So it’s that time again. You gather your reusable bags and head towards your local farmer’s market or grocery store. But before you grab that gallon of milk or pound of cheese let’s learn about some alternatives that could save your wallet big savings and help the environment too.
So what impact does the dairy industry have on the environment? Let’s look at the pros and cons.
Water– One issue with the dairy industry in general is the use of water. Water is used to hydrate the cows, clean the facilities and the milking equipment, The dairy industry consumes 19% of the total water used in animal agriculture (2422 billion cubic meters). That’s a whole lot of water. Keep in mind that their are an estimated 270 million dairy cows in the world. You can find out more about this from Onegreenplant.org
Carbon Emissions- According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, dairy production produces 4% of the total global anthropogenic GHG emissions.
Animal Safety- I put this last because there are farms who respect the lives of their animals and the quality of their products. However, in general, this is not widely practiced. In fact, according to the Human Society cows often face restrictive housing, poor nutrition and overproduction. Not only could this be considered unethical think about the product you are consuming. Do you want to drink milk or consume dairy that was produced by a cow who has bad nutrition or bleeding utters? Now, there are FDA regulations but still think about it. It’s kind of gross, right?
Supporting Local Agriculture– One of the biggest pros in consuming dairy products is that it provides an opportunity to support local agriculture. If you shop around, in most cases, you can find a local organic farmer that sells dairy. Most of the time these cows are treated well and the dairy is derived in a much cleaner way.
Calcium & Nutrition– Milk and other dairy products have calcium and other nutrients in them that is good for your health. However, there are dairy alternatives that have many of the same nutrients.
So if you are thinking you want to try to go dairy free here are some yummy and cost saving alternatives.
Almond Milk: Almond milk is so yummy and I find it taste very similar to 2% milk. I buy my almond milk at Aldi for about $1.35 a half gallon. Considering that regular milk cost me about $4-5 a gallon at my local grocery store, switching to almond milk has already saved me money on my monthly grocery bill. I buy the unsweetened but they also sell it in vanilla and chocolate. You can also use Cashew milk as an alternative but I find that is a lot more expansive.
DIY Yogurt: You can actually make your own yogurt by putting probiotics into a cup of almond milk and then add fresh fruit.
Coconut Butter & Cream: Coconut butter does have a bit of a coconut flavor to it. However, it taste great I just wouldn’t use it in a pasta or other dish where coconut may throw off the taste instead of complementing the other ingredients. You can also buy coconut cream that can be made to use a ton of different dishes like sour cream, yogurt, and cream cheese. Check out Pinterest for some awesome recipes. This will save you money in the long run because you don’t have to buy separate products.
Olive Oil Butter: I absolutely love olive oil butter. I use Earth Balance and it is delicious. This brand is a little more expansive that a dairy brand. However, Publix often has this brand as part of their BOGO sale which makes it actually cheaper to buy than the dairy product.
Banana Ice Cream: Banana ice cream is so good and healthy! All you do is freeze bananas, blend them with almond milk and your toppings and it’s ready to eat. This is so much cheaper than buying ice-cream. I actually tend to freeze my bananas that are going bad so I don’t have to compost them. I can just the old bananas as an excuse to eat ice-cream.
Cashew Sour Cream: Check out this recipe. It’s so yummy! My husband and I put this cream in our Buddha bowls. It saves us money because we eat a lot of nuts and always have cashews on hand. So this means we don’t have to go out and buy another product.
I hope this article has given you a few ideas on dairy alternatives. If you are going completely dairy free remember to read your labels. You would be surprised how often dairy is used in products. My awesome cousin taught me that. She is a rock star! Also, if you want to make an impact but don’t really want to go completely dairy free just make a few small changes. Maybe have a dairy free day or week. Or maybe put almond milk in your coffee instead of regular milk. There are a ton of minor adjustments that can help make a difference.
Disclaimer: Information expressed in this article is solely the opinion of the writer. The writer is not held liable for any damage or health concerns resulting from information or endorsement from this article. If in doubt, always contact a health professional before using a new product on yourself or others or testing out a new food product or recipe especially if you have any known allergies.
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