I’ve always loved drinking milk. For years I used to have a glass before bed (and still do sometimes!), and my love of milk has definitely passed onto my girls, at 4 and 7, they still drink a lot of milk, and it’s always been a part of our bedtime routine. I have continued to buy them whole milk beyond their toddler years as they love the creaminess of it, and it is more nutritious, because the cream contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
I have been having pangs of conscience lately about not ensuring that I am buying free-range milk. I always buy free-range eggs and chicken, and more and more I’ve been trying to buy local meat rather than always lumping it into my supermarket shop.
I live in Devon and we are surrounded by idyllic looking fields of cows grazing on the lush green Devon grass. But the reality is that most of the cheaper milk we are buying in the supermarkets is not from these cows. It’s not easy to find free-range milk in a supermarket, so I am happy to have discovered the Arla organic free-range milk which is clearly labelled, and available in lots of the big supermarkets. I’ve now made a decision to put free-range milk high onto my agenda. We get through a lot of milk, probably about 12 pints a week, and as well as considering the wellbeing of the cows, there are also scientifically proven health benefits to choosing organic, free-range milk.
Is organic, free-range milk a healthier option?
Whole, unskimmed milk is one of the most nutritionally complete foods that you can consume, it is full of protein, vitamins and minerals- this is why it is recommended to make up a large part of the diet of young children who are moving away from breast-milk or formula. One of the health benefits of milk lies in its omega-3 fatty acids which have a whole host of health benefits– organic milk has been shown to have on average 50% higher levels of omega-3 than non-organic (you can read more about the studies involved here and here). Considering how much milk my family gets through, it seems the logical choice to switch to the more nutritious option.
Who are Arla?
I was interested to read more about Arla. I was not previously aware that Arla is actually a farmer-owned co-operative, who very much believe that happy cows are healthy cows. What this means for the Arla cows is that not only are they free-range, which means that they graze outside as much as possible (on average, over 200 days a year), but that by being organic, in addition to already high standards, additional standards are met on animal welfare, caring for wildlife (and bee-friendly), sustainability and production quality. The Arla cows graze outdoors on grass and clover, with no additional weed-killers or artificial fertilisers.
Talking to our children about the difference between free-range and organic
How can we explain this to our children in a way which makes sense to them? It’s quite easy for us in Devon, as we see so many cows in fields that the children are able to easily grasp the concept of free-range. They are also aware of the importance of bees and wildlife biodiversity, so explaining to them that by avoiding fertilisers and weed killers on the grass that the cows eat, not only does it assist with wildlife conservation, but it means that the cows aren’t ingesting these chemicals.
How does the taste compare?
My girls put the Arla milk to the test and loved it! My 7 year old said she thought it tasted sweeter than the normal milk that we buy, and my 4 year old said that she likes knowing that it’s from happy cows!
Arla will be hosting a Twitter party on Wednesday 19th July at 8pm to talk more about family food. You can join in using the hashtag #ArlaOrganicFreeRange and by following @ArlaDairy on Twitter
Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with Arla, all opinions are my own, honest and truthful.