No Dairy? No Problem: Decoding Nondairy "Milks" for Dancers
"Whole, low-fat, or skim?" The question of which milk to drink has gotten a little more complicated lately, with a wide variety of nondairy milks popping up in grocery stores. To find out which ones are worth your milk money, we had registered dietitian Monika Saigal answer some FAQs.
What's in Nondairy Milk?
Nondairy milk (or, sometimes, "plant milk") is generally made by soaking nuts, soybeans, or coconut flesh in hot water for a period of time, finely grinding or blending the softened mixture, and filtering out any remaining nut particles. Small amounts of oil, gums or thickening agents, and preservatives, like ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C), may be added to keep the texture smooth, like dairy milk, or preserve freshness and shelf life.
The most common nondairy milks are soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk. But there are plenty others, each with its own nutritional and flavor profile, including: hemp milk, macadamia milk, rice milk, cashew milk, pea milk, oat milk, and rice milk.
Can Plant-Based Milk Replace Cow's Milk?
"For vegans, dancers with a milk allergy, or anyone who prefers not to drink dairy, plant-based milk can substitute if chosen carefully," Saigal says. Keep in mind that nutritional content varies a lot by brand and type of milk. Always check nutrition labels to choose what's best for your needs.
How Much Protein Is in Plant-Based Milk?
"Rice milk, coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, macadamia nut milk, hemp milk, and oat milk usually have little to no protein," Saigal says. "Nuts and seeds are a decent source of protein, but by the time they've been processed into milk, there's little protein left." Saigal recommends choosing milk substitutes with protein content comparable to dairy milk: about 8 grams of protein per 1-cup serving. Soy milk and pea milk are good options. And some nut- or seed-based milks include added protein (usually pea protein)—check the labels!
Are Plant-Based Milks Good for My Bones?
Like dairy products, nondairy milks can be good sources of calcium and vitamin D, which are needed to build strong, healthy bones. "It's important that dancers get calcium and vitamin D, especially during their preteen and adolescent years," Saigal says. Choose milk substitutes with calcium and vitamin D levels at least equivalent to the amounts in cow's milk (nearly 30 percent daily value of calcium and 25 percent daily value of vitamin D per serving).
What Are Other Nutrition Facts to Look For?
"Plant-based milk may be fortified with vitamin B12, which is helpful for vegan and vegetarian dancers," Saigal says. "Pea milk (or milk with added pea protein) is a good source of iron, an important nutrient for dancers. Coconut milk is high in inflammatory saturated fat. If you like coconut milk, you don't need to eliminate it from your diet, but be cautious not to consume many other foods high in saturated fat."
Should I Buy Sweetened or Unsweetened?
Most unsweetened plant milks are low in added sugar, which is a #win. But, says Saigal, "they also tend to be low in carbohydrates, the main source of fuel for brains and muscles." Therefore, dancers choosing unsweetened plant milk need
to get enough carbohydrates from other sources to keep their energy levels up and help with focus. "Unsweetened rice and oat milk are generally higher in carbs than other plant milks, but unless food allergies make these necessary, I wouldn't recommend either because of their low protein content," adds Saigal. "Some unsweetened plant milks are quite low in calories, which may not be best for busy dancers who find it challenging to eat enough during short breaks to support their activity level. Sweetened or flavored plant milk may help dancers with higher calorie and carbohydrate needs, like dancers who are still growing, some male dancers, or dancers recovering from an eating disorder."
Should I Buy Organic?
Whenever possible, Saigal recommends consuming organic dairy products, which are produced without antibiotics or synthetic hormones. "Organic plant milks don't offer much bump in health benefits compared to nonorganic, but there may be other reasons, like environmental concerns, that make it worth purchasing organic," she says.
A version of this story appeared in the March 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "No Dairy? No Problem."
Get in, losers. We're going to Broadway.
OK, not losers, actually—more like the bajillion die-hard fans of Tina Fey's 2004 cult hit Mean Girls, who've been wearing pink every Wednesday since a musical adaptation of the film was first teased back in 2013.
Now their world is like a cake filled with rainbows and smiles, because Mean Girls the musical, which had a trial run in Washington, DC, last fall, is set to open at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre April 8. And in a very grool twist, it turns out the show—with direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw and a book by Fey herself—is delightfully dancey.
Principal Lloyd Knight has become a true standout in the Martha Graham Dance Company thanks to his compelling presence and dynamic technique. Knight, who performs leading roles in iconic pieces like Appalachian Spring and Embattled Garden, was born in England and raised in Miami, where he trained at the Miami Conservatory and later graduated from New World School of the Arts. He received scholarships to The Ailey School and The Dance Theatre of Harlem School in NYC and joined MGDC in 2005. Catch him onstage with MGDC during its New York City Center season this month. —Courtney Bowers
They say there's no "I" in "team"—and nowhere is that truer than the world of college dance teams, where precision reigns, uniformity is key, and a single misstep from any given "I" can cost a group a championship trophy. So it's unsurprising that securing a spot on one of the best dance teams in the country is no easy feat.
Members of these highly athletic teams rehearse for hours every week—on top of academic classes and commitments—and perform at football and basketball games, annual concerts, and nationally televised competitions (hi, ESPN). And "no I" rule notwithstanding, each of these top teams is made up of highly trained, highly technical, highly hard-core individuals, who come together to create a ready-for-victory pack.
These six teams aren't one-off success stories—they're consistently strong, and earn the top spots at major competitions like UDA and NDA nearly every year. Up for the challenge? Here's what to know before you go to auditions.
Today in Ballet Dancers Are Actual Superheroes news:
You've no doubt heard that the fabulous Alicia Vikander is playing Lara Croft in the newest iteration of Tomb Raider, which hits movie theaters this Friday. But while her training for the high-octane action role was crazy tough, she says, studying at the Royal Swedish Ballet School was far tougher.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
I'm a hip-hop and jazz dancer, and I want to get involved in the commercial-dance world. I've never studied ballet, but people keep telling me I "have to" take ballet classes if I want to make it professionally. Is that really true? My family has limited money for dance classes, and I have to be careful about how I spend it.
Everyone loves a good viral video, especially when there's dancing involved. And though many viral videos are contrived and created for the soul purpose of instafame, the story behind the latest video catching the eyes of millions—including Rihanna, super model Naomi Campbell, and Diddy—is even more unique because it features children who don't even know who those celebrities are.
A dance troupe in Nigeria has become the next internet sensation, thanks to their exuberant dancing and passion with which they perform. Their enthusiasm for dance is evident in every step and it's hard not to smile as you see these children (who range from ages 6 to 15) express pure joy in something as simple as dance. These nine kids are part of The Dream Catchers, an organization started by 26-year-old Seyi Oluyole, that gives impoverished children a place to live while teaching them how to dance.
For 16-year-old Amanda*, dance is everything: her passion, her escape from the daily grind, and her career goal. Her parents see things differently. "I have siblings who are active in sports," Amanda says, "and my parents would rather I play soccer or basketball. They don't see dance as something I can earn a stable living from in the future. They often tell me I should just quit."
Some parents aren't able to, don't know how to, or choose not to give you the kind of support you need to thrive in the studio. And when your parents are adding stress to your life, rather than alleviating it, there's a lot at stake. "Dancers who don't have the support of their parents might struggle with self-doubt," says Dr. Linda Hamilton, a former dancer with New York City Ballet and a clinical psychologist specializing in the performing arts, "while those whose parents are too involved can crack under the pressure." Whether your parents aren't there when you need them or they're always there, practically smothering you, try these tips to improve your situation.
On Friday night, the iconic RuPaul made history as the first drag queen ever to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And it didn't take long for the world's most fabulous RuPaul fan/one of our favorite human beings, Mark Kanemura, to commemorate his idol's accomplishment with—naturally—a WALK to end all walks.