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Family Nutrition

How Now Non-cow?

Look around the cafeteria and you’ll see a variety of milks. What’s the difference between them – and why do some kids avoid good old-fashioned cow’s milk?

Lactose Intolerance
Common potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams are all members of distinct plant families, unrelated to one another. The only thing these three have in common is their growing habit: All are edible tuberous roots supported by above-ground flowering plants.

Common potatoes come in about 100 varieties!
Nearly 30 million people are lactose intolerant. You or someone in your family may be among them.  
•   People who are lactose intolerant can’t produce enough lactase, the enzyme
    needed to digest lactose, the primary sugar in cow’s milk and other dairy products
•   Undigested lactose stays in the intestine and causes gastrointestinal problems
•   These problems tend to be uncomfortable but not dangerous
•   Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, or gas about 30 minutes
    to two hours after drinking milk (even infants can be lactose intolerant) or eating
    dairy products
•   Lactose intolerance usually shows up as stomach problems in the grade-school or
    teen years – 8-15 years old.
•   Babies who are born prematurely sometimes can’t produce adequate amounts
    of lactase
•   Some medications can also cause the body to produce lower levels of lactase,
    causing temporary lactose intolerance
•   People with long-term conditions that affect the intestines (like celiac disease or
    Crohn’s disease) sometimes suffer from lactose intolerance as well

Alternative Drinks
The good news is that there are plenty of healthy, delicious plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk – and almost every store and cafeteria carries them. Here’s a quick comparison of the most popular ones:
•   Cow’s milk has 10 grams of protein per 8 ounces
•   Only soy and coconut milk have measurable protein
•   None have measurable fiber
•   Most have a good amount of essential elements
•   Some take getting used to for taste and/or texture
•   Some are sweet
•   Others are best in cooking

Almond Milk
Protein: Negligible:1.5 g
Essential Elements: High in Vitamin E
•   Rich in monounsaturated fats
•   Low in calories
Taste/Best Use: Nutty, sweet taste with milky texture/Good to drink

Coconut Milk
Protein: Fair: 5g
Essential Elements: High in lauric acid with strong antibacterial properties
Taste/Best Use: Smooth, sweet, mild/Good replacement for cream in coffee

Hemp Milk
Protein: Very low: 2g
Essential Elements: High in essential fatty acids, high in iron and magnesium
Taste/Best Use: Rich and creamy/Good for baking (the earthy flavor takes getting used to as a regular drink)

Rice Milk
Protein: Negligible: 1g
Essential Elements: High in sugars, often contains highly processed vegetable oils
Taste/Best Use: Light, sweet, watery/Good to drink

Soy Milk
Protein: Fair: 7 grams
Essential Elements: Complete essential amino acids, high in potassium
Taste/Best Use: Chalky/Good to drink in moderation

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