Illustration for article titled Which kind of milk will make you feel least guilty?
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The problem with being a person who eats food is that there is always some bit of news that tugs at your conscience and makes you consider all your life choices. Case in point: milk.

We grew up learning that milk does a body good, builds strong bones and teeth, and prevents osteoporosis. Therefore, once most of us were weaned, we graduated to cow milk. But (there is always a “but”) the problem with cows take up lots of pastureland and emit lots of methane and other greenhouse gases that are bad for the environment. But then we learned that maybe their milk isn’t as good for humans as the America’s dairy farmers wanted us to believe. Almond milk was a viable alternative for a while, but then we learned that the California almond industry is committing mass murder of bees.

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The Guardian recently did a survey of plant-based milk alternatives (also called “nut juice” by disparaging dairy farmers) to determine which would make consumers feel less bad. Coconut milk is “an absolute tragedy” because it enables the destruction of the rainforests and exploitation of workers. Almond milk, as we’ve mentioned, kills bees. Rice milk consumes too much water and contains very few nutrients. Hazelnut, hemp, and flax milk aren’t too bad, but they’re hard to find. Soy milk is, of course, made from soybeans, which have also contributed to the destruction of the rainforest.

The hero of this piece? Oat milk! It’s environmentally friendly, and even if production scales up as it becomes more popular, scientists (at least those consulted by The Guardian) think it’s unlikely there will be any dire unintended consequences. Also, it tastes pretty good (at least in our humble opinion).

But really, as long as you don’t drink cow milk, you won’t be contributing to the destruction of our planet and you can feel good about yourself. Until you think about eating beef. Or a cheeseburger. Really, it never ends.

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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