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Cooking with Karina: Got Milk?

Karina Arnold
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Chocolate Hazelnut Milk

Karina Arnold created this homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Milk, paired here with a sweet treat. 

Karina Arnold is a junior at the University of Oklahoma who’s passionate about healthy cooking. She provides creative, healthy recipes and tips on clean eating.

Got milk? Milk life. Milk’s favorite cookie! Familia, Amor y Leche. These famous advertising taglines promote the 5th most consumed beverage in the United States and the name of our galaxy: milk.

Despite the copious advertising campaigns promoting more milk consumption, milk continues to get a bad rap. Many sources cite milk’s link to a host of health problems including cancer, osteoporosis and many autoimmune disorders. Furthermore, many dairy farms treat cows in deplorable conditions and feed them unhealthy feed with contaminated water. Although there are some farms who treat cows humanely, cow’s milk still remains higher in saturated fats, sodium and sugar than most plant-based milks. Additionally, over 75 percent of the world is lactose intolerant, proving that drinking dairy milk for the protein and calcium may hurt your gut.

The arguments against dairy are becoming more mainstream; however, milk’s pros include probiotics, hydrating properties and nutritional density. Milk has the ideal ratio between carbs-fats-protein for a quick, post-workout recovery. For some, especially growing children, cow milk can be a beneficial beverage. However, for most people, milk can cause inflammation in the gut and poor digestion.

Don’t give up on milk yet. Try a plant-based, oat or soy milk instead! This chart compares the different nutritional benefits, ingredients and calories amongst the different milk types. Personally, soy milk, like cow’s, hurts my stomach. I usually stick to an oat milk, cashew, almond or coconut. When choosing a plant-based milk, stray away from flavored. I prefer plain over vanilla and chocolate milks because like flavored yogurts, flavored milks have added sugars and syrups. Add vanilla beans, vanilla extract, cocoa powder or protein powder if you want to add flavor.

Making milk at home is easy and a fun way to experiment with different milks and flavors. You can try making this Chocolate Hazelnut Milk that will be cookie’s new favorite milk. Step-aside Nesquick and welcome this Nutella milk alternative that will have you saying moo-who? You can also use your home-made milk in your Tropical Chia Seed Pudding or Protein Cereal for a protein-packed post-workout snack or energizing breakfast.

Although making your own milk requires minimal ingredients and no cooking, homemade milks can be less cost-effective and straining nuts can get messy. I recommend making your own to experiment with new flavors before buying the big carton.

No other food group has a more aggressive advertising campaign than the dairy industry. Nutritional food should not need celebrities with milk mustaches to promote benefits; rather, the food should speak for itself. I’ve got milk, but it’s not the kind Whoopi Goldberg is smiling with in her Got Milk ad. I’ve got a milk just as nutritious and delicious. Do you got milk?

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