Food Writing, From my Perspective…

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

My Milk Manifesto

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As children, we ate whatever our parents gave us right? We didn’t question where the food came from we just ate it. Throughout the years we discovered different types of fruits and vegetables, which ones we liked and which ones we gave to the dog under the table. All we knew was what was our favorite and least favorite, we didn’t know what the brand was, where it came from or how much it cost.

Today college students are wondering which food to buy since mom isn’t here to buy the groceries anymore. College students living on campus, have the freedom of eating whatever they desire. We are on our own for going and buying our own groceries. But who exactly knows what to buy? Can we go and buy the right groceries without giving a quick call to mom? Do I buy non-fat milk or 1% milk? How about organic or not organic? What is organic? Why is it more expensive?

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These are some conflicts I face as I go out into the world to feed myself. As students we have a budget and don’t have the money to spend on healthier foods that tend to be more expensive. Now a days, organic is the way to go simply because it is the healthier choice. According the USDA National Organic Standards Board, “Organic food handlers, processors and retailers adhere to standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural products. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.” The USDA Consumer Brochure states, “What is organic food? Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.  Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.  Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards.  Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.”

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My point is not to persuade you to purchase organic food; the purpose is to take a step further into informing you that purchasing either 1% or fat free organic milk is the healthier option. I have been familiar with the type of milk I drink for quite some time now and research proves that non-fat milk is better for you. As Jean Brillat-Savarin states in his aphorism, “Animals feed themselves; men eat; but only wise men know the art of eating”. Meaning that everybody can eat whatever they choose, but only the smart ones know what is healthier for them to eat.

First off, we know according to the USDA Consumer Brochure, buying organic is better, also as stated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, organic milk does not contain any residue of growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides. The cows that provide the organic milk feed themselves grazing in fields rather than being corn fed.

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Most people buy their milk in regards of whatever taste best to them. Personally, when I drink whole milk I think I’m drinking half and half, I think it is too creamy and I always believe that I am just drinking mostly fat. In my opinion, drinking either 1% or non-fat milk is more refreshing. It doesn’t make you feel weighed down or as full when you drink a glass. I had just recently asked my own mother, “Why do we drink non-fat milk and not whole milk?” and she responded with a simple answer say that it is healthier and that my brother and I had liked to taste better also. Many people may disagree with me when they say the taste of non-fat is better, they say that it is too watery and that there is no taste.

Skim milk is made by physically separating and removing the fat content from whole dairy milk. Also the biggest disadvantage of whole milk is its high content of saturated fat. One cup of whole milk contains 5 grams of saturated fat, which is nearly a quarter of you daily intake limit. Whole milk is also high in cholesterol with about 25 mg per serving. High intake of saturated fat and cholesterol can increase your chances for fatal disease, such as strokes and heart attacks. Though people say whole milk is “fattier” it still has more vitamins than non-fat milk. When fat is removed from non-fat milk it also removes all of its fat-soluble vitamins and it is replaced by being fortified with vitamins A and D. Consequently, you really aren’t losing any nutritional value. You may think, well if non-fat milk loses vitamins, then it must lose its calcium source too. On the other hand, dairy calcium is easier to absorb than calcium from vegetarian sources, and by removing the fat content, calcium absorption becomes even more efficient.

To conclude, I would like to say it is still your choice on what type of milk to buy for yourself. My best recommendation is to go with the organic, just because you know that it is healthiest for you. But with whole milk vs. non-fat milk, I say go with whatever makes you happier. But just know in the end, when you are drinking that glass of whole milk you are also drinking a quarter of you daily intake limit of saturated fat. I cannot sit here and force anyone to drink non-fat milk. I can only concur that non-fat milk not only tastes better but it is the healthier choice backed up with facts and detailed research.


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