy farms we are surrounded by.
The New Zealand economy depends on dairy exports; as evidenced by the ubiquitous dairy farms we are surrounded by.

So that’s the bad news. We can’t continue to consume dairy. The dairy industry, dependant as it is on cruelty and exploitation, has to go. I live in the Waikato, where we are surrounded by dairy farms. Most of us owe our livelihoods either directly or indirectly to the dairy industry. Getting rid of the dairy industry would mean restructuring our economic base and using the region’s rich volcanic soils to grow something other than grass to feed cows. Unfortunately, the local dairy co-op, Fonterra, is now a multi-billion dollar international corporation, and over 90% of the milk produced here is exported. Fonterra now also run or contract dairy farms and milk production plants in other countries, especially China.

almondmilkThe good news, however, is plant-based milk. Anything you would use animal breast-milk for can be replaced with a plant-based version. Personally, I love the taste of almond milk, but it is more expensive than soy. So, now I use soy milk for anything where the flavour won’t be noticeable, and almond when it will.  A litre of Anchor cows milk is around $2.70 a litre. Soy milk prices vary, but a litre of Signature (home-brand) organic soy is about $2.90 and Vita Soy regular $3.00 or Sanatorium regular $3.40.  Almond milk is usually, depending on brand, around $3.80 – $4.00 a litre.

I use coconut milk or cream when I want the thickness (fat), as in a curry. Coconut is delicious, thick, has a very distinctive flavour and helps ‘soften’ spicy food. Colleen has a great suggestion, if you want the flavour of coconut without the fat just add a few drops of coconut essence to another plant milk.

According to Colleen, rice milk is the thinnest and if you want a thicker milk use oat, almond or soy. Also, plant milks are generally fortified with B12 and vitamin D.

Colleen includes a recipe for home-made almond milk.

“Although there are some wonderful commercial brands available, there’s truly nothing like homemade, and you need no special equipment. For coffee drinkers, this is an ideal creamer and froths up beautifully when making lattes.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

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