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Looking at GreenAcres huge array of milks, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed about which to buy.

So here’s a little “cheat sheet” to help you navigate the dairy aisles:

Traditional Milk

This is milk that’s taken from the cow, then pasteurized (heated) to kill unwanted substances such as E. coli, listeria and salmonella—bacteria we do not want in our bodies. Milk is a dairy protein rich in vitamins D and K. Whole milk or 2% is preferred when baking or making hot chocolate, but skim milk actually has more calcium per glass.

Organic Milk

This is milk that comes from cows who graze freely on pesticide-free grasses and or given organic feed to supplement. There are no synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics. On organic farms, if a calf is sick and requires antibiotics, it is culled from the herd and given life-saving antibiotics, but is then sold so as not to eventually give contaminated milk. Organic milk is pasteurized and generally contains higher concentrations of Omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

Soy Milk

It is not really milk at all, but an extraction of mature soy beans. It is processed with a natural sweetener and water. People with dairy allergies or who are lactose-intolerant choose this type of plant-based protein.

Rice Milk

This milk is created from partially-milled rice and water and comes in a variety of flavors. It’s the go-to milk for people with any kind of allergy. It has no saturated fat or cholesterol, however, it contains hardly any protein. It comes in a container that can be stored in a pantry and refrigerated only after opening.

Almond Milk

At GreenAcres, we make most of our smoothies with Almond or Coconut Milk. Roasted almonds are pulverized and drained of the resulting liquid. Then nutrients of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin E are added to the nut liquid along with a sweetener. The result is a refreshing, low cal “milk” free of saturated fat, cholesterol and lactose, however again, little protein.

Raw Milk

There is a whole cadre of people who prefer non-pasteurized (raw) milk since the heating process of pasteurization can destroy beneficial bacteria, proteins and enzymes that may aid digestion. The flip side of the coin is that raw milk may put you at risk of serious food-borne illness. We do not sell it at any of our GreenAcres Markets. You would have to go to a dairy farm to buy it.

People are continually asking, “What is the difference between lactose-free and dairy-free milk?” We found a great blog online that breaks it down for all of us, courtesy of http://us.daiyafoods.com.

What’s the Difference Between Lactose-Free and Dairy-Free?

It’s one of those questions many people don’t know the answer to, until they need to know the answer: What’s the difference between lactose-free and dairy-free?

While the two may seem like the same thing, there’s actually a big difference – especially to someone with a milk allergy.
The word “dairy” refers to milk and any part of milk that comes from mammals including cows. So, therefore, a product must contain absolutely no milk or part of milk in order to be labeled “dairy-free.”

Lactose, on the other hand, is only one ingredient in milk – it is the sugar component of dairy products. Therefore, a product labeled “lactose-free” is not necessarily free of all dairy; it is merely free of that one component of dairy. A product that is dairy-free is also naturally lactose free, but a product that is lactose-free may not be dairy-free.

People who are lactose-intolerant are constantly on the lookout for that “lactose-free” label, which declares a product safe for them to consume. However, those with milk allergies must be more discerning because they are oftentimes allergic to the protein components of milk, casein and whey – which can frequently be found in products labeled “lactose-free” because while the lactose may have been removed, the other parts of the dairy (including the casein and whey) may still be there.

When shopping for food items for people with dairy allergies, it’s important to keep in mind that lactose is among a long list of dairy ingredients that may be present in products.

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