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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Milkifornia

Local Milk

A month or two ago I started thinking about the real ethics of milk. It's the only dairy that won't be given up in this house - we eat icecream, drink coffee, tea, chocolate milk and soy milk really tends to let me down when I make pancakes and my husband makes bread. Our usual purchases are soy milk - usually Silk, but if it's on sale, but we'll buy other brands too. Quality varies between the brands but not too much to notice.

The problem lies in this: is it more ethical to avoid dairy farming altogether, and buy soy milk that is trucked thousands of miles across the country from subsidized farms? Or support the most local farmers that are genuinely doing their best to sustain an ethical dairy business, thus supporting the larger California economy? The latter makes more sense to me, but I'm still somewhat uncomfortable with drinking "proper" milk.

I haven't imbibed dairy milk regularly since 2004, when a handful of health problems finally came to a head (gallbladder, weight, asthma). Six years later, and I'm eating a completely different diet, mostly homecooked food with a distinct lack of anything junky with extraneous ingredients going into my body. Dairy milk with a California location is available in the supermarket (warning: auto-sounds) we frequent the most. Raw milk has the appealing touch of the rebel, being illegal in 28 other states. So, while this will remain an experiment (I'm still considering soy milk the default option, and still not sure if my body is coping with it properly), it could very well become a permanent fixture in the household. Which marks a distinct change in thinking for me - in all other areas of my life, I'm striving to become more vegan  - eg: beauty products, origin of foods, daytime eating - as it's nearly always the most sustainable choice.

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