Ditch the Toxins

January 03, 2015

Unraveling Milk Choices

Most of us grew up drinking a glass of milk with every meal.  It was necessary for strong bones!   Milk production has evolved since then, and alternative milk choices have also increased.  Is milk still as healthy as it was, now that its laced with hormones, antibiotics and gmos? Milk is not necessary from a nutrition standpoint. In some parts of the world, milk isn't even part of a normal diet. There are plenty of other ways to get the same nutrition!  If you buy your milk without considering where it comes from then you are likely supporting the inhumane treatment of cows. If you can't live without your daily cup of milk than at least consider buying whole milk from organic grassfed cows.


Low Fat / Skim Milk vs Whole Milk

Most people think skim or lowfat milk is actually better for them, but research tells us otherwise.
 “To make dairy products low fat, it’s not enough to remove the fat. You then have to go to great lengths to preserve the body or creamy texture by working in all kinds of food additives. In the case of low-fat or skim milk, that usually means adding powdered milk. But powdered milk contains oxidized cholesterol, which scientists believe is much worse for your arteries than ordinary cholesterol, so food makers sometimes compensate by adding antioxidants, further complicating what had been a simple one-ingredient whole food. Also, removing the fat makes it that much harder for your body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins that are one of the reasons to drink milk in the first place.” - Food expert - Michael Pollan

Raw vs Ultra Pasteurized

Raw milk is milk that comes straight from the cow.

Conventional milk is pasteurized before sold. Pasteurization kills both the harmful and the beneficial bacteria. Studies show numerous health benefits for children who drink raw milk vs conventional milk. You should note that its important for raw milk to come from a local organic farm where the cows are well cared for. It would be unwise to drink raw milk from a cow raised in a conventional factory farm.

Selling raw milk is illegal in some states.  While the FDA warns against drinking raw milk, raw milk vending machines are becoming more popular in Europe.

The opposite of raw milks is milk that has been ultra pasteurized.  Ultra pasteurized milk has been pasteurized at a higher temperature than normal milk. The result is a longer shelf life, but on the downside a lot of the beneficial bacteria has also been killed, which from a nutrition standpoint defeats the purpose of drinking milk.

Conventional vs Organic

Conventional or non-organic milk most likely comes from cows raised in factory farms. 

Imagine hundreds of thousands of inhumanely treated cows. Factory farmed cows are constantly pregnant and producing milk. Once they give birth their babies are taken away almost immediately. These dairy cows are constantly stressed from always being pregnant, eating an unnatural diet of gmo corn and soy (among other things), confined indoors for life and being in pain from mastitis (a painful udder infection).  They are pumped with hormones to force more milk production and antibiotics to prevent sickness. When you drink this milk you are not only getting some of the hormones and antibiotics, you are getting a lower quality less nutritious milk.

Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is  a synthetic hormone used to increase milk production in cows.  While milk production increases, the chance of sickness increases leading to a need for more antibiotics.  Its questionable weather rBGH is safe for human consumption and rBGH is banned in many nations including Canada and Europe.  Be sure you buy milk/dairy products with the label "from cows not treated with rbst"

Compare the life of a conventional cow to the life of an organic grass-fed cow who is allowed to roam the pastures and eat grass. These cows are treated more humanely and fed a more natural diet without synthetic hormones and unnecessary antibiotics. As a result they are less stressed and produce higher quality more nutritious milk.

When you choose to pay more to buy and consume organic grass-fed milk you support better animal welfare, a more sustainable food system and a healthier environment.

Milk Alternatives

There are plenty of milk alternatives out there if you wish to avoid cows milk. 

Alternative milk options include:
  • Soy
  • Almond
  • Coconut
  • Hemp
  • Rice



If you go the route of milk alternatives you should watch out for the controversial ingredient carrageean.

Research has proven that carrageean causes inflammation. Not only that, it is commonly used in lab tests to cause inflammation on purpose! Inflammation leads to many diseases and problems including digestive problems, arthritis, hardening of the arteries and even promotes cancer. 

Commonly used in milk alternatives carrageean is not even a necessary additive, it's used to create a better texture and to keep things from separating removing the need to shake the final product. Be sure to read the food labels because carrageean is also allowed in organic products.

Alternative Calcium Sources

If you are worried about getting enough calcium there are plenty of food sources that contain calcium.

Per serving these have MORE calcium than milk
  • Chickpeas
  • Collard greens
  • Almonds
  • Sesame seeds


Hopefully, some of this information will help you make more informed choices when buying milk or milk alternatives.

Milk 101
Milk...it does a body good?
Raw Milk Vending Machines in Europe


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