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Choosing a Good Milk Substitute:
What to Look for and What to Avoid.

First of all, do not feed any commercial milk substitute to an infant. The best and only food for a young infant is human mother's breast milk. If for some reason you cannot give your infant breast milk, ask your doctor for a suitable formula.

As an adult, you don't need a milk substitute to drink. After weaning, the natural beverage for our species is water.

This is especially important if you are trying to lose weight.

For effective weight loss, don't drink any beverages that contain calories.

But sometimes you will want some kind of milk to put on your cereal. You also might want it for making sauces or gravies. Here are the things to look for in choosing the best milk substitute:

Things to look for

glass of milk
  • Select a product that is made primarily of a whole plant food. Some options are soybeans, brown rice, oats, mixed grains, almonds, or hemp seeds.

  • Look for a milk that has a low percentage of calories from fat.

  • The mg of sodium in a serving should be no greater than the calories per serving.

  • Try to find a product that contains 3 or 4 grams of fiber per serving.

Things to avoid

  • Added oil. Oil is just extra calories, and it is also harmful to our health. Even olive oil damages the lining of our blood vessels. A good milk substitute will contain a little fat which occurs naturally in the soybean or other main plant ingredient.

  • Added sugar. Sugar is just more extra calories. Get used to the taste of an unsweetened milk. Vanilla flavored milks have a natural sweet taste.

  • Isolated soy protein, also called soy protein isolate. This is a highly-processed ingredient. Manufacturers use hexane and other dangerous chemicals to isolate the protein from soybeans. Because the soy protein is so concentrated, it raises blood levels of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I). This increases our cancer risk.

  • Carrageenan. It is linked with intestinal inflammation and irritable bowl disease (IBD.) It may cause ulcerations in the gastro-intestinal tract and possibly even gastro-intestinal cancer.

  • Artificial flavors, colors, or other chemicals.

  • Vitamin A palmitate. According Joel Fuhrman MD, supplemental Vitamin A palmitate can lead to brittle bones. Get your vitamin A in the form of plant carotenoids (carrots and sweet potatoes). Your body will convert it naturally to the right amount of vitamin A. 

  • Iron. Iron is an oxidant that can cause cellular damage if we get too much of it. Never take supplemental iron unless your doctor tests your blood and says you are anemic.

  • Other vitamins and minerals, except for vitamin B12. We are not big fans of supplements. Get your nutrients from whole plant foods.

The best choices

Once you start reading nutrition labels, you will discover that the perfect commercial milk substitute doesn't seem to exist. None of them meet all of our requirements. And they are all expensive. What is the solution?

Our answer is this: we keep a little cooked brown rice in the fridge and we make our own rice milk. Here is our simple rice milk recipe, which you can easily make in the blendersoy milk


We also keep a few quarts of WestSoy Unsweetened soy milk on the shelf as a backup. See the nutrition information on this soy milk. We only use this on days when we forget to cook brown rice and we just need something fast. 

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