World Milk Day is celebrated on June 1st every year and was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to recognize the importance of milk as a global food. In this post-zoonotic apocalyptic world, assessing the importance of milk and our reliance on another animal food product might be a good idea. Milk is the primary source of food for infant mammals before they can digest other types of food. After birth, all mothers produce milk for the initial development of their offspring. However, we are taught to consume dairy products regularly as children and adults as milk has been marketed as healthy and essential for adult growth and nutrition.
Most believe that milk consumption is a necessity even after weaning. Surprisingly, however, animal milk isn’t always the healthy drink it’s played for.
Increased milk production can cause infection in the udders (mastitis) of animals, which leads to bacteria in the milk.
Increased milk production can lead to infections in animals
The animals are raised under extreme conditions and given preventive antibiotics to avoid diseases.
Children are particularly susceptible to these antibiotics, which hinder the development of the immune system and cause antibiotic resistance. According to experts, growth hormones in milk can also lead to diabetes and obesity.
(Also read: World Milk Day 2021: Why is milk considered a whole meal?)
Many studies, such as that of the American Journal of Public Health, have shown that a higher intake of dairy products is not associated with a decreased risk of fractures. In fact, Amy Lanou Ph.D., director of nutrition for PCRM, says the countries with the highest milk consumption have the highest rates of osteoporosis.
However, the legacy of the traditional dairy industry lives on – many believe that calcium, protein, and vitamin D are only found in animal milk and their products. In reality, plant milk has more or the same amount of calcium, protein, sodium and potassium as cow’s milk – minus cholesterol, allergies, hormones and antibiotics.
Plant milk has more or the same nutrients than cow’s milk
Vitamin B12 is mostly even fortified in the animal by-products as it is extracted from the soil and industrialization does not allow the animals to graze naturally, which leads to the animals being artificially supplied with vitamin B12 and the product according to their nutritional value can be added.
Similarly, homemade plant-based milk may be lacking in the same and has therefore been a concern for many people when they consider switching to plant-based alternatives. Most packaged plant milks, however, are fortified with vitamin B12, which is also free from preservatives and low in fat.
(Also Read: World Milk Day 2021: 4 Factors To Consider When Choosing Dairy Products)
|Nutritional value 236 ml||Almond milk||Rice milk||I am milk||Whole milk|
|Total fat (g)||2.5||2.3||4th||6.5|
Today the market shelves are filled with healthy and plant-based milk options. And while Level 1 city dwellers would find these options easy to find at a local grocery store, they’re incredibly easy to find at home too!
Plant-based milk doesn’t take much time to make, just like any other dish you can make. Aside from the obvious reason to be pet friendly, homemade plant-based milk is nutritious, fresh, preservative-free, and cholesterol-free.
Here are ways you can use plant-based milk
1. How to make almond milk:
Soak 1½ cups (192 g) almonds in 4 cups (1 liter) filtered water overnight.
Mix the almonds with the water and add dates / sugar (optional) if you like the milk sweet.
Strain with a cheesecloth / nut bag / strainer to remove the almond paste.
It can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and the pulp can be used in curries for creaminess.
* Pro Tip: You can also milk cashews, coconut, and peanuts in a similar way.
Almond milk is easy to make at home
2. How to make rice milk:
Put 85 g hot rice, 700 ml hot water, teaspoon salt and vanilla (optional) in a blender and mix for 2 minutes.
Strain the remains in a cheesecloth or a fine sieve to remove the granules. It can be kept for at least 48 hours.
Rice plant can be made with minimal ingredients
3. How To Make Soy Milk:
For 1 liter of soy milk, put 140 g of split soybeans in a saucepan and pour 3 liters of boiling water over them.
Let it cool down overnight.
Drain the beans, add 1 liter of cold water and mix in a blender for 3 minutes.
Remove the soy milk from the solids by forcing the mixture through a cheesecloth. Bring the soy milk to boiling point and continue cooking and cooling for 10 minutes to store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Remove the soy milk from the solids by forcing the mixture through a cheesecloth.
Growing awareness of the harmful effects and inadequacies of milk, lactose intolerance, and a general trend towards compassion have created a new industry – that of the plant-based milk industry. However, the culinary culture and tradition of India has always used plant-based milk such as coconut, peanut, rice, etc. The mainstream industry has now caught up and India has had its fair share of the growth of this market.
On this World Milk Day, let us try to understand its essence and not get lost in the commercialization of its celebration. Let us strive to make it inclusive and sustainable for people, animals and the environment.
About the author: Varda Mehrotra is the Executive Director of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO).
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