Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Opting Out of rBGH

just call me mooooooooo-m

In honor of doing a lesson with my kids at work about dairy farmers and dairy cows, I thought I’d discuss a little about our dairy and milk choices today.

Fact! Did you know that a female cow is called a heifer until she has her first calf, at which point she officially becomes a cow? So, basically cow = mom in Cow Land. I don’t like the sound of that very much…

Last year, after watching the fantastic movie, The Corporation, I decided to stop buying any dairy products made with rBGH milk. It’s basically a hormone created to increase milk production in cows, but it’s been shown to cause all kinds of cancers in scientific tests and is banned in virtually all developing countries except the US. And - side note - when US news reporters tried to cover the issue, the company sabatoged their carreer and they were fired. Um. For real. Organic milk doesn’t have it (neither does Ben and Jerry’s ice cream…mmm), and lots of other milk producers are going rBGH free. Besides being linked to cancer, it also makes cows uncomfortably full of milk. As I explained, I’m not exactly a proponent of animal rights (I’m not even a pet person!) but I don’t see the point of torturing animals just so I can drink a little more milk.

We’ve pretty much switched over to soymilk as far as daily uses go – cereal, oatmeal, mac and cheese, cooking…it doesn’t cause much of a taste difference, honestly. After working at an ice cream store for a few months (on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. Yes, I miss it!), I noticed that I gained 10 pounds. Oh yeah, and was slightly lactose intolerant. So I switched to soymilk and my tummy hurt a LOT less often. I’ve read a few books that suggested humans were never intended to drink another species’ milk intended for another species’ young, and that dairy farmers are behind all the recommendations that we drink milk and blah blah conspiracy, but I cannot give up delicious cheese. Soymilk, on the other hand, is a fine substitute.

Besides being yummy, soymilk also uses a lot less water and energy in its production. Cows drink between 25-50 GALLONS of water a DAY, and eat 90 pounds of food. Soybeans consume much, much less daily. Added eco-bonus, get some Silk Soymilk and their energy is created by wind power.

Cheese and yogurt are two loves I don’t think we could live without, so we get organic variations as often as possible (Trader Joe’s carries tons of rBGH free cheeses!). That’s how we do it. Not saying it’s perfect or even right, necessarily, but it works for us!

* Forgot to mention, I still cannot love a soy latte the way I love a skim latte...I'm working on it. In the mean time, at least I can get organic milk!


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