A Fresh Glass of…

I’ve gotten behind and confused on which day is which, a typical side effect of being on break for so long. But admittedly, it’s probably one of my better breaks I’ve had. Normally at home, I get ridiculously anxious about having less control over my meals when they are prepared for me and being less active in general.

The main obvious reason for this change in mindset is veganism, knowing that even if I’m indulging a little, it’s all food that is good for me. Except recent news I’ve seen is putting a damper on a transition I and many others are making to benefit themselves and other living organisms.

Sales from this year show that more people are buying nondairy milk, including soy, almond, and everything else (which, surprisingly, there are a ton of different options). This also means that sales for traditional dairy products are lower than usual. This change has the dairy industry fighting back. Even some politicians are calling out the nondairy companies to ask that they rename their products since, by definition, “milk” strictly comes from a cow. If you want the full story, which to me sounds like a classic morning news stint, check it out here.

The fact here is that a label isn’t going to change much. If people want a certain product, they will buy it, whether it’s called “milk” or just a “beverage.” I mean, Pringles cannot be called potato “chips” for the way they are produced, but people still buy them. (Random example, but I remember random facts from watching too much Food Network).

I think it’s great that more people are educating themselves about the many options available and the consequences of their choices. We are starting to see past the overwhelming adds for milk and its “abundance of nutrients” and figuring out what might actually be best.

I could easily go into a rant about how awful the dairy industry is, how the different additives and hormones given to cows makes their by-products addictive, how we’re the only species that drinks the milk from ANOTHER species, let alone one that is completely different from our own (because if we actually want to consume milk from another animal, we might as well take monkeys’ milk, our closest relatives in the animal kingdom). It just doesn’t make sense.

And like any other industry, dairy is a big business. It relies on us as consumers to continue. Its advertisements will never include the actual process going on from farm to carton. Sales would be even lower for them, then. If we want to become a healthier, more sustainable society, these are the changes we have to see. Certain industries will lose out, like dairy and meat and even big oil. This is necessary for us to be able to support ourselves on this planet, to be able to raise the next generation in a world that isn’t worse than it is right now.

When we look at the facts, we also have to look at the big picture here, something that dairy officials and others aren’t doing. They think that the primary reason for greater nondairy sales is the fact it’s also called “milk,” that changing the name will weaken the competition. Sounds like just some dirty capitalistic competition to me.

This isn’t a story that I expect to go away any time soon, either. While nondairy milk has been available for many years and has become much more accessible and actually tasty, I see the same transition for other nondairy products like cheese and yogurt. Those two are still in their infancy with quite limited options and universal acceptance. But give it time, and the dairy industry will probably continue to fight for sales. However, they will never be able to deny the fact that if people make the full change away from cow’s milk, they aren’t coming back. What’s the point? Nondairy milk is cheaper, it lasts longer, it’s healthier, and it just makes sense. There’s a reason why so many people are lactose intolerant and struggle with having dairy: we aren’t supposed to in the first place.

Just think if the rise in nondairy sales leads to higher sales in other plant-based products. Still only one percent of the population is actually vegan, but who knows what the future might bring. Personally, I started drinking soy milk long before I ever knew what veganism is just because it tastes better. But what if others also learned more and made the decision to go plant-based? Okay, I’m dreaming big, but I feel like I have to. Veganism is continually becoming less of an option and more of a necessity. You don’t see that as the headline, but maybe if it was, people might perk up and pay attention.

Even if you don’t even want to consider Meatless Monday, the least you can do is drink nondairy milk because you won’t even taste the difference. It’s a small step that is obviously making a bigger impact than we realize. It will probably help expand nondairy products even more. So rather than a nuisance that dairy officials are making a fuss over addressing the obvious, I see this as something hopeful. A future where we are conscious and mindful.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie


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