Tag Archives: Plant based

Which milk alternative should we be drinking?

BBC Future – Feb 10, 2020 – Kelly Oakes

Plant based milk

Milk drinkers are turning their backs on dairy in favour of plant-based milks billed as kinder to the planet. Are they all more sustainable than cow’s milk?

You don’t need to go far today to find some kind of plant-based milk. Soy and rice milk are no longer confined to the dusty shelves of health food stores, and other substitutes like oat, coconut, and even hemp milk are now widespread in coffee shops and supermarket aisles.

While in the past those who opted for almond rather than dairy milk might have done so to take a stand for animal rights or because they’re lactose intolerant, many people are now switching to plant-based milks in response to the growing climate crisis. So which one is actually best for the environment? And how do they stack up against dairy in terms of nutrition?

The good news is that most – perhaps all – non-dairy milks come out better than cow’s milk when you look at their carbon emissions, how much land they take up and how much water they use.

Joseph Poore, a researcher at the University of Oxford, published a study in 2018 which looked at the environmental footprint of some food and drink. Later he extended the analysis to include plant-based milks, looking at the impact of soy, oat, rice, and almond milk on the environment. He found that all of those plant milks fared better than cow’s milk.

In terms of carbon emissions, almond, oat, soy, and rice milk are all responsible for around a third or less of the emissions dairy milk puts out, with almonds the lowest of the bunch at 0.7kg per litre, followed by oat (0.9kg), soy (1kg), then rice (1.2kg). Dairy milk is responsible for 3.2kg of emissions per litre of milk.

Land use shows an even more dramatic split, with nine square metres of land needed to produce just a litre of dairy milk, compared with less than a one square metre for plant-based milks, ranging from 0.3 sq m for rice milk to 0.8 sq m for oat milk.

Even almond milk, a notorious water-hogger, takes less water to produce than dairy – needing on average 371 litres of water per litre of milk produced, compared to dairy milk’s 628 litres. Rice milk follows shortly behind, needing 270 litres of water per litre of milk. Soy and oat, on the other hand, need just 28 and 48 respectively.

In fact, for some plant milks, the environmental impact of the crop itself is almost negligible in comparison to dairy. “The environmental impact of the milk itself, the soy milk and the oat milk for example, is so small that it is actually the packaging and the transport that becomes the dominant component,” says Poore.

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How to Shift to a More Plant-Based Diet, Without the Guilt

Truthout.org May 19, 2019 – Leslie Crawford

A compassionate and shame-free approach could help encourage omnivores who are maybe not on board the vegan train to reduce their meat consumption, says bestselling author Kathy Freston.
MIMAGEPHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK

Kathy Freston is a New York Times bestselling author four times over. Her books on healthy eating and conscious living include The LeanVeganist and Quantum Wellness. She considers herself a wellness activist and has appeared frequently on national television.

All this, and yet, she’s not strident or bossy. She wouldn’t dream of making me feel bad if I sprinkled parmesan on my pasta. She somehow understands that I can’t seem to give up my cow’s milk lattes.

“I’m a big believer in progress, not perfection,” says Freston. She offers easy, manageable ways to ease into a more plant-based diet. Freston takes a compassionate, no-guilt and shame-free approach to omnivores who try to reduce their meat consumption but who are maybe not on board the vegan train.

Freston’s gentler approach is exactly what I aim to do with my children’s books, Sprig the Rescue Pig and Gwen the Rescue Hen. It’s also why I found her “SuperSoul Conversations” interview with Oprah so important and reached out to her afterward to ask her some questions of my own.

Leslie Crawford: You take an unusually gentle approach with people who aren’t vegetarians or vegans. Is this really an effective approach?

Kathy Freston: I realized that if someone lectured or shamed me, I’d probably reject the message and not have developed any of my own insights, whereas when I talk to people who are nonjudgmental, I’m an open receiver. So, I decided to share the message the way I like it to have done with me.

Your dog was instrumental in your conversion to becoming a vegetarian and then a vegan. Tell us about your “ah-ha!” moment.

I had received a pamphlet in the mail from some animal organization depicting a cow being dragged to slaughter. It hit me hard, and I didn’t know what to do with that. Later, I was playing with my dog Lhotse, and she was lying on her back and looking up at me. When I looked back at her, [I] suddenly imagined her being lined up for slaughter and considered how she’d feel. I thought, If I don’t want my dog to go to slaughter, why would I want any animal to go to slaughter? As you know, a dog is no better or worse than any animal.

You talk about how becoming vegan is a process. I think some people think it’s just too hard because they have to entirely change the way they eat in order to become one.

It’s a process for several reasons. One is that our culture has effectively numbed us to what’s happening to animals. We are told it’s normal, natural and necessary. From early childhood, we’ve been indoctrinated with the idea that it doesn’t matter how we treat farm animals. It takes a while to get over that indoctrination.

The second thing is that we like to eat what we like to eat. Certain habits and traditions are ingrained in us. For anyone who has a habit, it’s very hard to break it.

Finally, it’s about being resourceful. It takes a while to find your footing: what to make for dinner, how to shop, how to please your kids. All those things work in tandem. If you give yourself time and space to figure this out, anyone can do it.

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