9   +   8   =  

Before you start reading this article, let me warn you that I have only the vaguest grasp of nutritional science. There are so many different theories about what’s healthy, and vegetables are the only thing that everyone agrees on.

Despite the confusion, I’ve absorbed the general idea that cow’s milk is hard for humans to digest, and it may be actively harmful.

On the Forbes website, journalist Faye Flam summarizes a longitudinal study of milk consumption: scientists kept track of “more than 100,000 people in Sweden over periods of 20 to 30 years. The result was a shocker: The good milk drinkers were more likely to die from heart disease and cancer, and among the women, the milk drinkers suffered more overall fractures and hip fractures.”

Cinnamon Vanilla Honey Cashew Milk

Photo: Cinnamon Vanilla Honey Cashew Milk by thedabblist–excuse me while I swoon!

Personally, I stopped drinking milk because my mom said that it might clear up my skin problems. (#vanity4ever, etc.) I didn’t notice a difference, but my family did, so I decided to limit the dairy in my diet. I don’t avoid it religiously—sometimes I want a latte with whipped cream—but I don’t drink cow’s milk at home. Tea and coffee taste almost the same with nut-based milk substitutes. If you’re interested in making your own nut milk, I recommend cashew milk because you don’t have to strain it. It’s so easy that I can include a recipe right here, right now:

Cashew Milk Recipe

  1. Soak 2 cups of raw, unsalted cashews overnight.
  2. Rinse the cashews. It’s okay that they’ve turned that weird greyish color, and that they’re all spongy.
  3. Put the rinsed cashews in a blender with two cups of water, then pulverize them thoroughly.
  4. Add more water until the liquid reaches the consistency and flavor intensity that you desire.
  5. Sweeten and season to taste (honey, vanilla, etc).
  6. Refrigerate the cashew milk in a mason jar, or whatever container seems appropriate.

Voila! Recipe adapted from the blog Cookie and Kate. You can also do what my mom does, and buy “coconut beverage” in bulk on Amazon. Either way, giving up cow’s milk is no problem. It would be difficult to go entirely dairy free but you better believe I still eat cheese!

Here’s the problem: ice cream! Like any sane person, I adore ice cream, especially when I need comfort, like if I’ve just been dumped. (Remember the episode of Gilmore Girls where Lorelai teaches Rory how to wallow? I’m a big wallower.) Unfortunately, most supermarket brands of nondairy ice cream are disappointing. My dad bought a gelato machine ages ago, so I make my own ice cream (with real milk, to be honest), but most of the time I’m too lazy for that.

Solution: Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss!

Coconut Bliss at DC VegFest

Photo: Coconut Bliss at DC VegFest by Compassion Over Killing.

Regarding this heavenly ice cream, the company website informs us of the founders’ motivations: “We’d like to say we are entrepreneurial geniuses, but the truth is much humbler—we just wanted a tasty frozen dessert that we could enjoy eating without feeling bad afterwards. We had both given up dairy for health and ethical reasons, and tried all the soy- and rice-based alternatives, but weren’t satisfied with any of them. They either didn’t taste good, or we felt sick after eating them, or they had a long list of ingredients that didn’t really sound like food.” Apparently coconut milk was the answer to their prayers.

The other thing that I love about Coconut Bliss ice cream is that it’s sweetened with agave syrup. I have an idiosyncratic diet where I don’t eat grain-based sweeteners, like corn syrup or conventional sugar. Agave syrup is also good if you’re particularly sugar-sensitive and want to avoid the crash cycle: the sweetener purportedly has a low glycemic index rating, whatever that even means. Like I said at the beginning, I don’t understand nutritional science.

What I do understand is my taste buds’ reaction to Coconut Bliss, which is basically, “Smear more of this all over me, please.” The only flavor that I don’t recommend is “Vanilla Island”, but I haven’t tried all of them. I’d love to give “Naked Almond Fudge” a whirl. A whirl inside my mouth. Okay, you get it.


Guest blogger Sonya Mann is an erstwhile student and reliable bunny-enthusiast, living with her parents in the East Bay. She writes a bunch of stuff, so check out her website.