Thursday, February 11, 2010
Iron and Vitamins A&D:
Natural milk is really poor in iron whereas iron is a vital element for blood cell formation. Drinking lait de croissance helps children develop stronger white cells, helping them build up their immune system.
Lait de croissance is also loaded with vitamins A and D, which, unlike in the US. are not automatically added to regular milk. Some brands start to offer vitamins A&D-enriched milk but it's relatively new.
Fewer milk proteins
Lait de croissance does not have as many proteins as regular milk. Since children metabolism can not be overloaded with proteins, this milk enables them to eat fewer milk-based proteins (in France, it is recommended that children drink about 500ml of milk per day until age 2). It is also low-fat.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 supplements
Lait de croissance is enriched in Omega 3 and Omega 6 which are said to help with brain development in young children (and adults!)
Since I was living in the US, I did not have the option of lait de croissance; I therefore went straight to whole milk. But then, I was debating whether I should buy organic milk or just regular milk? I went with organic for a few reasons:
- To be labeled "organic" in the US, milk has to come from cows that have not been treated with bovine growth hormones (rBGH) or antibiotics. In most European countries, it is prohibited to feed synthetic growth hormones to cows... and I feel that if Europeans and Canadians are banning it (the same way they ban GMO crops), there should be compelling underlying scientific reasons, not just economic reasons.
- Cows milk for their organic milk are also fed a diet free of pesticides and fertilizers (be it grass or grains). It's therefore better for the environment (this is one of my green contributions!!)
- Some organic milk, especially on the East coast, comes from smaller independent farms. I personally think that it's worth spending a few extra dollars and help support small farmers.
If I had been living in the countryside, able to know the farmer supplying my milk, I might have gone for regular milk instead provided that it was rBGH free. I have eyed at "raw milk" at a small farm stand at the Reading Terminal market a few weeks ago. Part of me was thinking that I should do what my grand-mother used to do while in her village in Normandy (see picture) , ie. purchase raw milk and then boil it to kill whatever there was to be killed (and keep the cream to make delicious shortbread cookies).... but I am not sure that my vet-husband would approve (his grand-mother used to do worse than mine by the way: she would drink the milk raw...but then again, she is in her mid-90s and never got sick from drinking that milk!!!)...
I think that, as usual, it's a trust issue. Trusting that a label will buy you quality...Trusting that you feed your children something that is not going to affect their health in the longer term. I might purchase organic milk for the wrong reasons and not be consistent all along (not all dairy products I purchase and serve to my children are organic!)... but at least feeding them organic milk gives me a sense of peace... and I therefore sleep better at night doing it!
What do you do? Do you purchase organic milk for your children? For yourself? Why?
* Since the euro-dollar exchange rate changes a lot, it does not make sense to convert the prices; it just gives you and idea of how more expensive lait de croissance is. I used the online supermarket www.ooshop.com for a reference but keep in mind that online prices are a little bit more expensive that what we could find in a large supermarket. FYI 1 litre = 33.8 Fl oz..