Tuesday, January 8, 2008

In which I ramble about milk

We buy a lot of milk in this house. Brandon goes through 2-3 half-gallon cartons of vanilla soymilk each week, and I go through 1-2 cartons of chocolate (cow's milk makes me nauseous this pregnancy). I also buy a quart of 2% milk every week for Brian's cereal, and lately I have been buying either a quart or a half-gallon of whole milk to make pudding and ice cream. (I am addicted to the ice cream recipes in The Perfect Scoop, and I've been craving rice pudding since Thanskgiving. From-scratch pudding needs whole milk or it comes out all watery.) This is a lot of milk, and it is a lot of money.

Brandon started out drinking whole milk (always with chocolate syrup - organic, $5/bottle chocolate syrup because that's the only way to get it without artificial flavoring) - but he turned out to be lactose intolerant. Actually I think the term is "functional lactase deficiency". He seems to have mostly grown out of it - he can handle yogurt again, although he got tired of it for a while, and he eats cheese like crazy now.

Now, it would definitely be less expensive if I got him drinking cow's milk instead of soy - but dairy kind of scares me, because of the artificial hormones they put into the cows. They started doing it on a wide scale sometime in the 80's, I think (if memory serves; it's been a while since I've read any articles about it) and since then kids have started going through puberty years earlier than they used to. I'm sorry, but I don't think that's a coincidence. On the other hand, there are phytoestrogens in soy and I've heard stories about babies who were raised on soy formula and never went through puberty at all - but since that is more of an issue with soy formula, which is a baby's sole source of nutrition, and not soy milk, I decided to stick with the soymilk, even though it was more expensive - because organic milk costs even more.

There is a middle ground - some non-organic milk is (artificial) hormone-free. (All animal milk has some hormones in it naturally, the thing to worry about is the artificial hormones that are injected into dairy cows.) Usually it costs a little more than regular milk, but a LOT less than organic. However, up until now there were no local dairies that I knew of that had hormone-free milk, and while the comissary does carry Land O Lakes half & half and butter (Land O Lakes being a national hormone-free brand), I have not been able to find Land O Lakes milk.

But today...I got home from the comissary and put my $15 worth of milk in the fridge when, lo and behold, I noticed that the Meadowgold whole milk and 2% milk have a new logo on their label: "Artificial Hormone Free". Hallelujah! Now to get Brandon used to the taste of 2%. That might take a while. But even if I have to go back to using the $5/bottle chocolate syrup, we'd still be saving money. Cha-ching.


Mother Hoodwink said...

I don't know if you remember my post about WIC. I wrote about how I felt bad using it knowing we could easily afford our own milk and cheese and random other foods. Well since Boomba now drinks two sippy cups of milk a day and LOVES cheese, we've swallowed our pride. Because I'm pregnant we're getting a few more gallons of milk a month than if it were just Boomba. We get eight gallons a month and a gallon goes for five bucks, so we're saving $40 a month.

Unfortunately, it doesn't cover soy or organic milk but it will cover whatever major milk brands are at your commissary. So if you're saying that one of the major milks are hormone free now, you could totally be getting that for free.

I just looked up HI and for a family of four, you can't have a taxable income of more than $44,000. A lot of Josh's chiefs are even on it. And if you don't use all the milk, you can find something to do with the shitload of cereal they give you.

Kerry said...

Hmm, it's worth thinking about. Brandon drinks three sippies a day.