Friday, August 29, 2014

Which milk should I drink?

As you know, I only drink raw cow’s milk from our house cows in my daily kefir smoothie, and I drink herbal tea during the day. Recently a friend asked me if it was ok to drink soy milk. My first reaction was “no way”, but I thought I’d better do some research first, so that my friend can make an informed decision.



Of course, if you have access to raw milk from cows or goats, and you don’t have an issue with lactose intolerance, this is the milk you should drink. I’ve written about raw milk before, in summary, raw milk contains nutrients (heat sensitive vitamins), enzymes and beneficial bacteria that are destroyed during pastuerisation. Often people who cannot digest processed milk find that they don’t have a problem with raw milk, and that it even has a healing effect. Read the other post for more details about raw milk.

Unfortunately, raw milk is not available to everyone, so a compromise may be required. Your choice will depend on your circumstances, and how much time and money you have available, don’t feel bad if you can’t get the best milk, but at least be aware of your options and what to look for.

I think that the next best option to raw milk is non-homogenised organic whole milk (unless you are lactose intolerant). Processed milk will not contain the same enzymes and nutrients as raw milk, but you still get the benefits of the protein, calcium and lactose. Even better is to use the processed milk to make fermented foods, such as yoghurt or kefir, as these will effectively replace some of the missing bacteria and enzymes that were removed during pasteurisation. If you’re only drinking a splash of milk in your tea it doesn’t matter so much, but if you’re using milk as part of a meal, try to use fermented milk instead.

One of the main arguments against dairy (and animal products) is that the amount of crops that could be grown using the same amount of land would feed more people than if used to raise cows. This is a ridiculous argument considering that cows graze land that is unsuitable for crops, especially if you can find a dairy that is pasture-fed or mainly pasture-fed (rather than feeding grain), and organic certified dairies should have a land management plan to show how they intend to create a positive environmental impact. They are usually kinder to the calves as well.   If you can, find out more about the dairy and how they manage the cows and the land.

If you can’t tolerate lactose, or you really don’t want to use animal products, there are plant based “milks” available, such as soy, rice, oats and almond. Again, go for high-quality organic products at all times. The cheaper versions will undoubtedly use inferior ingredients. Read the ingredients list. If you have been following the debate about saturated fat vs. unsaturated fats, you will want to avoid sunflower and canola oil (even if its organic). Also added sugar, including “rice syrup” (which is just fructose), is an unwanted ingredient. Even the organic products are not ideal, they all seem to have added oils and sugars. The best option would be to make these milks at home, then you have some control over the ingredients. You could make a big batch and freeze it in small containers, or even ice cubes, to use as you need it.


Another option is coconut milk.  If you can find a brand that doesn't use BPA lined cans and doesn't include additives, coconut milk is apparently a nourishing option.  Again, you can open a can and freeze what you don't use.

I hope that helps to explain the pros and cons of your milk options.  What do you use?

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6 comments:

  1. The dairy farms that are left around here have a lot of hill side pastures that aren't good for crops though strangely enough our government (who is in bed with the chemical and seed companies) is encouraging them to start doing no-till on hill sides. Sane farmers and a sane government wouldn't do this but so much of the corn now goes into ethanol gasoline which is also insane. In our country if more crops are grown, they probably would not feed anything but a vehicle. I don't drink milk because of all the chemicals in it and someone would get jail time if they sold raw milk so I just quit drinking the stuff but grew up on raw Guernsey milk, it was my grandfather's cow and was wonderful.

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  2. I would drink the goats milk, it is the best for everyone. When I lived on the farm when I was younger, that's what I drank. When I was a baby after WW2 (we lost everything) after my parents got a goat, and that's what kept us alive since there was little to drink in Germany. Many people died for lack of food and drink. We kids (my brothers and sisters) went around to pick weeds and dandelions to feed the goats. My parents were farmers and very resourceful.

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  3. We drink raw goat milk for roughly 6-8 months of the year and milk from Udder Farm dairy nearby for the rest of the year. I find the goats milk easier than the cows milk to digest but I still have to be careful with both milks, having it daily or my allergies flare up. Interestingly enough , since using kefir in my smoothies (thanks to you , Liz!) I can drink the kefir milk everyday ( and lots of it ) and it doesn't affect me at all!
    I am a huge convert to kefir now . Before this I was drinking the plant based milks and they didn't feel natural to me either , they just didn't give me hayfever. Being able to drink real milk everyday is amazing since we started with kefir.

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  4. I tend to drink soya as I'm terrible when I have milk or cream. Although I can have cheese just fine. I keep thinking about getting a milking goat but my wife keeps trying to talk me out of it! She's probably right - too much work really although the milk a dn cheese would be worth it.

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  5. I'm lactose intolerant so I avoid drinking fresh milk. I can only eat fresh cheese and cream and buy them on our market. Here cheese and milk are sold on market by local farmers. Every day they bring fresh products that are sold from 8-12am. After that they give away unsold products so we can be sure products are really fresh.
    Lately I got some lactose capsules so now I can eat food that contains milk like puddings, mash potatoes or drink shakes. I don't drink plant based milk because here they are too expensive and hard to find.

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  6. We buy mainly organic pasteurised only milk but dream of having our own cow. I would go without or make my own almond milk if i could not drink dairy milk.

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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