Do vegans drink milk? That depends on what sort you’re talking about. If you’re referring to the kind that comes from an animal, then the answer is no—absolutely not!
But don’t fret, vegans needn’t miss out on milk’s creamy goodness! There are plenty of alternative products available that can be used in the same way.
If you want to find out why vegans feel so strongly about ditching dairy, read on.
What is Milk?
Let’s start by looking at what milk is, and why vegans aren’t the only ones who shouldn’t be drinking it, especially if it comes from another species.
Milk is a liquid produced by female mammals to nourish their young. It’s a nutritional powerhouse, rich in protein, making it the ideal food source for babies who need plenty of calories for rapid growth.
Milk only serves a purpose in infancy, and is not needed in the diet of adults.
Humans are the only species that drinks milk past infancy and the only species that drinks the milk of other animals.
No animal needs their mother’s milk beyond the weaning stage, even humans. It’s a misconception that we do.
Even more importantly, we do not need another animal’s milk as part of our diet.
Once humans are weaned from their mother’s milk and can eat solid foods, they should stay weaned, not start drinking another species’ milk intended for its own young.
Vegans do not drink the milk of cows, goats, or other animals because they understand that these animals produce milk only to feed their own young. But also because of the unethical way it’s obtained.
Dairy is Scary
“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. Go Vegan | What is Veganism? | Understanding Veganism (vegansociety.com)
The dairy industry is one of the cruelest in existence. And definitely not Vegan.
Out of all milk-producing mammals, cows are by far the most exploited by humans. The suffering of dairy cows and their babies in order for humans to take their milk is why vegans are so passionate about putting an end to this terrible industry.
Dairy cows only produce milk when they’re pregnant or have just given birth, so the dairy industry regularly forces them to get pregnant and deliver babies so they can keep being milked. Calves are taken away from their mothers within hours of birth so that humans can drink the milk intended for them.
The male calves are either raised for veal or sold for beef—and if they’re female, they’ll be sent back into the cycle of forced pregnancy.
This process is heartbreaking and immoral, but it’s made even worse by the fact that it’s completely unnecessary. It’s not as though cow’s milk is necessary for human health or survival; we can get all the nutrients we need from plant-based foods like nuts and beans (or even just by eating more vegetables!).
Milk is NOT as healthy as you’ve been led to believe.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Dairy products are not intended for human consumption. A cow’s milk is designed to help a calf grow into an adult cow. It contains elements that are not good for humans and can cause many health issues if consumed regularly, such as; inflammation and weight gain, which can then lead to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
There are so many other foods that can provide you with the vitamins and nutrients that you need without all of the extra fat and cholesterol!
Why is dairy so hard to ditch?
There’s a lot more going on in a glass of milk than you’d think.
First, let’s talk about oxytocin—You might know it as the “hug hormone” (though it also goes by other names, like “love hormone”).
Well, when a mother cow nurses her baby calf, she releases oxytocin into her milk. The baby calf then ingests this hormone and bonds with its mother. When we consume dairy products, we’re essentially consuming the hormones that help create that bond. It makes sense why we crave it so much—we’re literally bonding with our food!
But wait! It gets even stranger: Casein, which is also found in cow’s milk, triggers the release of oxytocin in your own body when you consume it! So when you drink milk, you’re further triggering the release of bonding hormones within yourself!
And, we’re programmed to love it! Turns out that casein is very addictive, much like cocaine or nicotine. That’s right: dairy products may be as addictive as drugs! This is why you can crave them—even if you don’t want to!
So what can you do? Switch to non-dairy alternatives! By doing this, you will help your body break down those pesky hormones so that you can finally wean yourself off of milk.
The only ‘Milk’ Vegans DO Drink
So, vegans DON’T drink milk from other animals… but a lot of vegans DO choose to drink plant-based alternatives.
Vegan-friendly ‘milks’ are a big deal in the vegan community. After all, it’s hard to break a habit that’s been conditioned by centuries of tradition.
There are plenty of alternatives to cow’s milk that you can use in everything from cereal to coffee. Here are a few of the best:
If you’re looking for an alternative to milk that tastes so similar to the real thing, it’s weird.
This is the one.
With a rich and creamy taste, Alpro This Is Not Milk: Whole Oat Chilled Drink is a delicious alternative that will fool your tastebuds into thinking you’re drinking dairy.
The perfect partner for your favourite tea or coffee.
In fact, this creamy and gently flavoured soya milk will go with just about anything. So whether you’re looking for a little something extra in your morning cup of joe or want to add some extra creaminess to your favourite smoothie, Rude Health Soya Milk is here for you!
As well as being high in protein, each carton is fortified with Vitamin D, B12, and iodine, plus you’ll even find it has 50% more calcium than cow’s milk. What more could a vegan want?
So the answer is YES! Vegans do drink milk. Just not from other animals.
And these plant-based alternatives are a lot healthier and kinder than dairy.
Ready to make the switch? Or interested in going vegan? Stick around and check out more blog posts about the vegan diet.
Thanks for reading!