Before the Agricultural Revolution, some 10,000 years ago, hardly anybody drank milk—unless it was from their own mother. As our ancestors domesticated grains and animals, all began to change. By the 5th century in western Europe, milk from both cows and sheep became quite popular.
But it wasn’t until the 20th century that we embraced milk like a stampede of heifers. My father drank a glass of milk with every meal, my grandmother churned butter, and we enjoyed a brimming bowl of ice cream every night.
It was a paradigm shift in thinking—drinking milk became a symbol of nutrition and safety, thanks to Louis Pasteur’s revolutionary pasteurization process.
Today we drink far less milk than we did in the middle of the last century—in fact, the dairy industry is in udder ruins. Small dairies are closing because of changing consumer trends, trade tensions, and, most importantly, a century-long industry consolidation.
Organic milk offers a drop of hope for dairy farmers and consumers alike.
According to Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), US sales of total organic milk products for November 2020 were up 6.1 percent from November 2019 and up 10.6 percent year-to-date.
Consumers are switching to organic for a variety of reasons. Certified organic milk must comply with animal welfare standards, and the use of pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones is strictly prohibited.
It might cost a few extra cents per carton, but there are plenty of reasons to make the switch to organic milk.
Animal welfare standards
Look for a USDA certified organic product to ensure that it complies with higher animal welfare standards.
Organic milk cows should be both grass-fed and free-range. Their conventional counterparts live mostly inside and are given recombinant bovine growth hormones and antibiotics. Cows reared in intensive farming situations can also experience health problems and exhaustion, which shorten their lifespan.
Higher omega 3 content
Organic milk has higher levels of omega 3, which is an essential fatty acid with many health benefits. It’s important for fighting certain illnesses, such as heart disease, arthritis, and inflammation. The healthier diet of the cows is the reason for higher omega 3s. Organic milk also contains more antioxidants and important organic milk proteins. These organic proteins are great for making other dairy products like cheese and yogurt.
Fewer harmful chemicals
Organic milk production simply prohibits harmful chemicals. Those organic Jersey girls aren’t given growth hormones or antibiotics. Pesticides and artificial fertilizers aren’t sprayed on the pastures. This not only helps the surrounding ecosystem, but it means the milk won’t be contaminated with chemicals.
A groundbreaking study by The Organic Center found that non-organic milk tested positive for illegal antibiotics, high levels of growth hormones, and controversial pesticide contaminants.
For this reason, organic milk is “cleaner”.
Different varieties available
Many people are put off by dairy because of allergies and intolerance, but several varieties of organic milk are available. These include lactose-free and ultra-pasteurized. You can even find alternatives such as sheep and goat milk. Check out some of the best organic milk brands on the market.
Check the label and make sure they’re organic and grass-fed—some brands like Organic Valley’s “GrassMilk” comes from 100% grass-fed cows that are never fed grains. Drinking Grassmilk will bring home subtle seasonal flavors of their pastures.
Change your mind, change your habits—think Regeneratively
Regenerating or changing your thinking isn’t easy. We get stuck in old patterns, filter out what we don’t want to hear. It’s why we are in the midst of so much social upheaval and division.
I’m not saying a glass of organic milk will change your way of thinking. But if you’re looking for ways to reduce your life’s environmental impact or improve your diet, then switching to organic milk is an easy place to start.
Old habits are hard to put to pasture.
If you’re looking for ways to change your habits you could try making a list of goals, hypnosis downloads, or even meditation.
We all want to “Be the change we want to see in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi). But how does one do that? I am reading a book called Regenerative Life by Carol Sanford. It teaches you to see your roles differently: stripping away all preconceptions of how “It” should be done, understanding what your role is at its core, and building yourself back up to become something new; something so grounded, inspiring, and resilient, it can change the world.
It requires a different paradigm, a shift in mindset, called regeneration. It offers a way to make every journey a path to a meaningful and significant life. And to shift society by upping the accountability each person feels for stewarding democracy and social systems we build.
Drink and eat organic dairy products until the cows come home. Consider alternatives that spark new thoughts, bring growth opportunities, and overcome our restraints to change.
The future is ours to create!
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© 2021, Melody Meyer. All rights reserved.