What About Milk?

We Americans love our milk, don’t we? Of all the times I’ve seen anyone leaving the grocery store with only 1 or 2 items, they are nearly always carrying a carton of milk. Hardly a day passed in my childhood when I did not have milk at least twice. I nearly always had a bowl of cereal for breakfast–with milk– during my high school days.   DSCN4636

As a young parent, I began to read about milk form the perspective of my “health nut gurus.” I started to feel disgusted with “regular” milk (the hormones, the antibiotics, the reported conditions in large commercial dairies), & refused to drink it at all. My extended family thought I was extreme when I would not let my children drink milk from the grocery store. Instead, I found a source for raw goat’s milk, & that is what my children drank for years.

Later, when we moved to Colorado, I had a hard time finding a consistent source, & we mostly used soy milk. The newer, refrigerated soy milks were pretty delicious, we thought. But then, I began to learn about the issues with soy. The biggest negative regarding soy (in my world, at least) was that I heard that soy is nearly indigestible for humans. I already had food sensitivities & digestive trouble, so why pile on?

Not to worry, though. For a while, I had a great place to acquire goat’s milk again. For a couple of years, I had great milk for at least several months of the year. By this time, I had learned to eat other things besides cereal & milk for breakfast. So it worked out.

Now, as a holistic health coach, I meet lots of people who do not, or cannot drink dairy milk. I also meet quite a few that acknowledge a dairy intolerance; but they just can’t seem to do life without it. Meanwhile, there seems to be an ongoing debate about what kind of milks or milk substitutes are best.

An assortment of milks from my fridge: organic whole cow milk from Safeway, pasteurized goat milk, local organic milk delivered by a nearby dairy, coconut milk (We each use different milks.)

An assortment of milks from my fridge: organic whole cow milk from Safeway, pasteurized goat milk, local organic milk delivered by a nearby dairy, coconut milk (We each use different milks.)

With that in mind, I will give you a few helpful resources, and also tell you what I personally do about the milk question. I feel that an important part of the solution is to learn to eat different things! Try fruit & nuts, eggs & veggies, or a smoothie for breakfast, for example.

I like a lady named Nina Planck, who has written some great books about real food. Here is her website: http://www.ninaplanck.com/ Along similar lines, someone I’ve recommended before, a pioneer with regard to milk & researching the impact of dairy on health, Weston A. Price. Google him, & while you’re at it, connect with the head of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Sally Fallon, another hero of mine.

There are, of course, very smart & cool folks who shun dairy altogether. If you’re leaning that way, know that some experts are pretty compelling when they tell us there are some nutrients you simply cannot get in a usable form without dairy. I’m not that kind of “expert.” I don’t know for sure who’s right.

For now, I am off of goat’s milk. (I did find some wonderful raw goat cheese last week, which I enjoyed in small quantities.) In January & February, goats are having babies & nursing– not a great time to get the milk. In a few weeks, I’ll renew my quest to find a local supplier. I’m currently using refrigerated coconut milk & homemade almond milk, mostly. I drink this stuff, usually mixed, in tea & coffee, & once in a while, I have a bowl of gluten-free granola. I love the So Delicious brand of coconut milk creamer!

Here is a link to the site I consulted for making my own almond milk. It takes a little time, but it far surpasses any commercial almond milk I’ve tried. http://www.eatingrules.com/2012/10/how-to-make-almond-milk/

I’d really like to know what you do about milk!

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3 Comments

  1. I would love to try goats milk, but there is no one even close to us here. I have drank skim milk since I was pregnant with my daughter 22 years ago, I get made fun off for drinking the pink lid milk but at least it’s always there when I want some and I drink pretty much. Both of my girls gave trouble with dairy and especially cheese, don’t know why, but they both use soy milk and have felt so much better, they also don’t have a goat supple around, darn I wish we lived closer to Amish I bet they would have it. This was a great post thank you for the education, you’re so knowledgable.

  2. bec

    molly, to be logical about the whole thing, milk is the source of nutrients necessary for mammal infants to survive before the digestive system is mature enough for solid food. certainly we don’t really Need milk as sustenance! that said, isn’t it wonderful to live in a country where milks of various kinds are available for our pleasurable consumption? as far as a dietary supplement, the main nutrient touted by the dairy industry and the government (which subsidizes dairy farms and thus has an interest in their success) is calcium. this is ironic, since the homogenization process binds calcium in such a way as to render it completely unabsorbable in the human body. also, better and more rich sources of calcium are leafy greens – something the american diet is sorely short on anyway – such veggies as kale, broccoli, spinach and others. this is not to say that milk is empty calories, but really, everything found in this food is available in better places. i like cow milk, but it causes swelling in my joints, so it is a very rare luxury for me, and generally consumed in the form of expensive ice cream. 🙂 i eat goat cheeses on occasion, and enjoy soy as well as coconut milks and almond yogurts from time to time. quality is more important to me than quantity – probably because it’s been a very long time since i felt the threat of starvation. most americans don’t ever experience a real fear of never eating again, and to those vast majority i encourage pickiness. when it comes to the privileges of life, why settle? wait and search for the best; it’s worth it.

    • Bec, as usual, I pretty much agree with you. The nutrients I refer to do not include calcium; you are certainly correct about the milk industry & government! I was referring, rather, to nutrients identified by Weston Price, Nina Planck, Jordan Rubin, Sally Fallon, & others, such as what Dr. Price called “activator X,” now believed to be vitamin K2. Of course, all of these nourishing properties discussed by the above sources disappear when milk is pasteurized, & homogenization further ruins the product. I fully acknowledge that milk is meant to nourish babies; however, dairy products are consistently present in “primitive” diets, & offer, as you say, a richness in variety & flavor as well as some very useful nutrition for humans who use them wisely. You are also correct about leafy greens! I encourage everyone to eat as many of these as possible– you can’t go wrong with this wonderful group of foods. Thanks so much for dropping by my blog.

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