Do vegans drink milk? That's often the first question we hear from people interested in taking on a plant-based diet because it's not always clear-cut what is and isn't allowed in a vegan diet.
While vegetarians often consume plenty of milk and other dairy products, vegans have a much stricter diet that cuts out all milk and dairy products. However, while vegans won't go near traditional cow milk (or any other milk products derived from animals), there are many delicious vegan milk alternatives on the market to plug the gap.
In this article, we ask the question, 'Why don't vegans drink milk?', before exploring the best plant-based alternatives to dairy products. Keep reading to find out more!
Do vegans drink milk?
The quick answer to that is no. At least, not dairy-based milk products.
A vegan diet is one that is entirely plant-based. That means that vegans not only eliminate all meat and fish from their diet, but they eliminate all animal products too (for more information, check out our article: What can't vegans eat?).
Traditional milk products are derived from animals and are classed as dairy (alongside cheese, butter, and yogurt). Milk is commonly produced from cows, but there are many more animals, such as goats, for instance, that also produce milk.
Increasingly, however, more and more plant-based milk products are being produced as vegan substitutes for conventional milk. These plant-based vegan dairy products, such as soy or almond milk, are in no way made from animals and are therefore suitable for a vegan diet.
Is milk vegan?
Can vegans drink milk? The quick answer to that question is no unless it's plant-based milk. Vegans and milk, of the dairy variety, aren't compatible, and there are several reasons why.
Each person has their motives for becoming vegan. Generally speaking, vegans are against the cruel treatment of animals that is commonly part of the worldwide food supply chain. Of course, this ensures that vegans (like vegetarians) don't eat meat, because ethically speaking, this becomes wrong.
However, dairy isn't meat, so why don’t vegans drink animal’s milk? Vegans believe that you should never consume animal products in any of their forms for the same ethical reasons. While no cows are killed to produce cow milk, the modern industrial complex ensures that cows are kept against their will to produce milk.
Cows on dairy farms are pumped full of hormones and made to produce milk on an unnatural scale compared to living in the wild. They live their entire lives confined to their stalls, and their children are taken away for the same lifestyle.
Vegans believe that milk production's ethics is one of the fundamental reasons not to eat dairy, but there are other considerations. Dairy farming uses enormous quantities of resources and land, while there are health reasons to become vegan.
Why is milk bad for you?
Animal rights, ethics, and morality are just one reason why vegans adopt the lifestyle they do. More plant-based diets are taken on due to health considerations because there are many benefits of cutting out dairy and other animal products from your diet. At the very least, you should consider limiting these products from your diet.
While we are accustomed to drinking milk from a young age, it's not nearly as healthy for humans as the dairy industry leads us to believe. It's not wholly natural (how many other species drink milk from cows, other than humans and cows?), and there's a reason why many people have an intolerance to dairy products.
To be dairy tolerant, you need to have a tolerance built up from drinking milk from a young age. Yes, milk does provide protein and calcium, and for many, it's an essential source of these nutrients (especially when growing up). Milk is easily drunk, it can be readily flavored, and it's not only cheap but widely available.
But is milk healthy? Dairy products are extremely high in fat and cholesterol, leading to heart disease and other complications later in life. Milk consumption can also affect a person's mood and well being, and cutting down can result in higher energy levels!
So is animal milk good or bad? Ultimately, that's down to your personal dietary choices, but there's no doubt that there are impressive arguments against consuming milk.
Plant based milk alternatives
One of the arguments against veganism is that it's potentially challenging to replace milk in your diet. But these days, that's just not true.
You can use many viable milk alternatives for everything from brewing up a cappuccino to baking cakes.
Natural milk alternatives include almond milk and soy milk, which are widely available. While the taste is slightly different, they are delicious in their own right and do not require killing animals for production. These dairy alternatives extend to vegan cheese, butter, and yogurt as well.
Tofu can also be a fantastic source of protein for vegans. You can use soft or silken tofu to create creamy desserts that would traditionally call for milk or heavier cream products (you can whip up a tofu cheesecake using silken tofu, for instance!).
Giving up dairy
Should you drink milk? There are reasons related to health, the environment, and animal rights suggesting you shouldn't. Milk is an essential part of our diet, but today, you can substitute traditional milk for delicious plant-based alternatives.
Dairy products are not only cruel to animals, but they harm the environment and can have detrimental health effects on human beings. Of course, it's up to you if you want to switch cow milk for soy milk, but the evidence makes veganism an increasingly popular lifestyle choice!
Bookmark our guide to vegans, milk, and plant-based milk alternatives for later.