Why Plant Mylk is Better Than Cow’s Milk
A decade ago, no one thought about where milk came from; it was understood that milk comes from cows, and it’s natural for humans to drink it for their health. But today, with plant mylk becoming increasingly popular, people all over the world are questioning the status quo by exploring this option!
Even those who aren’t completely vegan have decided to switch to plant mylk for various reasons. Let’s look at why.
Reasons To Make The Switch
Plant-based or vegan mylk is derived from a variety of sources, including nuts, legumes, and grains. And thanks to pressure from the dairy industry, governments across the world have started to label plant mylk as ‘fake milk’ to prevent people from giving up dairy.
But even with interference from the dairy industry, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the truth behind cow’s milk. Thanks to this awareness, plant mylk is being consumed at an accelerated rate while the consumption of dairy milk is on the decline.
Of course, each individual has their own reasons for cutting dairy out of their lives. Some are allergic to dairy, while others are aware of the physiological changes it causes in their body. When you switch from cow’s milk to plant mylk, there are three main aspects to consider.
- The Ethical Aspect
- The Environmental Aspect
- The Health Aspect
The Ethical Aspect
Cows in a dairy farms are penned up within the confines of tight cages and poked and prodded when they need to be moved. They are treated like commodities who are spent ruthlessly in order to gain maximum profit.
It’s common knowledge that every mammal produces milk only after giving birth, and cows are no different. The dairy industry needs cows to produce milk throughout their lifetime, which is why cows are artificially inseminated on a regular basis. Every time a calf is born, they are separated from their mothers so that the milk produced can be consumed by us.
Male calves are handed over to the meat industry, to produce what we popularly call ‘veal’. Female calves are kept alive to suffer the same fate as their mothers.
Dairy farms are crowded spaces, with diseases running rampant. The life expectancy of a cow in regular conditions is almost 20 years, but in dairy farms, few cows are lucky to make it past the age of 5. Many fall sick and die while the others are pumped with antibiotics and medication, giving them just enough energy to stay alive and continue producing milk.
When a discussion on ethics comes up, people are quick to respond that ethics are subjective, and we should not assume that what’s wrong for some must be wrong for all. But ask yourself this – are cows capable of suffering? If so, and we are aware of this, then is it justified to make them suffer to obtain a product that can be obtained through cruelty-free methods?
If we know (and we do) that cows are capable of feeling pain and suffering, then willingly inflicting this suffering on them is morally wrong.
By contrast, plant mylk does not require the subjugation of sentient beings in order to fulfill our wants, making it ethically viable.
The Environmental Aspect
Large swathes of forest land, grassland, and prairies are cleared to make space for the facilities that constitute a dairy farm. Additionally, more land must be cleared to grow crops to feed the cows in a dairy farm. To produce plant mylk, the land required is smaller and the impact of growing plants is far less harmful.
A single dairy cow can drink upto 120 litres of water every day. Now imagine thousands of cows drinking that much water everyday, for years! And this is just the water they drink; gallons more is used to clean the pens that these cows are housed in. This water washes away the filth and seeps into the soil, adversely affecting soil quality and poisoning groundwater reserves. Most of this water makes its way through the soil into water bodies, polluting lakes, streams, and ponds in the vicinity.
Finally, the dairy industry is known to produce more greenhouse gas emissions than any other food industry (with only the meat industry producing higher emissions) contributing to global warming at an accelerated rate.
To produce organic plant mylk, less land is required, the soil stays clean, and animal agricultural runoff does not pollute water bodies. Additionally, there are zero greenhouse gas emissions, and while certain plant mylks, like almond milk, require large quantities of water, it’s still more environmentally sustainable to produce than cow’s milk.
The Health Aspect
We’ve all heard the saying ‘milk is good for your bones’, but recent studies have shown us otherwise. In fact, high consumption of cow’s milk has been directly correlated with increased bone fractures. The reason? Well, consumption of milk puts your body in an acidic state, and to neutralise the acidity, your body requires phosphorus, which can only be found in the bones in the form of calcium phosphate.
Your body leeches this compound from the bones through a process called acidosis and uses the phosphorus to neutralise the acidity. The calcium is then eliminated from the body, leading to lower bone density and weakening the skeletal structure.
Dairy milk is also rich in cholesterol and saturated fats, both of which are linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. The saturated fats lead to fatty deposits on the walls of our blood vessels, causing blocks in the arteries. In the best case scenario this can lead to blood pressure and delayed healing, in the worst-case scenario, this can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
And apart from the negative effects of dairy itself, the antibiotics and hormones pumped into dairy cows find their way into the milk. When we consume milk, these compounds enter our bodies; antibiotic resistance and hormonal imbalances are quite prevalent in a large part of the population that consumes dairy on a regular basis.
Plant mylk, on the other hand, is free from saturated fat and cholesterol. And while some brands may contain preservatives, plant mylk does not cause acidity or interfere with the natural biochemical processes of the body, making it a much healthier choice.
Make the Switch!
While cow’s milk has been popular for generations, it’s becoming clearer to more and more people that ethically, environmentally, and physiologically it is unsustainable and even dangerous to the human race.
Initially, switching to plant mylk may feel strange, and it can take a while to adjust to the new taste. This is why many feel that plant mylk is ‘unnatural’ and not meant for human consumption.
But bear in mind that the milk of a cow is meant for a baby cow, just like the milk of a human is meant for a baby human. So while milk may seem ‘normal’ due to habit, it’s just as unnatural to drink the milk of another animal well into adulthood.
By making the switch to plant mylk, you’re doing a favour to your body, helping to stop the cruel practices of the dairy industry, and reducing your carbon footprint. So start drinking plant mylk and embrace a morally-coherent, cruelty-free, and conscious lifestyle.