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cow’s milk or almond milk?

I grew up drinking and loving cow’s milk. After breast feeding Porter and Campbell for eighteen and sixteen months, respectively, I happily transitioned them into a morning routine of cow’s milk. My eldest (16), B, has long-loved a tall glass of the stuff with desert every evening. It has been in our lives, and it’s a hard habit to shake.

When my daughter, Campbell, now 4 1/2, first began breast feeding, the doctors suggested I supplement with formula because she wasn’t thriving and she, in fact, was throwing up most of what I put in her. We determined that she had a dairy allergy, so any dairy I consumed was rejected by her body. Without passing judgement on those who choose formula for a variety of reasons, I was personally determined that no formula would enter the lips of my babies. And I knew I could make the sacrifices necessary to make that happen.

So I quit all dairy cold turkey, and I considered it an adventure. It was easy to give up dairy for my child, and it was fun to explore new options. I learned a lot, Campbell did better, and I discovered soy. I thought it a delicious miracle, and considered myself healthier for it. Soy has it’s own issues, which I won’t go into here, but suffice it to say that when I discovered those issues, I decided to take the next step in my journey. Enter almond milk.

Most of the milk I drink is part of my morning coffee. Soy in place of cow’s milk was a creamy, delicious trade, and I felt healthier for it. Soy milk was sweeter than cow’s milk, so I gave up sugar in my coffee. I stuck with it, even after Campbell gave up the breast. I just didn’t enjoy cow’s milk anymore, and it made my coffee taste rancid. The switch to almond milk was a harder sell for me. It just didn’t seem as, well…milky. I tried rice milk and coconut milk and flax seed milk, which were even less satisfying. I finally settled on almond milk about a year ago, and I have since fallen in LOVE.

I have successfully converted my husband to enjoy almond milk in his morning coffee. On his cereal, he uses cow’s milk and almond milk in equal proportion. With desert (taking it straight), he still succumbs to the cow.

B will drink whatever I put in front of him, but, as a teenager, he pretty much fends for himself most of the time. So when I pour him a glass, he’ll happily drink almond milk. If left to his own devices, either because his brain cells have been sucked up by video games or because he likes it better or because he wants to spite me, or because his biological mother tells him I’m a hippy health freak, he’ll pour himself an overflowing glass of cow’s milk. Rebel.

The littles are now consistently drinking a 50/50 blend of almond milk and cow’s milk. I gradually blended their cow’s milk to reach that proportion, and they don’t seem to notice it. But if I go a hair over 50% with the almond milk, it is promptly rejected, and fits are thrown. I’m struggling with just abolishing cow’s milk altogether, or attempting to keep up the transition. They love their milk so. And I love beer. Best not to go cold turkey on either, for now. There might be fits.

I only purchase organic whole (less processed) cow’s milk, so we’re using the best of the worst, and I bake and cook with almond milk when milk is required. There we are.

So the ongoing saga of mind over matter and ethics and the spell of dairy in our lives continues…

This graphic that Allison’s Gourmet posted is a fantastic summary of why almond milk is a much better choice for animals, the environment, and health:Image

I’d love to hear why you choose the milk you do.

12 Comments on “cow’s milk or almond milk?”

  1. hmmm, I went from full cream fresh milk to high calcium low fat fresh milk to high calcium skim milk… I don’t really enjoy milk, but I take it for the calcium. I did contemplate almond milk but the cost… is at least 5x more per packet… that infographic is pretty impactful though. I wish almond milk is cheaper.

    • well minded says:

      Wow…the cost there seems quite prohibitive. It’s only slightly more expensive here than regular milk, depending on the kind of milk you buy. I think non-organic cow’s milk is always least expensive. Great that you can get fresh milk, though.

  2. I recently started drinking almond milk and I love it too! Mostly because I never really liked the taste (or thought) of cow milk. Almond milk just tastes so much better, plus it’s better for me!

    • well minded says:

      It’s amazing that humans even drink cow’s milk! We are the only species that drinks the milk of another mammal, and the only species that drink milk past infancy. Makes you think. Good for you for going the almond milk route!

  3. Lis Carey says:

    Your daughter has a dairy allergy; I have an allergy to peanuts and tree nuts–with almonds being just about the most dangerous for me. I wouldn’t be healthier on almond milk; I’d be dead–quite unpleasantly.

    What’s healthier for one isn’t necessarily healthier for everyone, and nut allergies are common enough that the reflexive assumption that almond milk is not just healthier for you, but obviously something to be touted as better for everyone, does seem misplaced.

    • well minded says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Lis! My daughter had a dairy allergy as an infant, but has outgrown it, thankfully. And, of course, It goes without saying that those with allergies to almonds, such as yourself, should not drink almond milk. I, personally, am allergic to watermelon, but I would still make a general statement that watermelon is a healthy food. Not healthy for me, of course, but definitely healthy, in general. There will always be exceptions, and I can’t hope to cover them all.

      Luckily, there are other non-dairy alternatives to cow’s milk that are not the focus of this post. You may wish to check out rice milk, coconut milk, or flax seed milk, if you’re looking to move away from cow’s milk. If not, enjoy your cow’s milk! It’s personal preference, after all.

  4. Being a preschool teacher, I see so many kiddos with dairy allergies. Almond milk seems to be pretty popular among the parents of the children with allergies. We are lucky and don’t have any allergies in our family but almond milk sounds like the perfect introduction to something new and healthy in our refrigerator.

  5. Connie says:

    Well now that is one big case of propaganda if I ever saw one (the gif) I suppose if you focus only on a) factory farmed animals and b) home made non commercial almond milk it might have a point.

    Cows raised on sustainable farms are healthier all around. the manure is made into fertilizer and helps raise the plants that the humans and other animals eat. Grass fed cows make milk that is full of healthy saturated fats (yes, saturated fats are actually HEALTHY and the lies you have been told about how deadly they are are based on false science. I have also come to find out that saturated fats are absolutely essential in my health but that is also another post.. along with why soy is so bad)

    what you feed yourself makes a huge difference in your health – much to those who tout ‘everything in moderation’ would have you believe. What you feed the animals that you eat also makes a HUGE difference in their nutritional composition and can change a ‘healthy for you’ animal into a ‘it is death on a plate’

    I have nothing against almond milk nor coconut milk, I love them both – but most commercial products contain carrageenan which is a known inflammatory and can have some serious consequences. researches use it when they need to test anti-inflammatory drugs.. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401181/Is-Carrageenan-Safe.html You can make your own pretty simply but it is not nearly as easy as running to the store to pick up some more 🙂

    All of our food choices have consequences.. which is why Im choosing to support smaller farms that produce food in a more eco-friendly manner.. My milk is raw, my quarter cow I just bought was grass fed. my eggs come from chickens that don’t eat soy or GMO feed.. and I do my best to eat organic.. so I don’t eat GMO..

    • well minded says:

      Thanks for your opinion, Connie! With all the conflicting information that circulates an with new information surfacing all the time, it can become quite confusing about what is best to do. It’s all personal preference, and hopefully we all make the best choices we can with the information we have. Some days I feel that water is the only safe bet! And, then, there are problems with that, too!

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