milk, milk or milk....

I am constantly asked by people the milk question...cows milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, goats milk, and I could just keep going on and on...I think because most of my friends know that I didn't give my kids any cows milk, they want to know why we don't and while pregnant and breastfeeding I never drank it myself. the reason is simple, we are not cows so we don't really want to drink cows milk, it just doesn't seem right to me. I also happen to know quite a few people that live perfectly fine lives without it and have raised their kids without it as well, in macrobiotics dairy products are one of the first to go. In our home we do eat yogurt and cheese, I'm not a fascist (hence "nonchalant mom") and although I wish that I had the strength to be a vegan, we are not. what is most important to keep in mind is that your kids are eating complete meals, that they love whole foods (not processed) and that they learn at a young age that food is fuel for your body. if you think that cow's milk is the only source of calcium here are some ideas of calcium content in various foods (per 100 grams, unit mg):

kombu 800
hijiki 1,400
wakame 1,300
arame 1,170

seeds and nuts
seasame 630-1,160
almonds 234-282
sunflower seeds 120-140

cows milk 100-118
goats milk 120-129
various cheese 94-850

soybeans 190-226
tofu 120-128
miso 70-180

turnip greens 130 (these are delicious steamed and my kids love them!)
parsley 200
watercress 90
diakon 200

also while breastfeeding I never drank milk, I think some people feel that it's the only thing that turns into breastmilk and without it you can't breastfeed, nonsense...it's more important to eat well and drink water than drinking a cow's milk. I used to crave steamed kale with sunflower seeds (and a bit of olive oil) for breakfast! and I still do...delicious. we use various things for the kids to drink, rice milk, soy milk (we like either eden unsweetened or eden extra) usually a combination of the two and usually adding a bit of water to the content (just like we do any juice). there is always a big debate about what milk is appropriate for kids, and that's just what it is..a debate, you should listen and take part and then do what you think is best, a soy milk story in the newspaper is always interesting...but any new research is just that...research, you have to look to yourself and do what you think is right...and you won't always be right (I hate that!). so please email with your thoughts, the more information the better for all parents!


I am Jen said...

I couldn't drink milk while breastfeeding with my first. It gave her horrible gas and I just got out of drinking it. There are so many other sources of calcium, I don't worry. My other two did not suffer from gas while breastfeeding. I haven't drank milk for almost 5 years now.

karen said...

thanks so much for all the invaluable info. again!
i drank milk religiously during pregnancy and breastfeeding, in the meanwhile gagging. being korean, all those foods you mentioned are already in my diet - the miso, the seaweed. my daughter eats kale sauteed in garlic like it's candy. i have become lax in my milk intake and always feel guilty, but no more!!

e said...

don't forget your magnesium to balance out the calcium!
my mom claims that the reason i refused cow milk as a baby was because that's all she could digest while pregnant. i still hate drinking milk and doubt my children will have any.

bethhalper said...

I'm pondering the various milks for my 18 month old. She is currently drinking too much breastmilk to add a new milk substance into her diet. Wondering what each could give my child. I have not consumed cow's milk for more than 10 years (made my head foggy). I eat cheese and craved yogurt while pregnant. So glad to read about all the other foods that offer calcium. If only my picky toddler would take an interest in them! Any tips on that ??

nonchalant mom said...

here are just a few tips on getting your kids to eat the other calcium rich foods that I have listed:
-you will be surprised how much kids love seaweed, even if you don't, it's crazy especially hijiki and arame.
-toast sesame seeds in an iron skillet, dry, until golden brown, crush them with a mortar and pestol or a suribachis (made for grinding seeds) and put this on top of any foods that you give your children, they love it and you will too! (you will use much less salt!)
-sunflower seeds make a great snack!
-turnip greens are delicious steemed with seasame seeds or sunflower seeds but not easy for kids to eat...let me know if you have any ideas on this!
-my kids love diakon steamed just about as much as they like carrots

these are just some ideas of some foods that are high in calcium, I think if you look into it further there are many more and you will be surprised, I remember that broccoli was high in calcium but couldn't find the amount...but that's an easy one for kids!

good luck!

Lesley said...

I'm glad to see this blog. There are so many other calcium options other than cow's milk.

I stopped all dairy while nursing my first daughter. She had a dairy/soy sensitivity and cried for almost 4 months until I realized what was causing it. She is 3 now and still can't have dairy. We thought she was okay until she started having severe eye pain (like a stabbing pain). Once we cut dairy and beef out of her diet her eye pain went away.

I am again off dairy while nursing my second daughter. I had to eliminate diary, soy and corn with her. She had acid reflux that went away when corn was eliminated! It was easy taking these foods out of my diet as there was less crying in my house! I know a lot of people who's children don't tolerate dairy or soy while nursing.

We use rice milk instead of cow's milk. They also love seaweed, greens, and soy (as long as it's fermented).

Anonymous said...

If you are eating yogurt or other dairy products, you are still eating cow's milk. That doesn't make any sense at all. Changing milk into a different form does not make it anything other than cow's milk. If you decide for health or moral reasons to forgo cow's milk, that's fine, but your logic seems faulty. Also, if you drink organic cow's milk that is growth hormone free, you'll get something more nutritious than a dairy product that probably wasn't made with such strict standards.

nonchalant mom said...

thank you anonymous, and just to be clear I understand that we do eat cows milk in our yogurt and cheese...but as I also said I am not totally strict about our dairy intake, we have just chosen to offer our daily milk intake as rice and soy milk as opposed to cows milk. I am not here to tell what to do, only offer options or ideas on other alternatives.