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Quinoa Milk and Other Healthy Non-Dairy Alternatives

Quinoa Milk and Other Healthy Non-Dairy Alternatives

We all grew up being told to drink at least three glasses of milk a day, not really knowing why we had to, except that it will build strong teeth and bones because of the calcium content. When we flipped through the pages of a magazine, cow’s milk was glamorized by celebrities with these white mustaches, causing us to think, "I would love to look like they do: beautiful hair, lean body, shining white smile."

Quinoa Milk and Other Healthy Non-Dairy Alternatives (Slideshow)

Dairy, however, may not be all it was cracked up to be. I’ve found some great non-dairy milks to drink instead that provide numerous health benefits, as well as loads of vitamins and minerals — they are genuinely great for the body.

As an integrative physician, I always discuss the utmost importance of following a diet that is mainly based on plant protein. If there is one documentary that you should see, it would be Forks Over Knives, which examines this issue thoroughly. Animal protein — which is any protein derived from meat and dairy products — leads to an acidic environment in the body, which can build up toxicity and lead to numerous medical problems, from obesity to heart disease to diabetes and worse. Furthermore, animal protein — especially dairy — is pro-inflammatory, causing a plethora of medical problems from allergies to asthma.

One commonly held argument for animal protein is that it is more "complete." While it’s true that animal proteins contain a variety of amino acids, your body also has to work harder to assimilate and digest them, slowing down the process of elimination. Plant protein is ready to be incorporated into the body once ingested, and the amino acids are easily integrated, so the body does not have to expend extra energy or work harder by doing striving to utilize the proteins. In addition, more protein can be found in some plants than in meat. For example, 100 calories of steak has only 5.4 grams of protein, whereas 100 calories of broccoli has 11.2 grams of protein — not to mention an abundance of calcium and other minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that you cannot get from animal meat.

I’d like to introduce you to my rock-star list of plant protein-based milks, which I recommend for those who are trying to increase the plant protein in their diet. Keep in mind that certain drinks may not be suited to everyone. There are advantages and disadvantages to each one depending on your food intolerances and other medical conditions. For example, rice milk or soy milk may not be recommended for everyone, so always talk to your physician about what is right for you. This is simply a general guide to expand your options.

Sesame Milk

Sesame milk is packed with more calcium than dairy in a cup-to-cup comparison. Plus, this drink is abundant in zinc, copper, magnesium, and B vitamins.

Quinoa Milk

Gluten-free, it may be a perfect source of protein, and is a great option for those with gluten sensitivity. This grain is related to the spinach family, and is actually a complete protein, with all the essential amino acids.

Read more about Quinoa Milk and Other Healthy Non-Dairy Alternatives

Dr. Deepa Verma of Synergistiq Integrative Health believes that healthy and holistic living is the key to happiness and aging gracefully. Follow her on Twitter @DrDeepaVerma and subscribe to her Youtube Channel.

Healthy Dairy-Free Breakfasts

It's easy to skimp on nutrition at breakfast—from processed baked goods and cereals to fattening diner-style egg and meat dishes, unhealthy choices are prevalent at the first meal of the day. Cutting out dairy is one way that you can decrease unnecessary saturated fats and cholesterol in your diet, and it's probably easier than you think, especially at breakfast. Here are 10 healthy breakfast ideas that those eating dairy-free (or simply the health-conscious) will love.

Most of these recipes are versatile, so feel free to use your favorite dairy-free milk and your favorite fruits and spices.

Almond Milk

After soy milk, almond milk quickly rose to the top of popular nondairy milks. (Though we did recently find that production of this nut milk could be harmful to our honey bees.) You can buy almond milk at the store, but you can also make your own by soaking almonds in water, then blending them into milk with more water. High in vitamins and low in calories (but also low in protein), it tastes nutty, a little sweet, and creamy, so it&aposs tasty from the glass or over cereal. Although it can be used in sweet recipes and most savory dishes, some people consider it too sweet for savory dishes so stick to adding in smoothies and desserts.

Average 8-ounce serving: 30 calories 2 g fat 1 g carbohydrates 9 g sugar 1 g protein.


Good for you: "Quinoa has more amino acids in it than any of the other options," Sauvé says. "While it doesn't have much protein per serving—only 2 grams in every cup—the protein it does have is at least of high quality. It's also hypoallergenic: Not many people would have a problem drinking quinoa."

Tasting notes: “Smells like nature,” Beggs says. Our tasters found the grain’s grassy aroma kind of like sticking your face in a warm batch of quinoa. But, you know, in a good way. Weɽ definitely stir it into a pot of grain porridge or pour it into a bowl of seedy granola to complement those earth tones.

Good for you: “The main benefit of oat milk is it’s so hypoallergenic,” Sauvé says. “I can’t think of anyone who would have an intolerance to gluten-free oats, unlike nuts and soy. Most of its nutrition disappears during processing when the fiber is removed, but you’ll still have some of the B vitamins.”

Tasting notes: “Woah, this one is thick,” says digital editor Carey Polis. To help this one foam like real milk for lattes and cortados, Oatly fortifies the beverage with rapeseed oil, which adds fat without the need for stabilizers. On its own, it coats your tongue the way whole milk or half-and-half do. “It’s beautifully neutral with just the tiniest bit of sweetness,” says senior food editor Chris Morocco. We think itɽ be nice in brothy beans, coffee, and, of course, oatmeal.

Good for you: "Flax contains lignans, which are antioxidants shown to prevent cancer," Sauvé says. "It's also one of the foods highest in omega-3s apart from fish. For vegans and vegetarians who need to eat a lot ALAs, flax is very beneficial for them. Because this one's found in the refrigerated section, too, it probably has more healthy fats intact since it hasn't been heat-treated."

Tasting notes: We were all convinced this one was almond milk. “It’s really rich and familiar,” contributing assistant editor Ali Francis says. Despite being in the dairy case, it's one of the few alt-milks that is cold-pressed and doesn't contain carrageenan. Swap it in anywhere you would use almond milk, like your nightly mug of moon milk or a fruit smoothie.

3. Flax Milk

Cold-pressed flaxseed oil is mixed with water to make flax milk. The texture of flax milk is somewhere between that of skim (nonfat) cow’s milk and 1% cow’s milk. In comparison to other non-dairy milks, flax milk may be the most similar to cow’s milk in terms of flavor.

Nutritional Information

One serving of unsweetened flax milk can range from approximately 25� calories, depending on the brand. Flax milk is high in omega-3 fatty acids and contains a generous 30% RDA of calcium. Unfortunately, flax milk does not contain any protein or fiber. This milk contains 10% RDA of vitamin A, 25% of vitamin B-12, and 25% of vitamin D.

Homemade Flax Milk



  1. In a blender, combine the raw whole flax seeds with filtered water. Blend on high for 1 minute.
  2. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a container.
  3. Tightly cover and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days.

The Problem with Store-Bought Milk Alternatives

From sugar-loaded Ultra Heat Treated (UHT) varieties to made-from-concentrates, there are often more than simply nuts, seeds, legumes and grains in store-bought milk alternatives, says accredited practising dietician and nutritionist Trudy Williams.

“If the second or third ingredient in your milk is added sweetener in the form of raw sugar, cane sugar or rice syrup, would you think it was healthy or flavoured?” Williams asks. “How about the addition of limestone in your milk? Is ground limestone an intentional and natural food for humans? These are some of the unusual features of some almond milks—one of the many types of long-life milk substitutes available in the supermarket.”

From almond, rice and oat to quinoa, soy, coconut and hemp, today’s selection of plant-based milks has given those with dairy allergies a welcome reprieve from phlegm build-up and skin issues, however, it’s not plain health sailing simply because a milk product comes without hormones and antibiotics.

Once refined to kitchens of raw food aficionados, nut, seed, legume and grain milk alternatives have hit the mainstream in a big way, appearing on supermarket shelves nationwide with labels emblazoned with “all natural” and images to match, yet, according to author, nutritionist and Changing Habits founder, Cyndi O’Meara, there’s reason for concern every time we reach for our morning milk alternative.

How about the addition of limestone in your milk? Is ground limestone an intentional and natural food for humans? These are some of the unusual features of some almond milks—one of the many types of long-life milk substitutes available in the supermarket.

“The Western world has been besieged by dairy intolerances due to the quality of our milk, the health of our cows, the food and medications given to our cows and the processing done to our milk: pasteurisation, homogenisation, adding of milk protein isolates, permeates, calcium sourced from rock and coral or other means where we cannot utilise the calcium as well as other dubious processes and ingredients have caused this,” O’Meara says. “As a result non-animal milks have become an in-vogue and healthy alternative—or have they?”

The nutritionist says with the popularity of plant-based milks, many companies that make their product in Tetra packs may use “dubious ingredients” to thicken, taste or sweeten the original milk for flavour and profit.

“So, I have a caveat on whether I believe plant-based milks are healthy,” O’Meara says. “It all depends on the ingredients of the milk… Check the ingredient panel—the fewer ingredients the better—and make sure all ingredients are real. If there are any additives that you are not sure of, do some research.”

Check the ingredient panel—the fewer ingredients the better—and make sure all ingredients are real. If there are any additives that you are not sure of, do some research.

Best Dairy-Free Buttery Spreads

There's nothing like a warm piece of toast spread with soft butter—but can you get the same results with a non-dairy spread? Luckily, there are several brands that have figured out how to create that smooth texture and buttery taste without the dairy.

Earth Balance makes six buttery spreads, including original, organic whipped, olive oil, soy-free, omega-3, and organic coconut spreads. All can be used for spreading, sauteing, frying, and baking. Smart Balance also sells several varieties, from original, organic, flaxseed oil, omega-3, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), and low sodium as well as light versions.

Consider Skipping: Coconut Milk

Coconut milk has a rich, creamy taste but it lacks protein. “Most of the calories in coconut milk comes from saturated fat, which we should be keeping to 5 to 6 percent of our daily caloric intake per day,” Silver says. If you are a coconut milk fan, look for unsweetened, low-fat coconut milks in the supermarket aisles instead. In some studies, coconut intake has been associated with improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels. 𠇊lso, of note, the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in the fat of coconuts has been shown to reduce waist circumference and increase metabolism. However, there is not enough MCT in coconut milk to reap these benefits.”

21 Healthy Breakfast Recipes That Aren’t Eggs

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I am Debbie from “The Girls’ Room” because eggs are one of my favorite foods on this planet. Eggs taste delicious, they look delicious and they’re pretty darn high in protein, so they keep my ravenous appetite at bay on any given morning.

But like all things that seem too good to be true (and are), eggs have a dark side. Since they’re known for being high in cholesterol, it’s probably not wise to eat an egg or two every single day.

If you have a hard time coming up with healthy breakfast options for those mornings when you don’t think eggs are a smart choice, we’ve got you covered. Once you try one of these delicious bad boys, you just might break up with your eggs for good.

1. Cinnamon and Banana Breakfast Cookies

Yes, you can have cookies for breakfast, and not just because Mom isn’t there to say no. The recipe calls for nut butter instead of regular butter, so you get a nice protein boost. Get the recipe here.

2. Brûleéd Grapefruit

Grapefruit is know for its high levels of vitamin C and its ability to stifle cravings. When you broil or bake these citrus globes, the juiciness takes on a whole new level. Just be aware of how much sugar you’re adding. Check out the recipe here.

3. Banana Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Homemade granola > store bought granola. Always. These homemade granola bars will make your mouth water when you enjoy them on the go or savor each chunky bite. These are probably some of the healthiest granola bars you’ll ever eat, and they are seriously delicious.

4. Green Smoothie

Photo by Kathryn Stouffer

Spinach is the not-so-secret ingredient in this smoothie, which adds a huge variety of vitamins and antioxidants to the drink’s nutrition. Since there’s also fruit in the mix, it won’t be like drinking straight vegetables. Don’t knock it ’til you try this recipe.

5. Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are beautiful because they’re delicious, healthy and stupid easy to prepare. As long as you stick to one or two fruits and avoid sugary add-ins (like jelly or chocolate chips), this option is a fantastic morning go-to. Learn the basics of overnight oats here.

6. Frozen Greek Yogurt Banana Poppers

You’re coating fruit in Greek yogurt, so of course this is a no-brainer health food. And with only two ingredients, you have no excuse not to try them. It’s froyo for breakfast. You don’t have to tell me twice. Here’s the easy recipe.

7. Mango and Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

Photo courtesy of Giulianna Gadelha

Chia seeds are a superfood because they are high in fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids (plus a bunch of other good things that do wonders for your bod). While you can try this recipe to start, feel free to play with different types of milk and fruit to find the best combo for you.

8. Loaded Apple Slices

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Follow this recipe for a sweet, healthy breakfast. If you want to make it super healthy, you could hold off on the chocolate chips – but I wouldn’t recommend that.

9. Hawaiian Pizza Bites

On the days when you don’t have leftover pizza, make these pizza bites. Not only is this basic recipe gluten-free, but it also uses Canadian bacon as a healthy bacon alternative. The sweetness of the pineapple balances out the meal nicely so it’s not too salty for b-fast.

10. Peanut Butter and Banana Toast

Bananas and peanut butter are almost as perfect together as peanut butter and jelly. This is a breakfast option for those with a sweet tooth, and because it is packed with protein (thanks peanut butter) it will keep you full until lunch. Sprinkle with cinnamon for a kick. Other banana toast combos here.

11. Chia and Flaxseed Microwave Oatmeal

If chia pudding isn’t your style, try chia oatmeal. And you can make this in your microwave. Perfection. Get the easy recipe here.

12. Avocado Toast

If you haven’t tried this before, you’re probably in the minority. Avocados are loaded with healthy fats and are so tasty. Learn how to make the perfect avocado toast here.

13. Grilled Strawberry Parfait

Similar to the idea of broiled grapefruit, this recipe grills strawberries to enhance their natural flavors. And you will not believe the juiciness of grilled strawberries. But if grilling is too much effort, sautée them in a pan over the stove for a similar effect.

14. Frozen Matcha Green Tea Smoothie

Photo by Stephanie Nguyen

This is a different kind of green smoothies – there’s no spinach here. This smoothie is green thanks to matcha powder. Matcha is a powdered form of green tea and apparently it has way more antioxidants than normal green tea. Booyah. An easy and healthy breakfast you can slurp down on the go.

15. Raspberry Breakfast Popsicles

Popsicles for breakfast sounds like my kind of morning. This recipe uses Greek yogurt and fresh fruit, so you know you’re getting the protein and vitamins you need. In just five simple steps, you can have these for breakfast almost all week. Just do it already.

16. Quinoa Oatmeal

The time will come when you run out of chia seeds and instant oatmeal packets. Instead of panicking, use quinoa as an oatmeal base. This breakfast packs a mean protein punch, especially when you add the peanut butter and almond milk. You won’t be hungry for a while with this one.

17. Vegan Oreo Pancakes

This recipe isn’t the simplest one in the book, but it’s totally worth it for a stack of creamy, chocolatey pancakes you don’t need to feel guilty about devouring. It’s a tad sugary to be the healthiest option on this list, but it’s much better for you than some other waffle or pancake batters. This is one to save for company.

18. Coffee Protein Smoothie

With this easy drink, you can drink your coffee and eat it, too. Throw some coffee, bananas and protein powder into a blender and voila. A caffeinated, protein-rich option for mornings when a Starbucks run isn’t possible.

19. Banana Coffee Chip Cookies

More cookies for breakfast! If I didn’t convince you the first time, here’s my second push. You need to try these yummy bad boys that combine dessert, coffee and chocolate into one incredible morning option. Almond butter and bananas keep the health levels in-check.

20. Pumpkin Spice Granola

There’s no law that says you can only enjoy pumpkin during the fall, so whip up a batch of this pumpkin spice granola. Its secret ingredient is quinoa, which is a protein-rich superfood. Pair this with milk or cereal, or nosh on it by itself. Get the recipe here.

21. Almond Butter Protein Balls

You’ve never seen protein balls like these ones before. This smart breakfast is nutty, chocolatey and chock-full of protein, so you’ll be feeling full until lunch. Bonus: These are super easy to make and require only four ingredients. You’re crazy if you don’t whip up a batch tonight.

39 High-Protein Breakfast Ideas for When You’re Just Sick of Eggs

A high-protein breakfast is always a good way to start your day. "Protein is a vital component to a healthy breakfast," says SELF columnist Jessica Jones, M.S., R.D., certified diabetes educator and cofounder of Food Heaven. A balanced meal that is rich in protein (as well as carbs and fat) can help keep you energized all morning, Jones says.

It’s easy to find yourself in a protein-packed breakfast rut, though. For whatever reason, scrambled or hard boiled eggs are the go-to high-protein breakfast for a lot of people. And while good old eggs are awesome, so is variety.

So we put together a round-up of recipes that either use eggs in a more creative way (in oatmeal or French toast, for instance) or forgo them altogether in favor of other protein sources (like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and tofu). All of these tasty recipes have at least 15 or 20 grams of protein per serving. From smoothies and skillets to pancakes and puddings, here are 39 delicious high-protein breakfast ideas.