Let’s talk about milk… for baby and adult!
One of the most common things we have been taught in our lives is to drink milk, right? Why, who taught us and why should we be drinking it? Sure, some of our ancestors probably had animals that were milked and it was consumed without an industry push – but TODAY ALL the types of milk we consume are from industry push. Let’s talk about the real necessity, or lack thereof, in our nutritional diet! (Oh and hey if you are raising your own animals, milking them and drinking that raw, or cooking with it raw or fermenting yogurt – good for you keep it up – but if you are drinking grocery store milk… this is for you).
Types of Milk
Most people think of cow’s milk first. This is the industry I speak of. There is also goat, sheep milk, and camel is starting to make our U.S. market even. There are also a LOT of plant-based milks today – solely all created for industry to you as animal alternatives.
Lactose is the sugar in (animal) milk that is naturally occurring. Many people and children cannot produce the enzyme to break this down, thus making them intolerant. But no fear, others in the industry are here to ultra pasteurize (removing all the really nutritious components of a milk), and then process it more and remove that lactose for you. Remember, from where I stand we want LESS processed foods in our diet, and that are natural to us as humans. Guess what is not? Ultra pasteurized, altered milks and products.
Even our nut milks, and other plant based milks are often laden with fillers and gums (that we do not need nor would we eat in our own home or own cooking). This is done because plants aren’t really meant to make “milk” – so industry is trying to mimic the cow’s milk in a plant version and sell that to you for a premium.
Values of these Milks
There are some positive nutritional pieces of these milks. Some have more iron, some have more protein, some have more vitamins and minerals. There are some nutritional components in these milks.
HOWEVER, you can easily get those nutrients in much richer and larger quantities from whole food sources, not processed. In addition when we put milk in a cup to drink it, we are eliminating a glass of water we would have at that time. The notion that milk should be had as a beverage in a cup daily is all industry. There is little value to this for the majority of people. Whole food sources that are unprocessed by industry are much better sources of whole nutrition. Yes some milks are part of baking and smoothies, etc. Small amounts being used in homemade products is great! We are talking about consumption as a big ole glass here primarily.
The FAT content for children.
Do you often buy organic raw whole milk? If so you are providing some value for a very young child about 1 year old until they reach two. After that they should be consuming plain water and saving any type of dairy or nut dairy for smoothie treats and in baked goods (healthy of course).
Healthy fat coming from a whole food source is a much better option. When your child can consume soft foods you can start to introduce this fat then (even before age 1 – please follow pediatrician guidelines for introducing solid food to your child). You can give them raw avocado – very soft easy to gum (no teeth), you can coat soft fruits in melted coconut oil. You can prepare your home foods that you may puree for little one in olive oil and other healthy cooking oils. Take your meal, puree it and feed that to the little one. Voile healthy fat while still providing your child’s necessary plain water intake.
In my cereal…
This is a whole other day – coming very soon. Today’s cereal is all processed. There is no need for cereal either. It is not part of a balanced diet, nor a complete breakfast despite what the industry commercials tell you. Unless you have made your own morning granola cereal from fresh nuts, and combined it all from scratch… no need. Skip the boxes and bags. Go with whole food.
Again – save your milks for your smoothies! What a great idea for breakfast? Check out Smoothie Bowls from my friend over at Joyous Health. Or the smoothies over at Deliciously Organic. If you want to have your cup of milk – put it in there.
When I get bored…
I believe for adults this is the number one reason they reach to milk (in addition to the industry brainwashing that has happened over time). The best advice I can offer you is make your own delicious “spa” water. This means take some fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cucumbers, lime, lemon and add them to a jug of water or your water bottle and let them sit in there. The delicious NATURAL WHOLE FOOD flavors become part of your water making it interesting and refreshing. Want some delish water recipes – check out Joyous Health and Deliciously Organic.
Remember, once you break your habit of soda, milk drinking, other beverage drinking, plain water is the most appealing, life altering, thing you need. Truly.
You should be having as a baseline amount half your body weight in ounces of water daily, PLUS. Plus means for each coffee another 12 oz., for each alcoholic beverage 12 oz., for working out 8-12 oz., hot days – 12 oz. or more. This same calculation applies to children. Your child is 12 lbs and over 1.5 years old, 6 oz of plain water daily.
What about my vitamin D levels? Don’t I need milk for that?
Guess what? The ultra pasteurized milk no longer has that D for you, until they “add it back in.” So when you see vitamin D milk it’s been added back in. This is not utilized in your body the same way. In terms of calcium for your day – whole milk has 30% of your daily value.
Calcium, plus healthy fats, and protein can also come from just 1 tbsp of seeds and nuts! You get more than half of that 30% just from a tablespoon of each of these. So if you make a smoothie and it has 1/4 cup of nuts, and 1-3 tbsp of seeds, you have well surpassed your whole milk value of calcium that day.
If you just love your dairy, you would be better off choosing a whole fat yogurt with LIVE cultures. If you read the side of your yogurt (ingredients) you will see what cultures are live. If they are not listed, it isn’t live culture. These can be made with cow, goat or sheep milks, but you are also getting amazing probiotics in these yogurts making them a wiser choice than just a glass of milk. This is better for your gut and microbiome and immunity as well.
You can also get great calcium, healthy fats and more out of sardines, salmon, seafood, some beans, lentils, even whey protein. Even dark leafy greens like spinach, kale are great sources of calcium and vitamins and minerals.
Are there negatives to drinking milk(s)?
Iron absorption – Studies have continually showed that drinking cow’s milk can lead to poor iron absorption. Many children today have iron issues and low levels. Check out this post here to learn more.
Decreased water intake – it is a struggle for most humans to consume the correct amount of plain water daily. Adding in other beverages to the day makes it more difficult to get the water you need. The water is more important than the milk on a daily basis. Save the milk for a treat or as part of your cooking, versus in your glass.
Allergies/Sensitivities/Inflammation – Milk can be harmful to some folks, related to allergies, lactose and digestive inflammation. But for the majority it’s just not a necessity and there are so many other really great fat, vitamin and mineral sources available, it isn’t worth seeking products to fulfill your feelings of a milk need.
Honestly, life becomes easier without it. Keep it simple with a can of coconut milk (for a week) you add to a smoothie (just a little bit that lasts all week), or a little bit of whole milk used in some biscuits.