Thursday, June 11, 2009

Got Milk?

I don't know what started me thinking about milk this morning, but it's been nagging me all day.

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:
  • Salmon
  • Tofu
  • Rhubarb
  • Sardines
  • Collard Greens
  • Spinach
  • Turnip Greens
  • Okra
  • White Beans
  • Baked Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Bok Choy
  • Almonds
Keep in mind that most of these nondairy sources of calcium do not have that much calcium per serving, especially as compared to milk or most calcium fortified foods. For example, a cup of broccoli has about 90mg of calcium, while a glass of milk has about 300mg.

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?


Cora said...

Fancy, I have tears rolling down my face! BRAVO!!!!

"Why am I not creating cheese from that bitch's teats?" ~ Can't stop giggling! Hee hee hee.

Char said...

I have always hated milk! And at my ripe old age, it has bitten me in the ass. I have osteo and a bone density of -2. something (as of 8 to 10 years ago). I have not had it tested since then...I know, not the smartest thing to do.

But I eat the hell of cheese. Hope that is helping me with the calcium issues.

Lady Jane said...

When I start thinking like that ( which i do occasionally) I feel like my head could explode!! Great post!

Mr. Condescending said...

thinking of that milk sitting in that cow tit makes me not want to drink it.

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid I drank milk morning noon and night. We got three pints delivered a day - one regular for my sister, one semi-skimmed (2%) for my mom and fat free for me. I wouldn't drink any milk with cream in it but give me skim milk, especially icy cold skim milk and it was like an addiction. It's only the past few years I realized I don't drink milk anymore. I loved it. It's puzzling. I don't seem to have the urge now. I replaced it with tequila. :)

mo.stoneskin said...

my brother and I used to drink copious amounts of milk, it drove my mum crazy because we would just raid the fridge. At bedtime I would love nothing more than to fill a large glass of milk and down it. Sometimes two.

I think that may be why I wet the bed so often...

Andrea said...

I remember we were only allowed to drink a glass of milk at meals. If we were thirsty any other time it had to be water. And that powered milk trick NEVER worked. That stuff is nasty to this day!

JoJo said...

Milk. Ugh. I like it in cereal and with cake, but I can honestly say I've never in my life voluntarily drank a glass of milk. I was raised on nonfat milk from when I was a baby, and I abhor regular or even 2% milk. My aunt used to force me to drink regular milk when I had dinner at her house, till I finally asked if I could switch to water. Gross.