Soya update: my first milk-free fortnight

I’m now two weeks into my cow’s milk ban, and I’ve done pretty bloody well. Soya yoghurt is not too bad at all, arice and oat milknd Alpro makes a tasty chocolate mousse dessert.

For cereal and porridge, I’ve had to swap from soya milk to rice milk, which is much more drinkable. And I’ve had to allow myself one cup of tea with real milk per morning, as I couldn’t finish a mugful made with either soya or rice milk, and I don’t think anyone would begrudge me one cuppa a day.

Entirely by chance I happened to give up dairy at the same time as Natural Soya Week, and I came across a website with lots of useful info.

Unfortunately it’s also confused things for me rather, as I’ve been reading that not all soya products are created equal….unscrupulous soya companies use unsustainable practices, clearing the Amazon rainforest for their plantations almost as quickly as the cattle farmers are.

The European Natural Soya Association (ENSA) which is behind Soya Week has a charter which ensures its members do not buy soya grown on land that was previously rainforest, do not use GM ingredients, and use only natural manufacturing processes – that is, using the whole soya bean rather than ‘isolates’.

Alpro is the only ENSA member that sells products in the UK, so if I stick to that (expensive as it is), I should be assured that my blueberry yoghurt is ethically sound. I saw some infinitely cheaper Sainsbury’s no-frills soya milk for just 60p, but I doubt it meets the rigorous ENSA criteria if it can be produced that cheaply.

Once I’ve got through my box of rice milk, the next variety I’ve bought to test is….oat milk. How they manage to squeeze milk out of an oat – surely one of our driest foodstuffs – is beyond me. I’m rather hoping the milk will taste like flapjack.

So in terms of milk and yoghurt, I’m fairly happy, but the lack of cheese could prove my undoing.is goat's milk more ethical than cow's milk?

I wondered if goat’s cheese (feta, mmmmm) would be an acceptable alternative, but from what I can gather, goats bred for milking tend to be kept in similar production-line conditions to dairy cows.

Even if you bought organic goat’s milk products, from goats who led the life of Riley, you can’t escape the fact that the goat spends most of its adult life pregnant, so the milk is still full of hormones, and there’s still the question of what they do with all the huge number of unwanted male goats that are born.

So I’m currently in search of some soya-based alternatives.

Soya cheese was a little beyond Sainsbury’s means, so I’m going to have to head down to Mother Earth. I’m not relishing the sound of products like ‘sheese’ though, I’ll be honest……

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