Which Milk is Best? (Part 1) - Food-Spotter
Roll up, roll up! Welcome to the wonderful world of milk. The white stuff that comes in many varieties and flavours., which milk is best?
With all sorts of dairy and non-dairy choices out there, it can be somewhat confusing to know what you should or shouldn’t have. These usually stem from different school of thoughts. For the sake of spreading “the word”, I won’t be including any in-depth lengthy explanations, instead I will provide a link or two that will explain more in-depth (no need to re-invent the wheel).
Consumed by humans over the centuries, but now given a bit of a bad rep. Typically available in the form of pasteurised (heated to kill bacteria), homogenised (splitting the fat to evenly spread the cream in the milk) and available in low-fat version. Does any of that sound normal? For the most, no.
Full Fat vs Semi-Skimmed vs Skimmed Dairy Milk
If you believe the consumption of good fats makes you fat, then I do recommend looking into why this is modern day nonsense. Your body requires these fats to fully operate – a brief simplistic explanation can be found here. A little more googling can give you more technical reasons along with research papers (if you really want to get that geeky).
A1 and A2
If milk gives you digestion problems, you maybe reading this and thinking this is all useless information. There is another part to the equation and it comes down to the possibility that these digestive problems stem from drinking the WRONG type of dairy milk.
A1 and A2 refer to the ever so slight difference within the proteins in the milk. The very small difference in the protein can become a huge problem. It simply means when broken down by the body, the A1 milk protein will break off in a form that some people are unable to digest correctly. A2 milk on the other hand breaks down as such that the body can digest normally.
A1 Milk – usually produced by most Western cows. Most supermarket cows milk will be A1 (here in the UK).
A2 Milk – usualy found In “older” breeds of cows, such as Jersey, Asian and African cows.
If all this is too technical, Sean Croxton has a good brief video overview that explains it in a simplistic manner.
Is the milk we drink the same as the milk humans were drinking many, many moons ago? Hell no. There are many factors which make this clear, and they are:
Feed – modern day cows are usually fed grains and other new age foods which has probably only entered their food chain recently (from an evolutionary standpoint). From a historic perspective, we all know cows typically graze on grass. We humans use the phrase “you are what you eat”, and there’s no reason why this can’t be the same for animals. Given their food is very short of normal, expect the milk quality to be lower (much like the beef quality of a cow that is fed on a cheap economical diet).
Pasteurisation – a huge topic in itself. Commercially there are 2 types that use used, High Temperature Short Time (HTST) and Low Temperature Long Time (LTLT). Typically in the UK, the former is used, which ensures the milk is free of organism that may be harmful to human health.
Homogenised – a process which allows even distribution of fat by mechanically firing milk at high pressure through small holes to convert it into smaller fat particles so it is spread evenly in the milk (milk normally separates into different layers of fat density if left alone).
All 3 things above contribute to changing the properties of the milk from how nature intended and reducing it’s nutritional value.
“So how do I get that pure white?”
If you’re referring to Milk, and not the coca, the answer comes in the form of Raw Milk which is fresh from the cow with no industrial processes carried out on it. The demand of raw milk is slowly increasing and it is now becoming a little more easier to source safe raw milk. If you’re in London, my recommendation is Hook & Sons. The cows are grass fed during the summer (which gives higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and essential fatty acids) and organic so you know it’s that pure white that will make you feel good .
That little warning note at the top is just for legal reasons. You will not die. I repeat, you will not die.
Raw milk actually contains enzymes that aid in assimilating the nutrients present in the milk. One of these is lactase, which helps digest lactose. So you may find that raw milk maybe suitable if you’re lactose intolerant!
“But is it safe?”
I’ve been drinking it for sometime and I’ve NEVER been ill. As long as the source of the raw milk is from a place that adheres to strict methods, there is little chance of any contamination to make it unsafe for human consumption.
Take it raw.
So for whatever reason, you’ve decided to avoid dairy milk altogether, the choice is simply outstanding. So many pretty packages with all sorts of claims on there, what do you decide to buy?
Oh soy/soya, so well known and the official dairy alternative when in a coffee shop on the high street. My own view on soya is that you must avoid it in non-fermented form. This means you should ditch your soya milk, tofu and any other soya products (retain the fermented stuff like Miso, Natto and Soy Sauce). Notice that the allowed list is all historic foods and not new age creations? That’s my loose guideline which helps to think beyond some of the modern day nonsense we get told.
“Are you hating on soya?”
Kind of, but for good reason. The problem is that in its non-fermented form, there are several bad things. The top of the list is that soya contains a compound in it that mimics human estrogen. This does not mean you are going to grow boobies or make them bigger. Your body requires a careful balance of hormones to operate correctly. An increase in any one isn’t necessarily good for you and can throw your system out of whack, which is exactly what soya does. One other thing is the phytic acid content (more on this later in part 2).
I’m a bit wary of any product which has extra vitamins magically placed into it, such as Vitamin D, Calcium, etc. These are usually in non-natural form, or a form that your body may not fully understand (your body is an old age steam engine dressed up in a shiny pretty exterior).
For a complete list of bad stuff, have a quick look at this list.
Bin it, burn it, flush it down the toilet.
Note: Alpro Soya was harmed during the writing of this.