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what is healthiest for my toddler: soy, almond, rice or cocconut milk?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hi, I am new to this forum, thank you for your help! I am just confused about what to feed my 22 month old Dd... She has lactose intolerance and I am suspecting dairy intolerance as well (diarrhea)... I am vegan, have been a vegetarian for 23 years and a vegan for a year.. I am trying to decide what is healthiest for my dd? I have been drinking soy milk for most of my vegetarian life but I am confused about the possible harmful effects of soy ?(especially on girls?)  I have been reading that it has some dangers, some possible benefits, now I am confused. I know it has the most protein and is the best nutritionally... If you have kids, what do you give them to drink? Thank you for your responses!

post #2 of 27

In theory, my kids would drink coconut milk, but they HATE it. I'm not going to waste money on something they refuse, so almond milk it is. We buy Silk, because it is part of the non gmo project, and even though it's silk brand, which I don't like, it's non-GMO. I would not give my kiddos soy at all! It has negative effects on both girls AND boys.

post #3 of 27

Coconut or almond or hemp milk, because rice milk is all carbs and soy blocks mineral absorbtion, mimics estrogen, and is a common allergen.

post #4 of 27
We give our son soy. It has the most protein and it's been thoroughly tested by countless families through history. There are no reliable studies that suggest soy is anything but healthy. We choose organic unsweetened fortified commercially made soymilk. That's what I recommend.
post #5 of 27
My kids like almond and hemp. I cook with coconut milk a lot.
post #6 of 27

We do soy milk in things like oatmeal and recipes, and in my coffee, but mostly drink water. I find that there is plenty of credible evidence that organic soymilk is healthy unless you are allergic.

post #7 of 27

According to your sig, she's still BFing?  And at 2, is she eating a fair bit of solids?  In that case, why give her any of the above?  Water will do just fine when she needs a drink. 


Health-wise though, I'd definitely be choosing hemp or coconut milk as first choices.  The fats in them are the healthiest of the options.  Nut milks after that.  Rice is pure sugar, and we don't do any soy at all. 

post #8 of 27

my son has the same issues, but cant tolerate soy either. not that I would choose soy first either... we use hemp milk or almond milk, since he has been allergy tested and has no nut issues. hemp is out go to choice. they both have good amounts of calcium which was my biggest concern, though the almond milk we get is vitamin D fortified, which may or may not matter to you, living in canada it isint optional. we had his vitamin d levels tested and its too low so now we have a supplement or use the almond milk with vit d added. even with bfing, I need something to use in baking, cooking or cereal and things like that... smoothies anything I make that I am serving to other people who don't want to drink my breast milk :)

post #9 of 27

also- we had been using coconut milk but he stopped gaining weight then was losing weight, it has too few carbs or something? so we switched to more rich options. also has no calcium to speak of- well the brands we can get here dont anyways.

post #10 of 27

mercola.com has tons of info on soy. mainly what I have read there is that GM soy is bad. period. but organic soy that is NATURALLY fermented is the only way to use it otherwise it is harmful to your body. apparently that's how asian people use it. only if it is naturally fermented. otherwise it is fermented using chemicals.

Here is an article on how GM soy causes birth defects with plenty of documented info. It's really sad.




Here's another on vegetarian lifestyle linked to birth defects. Concerns soy based food.


post #11 of 27

I feel like I'm stuck with serving rice milk to my kids. We couldn't do almond milk since they were at a nut-free child care center and didn't know about hemp or coconut milk when they were switching to another beverage. I have tried getting them to drink almond, hemp or coconut...I'll even get the sweetened ones. I feel terrible that they are just drinking rice milk even though it's probably less than 8 oz a day and they are older kids. At least we get organic and fortified rice milk is what I tell myself. I'm going to try to introduce the other milks earlier with the next baby. We BF for a while, but since I work all day and hate pumping after 12 months old, I need to find something that they enjoy drinking besides water. It's unfortunate, but licensed child care centers are required to offer milk/milk substitute in certain volumes each day. Blech.

post #12 of 27
It's my understanding that kids only drink milk past the breastfeeding or formula stage for vit D and calcium. My doctor was fine with anything other than soy as long as they are getting enough of those 2 things from the drink. We personally chose the coconut milk drink from so delicious brand because it is organic. Although it's low in fat and calories and he doen't gain much weight (he's 5% for his age) he is growing tall (90%). He gets protein, fat, and nutrients from other items in hs diet.
Talk to your doctor and see what they say.
post #13 of 27

See, you said the S-word. And when that happens around here, we always get a whole bushel of non-veg*ns rushing in to chime in with "Oh! Mercola and the WAPF say that soy is POISON. Don't feed that stuff to your kids, it will turn them into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!"


Here are some links to the other side of the story, just for a balanced perspective.




http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/soy_harm (this is a more technical expansion on the previous article that cites the studies referenced in both)



I'm getting really close to bailing on this board, after almost 10 years of posting here, just because I grow weary of this firestorm.

post #14 of 27

Also, soy is tasty! I don't drink soy milk but have already fed my 5 month old baby tofu, because he enjoys eating finger foods, and soy is pretty tasteless and high in protein! He was all over it.


(Of course, if my son isn't lactose intolerant--and he's not showing signs of it--I fully intend on giving him cow's milk when he stops breastfeeding at 2 or 3 or whenever. Maybe I'm too mainstream for this board. ;))

post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thank you all so much for all the replies, especially all the articles! I think I will go with almond milk for drinking but she will get soy in her diet, since that is what I eat every day. I tried coconut milk myself and didn't like the taste, although I love to cook with it, so probably almond milk to drink, coconut milk for cooking and some soy to eat... Thank you again for your help!!!! I feel a little less confused now:)

post #16 of 27
Just to offer another perspective, there is no real "need" to incorporate any type of milk-like product into your or your child's diet to substitute for cow's m milk. All of your nutritional needs can be met with a vegan diet high in raw fruit and veggies. I do love almond milk for the flavor, and I believe the brand I get is fortified, but fortified sources of vitamins are certainly inferior to natural sources. Is there any reason you have to be concerned about nutritional deficiency? Personally, I was very concerned about iron deficiency especially being pregnant fruitarian who doesn't supplement with a childhood history of anemia. Both a doctor and my midwife tested my iron levels and found them to be completely within the normal range. I say that to say that as long as your child isn't displaying any symptoms of nutritional deficiency, or you have no evidence to support the notion, don't worry so much about tailoring their diet with specific foods like plant-based milks. In addition compared to other vegan protein sources, milks don't offer a ton of protein... Even low fat cow's milk gets at least half its calories from fat and a third from carbs. I think "milk" is just a food product we have been conditioned to think is a necessary part of any "balanced" diet which is simply not true.
post #17 of 27

My son drinks organic almond and soy milks. He's been drinking them since he weaned which was a little after 2 yrs old. He loves water but I don't mind him drinking plant-based milks because of the added calories and nutritional supplements. We don't avoid soy since it's not an issue for us but I like to switch it up with almond for the variety.

post #18 of 27

I just wanted to say that people should look at the evidence and information out there from Mercola's website and sites associated with Weston Price Foundation.  Doctors out there are not trained and given knowledge about nutrition.  If they do, they might not realize they are misinformed like the the average person like me who were taught that saturated fat and red meat are bad and cause heart disease.  I learned the hard way when it comes to nutrition because I realized that my health issues were due to having poor nutrition and thinking that unsalted grilled breast chicken was the only way to go (that's what nutritionists are and still saying what to eat= leaned meat, leaned meat)..  So even if you're vegans, lacto-vegeatarians, I just want to read up on these articles and posts from Dr. Mercola, NIna Planck ( used to be formerly a vegan),  Weston A Price and Sally Fallon.   If you are confused with Weston Price nutrition princlples, go see a holistic doctor or naturopath or  nutritionist who is associated with Weston Price chapter.. 

My son is being observed by me  to see if he reacts to milk products because doctor suggested it... So I'm starting him on hard cheeses like cheddar for few days and seeing for a week or so if he reacts to it..  But in the meanwhile, when the weather allows, I give him rang- free homemade chicken broth that supposedly  has calcium and other nutrients.. (the calcium and other nutrients is from the bones that  you simmer with).. Just google chicken broth and Weston Price to see their recipes.. And also for vitamins A  and D, Weston Price Foundation  suggests a cod liver oil and good butter.. But you can look this up in the Nourishing Traditions book from Sally Fallon and Weston Price..NIna Planck's book and website are good resources also.

I've known and read about people switching from a vegetarian diet to a diet based on the Weston A Price traditional food principles because they saw the effects of their diets that were not nourishing to them enough and health issues ensued. 

But i have to warn you it's hard to find a health professional who is knowledgeable and actually go by Weston A Price nutritional principles...


Cheeseslave website is a good resource also  because the woman is a Weston A Price chapter leader:




And this post is not to offend any people who are on a vegetarian diet, but I just want to suggest to people, moms, out there to have an open mind to the articles and studies that are out there about vegetarian diets and soy , etc..

post #19 of 27

Hi! My two cents are probably from a perspective of reading about whole nutrition and even foods we aren't sure about what they do called super foods. I think a key aspect to feeding our children should be a true joy of gathering, eating, etc - good vibes around food and life make the "blue zone" people. But the things I have read in sooooo many books on Super foods, Human nutrition 101 (at University of Hawaii), and many raw food books, is that variety is the best action. If you settle your diet into a pattern, it might turn out great! but I think, well it was actually said, but I have the feeling that it isn't the norm to grow up on a few things. In France they sure do have the same butter, wine and baguette, but I get the notion that the produce is of a wide and fresh range. I am allergic to wheat and it surely makes me swell and in my brain, dehydrate (much like cooked food, but this one is very much an allergy). I wonder if it was in deed because I was poor for three years and lived off ramen. Needed variety and just didn't get enough.


I believe the safest or healthiest would be coconut - because...


Almonds? Almond butter, almonds as a side at lunch, or even better, sprouted or soaked almonds overnight, plus two dates, processed with some water the next day - yuuuummm! Taste Nothing like the box!!!


soy? Tofu! Tofu and edamame.. yum.

rice? rice! (that was easy) Rice at meal time, rice cookies, yum. never tries rice raw..hmm..

The next is hemp.. well, hemp can be made fresh just as the almond mylk above - both are amazing fresh from.your.kitchen!!! I really am like, yeah man.. that other stuff taste weird! I haven't played with hemp as much as flax, but I want too.


So then there is coconut mylk..

It actually is one of the leading foods in Iron, besides herbs like Parsley (1#) but I think shell fish are up there and close, but coconut was either one below or before that. Coconuts are hard to get fresh around here. It is a very yummy food! By all means, make them fresh mylks and try to save some for yourself (yes really). I have seriously been wondering about a box of fresh coconuts lately. But until then, this is what I choose, mainly because all other foods can have a place in our mostly vegan diet. (I love a few dairy things sometimes...not a lot.)


For yummy nutritional drinks, please, please - buy a juicer and grow greens, or just buy them (produce, not juice which is pasteurized or not as fresh) - all kinds, with plenty of other super foods in the mix, and herbs, and then add lots of apples and cucumbers! Yum! And a little lemon, watermelon, etc, for the iron/vitamin c absorbing mix. Or just eat those after or before. You can also play with root veggies for a carrot base juice. My children loove juice! I tend to split it a little for the adult taste vs kids. They are really growing on it though. I can barely keep the 2 year old away! Some days I am just out of luck on my juice because they come up and slurp it all gone! Watch out though.. there is a true withdrawal of energy and happiness if you stop for 3 days. But! That is one of the best breakthrough ways I have boosted us nutritionally. 


Above all! Try to love food a lot and have a variety of mylks! (Fresh is sooo yummy!)

Edited by greenacresmama - 5/16/12 at 9:30pm
post #20 of 27

The main reason to give milk alternates is for what they are fortified with, PP. Not for what the food itself has to offer, although it doesn't hurt when the plant is a nutritional powerhouse too.


OP, quite often, when one has lactose intolerance, cheese and/or yogurt are well-tolerated. This is true even of a dairy protein intolerance. Making yogurt is ridiculously easy. Even more so than sprouting. PM me if you'd like a recipe for trying it out. But of course, you should wait for symptoms to subside and be gone for a few weeks before you try it.


I read somewhere that coconut oil actually helps reduce weight for us adults. Perhaps that is why coconut milk kiddos aren't gaining?


I have a very big concern about any alternate milks. When DD was younger, she had a dairy intolerance even if I ate any. I started drinking fortified beverages. Very soon, I was feeling like my joints were all creaky. It would hurt to get out of bed, go down the stairs. Misery itself. I thought that it was because of not drinking cow's milk (yes, I know what many people think about it, I don't want to argue about it), but I began to doubt the alternate milks. I stopped drinking them and immediately, my joints improved. I didn't drink any cow's milk either but my joints were so much better. Be aware of any unexplained crying of the toddler.


Just fyi, it happened when I was drinking soy milk for a time much before baby too. I didn't give it much thought except that my body is not absorbing calcium and that is why I had a problem. Since dairy wasn't a problem back then, I never got to even thinking of what may happen if I skip it entirely. Not a good idea for a toddler unless there are other excellent sources of calcium in the toddler's diet.


This may not be such an issue with people living in sunny natural vit D areas, IMO. I was wondering if drinking calcium and vit D fortified drinks without the fat needed to absorb it was the issue. My friend whose daughter also had the same problem had her joints creak with these milks too. And after I told her of my experience, she dropped them and immediately felt better too. Likewise, fat-free milk. Another friend had joint problems and I asked if she recently switched to fat-free or alternate milks. Yes to fat-free. She switched to 2% and all was better.


Yet another friend who doesn't take any vit D supplements eats only homemade yogurt. The processing, I suspect, destroys vit D. So, calcium without the means to absorb it. And she hates going down stairs because her knees get sore. My antennae went up. I told her husband about vit D supplementation. He's the hard to convince one. He was convinced I think, but I don't know what her status is now. Haven't spoken with her in a while.


Bottom line is, fats are required to absorb calcium as is vit D. Fat is required probably because vit D is fat soluble, but I don't know if there is any other reason too. If you aren't averse to giving your kid ghee (clarified butter), I would suggest giving her a spoon of it along with any alternate milk that is calcium and vit D fortified. Or some other fat. I would think saturated would be better for this purpose.

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