Why Growing Children Need Organic Whole Milk

By on September 7, 2019


I really stirred up a hornet’s nest the other day with a post I answered on facebook. Someone had written about putting their child on a vegan diet and I replied that I thought it was taking unnecessary chances with your child’s development to eliminate whole milk from the diet of a growing child.

Now I understand there are children who are allergic to milk and they have to find other ways to get the necessary nutriment you find in whole milk, but here is what you do get with whole milk.  Natural fat and protein that make for optimal brain development.  For my family,  we have always had organic whole milk in the refrigerator and encouraged kids to drink as much of it as they wish.

The outcome?  My twin grandchildren, who turned 21 this year, were raised on organic whole milk and they are both smart and svelte.  They were never fat, despite drinking that fat-filled milk.  But what they got from that milk was the fat and protein to nourish their growing brains.  So, as I said in my post,  unless you want to raise a child that is skinny and stupid,  give them organic, whole milk.

Now I may as well have started a forest fire.  I heard from 75 people.  Some agreed with me, but an alarming number of those folks have bought into the new age nonsense that says to stay away from animals, period.  No cows or beef.  No milk or cream. No butter on the vegetables.  Nonsense.  Butter is also quite healthy for brain development.

This is only the latest in the long line of fads I have witnessed in my forty year career as a food writer.  They come and they go, but this prohibition against beef and dairy is particularly dangerous to growing children.

Think about it.  Those cows munch grass and take in all that amazing nutriment from the earth. They then digest it and send it back into the world in the form of whole full fat milk to nurture their own calves, and our own children too.

It is possible for vegetarians and vegans to get all the nourishment they need without beef and dairy, but why would they?  Let that cow do the work.  You get the benefit.

One of those 75 people I corresponded with said she had breast fed her daughter until she was four years old.  I wrote her back and said we could look for that kid to win a Nobel prize with the good grounding she got with mother’s milk.

My cookbook writing partner has a daughter who, when she got to be a teenager, told her mother she was going to become a vegan.  But when her mother pointed out that it didn’t mean a diet of potato chips, the daughter was daunted.  However, she is a smart kid and she did her home work, and came up with a vegan diet that was healthy, but a lot of work.

She didn’t stick with it long.  That craving she had for a hamburger was more than just an addiction.  That was her body crying out for more nutriment.  That kid has grown up and now has three growing boys of her own.  And, like her mother, and me and my family,  she now eats a broad and varied diet of whole, unprocessed foods including plenty of fruits, vegetables, eggs,  meat, fish, butter, and whole grains.   The next generation is looking really healthy.

Just remember that most of these newish fad diets are just to sell some sort of product.  Don’t be hoodwinked.  Shop at a market where you can buy organic produce and dairy and you’ve already done most of the hard work.  Bon Appetit.

Next week,  we’ll tackle the subject of wheat.  Is it great or is it poison?  Learn the difference between facts and fads.

About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”