Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 37- Got Milk?

Let's talk milk. First thing right off the bat I will say- I don't drink milk.  I mean like a big ol' glass of cold milk- yuck.  I do cook with it and occasionally put some on my cereal- but I don't really like cows milk at all.  I use almond milk (either Almond Dream or Blue Diamond/Almond Breeze ) on my cereal.  But my family does like to drink milk, so I do buy milk. Although we don't go through a lot. (I don't drink soy milk either, but that's another story.)

I'm not a nutritionist or any other kind of "-ist" so I'm no expert on milk.  The notion of drinking another mammal's milk kind of creeps me out.  But if you're going to drink cows milk, should you be buying organic milk or what?  Since we don't go through very much milk, I usually buy the store brand.  The milk from the store I shop does not contain the hormone rBGH (bovine growth hormone).  I also have been buying whole milk or 2% as opposed to skim or 1% milk.  Lower fat milk often has additives put in it to make it more creamy appearing.  A search around the Internet turns up possible links betwen prostate cancer and low fat milk.  All commercially sold milk is pasteurized- or heated at low temperature to kill the bacteria.  This also destroys some of the nutrients.  Vitamin D is usually added to commercial milk.  Milk sold in a plastic jug is usually regular pasteurized and milk sold in a carton (including organic milk) is usually ultra-pasteurized.  Meaning it is heated even more, which destroys even more nutrients.  However organic milk usually has a longer expiration date.

Fresh or raw milk from the farm is harder to come by unless you know a farmer.  It is actually illegal in some states to sell non-pasteurized raw milk except as animal feed.  I recently bought some whole milk from Hartzler Dairy in Wooster, but it was pasteurized not raw. (By the way I didn't like it at all- it has a very strong taste.)

Milk and eggs.  Usually these are the top two items recommended if you are starting to go organic.  Dairy cows living on large commercial factory farms do not have a happy life (regardless of what the California Dairy Council wants you to think) .  They live most of their lives in a small pen.  They are not allowed to graze on grass but are fed hay or grain or high protein "cow feed".  They are given hormones and antibiotics to grow larger and produce more milk. Their young calves are taken away so the milk is not "wasted" on them and are basically fed cow "formula".

Organic milk should be free of hormones and pesticides.  It does cost more, sometimes much more than regular milk.  There was an interesting discussion on Money Saving Mom on whether organic milk was worth it. Here is an argument against organic milk, saying it is just a marketing ploy to make more money (organic milk can cost 2 to 3 times more than regular milk.)  There also appears to be some discrepancy with regards to what "organic" means in regards to milk. 

My bottom line is I think I will continue to buy store brand milk that is rBGH-free but not necessarily organic. Do you buy organic milk?

1 comment:

  1. I do not buy organic milk - while I think it tastes better the cost is too high.