What Can Moo Do For You?

Why I love milk…

It’s so delicious! Chocolate milk in cartons is my favorite… it’s a mental thing but it just seems to taste better compared to a plastic jug. Growing up mom cooked us dinner that commonly included a fruit, vegetable, meat, dairy product, and if we were lucky, dessert. This must have rubbed off on me because today I find myself looking for these to incorporate into my healthy eating plan.

One of my favorite drinks!

One of my favorite drinks!

The 3-Every Day program stresses the importance of three servings of dairy products per day. A die-hard dairy girl, I am that person who asks for a glass of milk when out to eat. One-percent milk, low-fat string cheese, and Greek yogurt are some of my favs. They taste great and are great for you, a winning combination.

To clarify, when I use the word milk, I mean it comes from a dairy cow. Milk from a dairy cow is not the same as almond or soymilk. If consumers want to drink almond or soymilk that is fine with me but I pledge my allegiance to my bovine loves, cows! Although I love the taste of milk and know it’s good for my body, dollar for dollar milk is the most economical food choice. With 9 essential vitamins and minerals you just can’t beat it. These include calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, and potassium to name a few. Milk is they key ingredient in dairy products.

Dairy opponents say milk contributes to obesity and is unhealthy.

I beg to differ because I have seen research that has proven the opposite. Low-fat chocolate milk is the ultimate recovery drink for athletes because of its abilities to replenish what is lost during physical activity. From an article on the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board website,

“Recent studies show chocolate milk naturally provides a winning ratio of nutrients more effectively than most sports drinks – enabling cyclists to work harder in their next workout.”

I think it’s important to remember that everything we consume, not just dairy, needs to be consumed in moderation. Whole milk and half and half do have higher fat percentages but babies and young infants need whole milk to nourish their bodies and aid in brain development. Many of us would miss our favorites recipes and comfort foods without half and half or sweetened condensed milk. One of my weaknesses is cream cheese. Who doesn’t love cream cheese? My mom’s cheesecake would never be the same without it. If only I can get her to give me the recipe….

Consumer Confusion

Growth hormone statement
Growth hormone statement

Unfortunately I do think marketing has confused consumers when it comes to purchasing dairy products. It frustrates me to see the disclaimer on the side of dairy products saying “Our farmers pledge not to use artificial growth hormones. ” And then in small print next to the asterisk it reads, ” No significant difference has been shown in milk from cows treated with the artificial growth hormone rBST and non rBST treated cows.” As a member of the dairy industry I am sorry for the confusion this has caused. It’s a marketing ploy, a tactic, that often confuses instead of educates consumers.

rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin hormone) is just one of many management tools in the dairy industry. On the farm I work at we have chosen not to use rBST NOT because we question its safety in food, but because we have other management challenges and opportunities that need addressing first. While we do not use it, there are other farms who do and this is fine. That’s the beauty of America- freedom to make your own decision! However I think it’s important decisions are based on fact and not emotion.


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