If you’re trying to give up milk and dairy or just wanting to reduce how much milk you drink, breaking the milk habit may be harder than you thought. There are several reasons for this. Here are nine reasons why you might be craving milk. We’ll also give you some tips on how to avoid drinking milk or simply reduce your consumption.
Milk is about 87 percent water. This is why a tall glass of cold milk is a satisfying way to quench thirst. If you’re craving milk, you may just be thirsty.
Hydrate with a glass of water instead. Or “eat” your water by reaching for a piece of fruit. Apples, melons, oranges, and other fruits are up to 89 percent water. Fruit and milk have a similar carbohydrate content, but fruit is full of fiber that slows down absorption and extends satiety. Fruit also contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that milk does not. Use this guide to determine how much water you should be drinking.
If your stomach is rumbling, milk is also a quick way to soothe hunger pangs. It’s a good source of proteins and fats. A cup of milk provides more than 8 grams of protein and up to 7 grams of fat. You might crave milk because it helps you feel full and comfortable.
Instead, satisfy your hunger with satisfying meals produced from natural ingredients. Grilled chicken or salmon, quinoa, almonds, seeds, beans, and avocados are high in fiber, protein, and fat.
Your body may be desiring carbs or sweets rather than milk. A cup of 1% fat milk contains roughly 13 grams of sugar, often known as simple carbs. Lactose is a kind of natural sugar. It imparts a moderately sweet flavor to milk. Lactose is sometimes referred to as milk sugar. Lactose levels in milk may reach up to 8%.
Lactose is broken down in the body into glucose, a simpler sugar. Glucose is the primary energy source for all organs, including the brain. This simple carbohydrate also aids in the development of beneficial bacteria in your gut, notably Bifidobacterium, and may promote the synthesis of short-chain fatty acids.
Replace milk sugars with other healthy food sources to keep sugar cravings at bay. Whole grain bread, oats, sweet potatoes, and fruit are examples. You may also try these 19 sugar-fighting foods.
While there are many plant-based types of milk on the market, it may take some time to find one that you like. Some types of “milk” may have a distinct taste or a different texture than animal-based milks. Most vegan milk alternatives are not as creamy or dense as milk. This is because they don’t contain the same amounts or types of fats and proteins.
If you can only drink plant-based milks, consider adding a half-teaspoon of coconut milk or emulsified MCT oil to your coffee or latte before steaming or mixing it. This adds good fats, making it creamier and allowing it to foam better.
Milk is considered a complete food because it packs 18 out of 22 essential vitamins and minerals. Your body can’t make these essential nutrients, which include vitamin A, vitamin B-12, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, and must get them from food.
A craving for milk might be a sign that your diet lacks some of these nutrients. Plan your meals with a weekly food diary and talk to a registered dietitian nutritionist to make sure you’re eating a balanced daily diet.
If you’ve just bitten into a jalapeño or chili pepper, you probably want to reach for milk instead of water. The hot or burning sensation in spicy foods is due to capsaicin. Milk helps put out the fire better than water and other beverages because it contains fats.
To avoid milk cravings, reduce your intake of hot meals. Natural fats are also present in nut milks. After a spicy dinner, a slurp of almond, coconut, flax, or cashew milk might help chill your tongue.
Heartburn, acid reflux, and peptic or stomach ulcers are very frequent digestive health issues. These conditions may result in pain, discomfort, and indigestion. If you experience heartburn or ulcer discomfort, you may grab for milk. Because milk covers the lining of the stomach and intestines, it may be relaxing. This alleviation, however, is just transient.
Milk might actually aggravate your symptoms. This occurs because it increases stomach acid production and relaxes the circular sphincter muscles that prevent acid from splashing up.
Consult your doctor about the best strategy to address your stomach problems. Medication such as antacids, probiotics, or antibiotics may be required. In certain situations, a lack of stomach acid is the underlying cause of symptoms, and additional hydrochloric acid may be required. Making modifications to your everyday diet, such as eating more fiber and eating less fat, may also be beneficial. For instant relief, try these additional beverages.
When you’re in a routine of eating or drinking something every day, your body and brain come to expect it. This is a habit that becomes an automatic process, and you may find yourself wandering over to the refrigerator even when you don’t feel particularly hungry or thirsty. The good news is that food cravings are usually brief, lasting only about three to five minutes. Distract yourself and wait it out until the urge passes. Or stock up on healthier or preferred alternatives like plant-based milk, sparkling water, or tea. When you feel the milk craving, reach for your alternative.
As with all lifestyle changes, take small and consistent steps every day to help make new healthy habits stick. Ensure that you’re eating a balanced diet. Add other nutrient-rich foods when you remove any whole food, including milk.
A blood test can help make sure you’re not low in any vitamin or mineral. Ask your doctor if this is recommended for you.
Replace milk with a suitable alternative to help stop the cravings. If you’re giving up cow’s milk due to an intolerance or allergy, ask your dietitian if other types of milk such as goat’s milk, plant-based milk, or lactose-free milk are right for you.
To select your favorite plant-based milk, experiment with different varieties and combinations. Inquire with vegan friends and family for advice. There are other useful internet tools, such as this complete vegan handbook.