Alternatives to both milk and soy

Pros And Cons Of Soy

To soy or not to soy that is the question.

In the e-Alert “Staking Their Claim” (8/20/04), I told you about some of the pros and cons of soy, which reminded me of an e-mail I had in my file from an HSI member named Geoffrey, who wants to know about some alternatives to both milk and soy:

“How does soy ‘milk’ stack up? Since cow milk is not recommended, do I go to rice ‘milk’?”

There are four alternatives to cow milk and soy milk: rice, almond, oat and multi-grain. Unfortunately, none of them are entirely free from concern. Rice milk, for example, has higher sugar content than soy milk. Some brands of almond milk contain corn syrup or brown rice syrup. Depending on your tolerance level for sugars, they may prove to be a better alternative. Still, you should read the ingredients carefully.

But when Geoffrey refers to “cow milk,” the type that’s not recommended is the highly refined milk that lines the shelves of grocery stores. Raw milk – taken from free range cows, unhomogenized and unpasteurized – is the healthiest milk available. HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., explains:

“Pasteurized, homogenized milk does not qualify as food in my opinion. Even skim milk is homogenized (it’s too much trouble to not send it through the same machinery), and the homogenization process breaks up an enzyme (xanthine oxidase), which in its altered (smaller) state can enter the bloodstream and react against arterial walls, causing the body to protect the area with a layer of cholesterol.

“Pasteurization also destroys enzymes through its heating process. The skimming process makes the remaining nutrients more difficult to absorb. For one thing, the calcium is better absorbed in the presence of milk fat (though the high amount of fat in whole milk is for very-fast-growing baby cows, not baby people).

“The politics of running the certified raw milk dairies out of business is as sickening as the ‘modern’ milk we’re now forced to drink. It was consistently shown that there were fewer bacteria in raw milk than the pasteurized variety! The problem is, it takes far more care and procedural hassle to pull it off, and the ‘big boys’ weren’t into that. That’s why the wonderful, certified raw milk from Alta Dena, Mathis, and other dairies is a thing of the past.”

Unfortunately, whole raw milk from pasture-fed cows is quickly disappearing from the American scene. In fact, the milk industry has effectively cut off almost all sales of raw milk. It can still be purchased directly from some local dairy farmers, but its illegal to sell raw milk in stores throughout the U.S., except in California, Connecticut and New Mexico.

You can find out more information about the benefits and availability of raw milk products through A Campaign for Real Milk (