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Home / Articles / Columnists / Healthy Living /  The Evolution of Plant-based Diary Alternatives
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Thursday, January 2,2020

The Evolution of Plant-based Diary Alternatives

By Karen Ellis-Ritter  
The dairy industry has been bemoaning a downward trend in consumer demand for several years now, despite millions upon millions of dollars in annual government subsidy bailouts (which results in millions of gallons of unwanted, dumped milk). Even with the large artificial deflations in consumer costs that are a result of these bailouts, the dairy industry still can’t seem to keep their heads above water. Thousands of longstanding dairy operations have closed their doors over the last few years. In desperation, they are trying to vilify nondairy products and plant-based innovators via government regulations and litigation. Some states are passing laws to forbid the use of words like milk for plant-based foods, even though the definition of milk is traditionally broad-spanning and not limited to dairy products. They aim to paint a picture that plant-based milks, cheeses and other alternatives are somehow fake, nutritionally inferior, or even dangerous. Not only are these knee-jerk, desperate smears easily disputed, but reasons for the increase in demand for plant-based alternatives to dairy reach far beyond nutritional concerns and traditional marketing tactics.

With the help of social media as a broad-scale disseminator of awareness, people are beginning to learn about the ethically damning details of this industry. Even on small farms, standard practices are rife with animal cruelty, emotional turmoil, neglect and slaughter. Learn about the various “humane” dairy standards via HumaneFacts.org/ dairy, or do a quick YouTube search for “Dairy is Scary.” The egg industry is also on par, in terms of animal suffering and death. Check out HumaneFacts. org/eggs Even for those who are less concerned with the ethical implications, there is a growing concern regarding the deleterious effects of dairy and egg products on human health, including increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and elevated cholesterol from saturated animal fats. In addition, dairy products contain exceedingly high levels of naturally occurring estrogen.

After all, it is a giant bovine’s breast milk, designed specifically for their baby cows to gain hundreds of pounds during their first year! Many adults also struggle with lactose intolerance. Again, milk is biologically designed for bovines – not humans – so this makes perfect sense. Check out nutritionfacts. org/?s=dairy and nutritionfacts.org/?s=eggs Fortunately, the number of plant-based dairy alternatives on the market now is enough to make your head spin! You can walk into any grocery store and have your pick of dairy-free milks (oat, pea, coconut, soy, flax, hemp, cashew, hazelnut, almond, rice…), creamers, cheeses, cream cheeses, ice creams, yogurts, kefirs, butters and yes – now there is even a FANTASTIC egg alternative made from mung beans – JUST Egg (www.ju.st/en-us)! Though some of the newer brands are still a bit on the pricey side, costs have been steadily decreasing, as consumer demand and distribution increase and become more viable.

Here are some of the best plant-based dairy alternative brands out there: Califia Farms (milks, creamer, kefir, yogurt) - califiafarms.com, Field Roast Chao - (sliced cheese) fieldroast.com/products/chao, Follow Your Heart (sliced and shredded cheese, salad dressings, the BEST mayonnaise – Vegenaise!) - followyourheart.com, Kite Hill (the BEST cream cheese, yogurt) – kite-hill.com, Miyoko’s Kitchen (highly recommended – spreadable cheeses, cream cheese, ricotta, mozzarella) - miyokos.com, Ripple (milk, creamer) - ripplefoods.com, Silk (highly recommended – milk, creamers, yogurt) - silk.com, So Delicious (ice cream, milks, shredded cheese, yogurt) - sodeliciousdairyfree.com, Treeline (spreadable cheese and cream cheese) - treelinecheese. com, Violife (highly recommended – shredded and sliced cheese, parmesan block, cream cheese) - violifefoods.com/us. Also of note, Ben and Jerry’s, Haagen-Dazs, and Breyers all have plant-based ice cream now! Look in your grocer’s freezer. For a wider variety of artisan cheeses, you can order online at VeganEssentials.com.

 

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