I know a lot of families drink cow's milk without ever considering the choices. I, however, have thought long and hard about the role of cow's milk in our home. I use it to bake and cook. I currently put it on my cereal on the rare occasions I eat cereal. As I have written in the past, "while some people tout the benefits of cow’s milk, we consume it sparingly, and do not use it as a “cure all” food. In other words, we get the vitamins and minerals from other foods, so cow’s milk is not used to fill the gaps." A carton of milk often times goes bad before we can drink or use it all. We do eat some cheese, but not nearly as much and are slowly phasing it out.
So-- why take this position on milk? Here's the long and the short of it-- in bullets. I'm in a bullet type of mood.
- Cow's milk is designed for baby cows. Often times, while we drink cow's milk, the baby cow gets formula.
- Yes, cow's milk is used in the production of human infant formula, and infants do need milk. For us, that means breastfeeding until The Boy is ready to stop-- physically and emotionally. This also means that when he weans, he no longer needs any milk.
- Breastfeeding in to toddlerhood prevented the need to "fill the gaps" with cow's milk. The Boy got what he needed from me (and still does). We do not use a vitamin for The Boy, but I do take one. To balance The Boy's nutrition needs (really all of ours), we will be starting to drink green smoothies this summer (and all year once started). It's really easy, and The Boy will be able to help.
- Mucus, mucus and more mucus!
- Cow's milk inhibits our ability to tune in to our bodies. I know some will say I am crazy for this one, but hear me out. Milk is a "filler" food containing vegetables, nutrients, etc that have been processed through the cow and passed on in the milk. When we drink milk, our bodies are fooled in to believing we have enough of the nutrients, but we are still missing the "other stuff" those foods provide to our bodies (i.e. fiber, etc). As a result, the body says you do not need to eat your vegetables when in fact, you need additional benefits that raw (or cooked) vegetables provide.
- Cow milk production has a high environmental impact, and the difference between organic and conventional milk is small when it comes to its life-cycle. Add in hormones and anti-biotics... no thank you!