Thursday, August 7, 2008

A milk question

Anyway, I don't give my son milk (he's 2) but he really wanted some rice milk today--and drank it right down. Have you read anything that would give cause for concern about Rice Dream milk?

Okay, I am NOT a nutrition expert, or a dietitian or anything like that so make sure you talk to a physician and do your own research before you take my advice :)

Rice milk, isn't milk or related to milk. It is a carbohydrate product and doesn't contain any of the protein, fat, or vitamins and minerals that milk contains. So if you aren't giving your child cow or goat milk, you need to make sure your child is getting enough fats, proteins, and calcium from other sources. Remember also that vitamin D and A are added to all commercial milks, so you want to make sure that your child is getting those also. Most people can get enough vitamin D from the sunshine during the summer months, but in much of the country some need to supplement during the winter months.

Young children especially need a LOT of fat in their diet. If you look at breast milk, it is almost 50% fat as is infant formula. Fat, especially saturated fat, is essential for healthy brain development in children and infants. I think that the USDA guidelines to reduce fat at the age of two needs to be revised. A high fat diet is perfectly healthy for children beyond the age of two if they have a diet that is VERY low in processed foods, and high in whole natural foods. My two year old is not skinny, but far far far from fat (as can be confirmed by anybody who has seen her in person Michelle, comment LOL) She still eats a lot of butter, coconut oil, whole milk, etc... If she starts to show signs of gaining weight in an unnatural way, then I'll look at her diet again, but for now she is fine on a higher fat diet.

I would like to discuss raw milk, but in my state it is legal for pet consumption only. So I encourage you to check out the real milk website and make an informed decision on milk.

If you are concerned about the hormones and chemicals in milk, I encourage you to buy organic milk! We will not drink milk, or eat dairy products that are not from organic cows. I will not feed my children, or myself foods that could be loaded with extra hormones! I've got enough hormone issues in my body, I don't need to compound it.

I've got mixed feelings on soy milk. I think that soy can be a valuable additive to our diet, but needs to be used like all things in moderation. I don't like commercial soy milk, and much prefer homemade soy milk. I'll make up a batch of soy milk in the next few weeks and post about it then!


Jamie said...

Thanks for all the info! It's very helpful. I actually stay away from milk for 2 reasons--the hormones is the biggest reason and unfortunately I live in a small town and the nearest organic milk is 30 miles away. I am going to check out the raw milk info, though. Also, I've read that the calcium in milk is very hard for the body to break down and so I try to get the bulk of needed calcium through dark green veggies. I don't stay away from dairy altogether, and make sure my son gets plenty of cheese, yogurt, and lots of other healthy fat in his foods.
I guess the main thing is, he's starting to see other kids drink milk (and I know my aunt lets him have some when she watches him) so he is starting to ask for milk. I was hoping rice milk would be a fun but harmless treat--but not looking for it to fill a nutritional need.
Again, thanks for sharing all the research you've done on this kind of thing. It's much appreciated.

Michelle Stille said...

I'm not a nutrition expert either, but I avoid dairy and give none to my toddler. Cow's milk for a toddler is a breastmilk substitute and I don't use any kind of breastmilk substitutes. We eat a mostly vegan diet, but if I were not breastfeeding, I would reconsider how I feed my toddler because he literally needs milk to help him grow. I drink some soy, hemp, and almond "milks" because I like them but I don't drink them for nutritional value. Most are vitamin fortified, though. There is a lot of info out there about other animal's milk not being healthy for humans and I tend to agree in general. I would allow my toddler to have SOME rice milk if he wanted it but I would be careful to make sure he was not filling up on it.

And yes, Erin's daughter is very healthy looking and they eat differently than us, so you just have to make the decision that you think is best for you family. =)