Nancy Dell: Milk Substitutes; Re-washing bagged salads

Calcium in milk substitutes are added


1. I am looking for a milk substitute. There are so many on the market, which is best?
Jamie, Holyoke

Whether you have milk allergies or follow a vegan diet, you can buy milk beverage made from soy, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, coconut, flax, hemp, oats, rice, as well as other nuts and grains. Since you are substituting for cow’s milk, look for one with nutrients similar to cow’s milk.

In every 120 calories of plant-based milk, look for the following:

  • 5+ grams of protein
  • 300 mg calcium
  • 100+ international units of Vitamin D
  • 1.5 or less grams saturated fat
  • 8 or less grams of sugar

According to the experts at Environmental Nutrition, unsweetened varieties of soy milk or flax milk meet these guidelines. You will find soy milk in Silk brand, Trader Joe’s brand, and 365 brand from Whole Foods. Good Karma is a brand of flax milk.

Milks made from nuts or grains just do not have enough protein to replace cow’s milk. If you get adequate protein from other sources, you can use nut and grain milks.

Now, the calcium in these milks are added, not naturally occurring. The calcium in cow’s milk may build a better bone, according to some studies. Also, the calcium added to plant based milk is often calcium carbonate, which can make you gassy and constipated. If you buy a plant milk, look for one without calcium carbonate. Remember, “carbonate constipates”. Other forms of calcium are more gentle on the intestines.

2. Should I re-wash bagged salads that have already been washed?
Michael, Internet

A few years ago, bagged salads were recalled 8 times because of contamination with listeria. So you may think you should re-wash the salads. However, the FDA says “No”.

Once the disease causing bacteria become attached to leafy greens, it is difficult to get them off by rinsing them with water. In fact, you are more likely to add more contaminates from bacteria on your fingers, cutting board, sink and counter tops.

Also, if more than just a few leaves start to spoil, throw out the entire bag. Once pathogens break down the leaves, the germs grow like crazy.

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