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October’s 31 Days of Real Food-Day 18

by Olivia Furlow

Day 18-Milk Alternatives


Many nondairy drinks are fortified to resemble conventional milk’s nutritional profile. Many of these beverages contain added sugars and oils as well as additives such as guar gum and carrageenan.

These are not replacements for whole foods. When eating real food, be true to whole foods. Almond milk is not a whole food like actual almonds, nor is rice milk a whole food like brown rice.


The most popular plant-based milk, soy milk is produced by soaking, crushing and cooking soybeans, then extracting the liquid.

When it comes to non-dairy milk options, soy milk is by far the worst choice. Sorry to those of you drinking this but you are most likely drinking processed, pasteurized, standardized soy milk made from pesticide-ridden soybeans or genetically modified soy, so unfortunately you’re just being duped. 🙁

Real soy milk only lasts a couple of days in the refrigerator. It goes bad very quickly because it’s real food. But processed soy milk lasts a long, long, long time without going sour. That makes me suspicious. Anything that has a long shelf life is probably laced with toxic chemicals or completely devoid of nutrients. So don’t eat it or drink it.

One brand of soy milk that can be trusted is Eden Soy.  Their soy products have been through all kinds of scrutiny and passed with flying colors.

It’s not the plant that is bad, it’s the processing! Soy can be really good, or soy can be really bad. It all depends on how it is grown and processed.


This nut milk is made from skinned or blanched almonds that are finely ground and blended with water, then filtered to remove solids.

Almond milk often times has added sweeteners in addition to carrageenan, a thickening agent, and synthetic vitamin A palmitate, a controversial and possibly toxic additive. There are about 38 almonds in a half gallon of Blue Diamond and Silk almond milks, and there should be 144-192 almonds to achieve the creamy texture. That means 74%-80% of these products are actually made from thickening agents and other additives.

The debate about vitamin A palmitate, also named Retinyl palmitate, has been raging in research institutions and university laboratories since it was first synthesized. It is used to fortify low-fat and fat-free milks and milk alternatives. Synthetic vitamin A is associated with birth defects, fractures and cancer. Other effects of chemical vitamin A include tumor enhancement, joint problems, osteoporosis, dryness of the eyes, mouth and skin, enlargement of the liver and spleen and suppression of the immune system.


In our highly processed food culture, we have done to coconut milk what we have done to a number of other nutritious foods. We have hyper-processed them to the point that they no longer contain their natural goodness, and may even contain some harmful ingredients.

Most canned coconut milk contains guar gum and carrageenan. Guar gum is used as a thickening agent in many foods and has been linked to digestive blockages and other disturbances in digestive function.

Milk alternatives contains carrageenan, a highly popular additive. Carrageenan is used as a substitute for fat. It thickens nonfat or low-fat foods, or is used in place of dairy. It is also used as a beverage stabilizer to keep liquids from separating.

People who consume products containing carrageenan can develop serious long-term health complications due to increased and constant inflammation and has been linked to gastrointestinal problems. Food manufacturers would suffer huge financial losses if carrageenan was regulated because it is so often used in many foods.

Individuals who remove carrageenan from their diets notice a remarkable improvement in health and a reduction of gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, cramping and bowel disorders.


Made by blending together cooked rice, water, rice syrup and rice starch. Most commercial versions also contain thickening agents, sugar and flavorings.

Okay, so we have some red flag ingredients like vegetable oils, carrageenan, natural flavors and D2. It also lists xanthan gum, a highly processed, bacterial byproduct ingredient. It certainly doesn’t pass the test of “would your great-grandmother have recognized this as food?”

Rice milk contains polyunsaturated vegetable oils which can contribute to an imbalance of essential fatty acids in your body. A chronic imbalance of essential fatty acids caused by regular consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oils is a major cause of cardiovascular disease. Most nut or seed milks contain canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil,  sunflower seed oil, and/or soybean oil which are all bad news. Vegetable oils are a freak of nature. They are extracted with toxic solvents as well as high heat and pressure. Vegetable oils = icky. Period.


This commercial non-dairy milk contains once again that damn dangerous carrageenan as well as the red flag ingredients of natural flavors, sunflower lecithin, and D2.

Verdict? Pass on this one.

Vitamin D2 is a synthetic and isolated form of the vitamin D. It offers no viable benefit to the body and may actually be harmful. Vitamin D2 is prone to toxic contamination due to the way it’s manufactured and can result in calcium crystals being deposited in the body. Which then cause damage to the heart, lungs and kidneys. D2 can actually desentitizes the D receptors, making us more prone to vitamin D deficiency! Stay far, far away from the D2.

“Natural flavors”, this term conveniently eliminates the need to list unsavory additives on the ingredient list. “Natural flavors” can even mean forms of MSG and artificial sweeteners. I feel an automatic distrust in a company that puts “natural flavors” on their ingredient list.

Bottom Line on milk alternatives: Unless you have a milk allergy or want to make these alternatives from scratch, just stick with good ‘ol milk.



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