In case you haven’t noticed (I hadn’t–not being a milk drinker), there is currently a nationwide shortage of organic milk. You may not see the effects at the moment, but stores in the East and Southeast, namely the Publix and Wegmans chains, are unable to stock milk to keep up with the demand for an organic product. So, what’s the deal?
Let me break it down simply: organic farmers are having trouble feeding their cows since the cost of grain is rising (due to a number of factors–one being Hurricane Irene destroying crops, for example). The cows don’t produce as much milk when they aren’t fed well. The low supply and high demand forces farmers to ask for a higher price per gallon from their processors (companies like Horizon and Organic Valley). This, in turn, begets a shortage of product being produced for store shelves. If you’d like to read more about why this is happening, I urge you to refer to this article on NPR.org and this article which appeared in the New York Times.
Where does this leave the common milk-drinker?
I have a solution, my friends, and not one you’re going to like, necessarily: Stop Drinking Milk.
Five BIG Reasons to Drop Milk from Your Diet
5. Pasteurized and homogenized milk isn’t a whole food; it’s been stripped of any great nutrients it had originally.
4. No other country in the world places such an emphasis on dairy as the U.S. It’s just not a necessary element to a healthy diet.
3. Milk is an inflammatory food. It is hard for the body to digest, which, when coupled with what is added/taken from milk, can cause a wealth of problems including: allergies, asthma, cancer, colic, earaches, infertility, IBS, and tuberculosis, to name a few!
2. Most people have allergies/issues with dairy products and may not realize it. Acne, headaches, stomach aches, and eczema can all be attributed to sensitivities to dairy.
1. Milk’s intended purpose is to feed baby cows–not humans. (Though I’m finding that even baby cows get “milk formula!” 🙁 )
Please note that I said to stop DRINKING milk. I love a great raw cheese, a homemade pizza, or some ice-cream occasionally as much as the next gal. But milk in a glass? Milk in cereal? It’s been years. There is no need. Most Americans view milk as a pantry staple. I view it as an ingredient in recipes or as a treat (cheese, ice-cream). When you change your thinking about the “importance” of milk in a diet, you can eliminate it.
I have found milk alternatives to be just as useful, if not better, in recipes, so long as the alternative is as unprocessed as possible. Look for limited ingredients, and don’t bother with milk alternatives that are enriched. I prefer to use WestSoy soymilk because its ingredients are as follows: “filtered water, soybeans.” Hemp milk and almond milk rank in order as my next favorites to keep in the fridge.
If you have access to unpasteurized milk (which is rare to find since it is illegal in the US save for private sale–like from Amish farms), or even access to a local dairy that produces non-homogenized milk, that will be your best bet if you simply cannot live without milk. What I predict for the future is that with the problems facing organic dairy farmers, we’ll see the quality of the farms, the quality of the feed, and the quality of the processing decline. It seems that quality, organic dairy products may be harder and harder to find.
The bottom line is to investigate your food choices and stop allowing industry to dictate what should go into your body. Organic or not, milk is just not necessary.
What do you think? Can you live without the white stuff? 😉