RANT: What’s the Deal with all these milk options?


Milk used to just mean, well, milk. The only place it came from was a cow.
Who knew you could get a milk from Rice, Coconut, Hemp, hazelnuts, and Almonds? So which of these white liquids is right for you?  And why not just stick to cow’s milk?

Some people find their allergies and their stomach problems completely disappear when they cut out cow’s milk.

Even organic milk, which is waaaaay healthier for you, but like non-organic milk, has heaps of hormones in it.

Surprised?  We get cow’s milk by milking a cow while she is pregnant.  In order to meet our nation’s dairy demands, we have to keep cows pregnant so they’ll keep producing milk.  So, cows are repeatedly, artificially inseminated inducing pregnancy and milk production, thus their milk has high levels of their own pregnancy associated hormones. The exposure and ingestion of these hormones affect us (think precocious puberty: early breast development–ahem, girls AND boys–and menstruation)  And it has been shown that exposure to high hormone levels causes cancer.


A lot of people (like most of the world) are lactose intolerant, however, even people who are ‘lactose intolerant’ can enjoy less concentrated forms of dairy, like cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.  And they don’t have to give up milk all together because apparently you can milk all kinds of things!  (“Can you milk a cat, Greg?”)

If you want to try plant-based milk alternatives, here is what I’ve tried and found:

All of these milk options can be stored at room temperature, in the cupboard for months! BONUS!

Once opened, they must be refrigerated and keep for about 10-14 days.  The flavored varieties can be more caloric, so stick to un-sweetened.  All of them taste better each time I try them.  At first they were hard to drink plain, but now that I’m used to these, cow’s milk is hard for me to drink plain.  Like anything, it takes several tastes to become familiar an enjoyable.  (Think about the first time you tried a beer)


Almond milk: widely available and accepted, inexpensive (~$2 for 32 oz), delicious in cereals and smoothies

Coconut milk: delicious, inexpensive (~$2 for 32 oz), great in smoothies and after a workout!
Hemp milk: more expensive (~$4 for 32 oz), is more creamy, is a superfood! and more sustainable crop (this is my favorite right now, but my mother said it tastes like glue
Rice milk: inexpensive (~$3 for 64 oz), per my husband, this tastes the most like cow’s milk


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Madeleine Vanstory attended Duke University and began her post-graduate journey at The Elaine Clark Center working with special needs children. She went on to work as a Clinical Research Scientist running clinical trials for the CDC and developing medical devices for Welsh Allen, Abbot Labs, Roche and Johnson & Jonhson Her work included non-invansive cervical cancer detection, continuous diabetic glucose monitoring, non-harmful infant bilirubin level detection and studying Vitamin C's anti-aging effects on the skin. Madeleine attended Medical school at The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and completed a residency in Family Medicine at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro NC. Dr. Madeleine Vanstory is a board certified Family Physician who has practiced all over the world. She has lead medical missions in Kenya and Honduras. She has participated with Operation Smile in Russia, she has patients in North Carolina, Maine, Oregon and New Zealand. Dr. Vanstory has worked the medical tents in the Marine Corps marathon in Washington DC and at the Kona Ironman World Championships. And Dr. Vanstory has marched with the Surgeon General promoting "Exercise is Medicine" at the World Congress Sports Medicine Conference. Disillusioned by the current health care system and armed with the realization that culture, nutrition and emotional well-being have a profound impact on health, Dr. Vanstory now motivates clients and patients to discover the healthiest versions of themselves through humor, counseling in her "Upgrade Your Health" Wellness Program.

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