OPINION: Nondairy options are worth a try

Just like the case with veganism, a variety of dairy substitutes are becoming more popular, and that’s a good thing. 

 

Dairy substitutes have been around for some time, with soy milk having been around for over a century and only in recent years being popularized alongside other options such as almond milk, oat milk, rice milk, pea milk, cashew milk and flax milk.

 

Milk substitutes made from beans are now becoming staples in many grocery stores, being sold in similar areas to dairy milk options, but some types are more available than others.

 

Not only are these substitutes varying in taste and consistency, but they also each have their own added health benefits. 

 

A personal favorite of a younger me, almond milk, has become one of the most common nondairy milks. According to an article published by Food Dive, its place as the top nondairy option in America is being challenged by my new personal favorite, oat milk.

 

Although it has a strange taste, I like the taste of ground oats in normal dairy milk, which I would often use as parts of protein shakes, and oat milk has almost the exact same taste with similar benefits of the carbs and protein I need in my diet without the dairy.

 

Dairy options are great, but there are also obvious benefits that can’t be overlooked with nondairy options. According to an article from the American Society for Nutrition, some of the benefits include giving more options to people who are lactose intolerant, have milk allergies, inflammation issues or those with different lifestyle choices and

ethical concerns.

 

Nondairy options also have the added benefit of leading to clearer skin. According to an article published by Go Dairy Free, there have been various reasons cited for why dairy can cause things such as acne, but regardless, dermatologists have been recommending nondairy options as a treatment.

 

Dairy itself isn’t necessarily bad for people who don’t have aversions to it, but according to an article by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the well-known drawbacks include the increased amount of saturated fats inside dairy and contrary to popular belief, poor bone health.

 

I, for one, remember being told as a child that drinking more milk would make my bones strong, and yet a study published by the National Center for  Biotechnology shows that milk doesn’t seem to have any extra benefits when consumed in larger amounts.

 

Dairy can still have some bone-fortifying properties when consumed in smaller amounts due to the nutrients it contains. According to Cleveland Clinic, usually one glass a day is a good option for getting the nutrients milk can provide.

 

Having been raised on dairy, I am not opposed to it, and according to MyPlate, the benefits of vitamin D, calcium and protein are necessary for a balanced diet. It’s important to note that substitutes, including plant-based milks, are also added to the list of acceptable substitutes for these benefits.

 

Nondairy substitutes do have some drawbacks, one being that they can be more expensive than dairy. According to an article published by the New York Post, in 2020, the prices of nondairy were almost double in comparison

to dairy.

 

It’s great to experiment with different options in terms of diet, and if you’re hesitant towards trying a full plant-based diet, trying dairy alternatives might be a good place to start.

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