I wrote this paper for one of my english classes. I think I went a little bit overboard because we were only supposed to have one source, but I really enjoyed writing this paper and I hope it entertains you.
Milk or Emulsion: How to Milk an Almond
“You’re a vegan?!” My friend yells while sitting in the math classroom. Class hadn’t started yet.
“Um yeah- for a while. Where have you been?” I reply.
“So you don’t eat meat or drink milk?” She says.
“Or eat eggs” I continue for her.
“Oh do you drink that, what’s it called, almond milk?”
“Yeah I do- it’s really good too especially the chocolate…”
“But how do you milk an almond? Like how does it work? If you squeeze it, nothing comes out right?”
“Well…” I began to explain but she didn’t want to listen. She’s too caught up on trying to imagine someone milking an almond.
When I walk down the dairy aisle of a grocery store, I notice the many gallons upon gallons of white liquid fill the clear plastic bottles. These bottles are labeled milk. From fat free to 2% to whole milk, the variety of a simple concept is outstanding. After all the white milk, that is pasteurized with vitamins A and D added, is chocolate milk (merely a brown and chocolate variety with much sugar added). Milk is defined as “a fluid secreted by the mammary glands of females for the nourishment of their young; especially cow’s milk used as a food by humans” (MWD). So many have asked, well then why do human’s drink that liquid meant for the babies of cows? Apparently, cow’s milk “is widely recognized as a nutritious drink for people of all ages – it’s a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin D, potassium and other vitamins and minerals… One theory suggests pioneering farmers and their families migrated out of Central Europe with domesticated crops that weren’t suited for the new environment. With poor crops and possibly contaminated water sources, they increasingly turned to cow’s milk for sustenance, making it a regular part of their diet” (Why Do People Drink Milk?). Therefore the history behind it has created a habit of humans consuming it.
The real question I would ask is why do people still drink it, then? It is only a habit created and now a crutch we lean on. There is no need for it: calcium sources include cereal, soy products and greens, vitamin D can be added to the diet via fish, the sun, and mushrooms, potassium can come from almost any fruit or vegetable, and other protein sources include meat, beans, and soy products. I guess people do like the taste, but don’t they think it’s weird that humans are the only animal that drink milk past their infancy and the only animal that drinks another mammals milk (not including humans feeding other species milk to other species). The best part is that there is other options out there, labeled milk, that most people ignore.
These beverages, known as nut, soy, hemp or rice milks, come after those many plastic bottles in the grocery store full of a white liquid that came out of udder and was then heated up to a ridiculous temperature where most “valuable enzymes are destroyed, vitamins (such as A, C, B6 and B12) are diminished, fragile milk proteins are radically transformed from health nurturing to unnatural amino acid configurations that can actually worsen [one’s] health. Finally the eradication of beneficial bacteria through the pasteurization process actually ends up promoting pathogens” (Why You Shouldn’t Drink Pasteurized Milk). Not only that, because of this pasteurization, the dairy industry no longer feels they need to keep their operations clean. “Pasteurized dairy is produced in the dirtiest milk factories imaginable where blood, pus, e.coli and other truly dangerous pathogens are routinely bottled into milk containers and fed to consumers…. The reason all that milk has to be pasteurized is because it’s strongly contaminated with blood, pus, bacteria, fecal matter” (Infowars Pasteurized Milk). American culture has made a habit of consuming something not even relatively healthy for the population, especially since it is not necessary to live.
Back to those other options labeled milk that don’t contain things like poop and pus, that apparently contain milk from almonds, soybeans and hemp seeds. As I have already said, milk comes form the mammary glands of mammals. Almonds, soybeans and hemp seeds are not mammals. Then what is this mysterious liquid they call almond milk? It is a stable emulsion of the oil (fat), water and protein found in the ground state of the solid. To make plant milk, some form of a plany is ground, whether a strong blender or other, mixed with water and then strained through something really thin like a cheese cloth. No mammals, pus, blood, or E. Coli included. The milks have been seperated into many different categories depending on what they are made from. There are grain milks made from barley, oats, rice and spelt. Legume (bean) based emulsion can be made from peas, peanuts, and soybeans. Nut milk emulsions are commonly made from almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and walnuts although any nut can have an emulsion made from it. Seed milks that are commonly made from hemp, quinoa, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut although any seed can also be used. The restriction upon creating these emulsions is most likely price constraints. Pumpkin seed milk could be created although it would be expensive because pumpkin seeds aren’t cheap. Same goes for nut milks. Pistachio milk is delicious only not economically viable to be created into a milk. Plant based yogurts can also be made from some of these milks by adding the same bacteria added to cow’s milk to craete yogurt. The most popular are non-cow’s milk yogurt created are soy yogurt and coconut yogurt.
These “plant milks” or emulsions have become increasingly popular because of vegans and the lactose-intolerant. Most people do not realize how much milk is out there in processed foods. Other than the more obvious things such as ice cream, butter, and cheese, chemicals and food such as casein, buttermilk, and ghee are often looked over. Sodium and calcium salts of casein are also unknown milk products along with whey hydrolysates and even some mineral concentrates found in vitamins. Any chemical listed with the word lactic or lactate in the beginning or end of the word contains milk. For instance, calcium lactate is the calcium salt of lactic acid while potassium lactate is the potassium salt of lactic acid. Paracasein is a chemical product of casien where something is removed, such as rennin or pepsin. Some vitamins that are seperated from milk and added to other things, such as vitamin supplements or other supplements, include vitamin D, vitamin A, B vitamins and vitamin H (also known as Biotin). Also any food with the super ambiguous “natural flavors” can contain about anything, including milk or any derivatives.
At the end of that freezing cold aisle in the grocery store, I grab either the unsweetened almond or soymilk. There is no mystery to me as to whether or not I need milk that should belong to a baby cow. Nor do I want to drink milk that may contain blood, pus or E. Coli. I look forward to using my plant based emulsion that did not come out of a mammal, because I am an adult and am no longer nursing.
Adams, Mike. “Pasteurized Milk 150 times More Contaminated with Blood, Pus and Feces than Fresh Milk.” Infowars Pasteurized Milk 150 times More Contaminated with Blood Pus and Feces than Fresh Milk Comments. Natural News, 22 Feb. 2012. Web. 24 Nov. 2013.
Castro, Joseph. “Why Do People Drink Milk?” LiveScience.com. Life’s Little Mysteries, 21 June 2013. Web. 24 Nov. 2013.
Mercola, Dr. Joseph. “Why You Shouldn’t Drink Pasteurized Milk.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 03 June 2010. Web. 24 Nov. 2013.
“Milk.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013.