Date: 22 Aug 2018
Author: The Vegan Society Aotearoa
We are celebrating World Plant Milk day on 22 August 2018. Research is now showing that the switch to plant-based milk is a great choice for your health, the environment and for animals.
Healthy, tasty and offering a huge variety of flavours, people around the world are increasingly showing preference for plant based milks. Soy milk in your coffee, almond milk on cereal, oat milk in tea; these are among some of the myriad of options in the plant-based world and dairy is starting to take a back seat as people want choices that are more informed and more ethical.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine report that approximately 75% of the world’s population find the digestion of lactose after infancy difficult. Humans are not baby cows.
In New Zealand our rivers are polluted, and clean-ups are expensive and one big problem is dairying. Water Quality NZ reports that the environmental costs of dairy farming have been valued at up to $15 billion and this figure only includes a selection of impacts.
It’s now hard to ignore the facts around animal sentience and the animal welfare impacts of removing a calf from its mother so she can provide milk for humans. In New Zealand up to two million calves per year are removed from their mothers to be killed for pet food, at approximately 4 days old. Drinking plant-based milk is a more compassionate choice.
The United Nations’ current dietary guidelines recommend plant-based eating for a sustainable planet. The latest scientific research indicates that getting most of your nutrition from plants is better for you, better for the planet and better for the animals. Fats from animals and their products are highly saturated and too much of them contribute to cardio-vascular disease and increased cholesterol.
Plant milks have none of the draw backs, they contain no cholesterol and some, like soy, actually work to lower cholesterol levels, which is terrible news for the manufacturers of statins. Around the world countries are updating their nutritional guidelines to increase the daily recommended fruit and veg portions and reduce the recommended dairy and meat ones and doctors are coming to the understanding that a plant-based diet is healthier for you for many different reasons.
Plants can provide all the nutrition we need, using a fraction of the resources that animal-based foods do. It is clear that in order to sustain ourselves, we are going to have to change the way we do many things, including eat. Plant milks are here to stay and while some countries are arguing over what to call them, no one can deny their health benefits.
We suggest Kiwis try the 7-day dairy free challenge, check it out at: www.worldplantmilkday.com