It might have had something to do with Tuesday night dinner when I asked my son and nieces what they would like to drink. Three out of four of them asked for milk. My adult niece was apologetic about even asking for it, which made no sense to me. Her reasoning was that she knows it's expensive and she didn't want to be a drain. I reassured her that "it's the calf over there", pointedly turning my eyes to my son, that is the drain on the milk situation.
I was only half joking. The child drinks at least 3-4 gallons of milk a week. I know it's him because right now it is just he and I in the house, and I cannot remember the last time I voluntarily drank a glass of milk. (For the record, I would rather he drank milk or OJ fortified with calcium than soda or sports drinks, so I'm not really complaining.)
It's funny that my brother was the same way. My mom was a single mother with 5 kids at one point, and we were going through 1-2 gallons of milk A DAY! I remember that she used to try to add water to the milk, or try to fake us out by putting Carnation's instant milk into the milk container. We always knew the difference, and didn't want to drink it. Except my brother, he would just mix in chocolate powder so he couldn't taste it.
I was diagnosed as lactose intolerant right before I turned 20, and I've tried to avoid dairy as much as possible since then. I can tolerate it in small amounts, and I usually try to go for the lower fat versions as they don't seem to affect me as badly. I will eat an occasional yogurt, I will throw a little cheese into a dish that I'm going to eat, but offer me a lasagna with Ricotta AND Mozzarella and I'm going to be in distress for weeks after. Heavy cream and butter are the stuff of my dreams, and also the stuff of my digestive system's nightmares.
What the hell was I talking about? Oh yeah, milk. I'm wondering that if calcium is so necessary for the body, what did people in ancient times do? There were no calcium pills. No one at that point worried about bone loss, probably because no one lived past 30.
Now that life expectancy is at least twice that, it turns out that nothing beats cow milk for calcium. These are some non-dairy foods that naturally contain calcium:
- Collard Greens
- Turnip Greens
- White Beans
- Baked Beans
- Brussel Sprouts
- Sesame Seeds
- Bok Choy
That started me thinking. Why would "nature" create a creature that weans its young at an early age and then mandate that it needs an essential of that breast milk to keep it healthy for the rest of its life?
Who was the first person to see another creature's breast milk supply as an opportunity? Think about it. Was there a first guy looking at a goat and asking, "why am I not creating cheese from that bitch's teats?". Did his friends and family think him insane?
How did they choose which mammals were worthy? We have goat milk, cow milk, yak milk, even soy milk. How come we don't have horse milk or whale milk? We have goat cheese, buffalo mozzarella, and a million varieties from the cow. Who chose the cow to be the most represented? Am I missing sheep milk, is there demand for that? Has anyone even tried to make a product from zebras? And what about the milk from carnivorous mammals? Why not tiger milk or wolf milk? I'd bet they have a nice meaty flavor.
I'm just saying that maybe if somebody tried harder, I'd be able to eat a tasty lasagna or some stuffed shells once in a while. And maybe the price of cow milk wouldn't be more per gallon than the price of gasoline. For fuck's sake, don't we have more cows in this country than the countries we currently occupy for the oil to produce the gasoline?