That’s a simple answer for a simple question. Frankly speaking, since poor nutrition is the leading cause of death in the United States, my theory to believe behind it: doctors are not trained on nutrition because there’s no money to profit from it.
Using ingredients straight from your kitchen, these dyed Easter eggs make a fun and festive way to celebrate.
Egg decorating is a festive activity that celebrates the arrival of spring, a season of renewal. The egg, an ancient symbol of rebirth and new life, has a long and storied history tied to holidays and seasonal celebrations around the world, including Easter. In fact, if you’ve hand-dyed eggs, then you have, perhaps unknowingly, participated in one of the oldest known decorative art forms. In 2010, archaeologists in South Africa discovered engraved ostrich eggs dating back around 60,000 years. Since then, eggs have been decorated in every way imaginable, including traditional pysanky (Ukrainian Easter egg decoration) and arts-and-craft inspired decoupage eggs.
This tutorial keeps things simple and relies on natural ingredients, which result in rich, jewel-toned dyes that cover the egg in a wash of color but also let the shell’s speckled beauty show through. Drawing on spring’s color palette for inspiration — from robin’s egg blue to daffodil yellow — the dye recipes shared here require little more than a few kitchen ingredients and a bit of patience.
These dyes are not fast-working like their commercial counterparts; the eggs need to soak for a few hours at a minimum. To achieve the vibrant colors shown here, you must soak your eggs overnight. If you prefer more pastel tones, a shorter soak is effective. Keep in mind that this is not an exact science — colors will vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the color of your eggs’ shells and the amount of time you soak them for.
Natural dye ingredients, such as
3 cups of yellow onion skins from roughly 8-10 onions
The chemicals to blame for our reproductive crisis are found everywhere and in everything ~ 10:23 UTC Thursday, 18 March 2021
The end of humankind? It may be coming sooner than we think, thanks to hormone-disrupting chemicals that are decimating fertility at an alarming rate around the globe. A new book called Countdown, by Shanna Swan, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, finds that sperm counts have dropped almost 60% since 1973. Following the trajectory we are on, Swan’s research suggests sperm counts could reach zero by 2045. Zero. Let that sink in. That would mean no babies. No reproduction. No more humans. Forgive me for asking: why isn’t the UN calling an emergency meeting on this right now?
The chemicals to blame for this crisis are found in everything from plastic containers and food wrapping, to waterproof clothes and fragrances in cleaning products, to soaps and shampoos, to electronics and carpeting. Some of them, called PFAS, are known as “forever chemicals”, because they don’t breakdown in the environment or the human body. They just accumulate and accumulate – doing more and more damage, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Now, it seems, humanity is reaching a breaking point.
Swan’s book is staggering in its findings. “In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” Swan writes. In addition to that, Swan finds that, on average, a man today will have half of the sperm his grandfather had. “The current state of reproductive affairs can’t continue much longer without threatening human survival,” writes Swan, adding: “It’s a global existential crisis.” That’s not hyperbole. That’s just science.
As if this wasn’t terrifying enough, Swan’s research finds that these chemicals aren’t just dramatically reducing semen quality, they are also shrinking penis size and volume of the testes. This is nothing short of a full-scale emergency for humanity.
Swan’s book echoes previous research, which has found that PFAS harms sperm production, disrupts the male hormone and is correlated to a “reduction of semen quality, testicular volume and penile length”. These chemicals are literally confusing our bodies, making them send mix messages and go haywire.
Given everything we know about these chemicals, why isn’t more being done? Right now, there is a paltry patchwork of inadequate legislation responding to this threat. Laws and regulations vary from country to country, region to region, and, in the United States, state to state. The European Union, for example, has restricted several phthalates in toys and sets limits on phthalates considered “reprotoxic” – meaning they harm the human reproductive capacities – in food production.
In the United States, a scientific study found phthalate exposure “widespread” in infants, and that the chemicals were found in the urine of babies who came into contact with baby shampoos, lotions and powders. Still, aggressive regulation is lacking, not least because of lobbying by chemical industry giants.
In the state of Washington, lawmakers managed to pass the Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act, which “directs state agencies to address classes of chemicals and moves away from a chemical by chemical approach, which has historically resulted in companies switching to equally bad or worse substitutes. The first chemical classes to be addressed in products include phthalates, PFAS, PCBs, alkyphenol ethoxylate and bisphenol compounds, and organohalogen flame retardants.” The state has taken important steps to address the extent of chemical pollution, but by and large, the United States, like many other countries, is fighting a losing battle because of weak, inadequate legislation.
In the United States today, for example, you can’t eat the deer meat caught in in Oscoda, Michigan, as the health department there issued a “do not eat” advisory for deer caught near the former air force base because of staggeringly high PFOS levels in the muscle of one deer.
And, just the other week, hundreds of residents who live near Luke air force base in Arizona were advised not to drink their water, when tests detected high levels of toxic chemicals. Scientists have found these substances in the blood of nearly all the people they tested in the US. No country or region on earth is untouched by PFAS contamination. It is a global problem. PFAS has been found in every corner of the globe. It is virtually present in the bodies of every human. It’s found in fish deep in the sea, and birds flying high in the sky.
And it’s killing us, literally, by harming and attacking the very source of life: our reproductive capacities. The rapid death and decline of sperm must be addressed, and it must be addressed now. There simply is no time to lose.
I’ve tried so many different combinations of vegetables and fruits to concoct, what I believe to be, the best tasting green juice everrrrr! I’ve done the research and the trials and errors for you. This recipe is simple and only requires 3 ingredients. My green juice is incredibly refreshing, nourishing, and delicious.
I prefer a green juice that’s slightly sweet without a bitter aftertaste. My first ingredient is the cucumber. Why? Well, cucumbers are super hydrating and they render tons of liquid. They are full of phytonutrients which have the potential to lower inflammation, boost immunity, and so much more. Who wants beautiful skin? I do! Cucumbers will keep your skin glowing. Second ingredient, raw organic spinach. Using a dark leafy vegetable like spinach enhances the nutrition in the juice. It’s rich in chlorophyll, magnesium, iron, vitamins B2 and B6, folate, vitamins K, E, A, calcium, potassium and manganese.
Lastly, the Granny Smith apple. Its moderately tart flavor adds a wonderful dimension to juices, there’s also a hint of sweetness in them that’s perfect if you’re trying to restrict your sugar intake. There you have it, my 3 ingredients best tasting green juice. I recommend using organic produce whenever it’s possible. Choosing organic reduces harmful pesticides and herbicides in your body. We’re trying to enhance our bodies defenses mechanism against harmful diseases and oxidative stresses, not contribute to it.
Doctor’s Death After Covid Vaccine Is Being Investigated
How scary is that title? It worries me to know that the Coronavirus Pfizer vaccine that was created to save lives, are killing people all around the world.
Dr. Gregory Michael, 56-year-old obstetrician and gynecologist in Miami Beach, received the vaccine at Mount Sinai Medical Center on Dec. 18 and died 16 days later from a brain hemorrhage. Then in Norway, 23 people died after receiving the first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, 13 were nursing home patients. Steinar Madden, Medical director said, it is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients. Doctors must now carefully consider who should be vaccinated. Although these deaths are low, they are still significantly important because there’s clearly something wrong with the Pfizer vaccine. People need to understand, vaccines are not a ones-size-fits-all.
Agreeing to take the vaccine regardless of which drug company manufactured it, there is a high risk of side effects or possibly dying. When these drug companies, such as Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and AstraZeneca (to name of few), created the COVID-19 vaccine they applied for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for distribution.
What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Under an EUA, FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain statutory criteria have been met, including that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives. Taking into consideration input from the FDA, manufacturers decide whether and when to submit an EUA request to FDA.
Once submitted, FDA will evaluate an EUA request and determine whether the relevant statutory criteria are met, taking into account the totality of the scientific evidence about the vaccine that is available to FDA. This emergency use allows drug companies to skip many steps. Steps that would usually include many years of research studies on the efficacy and validity of the vaccine on various different variables. The population of people in the United States consists of so many variables to study. For example:
The effects on people with high blood pressure
The effects on breast cancer, blood cancer, prostate cancer, brain cancer patients and so on.
The effects on diabetics
Psychological and mental disorders
Allergies, pregnancy, infants, elderly, teenagers and so on
That list can go on and on because there are so many underline health conditions to consider when studying the effects on people. I’m not one hundred percent sold on the Emergency Use Authorization for these vaccines because the data is still pending. Everyone that opted-in now to be vaccinated are being studied and monitored closely.
In the months and years to come, that data may be used to adjust or even change the ingredients in the vaccines to address side effects and deaths that people have experienced. The more data on hand, the better the outcome. These first individuals will pave the way for concrete information to be used to create the most effective vaccine. Please be careful because there are fake vaccines and treatments out on the market as well.
Unfortunately, there are people and companies trying to profit from this pandemic by selling unproven and illegally marketed products that make false claims, such as being effective against the coronavirus. These fraudulent products that claim to cure, treat, or prevent COVID-19 haven’t been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness and might be dangerous to you and your family.
Always consult with your healthcare professionals before taking or thinking of buying any form of drug, tests, treatments, vaccines, or vitamins for the treatment of COVID-19 or any other ailments.
Kevin Hart is one of the realest comedians out there. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, and stick to his true moral convictions. Kevin lives his life unapologetically for him and his family. I admire that about him, and now his skin care regime. Who would have thought? I never thought I would be sharing an article on Kevin Hart’s skin care routine, which sounds a lot similar to my own routines. In the article below, Kevin describes everything he does for his skin, heart, body, and his mind. Enjoy!
The actor-comedian-producer Kevin Hart isn’t used to being homebound, but that doesn’t mean he is any less busy. Through his company Laugh Out Loud, he is working with Headspace, a meditation app, on content like “Mindful Runs,” “Energy Shots” and “Meditate With Me,” motivational programs that blend comedy with mindfulness. They’re all rolling out this month. And along the way, Mr. Hart, 41, has gone whole hog on skin care, wellness and even fragrance. Here’s his pandemic grooming and wellness routine.
First things first, I have a sip of water. I’m a faithful water-by-the-night-stand kind of person. Then I go to the bathroom and throw some water on my face. You have to change that sag and fatigue look in the mirror. Then I do a nice warm towel to the face.
Skin Care Convert
My skin care is all by Tina K. She’s a facialist, and she’s done my face for 10-plus years. A friend referred me to her, and that friend was more committed to skin care than anyone in my life.
I had no idea of the different quality and levels of skin care regimens. I was blown away by Tina. She worked around my schedule. She made me make a commitment to my skin. I think of it this way: The same way I’m committed to health and wellness or writing a script, it should be the same with skin care.
Before Covid, I would see her about twice a month to make sure I got a deep clean. Then it’s about consistency — the wash, the scrub, the mask. These are things I never thought I’d be talking about in a thousand years! But anything deserves the opportunity to be taken care of — your skin, your heart, your body, your mind. It’s all stuff you have to work on, and it doesn’t just become good overnight.
Early Bird Gym Time
After that, I’m in the gym by 6 a.m. I usually work out between 5 and 6 — I beat the sun up — because nine times out of 10, I don’t have to be anywhere. Getting up this early, this was a gradual change. I realized that if I didn’t clock in the gym time, I couldn’t consistently produce the best me. Especially when I was touring or shooting, the only time that was mine was my mornings.
I’ve been an early gym riser for about the last six years. I love it now — you’re getting some quiet, you can listen to music — it’s almost therapeutic for me.I’m working out with my trainer, Ron Boss Everline. We’ve hit about the eight-year mark. I like the fact that we’ve grown together.
A lot of my accomplishments have come from taking care of myself and my body, and I owe that to him. He helped me fall in love with the lifestyle. He didn’t throw me the most difficult thing in the world. It’s about learning to love it.
It’s not trying to get a crazy level of results in a short time. It’s about gradual results: As I achieve more, I can unlock different levels. We’re all over the map, anything from full body to weights to bands to cardio. For cardio, it can be mountain biking or beach workouts. We just try to keep it fun and fresh.
I’ll go to the steam room first, then shower. I love a steam. A good sweat is always welcome. In the shower, I’m a body-wash guy. I might use all these different combinations that Byredo has — the body wash and the lotions. Men deserve to smell good.My toothbrush, Bruush, it’s my newfound love, and I’m now an investor. You get the gums, you get every little place. And I’ve been using the same toothpaste, Colgate White, forever — since I was 4 years old.Deodorant, I’m into the standard Degree regular, 24-hour protection.
I got a Manscaper — it’s a real product! It’s pretty dope. Usually I swear by it, but sometimes you got to let it go out of control for a minute. The wife has to understand we’re on lockdown.
I don’t use anything fancy for my hair. No specific brand. I do like some of the Moroccanoil products, though.
I’m very into fragrance. Le Labo has an amazing collection. I love the exclusives that you can only get in certain cities — very exclusive drops. I’ve been wearing Lys 41. Learning about fragrance for me is like how I approach things all across the board. I have a lot of expectations on me from me. I choose not to cheat. I like the detail.
This past year, you definitely had a lot of thinking time. I’m available. You’ve got to make the best of trying to find a positive in the negative with what’s going on. For me, I get to sit down and be with my kids and my wife in a way I’ve never been available before.
There was a comedian who said something like, “I’ve never been home for a Friday, Saturday, Sunday.” Those are our work days. For years I haven’t been home for consecutive weekends ever. So having that time to really talk and communicate with my family, to understand my family and have my family understand me, has been amazing. I’m realizing there are ways of prioritizing and making myself more available and making sure my family is first.
Meditation plays a major part for me. The road biking and the running, that’s my best time to zone out and tap into a thinking space. I think about the wish list of what I want to do and the things I want to do better or aspire to do. At my house we have a massage chair, and it’s in an isolated location where there’s no TV and no music. There I use the Headspace app. I had to learn how to shut down in my mind. It’s not natural for me.
What I found with Headspace is you get coached through an easy way of relaxing and truly clearing your head. Currently I can do this for 10 to 15 minutes max. That’s why I partnered on content with them.
I also have the Theragun. I’m a fan. It serves a high value in my household, like when you’re just chilling on the couch.
I’ve tapped into some of the CBD stuff, but I haven’t OD’ed yet, in the sense that I haven’t done my research on everything out there and found what is best. I’m old school. I still do Epsom salt in the bath.
Vegan milk sales are on the rise while dairy stays stagnate, but which is the healthiest plant-based milk out there?
A study published in the PMC back in 2017 titled ‘How well do plant-based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow’s milk?’ assessed four types of plant-based milk: almond, coconut, soy, and rice milk.
It found that rice and coconut milk ‘cannot act as an ideal alternative for cow’s milk because of limited nutrient diversity’. But, are options for those allergic to soy or nuts.
‘Balanced nutrient profile’
The study also said almond milk has a ‘balanced nutrient profile’ but the’ nutrient density and the total number of calories are not as rich as that of cow’s milk’.
It, therefore, warns those consuming almond milk to make sure ‘various essential nutrients are available through other sources in the diet in appropriate quantities’.
Soy was crowned the overall winner for being ‘very rich in proteins and fat’, as well as its health benefits which are ‘primarily attributed to the presence of isoflavones which are linked to exhibit anti-cancer properties’.
Researchers’ only criticism of soy was its ‘beany’ flavor which it describes as a ‘major hurdle’ in encouraging consumers to ditch dairy. More recently, soy has come under scrutiny for its environmental impact, though it’s worth noting that almost 80 percent of the world’s soy is grown to feed livestock.
What plant-based milk do experts recommend?
In a recent video with Plant Based Science London, Dr. Greger states: “I encourage people to drink unsweetened soy milk, which is the healthiest milk out there. Of course, you don’t have to drink any milk at all… If you put it on Fruit Loops it doesn’t matter what kind of milk, it’s all bad.
“But if you’re using that milk to moisten your oat groats in the morning, well then unsweetened soy is probably the best.”
As I discuss in my video How to Treat Heart Failure and Kidney Failure with Diet, one way a diet rich in animal-sourced foods like meat, eggs, and cheese may contributeto heart disease, stroke, and death is through the production of an atherosclerosis-inducing substance called TMAO. With the help of certain gut bacteria, the choline and carnitine found concentrated in animal products can get converted into TMAO. But, wait a second. I thought atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, was about the buildup of cholesterol. Is that not the case?
“Cholesterol is still king,” but TMAO appears to accelerate the process. It seems that TMAO appears to increase the ability of inflammatory cells within the atherosclerotic plaque in the artery walls to bind to bad LDL cholesterol, “which makes the cells more prone to gobble up cholesterol.” So TMAO is just “another piece to the puzzle of how cholesterol causes heart disease.”
What’s more, TMAO doesn’t just appear to worsen atherosclerosis, contributing to strokes and heart attacks. It also contributes to heart and kidney failure. If you look at diabetics after a heart attack, a really high-risk group, nearly all who started out with the most TMAO in their bloodstream went on to develop heart failure within 2,000 days, or about five years. In comparison, only about 20 percent of those starting out with medium TMAO levels in the blood went into heart failure and none at all in the low TMAO group, as you can see at 1:21 in my video.
So, those with heart failure have higher levels of TMAO than controls, and those with worse heart failure have higher levels than those with lesser stage heart disease. If you follow people with heart failure over time, within six years, half of those who started out with the highest TMAO levels were dead. This finding has since been replicated in two other independent populations of heart failure patients.
The question is, why? It’s probably unlikely to just be additional atherosclerosis, since that takes years. For most who die of heart failure, their heart muscle just conks out or there’s a fatal heart rhythm. Maybe TMAO has toxic effects beyond just the accelerated buildup of cholesterol.
What about kidney failure? People with chronic kidney disease are at a particularly “increased risk for the development of cardiovascular disease,” thought to be because of a diverse array of uremic toxins. These are toxins that would normally be filtered out by the kidneys into the urine but may build up in the bloodstream as kidney function declines. When we think of uremic toxins, we usually think of the toxic byproducts of protein putrefying in our gut, which is why specially formulated plant-based diets have been used for decades to treat chronic kidney failure. Indeed, those who eat vegetarian diets form less than half of these uremic toxins.
Those aren’t the only uremic toxins, though. TMAO, which, as we’ve discussed, comes from the breakdown of choline and carnitine found mostly in meat and eggs, may be increasing heart disease risk in kidney patients as well. How? “The cardiovascular implication of TMAO seems to be due to the downregulation of reverse cholesterol transport,” meaning it subverts our own body’s attempts at pulling cholesterol out of our arteries.
And, indeed, the worse our kidney function gets, the higher our TMAO levels rise, and those elevated levels correlate with the amount of plaque clogging up their arteries in their heart. But once the kidney is working again with a transplant, your TMAO levels can drop right back down. So, TMAO was thought to be a kind of biomarker for declining kidney function—until a paper was published from the Framingham Heart Study, which found that “elevated choline and TMAO levels among individuals with normal renal [kidney] function predicted increased risk for incident development of CKD,” chronic kidney disease. This suggests that TMAO is both a biomarker and itself a kidney toxin.
Indeed, when you follow kidney patients over time and assess their freedom from death, those with higher TMAO, even controlling for kidney function, livedsignificantly shorter lives, as you can see at 4:44 in my video. This indicates this is a diet-induced mechanism for progressive kidney scarring and dysfunction, “strongly implying the need to focus preventive efforts on dietary modulation,” but what might that look like? Well, maybe we should reduce “dietary sources of TMAO generation, such as some species of deep-sea fish, eggs, and meat.”
It also depends on what kind of gut bacteria you have. You can feed a vegan a steak, and they still don’t really make any TMAO because they haven’t been fostering the carnitine-eating bacteria. Researchers are hoping, though, that one day, they’ll find a way to replicate “the effects of the vegetarian diet…by selective prebiotic, probiotic, or pharmacologic therapies.”
The most common advice on reducing the risk of cervical cancer is centered around a healthy lifestyle, with three major components:
Regular screenings can catch pre-cancerous changes early on, which can be “treated before they have a chance to turn into cancer”. The American Cancer Society reports that cervical cancer is “most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44”, recommending that women in that age range have both PAP and HPV tests every five years. Women ages 21 to 29 should have a PAP test every three years and tested for HPV only after an abnormal PAP test result. Both tests can be done in a doctor’s office or clinic.
The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks forprecancers,cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps to reduce the risk of cervical and other cancers. Opt for fruits and vegetables abundant in the following vitamins and nutrients:
Beta-caroteneis an “anti-oxidant that becomes vitamin A in the body” and is what gives orange and yellow veggies their vibrant color. Go forwinter squash, carrotsandsweet potatoes.
Lycopenebelongs to the same carotenoid family as beta-carotene, so again fruits and veggies with lively pink, orange and yellow hues likewatermelon, pink grapefruitandfresh tomatoes.
Folateis a B vitamin that promotes reproductive health and is plentiful inlentils, orangesandromaine lettuce.
Flavonoids“have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antithrombogenic, antidiabetic, anticancer and neuroprotective activities. Foods such asapples, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, onionsandgarlicare abundant in flavonoids.
Physical activity promotes a better quality of life by keeping the body moving, thus strengthening muscles, joints and bones; increasing oxygen and blood flow; and improving mental health. In terms of cancer prevention, the recommendedgeneral physical activity guidelinesare at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.
Long before 2016, when fifth-generation dairyman Henry Schwartz decided to shut down Elmhurst Dairy in Jamaica, Queens, he saw the writing on the wall. Dairy consumption was declining and profit margins were increasingly squeezed, making it nearly impossible to turn a profit. Schwartz had kept the company, which his family had run since 1925, chugging along well past its life as a viable business. But the time had come, and in August 2016, he closed the doors of the last functioning dairy plant in New York City limits.
Then, a proverbial door opened. Through business connections, Schwartz was introduced to Cheryl Mitchell — a food scientist who has spent decades of her professional life focused on nondairy milks — those made from nuts, seeds, and grains. Her patents were instrumental in founding the modern-day alternative milk industry, and now she had a new method that she thought could revolutionize the field. Schwartz owned another business, Steuben Foods, that produces aseptic paperboard packaging — the kind used to package things like soups, juices, and the wide array of alternative milks found in the grocery store aisle. All of a sudden, a new path forward appeared.
Schwartz, now 86, no longer gives media interviews. But Elmhurst’s vice president of marketing, Peter Truby, recalled a conference call where Schwartz said, “milk runs through my veins.” The thought of pivoting his family’s long-standing dairy legacy toward a plant-based product was almost unimaginable. But as he got to know the alternative milk industry (and taste Mitchell’s products), he made up his mind. “I remember he came to the plant in November of 2016 and saw the milk coming out for the first time,” Mitchell recalled. “And he said to me, ‘I want to sell it.’”
Today, Elmhurst Dairy is simply Elmhurst — a new company producing milk and creamers made from almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, oats, and hemp. Its products, which are remarkably milk-like in creaminess and flavor, are in 6,000 stores across America and shipped all over the country via its website.
“Elmhurst was around as a dairy plant for close to 95 years,” Truby told me. “Now, it has a chance to be around for another 100.”
Schwartz’s path of personal and professional evolution is remarkable. And it is just one of many stories in the modern alternative milk industry, which, according to Truby, currently makes up 13 percent of total sales in the dairy market (and growing). These milks have long been consumed by vegans and lactose-intolerant consumers. And they are increasingly favored by people not looking to fully give up dairy products, but seeking out ways to cut back for ethical, environmental, or health reasons.
Every six months or so, there seems to be a new darling of the industry. For decades, the story was mostly about soy (think Edensoy, Pacific, and Silk) and rice milks. Then came the almond milk craze at the turn of the 21st century, followed closely by coconut milk. More recently, Oatly captured the hearts of the nation’s nondairy lovers, and suddenly grocery stores couldn’t keep the Swedish oat milk company’s products in stock. (Sales of oat milk rose a staggering 425 percent between 2017 and 2018.) There are even milks made from flaxseeds, macadamias, and, advisably or not, bananas and yellow peas. Some scientists have turned their attention instead to lab-produced milks which aim to mimic the microbial structure (and therefore taste and texture) of dairy — but without the cow.
Plant-based milk companies — like Elmhurst in New York, Califia Farms in California, and Good Karma Foods in Colorado — understand that coffee shops are important gateways for introducing new customers to their products. So in addition to analogues for regular cow milk, many companies are also developing special “barista blends” designed to make froth thick and billowy enough to produce latte art and yet, the modern alternative milk industry has more to do with packaging than plants. People have been making beverages from grains, legumes, and seeds for thousands of years. According to the “History of Soymilk” by nondairy disciples William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi, soy milk (doujiang) — always homemade and often served warm for breakfast — was in wide use in China by the mid-17th century, though likely originated earlier. And the creamy fermented rice beverage amazake (the barely alcoholic cousin to sake) has been brewed in Japan since at least the 6th century.
A handful of manufacturers in China, Japan, and the United States began bottling and selling plant-based (primarily soy) milks in the early 20th century. But it wasn’t until the late 1960s that aseptic paperboard packaging was created, allowing companies to offer shelf-stable products that could last without refrigeration for six months or longer. This development was a boon for the fledgling alternative milk industry because it took the pressure off of immediately selling these products — which most American consumers were either unfamiliar with or skeptical about — before they spoiled.
Mitchell has been there since nearly the beginning. In the 1970s, a health food advocate and restaurateur named Robert Nissenbaum approached Mitchell for advice. He had been serving housemade amazake to customers at his Sunshine Inn restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri, and was receiving enthusiastic feedback. As Mitchell recalls, “He came to us and said, ‘I’d like to get it in a package. Can we manufacture it so it can be on the regular shelf instead of the refrigerator case?’” The short answer turned out to be yes, and with Mitchell’s expertise, Nissenbaum went on to found industry giants Rice Dream and Imagine Foods.
The success of these early companies helped to bring alternative milks to the mainstream, or at least closer to it. But Mitchell was not satisfied. The dominant process for “milking” the rice, which typically began with grinding the grain to make a flour or paste, removed a lot of its inherent nutritive aspects — things like fiber, protein, and antioxidant oils. The result was a milk that was thin (“It did not have the richness or milk-like opacity that customers expected,” Mitchell said) and not particularly nutrient-dense.
To compensate, they added many of these qualities back in, using safflower oil, carrageenan, and calcium carbonate. “I still feel guilty about it,” Mitchell said. The technique worked so well for Rice Dream that other companies began to mimic their methods. Consumers went crazy for these “healthy” alternatives to dairy, but there was ultimately no nutritional value. As Mitchell put it, “You are basically paying for water, gums, and a couple of nuts or grains.”
Over the last two decades, Mitchell paid a form of professional penance by devoting her work to maximizing the nutrient value of nondairy milks.
“I spent a lot of my own money on research because no one else was doing it,” she said. Her efforts paid off in a new patent called HydroRelease, which uses very high water pressure to slough off layers of whatever ingredient is being milked. Some plant based milks, particularly almond milk, have gotten a bad reputation for their environmentally unfriendly water usage. Mitchell’s technology, however, mitigates this impact by recycling the water used during HydroRelease. “Once we start spraying, it is the same water over and over again, so the milk gets more and more concentrated.”
The process also “releases each of the macro- and micro-ingredients — the natural lecithins, the oils, the binders,” Mitchell said. These components can then be recombined and emulsified into a creamy, nutritious, functional, and frothable milk. There is no need to add gums or anything extra (many of Elmhurst’s products contain only two ingredients, one of which is water) — it is all there in the plants.
Of course, with so much competition crowding the field, the bottom line for Elmhurst — or any nondairy milk — is, how do they taste? Flavor has been a concern of the industry for years. In the 1960s, write Shurtleff and Aoyagi, Cornell University scientists isolated the enzyme lipoxygenase as “responsible for the ‘beany’ flavor in soy milk,” and developed processes to help remove it.
Still, during the two years I spent as a vegan in college during the early 2000s, I tried and failed to convince myself that I — a born-and-bred, dairy-guzzling Midwesterner — really enjoyed Silk and Edensoy with cereal, or leaving curdled flecks on the surface of my coffee. I never worked my way up to drinking straight glasses of the stuff. It definitely wasn’t milk and, more importantly, it wasn’t very good.
But while nothing quite compares in flavor or texture to cow dairy, the field of options has improved tremendously. Today, my family’s fridge, like many other fridges, is multi-milked. Despite my lifelong love affair with dairy, my kids’ digestive systems seem to tolerate it less well. So there’s dairy half-and-half for coffee, and a rotation of cashew and oat milks (often from Elmhurst) for cereal, smoothies, and cooking. And I have come to enjoy the nutty, chai-like quality of So Delicious’ cashew milk ice cream nearly as much as regular dairy vanilla.
Mitchell has never been fully vegan herself. (One of her daughters is, however, and her other daughter eats meat but cannot handle dairy.) But despite being a flexitarian, she, like Schwartz, believes the future lies in plant-based milks — particularly ones that hold on to their natural nutritive qualities. And she is excited by their growing epicurean potential.
As it turns out, when the milks retain their proteins and fiber, they just work better in culinary applications. “You can make an amazingly convincing nondairy bechamel because the building blocks are there,” Mitchell said. “There is so much more we can develop using these ingredients. I’m happy to provide the tools to take us to the next generation.”