Photos by Carolina King
When my oldest child was around two years old, she became an adventurous eater and would try all sorts of foods. I thought this meant that I wouldn’t have a picky eater, but then three came along, and all of a sudden the way food looked had more influence than the way it tasted.
I couldn’t get my child to eat things that weren’t visually appealing, which meant she started to refuse to eat most protein. I am a strong believer in teaching children healthy eating habits without forcing them to eat things they don’t want, so we got creative and found new ways to add high-protein foods to her diet.
Milk is a simple way to do that, especially if you have a picky eater like mine. Unfortunately not all milk is the same, so even before my child started drinking cow’s milk, I started researching for the best milk I could find.
Quality Starts on the Farm
The quality of the milk your family drinks starts all the way back on the farm. Certified organic milk is our top choice -- and our only choice -- because it comes from cows that eat a diet free of toxic pesticides, don’t receive antibiotics or hormones, and get to spend time outdoors grazing.
In fact, organic milk has more omega-3 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) than conventional milk. This is important because the American diet is very high in omega-6, so drinking organic milk is one more action you can take to help balance omega-3 and omega-6 in our bodies.
CLA is also important to get from food since our bodies cannot produce it. CLA helps maintain overall health by boosting our immune systems, benefiting our cardiovascular health and may help in fighting obesity.
A recent study from Emory University comparing both conventional and organic milk had some shocking results. Not only was organic milk dramatically lower in pesticide residues, but conventional milk had concerning levels of antibiotics, including two antibiotics that had been banned years ago. On the other hand, no antibiotics were found in the organic samples.
There’s no doubt about it: Certified organic milk is simply the smart choice for families concerned about pesticide and antibiotic residues.
Where Does Your Milk Come From?
Last month I had the opportunity to visit an Organic Valley dairy farm and chat with several farmers. I was expecting to confirm what I already knew about organic dairy practices, but what I learned surprised and delighted me.
Organic Valley farmers go beyond the organic industry standards and raise their cows humanely and with respect. For the first time in my life, I toured a farm that didn’t smell bad, where the animals didn’t have tags because the owners knew each cow by name, and where cows got to roam outdoors as long as they wanted.
These cows looked happy, and the way the farmers talked about their cows sounded like when you and I talk about our children: with love and care. See it for yourself!
After touring this farm, I made the decision that our home would buy exclusively Organic Valley milk because not only are we getting organic certified milk without pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or GMOs, but we are also getting milk that comes from happy cows raised with love.
I know this might sound cheesy, but I don’t want to drink milk from a cow who may have suffered in crowded industrial farms, who is one more in a huge herd, and whose life is easily replaced. I want to drink milk from a cow who is free to roam, happy and has owners who care for her.
But Wouldn’t It Be Nice If Milk Had More Protein? Enter: Ultra
On the days my picky eater doesn’t have a huge appetite, she asks for milk. I’ve wished so many times there was an organic alternative with higher protein that I could give her. However, milk is one of those products that hasn’t had much innovation in the last few decades...that is, until now.
Ultra-filtration is a different way to process milk. It separates the fat from the skim, and then the skim gets filtered to remove about 60% of the water plus some of the naturally occurring sugar (also known as lactose). This results in milk that has higher levels of protein and calcium and is lower in sugar.
Then the enzyme lactase is added to convert the remaining sugar left in the milk, making the ultra-filtered milk lactose-free. This part of the process is the same for all lactose-free milk.
Once these steps are finalized, the fat gets added back into the skim milk to turn it into 1%, 2% or whole milk.
Up until recently you couldn’t find organic ultra-filtered milk, but now, thanks to Organic Valley, you can. If you ever wished that milk had more protein and less sugar, and was lactose-free, creamy and certified organic, then Organic Valley’s ultra-filtered milk is going to become a staple in your home, especially if you have little ones who love milk!
If you’re looking for organic ultra-filtered milk Organic Valley is your only option right now, but even if it weren’t, it would be the only brand I would buy since Organic Valley’s milk comes from certified organic, pasture-raised cows who are well-cared-for.
The main differences between ultra filtered milk vs regular milk are that Organic Valley Ultra:
- Has 13 grams of protein (around 50% more than regular milk)
- Has more than 400 grams of calcium (45% more than regular milk)
- Has half the sugar as regular milk
- Is lactose-free
Just by switching to ultra-filtered milk, you can have your picky eater consume more protein and calcium without having to drink or eat any more food. And this is great not only for kids, but for adults too! On those days where you’re on-the-go and don’t have much time to have a good meal, you can drink a glass of Ultra or make a green smoothie using it as your liquid base. I also love to add it to my daily coffee!
Ultra is Picky-Eater-Approved
My kids love ultra-filtered milk because it “tastes like happy cows,” according to my 3-year-old and it’s “the best-tasting milk,'' according to my 6-year-old. As a health-conscious mom, I love it because it has the right amount of sweetness without added sugar (in fact, with even less of the natural sugars in milk) and has the extra protein everyone in our family needs. We have now become an ultra-filtered milk household and no longer buy regular milk.
The best part? You can even get Ultra milk in chocolate, which makes for a great protein treat for the little ones.
Are you feeling excited about this new type of milk?
It’s such a great innovation. Maybe it will become the new staple in your home, too.
Carolina is on a mission to help moms raise happy, healthy and mindful children by sharing positive parenting advice, green living tips, life inspiration, and helping moms realize that they’re not alone on their journey. She believes every mom should raise her kids by listening to her own Mama Instincts® – a motto she lives by.