Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is Store Bought Milk a Faux Food?

I was raised in a society that impressed upon me that I should drink milk. If I did not, I would surely perish and could eventually end up with hip or knee replacement surgeries due to a deterioration of my bones. I loved milk and could drink copious amounts of it and so I never considered not drinking it. However, when my daughter was three years old and was suffering from severe tummy aches, we began a journey to discover what the cause was and I started to research milk and whether or not it was something that we should purchase from the store. 
We live on a farm with great storage facilities and eat mostly homegrown food.  As a young adult, good food had been important to me and after having children it became more so. I knew about and continued to research and study foods that were best for our entire bodies, as well as listen to my own body and teach my children to listen to theirs. My research surrounding milk, conflicted with a belief that had been ingrained in me from the time that I was a youngster.
Initially, I decided to look at consuming milk from a biological perspective. How many animals consume another animal’s milk?  Other than in times of need like when another animal is mothering, only human animals drink another animal’s milk. However, our physical/cognitive development is markedly different from other animals too and so this line of querying ended abruptly.
I then asked the question: Is store bought milk so highly processed and regulated that it has become a faux food?
What I discovered is that milk that exists on the grocery store shelf may:
1.     Come from places where cattle are given antibiotics in the event that the cow has mastitis or other infections and research suggests that these antibiotics show up in the milk?
2.     Come from animals that have been given growth hormones, which can survive pasteurization and thereby be consumed by us.
3.      Come from animals that never see the light of day.
Even with all of the research and information that exists, I continue to struggle with whether I am doing a disservice to my children by not letting them drink store bought milk and I ask you to join with me in this discussion. What are your thoughts?