If you are incorporating organic and low-fat varieties of your favorite diary products into your daily diet, the benefits are immense. At the same time, added hormones and the abundant use of antibiotics in the dairy industry could be wreaking havoc on your health if the products you choose are not organic. When choosing budget-friendly options this is one place you don’t want to skimp!

Part 2 of a 4-part series called Buying Healthy on a Budget 

If you are incorporating organic and low-fat varieties of your favorite diary products into your daily diet, the benefits are immense. At the same time, added hormones and the abundant use of antibiotics in the dairy industry could be wreaking havoc on your health if the products you choose are not organic. When choosing budget-friendly options this is one place you don’t want to skimp!

Hefty Hormones 

Non-organic dairy operations often give hormones to their diary cows to ensure a higher yield of milk.  But the addition of these synthetic hormones pose many health threats, the long-term implications of which are still being studied. Be especially aware of rBGH (Recombinant Growth Hormone), rBST (Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin), and IGF-1 (Insulinlike growth factor).  But the problem doesn’t end with the hormones ending up in our milk.  Most cows treated with rBGH suffer from mastitis (infected or inflamed udders), and higher somatic cell counts (pus), therefore requiring more antibiotics to treat the infections.   Choose milk from organic cows or cows not given growth hormones (generally the label will say “rBGH free”) to assure a glass of milk like grandma used to drink.

Carcinogenic Chemicals 

Scary as it is, there have been traces of perchlorate and dioxins found in milk samples. What are these chemicals and how did they get into your milk?

Perchlorate is the main ingredient in rocket fuel and its presence in milk starts with runoff from military bases, which then contaminates the alfalfa that cows eat. Dioxins are by-products of industrial processes that enter the air and eventually settle on pastureland to be ingested by grazing animals.  Dioxins have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, birth defects, and reproductive damage.   While both may be difficult to avoid all together, choosing milk from pasture raised diary cows grown in a clean environment that you are familiar with, may lessen your chances of ingesting the nasty stuff yourself.

Choose Low-fat Varieties 

If you absolutely cannot afford to buy organic your safest option is to purchase skim and lowest-fat varieties of dairy products. Because carcinogenic chemicals build up in the animal fat, which cannot be removed, high-fat versions of dairy contain the highest amount of these chemicals.

Your Safest Option 

Choose organic. The absolute best way to protect yourself from added hormones, antibiotics, and toxic chemicals is to buy USDA Organic milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products.

Cut the Cost

Buy in bulk, split the cost with a friend, and use your freezer. Buying large amounts at a time will lower the unit price of your items. There is nothing wrong with freezing organic milk, but be sure to date all frozen foods to avoid expiration. Milk will last about 3 months in the freezer.  Be sure to leave some air space to allow for expansion and defrost it over a 12 hour period in the refrigerator.