This is not advisable. Dairy products are classified as cereals, while refined coffee and sweets both contain muesli mixtures. Nonetheless, the media advertise it daily and shelves in distribution centers and retail shops are brimming with these products.

And who doesn't enjoy them in everyday foods? Indulgence, however, can quickly turn into a daily habit.

Much like nicotine, dairy can become addictive. There are certain ingredients in industrially produced foods that trigger this, which can then lead to an unconscious, uncontrolled, and increased consumption.

The rise in incidences of obesity and metabolic diseases resulting from this has put a strain on the health system and caused premiums to skyrocket.

Although vegan dairy products are more ecologically sustainable, moderation is still a smart move in this case. While daily consumption might reduce enjoyment, vegan substitutes, when consumed in excess, are neither healthy nor consistently environment-friendly.

Frowner recommends leading a generally healthy lifestyle and consuming small amounts of sugar and salt. A greater focus on new concepts, such as post-Christmas fasting or even a year-round fasting regimen can be undertaken in small increments until they develop into a lasting healthy habit –without causing personal burden or stress.

Healthful activities and cooking strategies for weight loss will be discussed in detail by frowner in another article soon.

Milk, the “white gold”?

Are essential animal foods healthy? Anyone who deals with healthy nutrition and wants to eat the right foods will have to address this question. In the meantime, food scandals such as salmonella in salami and suspected listeria in cheese, eggs, and even children's chocolates are increasing.

As of 2021, Europe is at the top of the world's largest milk consumers. Estonia, Ireland, Finland, and Italy even record a significant increase. According to a 2018 study done by the market research institute, YouGov, 94% of the German population regularly consumes dairy products; and 64% of them do so daily.

Is milk healthy?

Milk consists roughly of 87% water, protein, fat, and lactose. Many other minerals, vitamins, and residues are dormant in milk. It contains about 400 different fatty acids, which makes cow's milk unique compared to many other foods.

Milk and dairy products are high in calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients are needed for bone formation and stability. However, there is no correlation between having strong bones and consuming a huge amount of milk. Even data indicates that the risk of fractures increases with more milk consumption. While milk promotes growth, taller people are also at a higher risk of fractures. Incidentally, our body regulates calcium absorption and can also meet its needs for healthy bones from other sources such as kale, broccoli, or nuts. If required, various calcium formulations can be specifically tailored to the body's needs.

Humans are the only creatures that continue to drink breast milk after weaning –from a different species. Approximately three-quarters of all people worldwide are lactose intolerant. They lack an enzyme that can process lactose in the body, i.e. lactase. Milk is not only difficult for these people to tolerate, but it can also lead to abdominal pain, flatulence, and gastrointestinal problems. An allergy to milk proteins is rarer and occurs only in 1% of the general population.

Various substances in milk, such as hormones or substances that, in turn, stimulate the formation of certain hormones, have an impact on the body and skin. There is a connection between milk consumption and a higher risk of skin diseases, such as acne. This has been proven by several observational studies involving children, adolescents, and young adults between the ages of seven and 30. It’s found that this correlation became stronger the more milk is consumed.

Although milk in coffee or muesli is an integral part of the majority's daily fare, animal products are resource- and energy-intensive. They require much more space and water, hence generating more greenhouse gases than plant-based foods.

Animal foods are one of the leading causes of climate change. Animal products such as beef, butter, cheese, and milk account for about 18% of global greenhouse gases. Plant milk is a climate-friendly alternative to cow's milk and results in a 78% reduction of greenhouse gases –depending on the variety.

Are there milk substitutes that are better for us and the environment?

There are oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, rice milk, pea milk, and various grain milk, among others. They all have different advantages and disadvantages.

Oat milk is good in coffee and muesli, almond milk is great for baking, rice milk is suitable for desserts, and lupine milk and pea milk are very high in protein.

Today, many consider oat milk to be the best milk substitute, both in terms of taste and environmental sustainability. Oat milk is recommended as a milk substitute as it contains no lactose, milk protein, or soy components and is, therefore, well tolerated by many people. However, it is low in nutrients and protein and is high in calories compared to other alternatives.

The good ecological balance from oat milk production speaks for itself. Herbicides are typically not needed during its cultivation as many oats are produced through organic farming. Oats can be locally grown, and producing oat milk alone is, in fact, easy. Oat milk powder, which you can mix with water in your kitchen, is also available.

Almond milk has long been a trend in the USA, and it is almost as famous as soy milk as a milk substitute here. It is rare to find other milk alternatives made from nuts, such as hazelnut or cashew milk. But milk blends, such as oat-almond drinks are becoming more and more common.

Compared to cow's and grain milk, almond milk contains little protein and hardly any calcium. It, instead, offers plenty of trace elements, vitamins, and relatively little fat. Check out the ingredients as nut and almond milk sometimes have added sugar!

Almond milk is considered an excellent milk substitute for baking. The slightly nutty aroma also enriches any muesli, depending on your taste. Almond milk, however, tends to have a powdery consistency in coffee, so it is not recommended. Hazelnut drinks are an excellent alternative to cocoa because they taste nice and nutty but are not nearly as sugary unless they have added sugar.

Unfortunately, almond milk is not particularly sustainable. The plant needs much water, the cultivation areas are in dry regions such as California, Spain, or Italy, and the transport routes are, hence, extended.

Soy milk is a common milk alternative. It serves as a source of protein for many who opt for a vegan lifestyle. Soy drinks have no cholesterol, but instead, contain healthy substances such as folic acid and vegetable proteins. However, its calcium content is lower than cow's milk, so many manufacturers now make soy milk with added calcium.

Some enjoy the grainy and sometimes nutty flavor of soy milk, while others find that it tastes too strongly of beans. And since it is easy to froth, soy milk is recommended as a substitute for coffee.

Much of the soy grown worldwide does not end up on our plates but in livestock feed troughs. Soybeans for soy milk and tofu, on the other hand, often come from Europe, and in many cases, their cultivation is even organic. It is recommended to use more organic soy milk from Europe to help support short transport routes and prevent deforestation.

Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds, so there is no risk of drug intoxication as they are not from the flowers or leaves of the hemp plant. Hemp milk is widespread in Great Britain, but this milk substitute is not particularly well known in this country. It is also expensive, with prices at three to six francs, considering the currently small supply.

Hemp milk contains hardly any unhealthy fat and is rich in valuable omega-3 fatty acids and vegetable protein. When mixed with coffee, hemp milk tastes almost like low-fat cow's milk. And, it has a faint nutty aroma when you drink it pure.

Sweet lupins are one of the potentials for plant-based nutrition. They can be grown regionally in Europe and are high in protein, even more so than soybeans.

The legumes are dried, soaked, and ground, and the pulp is squeezed out. They have relatively no flavor, hence they don't even come close to tasting like cow's milk. Lupine milk is the best kind as it contains no gluten, milk protein, soy, or lactose. But even so, it may also contain a variety of minerals, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron.

Unfortunately, there are only very few manufacturers of lupine milk currently for there to have a wide range of natural options. Hence, for the time being, this milk alternative remains a milk substitute of the future.

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