Why I Switched to Whole Organic Milk

Why I Switched to Organic Whole Milk by Tori Avey

Let’s talk about milk. Do you drink it? Have you sworn it off? A lot of people have limited their dairy consumption lately for a number of reasons– vegans cut it for health and ethical concerns, lactose intolerant people because it doesn’t make them feel good, kosher folks to eliminate the chance of mixing meat with dairy, etc. I’ve tried taking milk out of my diet a few times in the past, but I’ve never found a great substitute and I always end up coming back to milk for certain uses. Almond and nut milks work great in many recipes and in smoothies, but they just don’t taste the same when mixed in tea or poured on cereal. I wouldn’t say we drink a lot of milk in our family– we mostly add it to coffee or tea and we sometimes use it in cooking and baking. We don’t drink it as a beverage on its own. However, through various uses we do end up consuming 1-2 cartons per week, enough to make me concerned about the quality of the milk that we’re taking in. A few months ago I made the switch to organic whole milk, and I’m so glad I did. Though it’s higher in fat, I’m now convinced it’s better for my family than lowfat and nonfat.

I’ve been buying organic milk and dairy products for the past several years due to concerns about growth hormones and antibiotics found in standard milk and dairy. I grew up drinking 1% and 2% milk, so I continued buying it as an adult assuming it was the best nutritional choice for my family. After reading recent studies, my perspective shifted. New research suggests that consuming whole fat dairy is linked to reduced body fat. While scientists aren’t exactly sure what causes this seemingly counter-intuitive correlation, there are a few theories. Some believe that full fat dairy leads to a greater feeling of satiety, causing people to eat less and feel full. Others point to bioactive substances in the milk that might alter our metabolism. I’ve also learned that organic whole milk contains more helpful fatty acids than conventional whole milk. It has a better balance of fatty acids and is higher in healthy omega-3. This is largely due to the fact that organic farmers must allow their dairy cows to graze in the pasture for a certain amount of hours per week. More and more, the evidence seems to point towards organic whole milk as the best choice for many dairy consumers. People with high cholesterol and other health issues associated with saturated fat intake may want to think twice about making the switch. But for the rest of us, whole milk may be a better choice for maintaining a healthy weight.

I don’t know why I was surprised to learn all of this. After all, whole milk is more natural and closer to what our grandparents and great grandparents were drinking. Of course many argue that raw, unpasteurized milk is the ideal “old fashioned” and nutritionally better way, but I refuse to jump on that bandwagon due to my concerns about food borne illness. That said, overall I’m convinced that we need to take a step back from processed items. The more we gravitate towards simple, natural, organic ingredients, the better off we’ll be. I will continue to enjoy organic whole milk with my family. Not only is it nutritionally superior, it is a heck of a lot tastier than lowfat and nonfat milk.

What do you think? Have you considered switching to whole milk? Are you already drinking it? What do you think about organic dairy vs. non organic? Or have you eliminated milk from your diet completely? I’d love to hear from you.

Comments (99)Post a Comment

  1. I made the switch to organic a year or two ago. It makes sense to avoid pesticides, hormones and antibiotics in our food. Not as sure about the whole v skim question: My teenage son drinks whole milk and the rest of us drink fat free.

    1. Organic doesn’t mean pesticide free. Please don’t assume that. I’m not so concerned about GMO crops, as the scientific studies show lots of benefits, and the vast majority of anti-GMO crowd are spreading propaganda that is often times false or at best not backed scientifically. I am concerned about adding hormones to cattle. I need to do research on that issue to see if it’s harmful or beneficial, but, with the risks associated in humans with hormone therapy, one could HYPOTHESIZE (notice, this science geek did not use theorize) that there are similar issues in cattle as they are mammals. Could those hormones also affect humans as well?

    1. So with the almond milk..do I need to get organically grown almonds for the milk? I cannot find aplace to go get a list of hormone and antibiotic free milk/dairies. Just how do you know?

  2. We switched from organic 2% to organic whole milk about a year ago for the same reasons. It was really hard to do as I grew up in the era of “fat free is best” but all signs point to organic whole milk being best for my kids. Better at keeping them full and better for their brain and health overall.

    1. A huge percentage of people who think they are lactose intolerant (like 90%) are actually just allergic to the toxic chemical used in the homogenization process in milk. Switching to organic milk will almost eliminate it… better still raw will remove the problem completely.

  3. I am a breast cancer survivor . Whole milk is a concern for me because of growth hormones. But I need the D and calcium because of my bones. I have sourced out other foods and vitamin replacements for the D and calcium and given up milk altogether. I don’t miss it.

  4. I haven’t convinced myself to make the jump from 2% organic, but aside from the healthful reasons you’ve pointed out, carbs are also always higher in nonfat dairy products.

  5. No, but I don’t believe in using any of the altered foods…I want real cream, real butter, real milk, real food. :) I’m an old fashioned Jewish woman. No fake food, thank you. I grew up on dairy farm milk. My teeth are strong and I’ve never had a filling or a cavity … my bones don’t break when I fall … and I’m healthy as a horse. Knock on wood! <3 you.

    1. Vicki I am so with you there! More and more I find myself feeling like we should eat more natural and “back to basics,” like our great grandparents ate.

  6. I am so glad you are sharing this!! We switched a year ago it took some convincing to persuade my 2% husband that it was healthier and not much more fat either 1% & 2% is just a gimmick and a yucky one at that!! Yay Organic!!!

  7. I switched to almond milk after wasting so many gallons of unfinished skim milk. Soon, however, I realized that store-bought almond milks were filled with preservatives and chemicals I didn’t want in my body. And, I don’t have time to make my own nut milks. Because both my husband and I can tolerate dairy, we made the switch back to milk and we are now buying organic low-fat or non-fat milk that comes from a sustainable farm in our state. Both my husband and I are triathletes and were in desperate need of extra calories and protein, and real milk helps meet these goals.

  8. We switched to organic, non-homogenized HTST pasteurized, whole milk last November and won’t ever go back. Regular milk makes me sick, I can drink milk from a local farm with no problems. And it cooks and bakes so nice! Because it is lower temp pasteurization, we can make cheese from this milk. Some organic milk from the larger companies use a high temp process which kills everything and it will not work for cheese. This milk tastes like nothing else we have ever had. We even have a milkman! We love visiting the farm and meeting the animals, we feel more connected.

    1. I don’t have a milkman :( BUT, I do buy from a local dairy that sells the non-homogenized low temp pasteurization. Fortunately, this dairy’s products are so popular, they are carried in almost every grocery.

      I typically don’t “drink” milk but I use it as you do, Tori. I switched to organic whole milk some years ago, but just in the past 2 to this local dairy.

      I also make nut milks and use cashew cream in place of heavy cream in everything. I use almond milk as well. I have a VitaMix which makes the nut milks very easy.

  9. I’ve been drinking Organic milk for a long time for all the reasons you wrote about. Something about REAL milk makes me happy. Fortunately, I live in a rural area where there is an abundance of organic food. I buy produce, eggs, and meat from local farms…and fresh goat cheese. It isn’t Kosher, but it is healthier than store-bought meats and produce. I’m not Orthodox and don’t follow strict dietary laws.

  10. I heard about this, and I’m just so frustrated! When my son turned three, they told me to switch him to 2% milk in the interest of preventing obesity, and I’ve been drinking skim since I was a child! It seems “they” are always changing their minds on what’s best for our health! I can’t keep up! Ugh!

    1. Nakia I hear you, it’s hard to keep up with it all. I think ultimately you just have to take in the information and research that is currently available and make the best choice for you and your family. I agree it can be frustrating!

  11. I had not heard about this. I have an 18 month old boy and we go through a LOT of milk. Where do you buy organic milk? I live in the middle of nowhere Georgia and Walmart is really the only store we have. Is organic milk expensive? Around here a gallon of Great Value whole milk is $4.18 so I am not sure I could afford organic if it is much more expensive than that. Any info would be great. Thank you for posting the article!

    1. Emily that’s a great question. I live in California and our regular grocery stores carry organic milk, as well as Walmart, but I’m not sure about Georgia. If you can track it down it’s great, but it is a bit more expensive than regular milk. Perhaps you might be able to find a local dairy that sells organic? It might be cheaper to buy from the source. Just a thought! Best of luck.

    2. We’re in GA! I get raw milk which is actually the best, both health-wise and taste-wise. There are lots of farms that sell it. I could help direct you if you give me a better idea of which part of GA you live in.

  12. I grew up as a child on milk straight from our local dairy. The kind you have to skim the cream off of. As a young adult, I wouldn’t touch anything but skim. Then I got pregnant with my first, and found that I not only craved whole milk, but it helped me feel better. I thought that was fascinating. Now, I use and drink whole milk–not a lot, but I definitely feel like it’s better for me.

  13. I’ve been drinking skim milk since I was a little kid. As an adult I switched to organic skim. I’ve tried organic whole milk, but I just can’t get used to it. It tasted like drinking melted butter, ugh.

  14. I’m not jumping on the bandwagon with organic milk (seems as though producers have different definitions of what “organic” means to them.) I do however, subscribe to healthier eating by avoiding processed foods.

  15. I switched to whole milk several years ago because my husband spent some time working on equipment at a dairy place and said they added water and other stuff to the low fat milks. I didn’t think paying milk prices for water was smart!

  16. Our family made the switch to organic skim milk years ago…there are two members of our household with IBS so drinking whole milk is not possible for them. We are so accustomed to skim milk that whole milk tastes like cream to us now. I do use it in some recipes for time to time.

    1. Nancy my family absolutely loves it! It’s a big change from skim if that’s what you’re used to. It’s much more creamy and flavorful.

  17. I would love to find a farm near me that sells milk. I drink almond milk but I have been hearing that almond/soy milk is not that good for you because it’s highly processed. Not sure if this is true but sure would like to find out.

    1. Soy is not good for male children or anybody for that matter. Don’t make the mistake that I did. Goat milk is best animal milk. Coconut and almond are good vegetarian milks according to my personal extensive research. You might wanna look into it yourself.

  18. I made the switch to organic whole milk from 1% when I was pregnant because I craved it. I’m still drinking it now that my baby is 2 1/2 months old and I am thinner than I was before I was pregnant.

  19. Guess I am strange. Have always used whole milk. never have been able to stomach white colored water. No nut milks allowed in my house though, unless.I plan to go coffin shopping first.

  20. I have switched to the wonderful rich milk right from the cows. Worth the time drive & cost. I skim some of the cream from each gal. to make my butter & whipping cream. It is out of this world by far better tasting than organic from the store. I love to see the “girls” who gave the milk & give them a pet on their heads and thank them each time. LOL Can’t beat it for sure!!

  21. I and my family drink healthy raw whole milk. I used to suffer from a number of auto-immune diseases. and my son had three life threatening lung diseases along with cardiac issues and other rare health disorders. My diseases are in complete remission, and have been since a month after starting the raw milk regimen, and my son’s diseases are affecting his life less often and less dramatically. Coincidence? Perhaps. I prefer to believe that coincidence is G-d’s way of doing something remarkable and wanting to remaining anonymous.

    As far as GMO’s are concerned, I think we should be concerned. Not of all the information out there is hyped. Here is a link I found to be interesting and educational.
    link to earthopensource.org

    Have a blessed day! :)

  22. What is your stance on GMOs’? As for milk, nothing is better than farm fresh, grass fed cow’s milk? I buy from a farm when possible otherwise I buy organic milk at the grocery store. We also use coconut milk and hemp milk.

    1. Kelly I avoid GMO’s and buy organic whenever possible, however many families are not in a financial position to make that choice. I feel lucky that I can.

  23. I have no problem with it. I agree that there are too many additives of all kinds in all of the food and drink we consume. One thing I wish people would actually consider is what would happen to our supply if we stopped giving meat/dairy animals antibiotics that keep them healthy and productive in this global economy. If we went back to ‘the day’ of our grandparents and great grandparents and fed all stock nothing but the grains we grow, that would leave us all open to an over abundance of disease in our stock and in ourselves as well as outlandishly high prices when production/availability of quality product goes back to 1930 levels. Not all science and tech is bad. The US feeds most of the globe in one way or another. If we stop doing all these things, there will be nothing on the shelves at the store, what is there will be 3X more expensive, and you will really have no clue as to how unhealthy these animals are.

    1. As the daughter of a retired agri-business professor I think you make some excellent points. I’m glad that progress is being made and that organic agriculture is on the rise, but it can’t happen overnight. I agree that there have been many positive scientific and technological advancements in food production, and modern doesn’t always equal bad. As with everything, there is truth on both sides– which is why I always try to take a balanced approach to these subjects.

    2. Your mindset is exactly why we have a problem in today’s meat and dairy production. You shouldn’t give animals (or humans) antibiotics to keep them healthy, you should give them when necessary to make them healthy when they are sick. A lot of Bacteria are good, and over usage of Antibiotics (in animals and humans) are problematic in that they destroy good bacteria making it easier for bad bacteria to make you sick, and they make bad bacteria more resilient against antibiotics (which is why we have to constantly work to develop new antibiotics as the older ones are no longer as effective if at all).
      Considering all the advances we have made in science and medicine, our stock are actually in embarrassingly poor shape. I don’t know if you have ever seen mass cattle farms or chicken houses, but they are disgusting and dangerous. Cattle is often forced to stand in their own waste leading to infections, not to mention that they don’t have room to move let alone graze (and look up what that does to a goes digestive track and in result to the meat you then consume).
      Another problem is a lot of us have become detached from the production. We pick up our milk in plastic jugs and meat in vacuum packages at the supermarket (cheapest is best :() and have no idea about the whole process until it ends up in our supermarkets.

  24. We get local whole milk (delivered; not certified organic, but pastured a good part of the year) — one important thing is that a lot of organic milk in grocery stores is ultra-pasteurized, which kills a lot of the reasons for buying ‘better’ milk. :)

  25. I’m sticking with Coffee Mate. :-)

    But for tea and cereal I use organic whole milk. The flavour is far superior and it doesn’t have hormones in.

  26. We made the same switch you did for the same reason. I agree, to strongly caution people against unpasteurized milk. It’s what killed my grandmother back in the 40’s. It’s no safer now that it was then.

    1. Oh Carol I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother. I agree that many people are too unconcerned about the dangers of unpasteurized products. While I believe in returning to our roots and enjoying food the old fashioned way, I also believe that many modern developments are there to protect us and our health. Thank you for sharing your story!

    2. Well I appreciate you acknowledging the dangers—-they are very real. It is a tragic part of family history.

  27. Since you have started the whole vs part debate, I might add yoghurt and a few other full fat products into the picture. In my household, we only buy full fat milk, full cream yoghurt, and real butter. No substitutes. I also eat lashings of olive oil home made mayonnaise, coconut and olive oil. We have no diet products in our fridge especially soft drinks. I have always believed in eating whole pure food as nature intended, no changes to its structure . We have tried to keep refined out of our diet where and when it is possible. And yes we do eat cakes and desserts. As the exception eg challah on Shabbat is thankfully once a week! But our everyday meal plan consists of completely whole foods, and as little refined as is possible. which for me is where the low fat/ fat free milk and other fit into this discussion. By the way, no issues of weight gain either, in fact without doubt we are trimmer in general. Oh ! And maybe I’m just a wee bit happier too, deprivation is a grumpy feeling !

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