Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hormone-free Vs Organic Milk

When I started this blog a friend mentioned hormone-free vs. organic milk. Suddenly I was nervous that we were not drinking the best of the best. When my oldest finally outgrew his milk allergy we started drinking organic milk. Somewhere in my sub-conscience milk=milk and if there was an allergy to it, maybe the root of it lays somewhere within milk. I know that's too simple to be the case, but regardless we drink organic milk.

I am happy to report that organic milk also equals hormone-free milk. Organic milk is produced without chemicals, hormones or antibiotics.  For the purposes of milk "hormones" equal drugs given to cows to make them produce more milk and grow. Obviously we all have hormones (and there are times when mine get the best of me). rBST is the hormone often discussed. It increases milk production 11-25%, but also often leads to undesirable side effects for the cow. 17% of dairy cows in the U.S. are given rBST and the FDA states it is not harmful for people. It has been banned in Canada, parts of Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

That brings me to antibiotics. (Skip this part if you get queasy.) Cows were traditionally weaned on milk, but that's expensive so they started weaning them on blood. Then they mix their grains with things to make them grow faster. Reportedly, cows are often fed animal waste. To keep these cows from becoming sick they are constantly fed antibiotics. Cows obviously produce what they are fed so "regular" milk is laced with hormones & antibiotics.

Organic cows are fed an organic diet and given room to roam, including access to grass which improves their diet (and the nutrients in their milk).

Bottom line: hormone-free milk is better than regular. Organic is the best option if you can afford it. I've found the organic milk at Costco to be the best buy. Another option: when my little guy had the allergy to milk, I drank almond milk. It was delicious on cereal, but it was outrageous at the time. I've noticed now they sell it in larger containers & I think it's more affordable. I've never tried soy milk (said child had a milk & soy allergy), but that is supposed to be another great alternative.

Sources: (if you read this one, be sure to read the next source)