So…I get this reaction a lot “WHAT????????????????? *insert high pitch* YOUR CHILD DOESN’T DRINK COW’S MILK????? How does she get her calcium??????”
Just so you know…I hate cow’s milk. Well I don’t actually hate the taste of cow’s milk but I hate what it actually is…..milk from a lactating mommy cow (which sickly enough I can really relate to as I breastfeed what feels like every 3 minutes). I mean…I will admit….cheese is pretty yummy…so is yogurt…and well milk….cereal just isn’t the same without it. BUT….YES, BUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have some serious problems with the yummy cow mommy milk which is why my daughter has yet to taste the stuff in liquid form.
I must admit that I do give her small amounts of organic cheese and yogurt (although I should admit I wish I didn’t). I decided not to cut it completely from her diet because for me right now at this present time in my life it just isn’t practical and there are too few substitutes here on the island. And quite frankly I’d probably have to really get my shit together and learn how to cook amazing vegan to get my husband to never eat dairy….WHICH I DO NOT HAVE TIME CURRENTLY TO DO. So that’s the ugly truth. I do strictly limit my toddler’s intake of dairy, though, and make sure that it is the highest quality I can get my hands on (even if half of it ends up on the floor for the pug to eat).
- Cow’s milk is full of hormones. “BUT MINE ISN’T!!!, you say” YES, why yes it is. It doesn’t matter if there is added growth hormone…there are still a number of hormones in your organic and non-organic milk due to the fact that that cow is lactating. Any lactating animal will have hormones in their milk. It just makes sense. So any hormone driven cancer such as breast, prostate, cervical etc will be driven by even more by these hormones. What does this have to do with my toddler? NOTHING and EVERYTHING. Prevention is worth a pound of cure.
- Most cow’s milk has some antibiotics in it. Some have a lot. Organic shouldn’t have any but I am not with the cows to vouch for this. I definitely don’t want my girl drinking or eating antibiotics.
- Cow’s milk has been shown to have other contaminants such as pus and white blood cells. Well that just sounds lovely, doesn’t it????
- Cow’s milk has clear links to allergies in children. I have seen this first-hand from many other kids (sorry, parents).
- Some studies show that cow’s milk actually depletes calcium from bones.
So if you buy organic, you can cut down on a few extra presents like white blood cells, rBGH (growth hormone), and antibiotics but you still get some natural hormones that are naturally in the milk and maybe a bit of pus. (barf).
Most of us don’t think about milk this way and how the cows are treated but my belief is that if the animal is stressed and quite frankly how can they not be when they are artificially inseminated , made to produce more and more milk, kept from nursing their young, confined and fed an unnatural diet of grain vs. grass, it will inevitably transmit that through their milk and meat.
Here is a great link to read about some of the problems with dairy and the dairy industry.
My daughter gets calcium from many other places other than cow’s milk products. Here are a few I use:
- Almond milk: The only brands I use are Full Circle and Califia (these are now carrageenan-free).
- Spinach (I make popsicles out of fruit and add spinach. Poor girl doesn’t know what hit her)
- Really any green, leafy vegetable (example making a spinach/kale pesto).
- Fortified Orange Juice (I use this in moderation…mainly diluting it with water).
- Green smoothies packed with greens, almond milk, spirulina etc.
- Beans (white beans are higher than other beans in calcium).
- Fortified breakfast cereal (again I use this in moderation and choose healthy options).
Here’s a link to a chart of sources of plant-based calcium.
I hide vegetables in pretty much anything and try to make food fun for my daughter. I am lucky I have a pretty good eater on my hands, but even if I didn’t…my minimal dairy idea would stand.
So better to munch on some figs than have a snot-nose, allergy-ridden kid with brittle bones. Whadya say?