Are Plant-Based Milks Really “Milk”?

Milk. What is it? Is coconut milk really milk? Soy? Almond? The list goes on … 

According to Webster’s Dictionary, milk is (1) “A fluid secreted by the mammary glands of females for the nourishment of their young” and (2) “a food product produced from seeds or fruit that resembles and is used similarly to cow’s milk.”

Now the dairy farmers of America would argue the point (and have argued and are arguing) that the word “milk” means the product comes from a mammal, and all the other nutzos (if you will) need to come up with another word. Of course they aren’t the ones who get to make that final decision. But Webster’s isn’t exactly a governing body when it comes to terminology either, at least not in the legal sense. 

The Food Institute cites the legal definition of milk as follows: “Milk means the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows, which may be clarified and may be adjusted by separating part of the fat therefrom; concentrated milk, reconstituted milk, and dry whole milk. Water, in a sufficient quantity to reconstitute concentrated and dry forms, may be added.”

AND THE FEDS? The U.S. FDA defines milk products as: “Food products made exclusively or principally from the lacteal secretion obtained from one or more healthy milk-producing animals, e.g., cows, goats, sheep, and water buffalo, including, but not limited to, the following: lowfat milk, skim milk, cream, half and half, …” SOURCE: RegistarCorp

The dairy farmers argue that using the word “milk” to describe a plant-based product misleads consumers. But I don’t buy that. I mean come on … how stupid are we? Wait. Don’t answer that … But you get my point, eh?

Regardless, since today is National Milk Day I’m going to go ahead and spread the word by posting a short list (see below) of some of my favorite recipes that use milk, plant-based “milk” that is. Why? Because until someone tells me otherwise, I can. That’s why. Listen, I have nothing against dairy … it’s just not for me and if you want to know why you can read more about why I don’t eat dairy but the gist of it is:

  • Nearly 70 percent of Americans have some type of lactose intolerance (hence the stomach pains, digestive issues, and overall blah feelings)
  • Dairy products contribute more saturated fat to the American diet than any other food(s)
  • And saturated fat leads to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer

National Milk Day on January 11th commemorates the day many think the first milk deliveries in glass bottles began in the United States. Alexander Campbell of the New York Dairy Company professed to the New York State Senate that his company was the first to make these deliveries in 1878. SOURCE: National Day Calendar

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One Comment

  1. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen

    Where to start! These recipes all look so delicious! I especially love a broccoli soup served in a little boule!
    I use plant milk all the time with great results. My doctor agrees. She also pointed out to me that even though dairy milk supplies calcium to our bodies, the processing of the protein in the milk actually leeches calcium from the bones, so drinking regular milk is a total wash!


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