How Organic Milk Nourishes Your Organic Lifestyle

Every day you face many choices, from what to eat and drink to where to go and how to get there. When you choose an organic way of living, you make a positive impact on your family, your community and our planet. Every day, there seems to be a new food that claims to best power your clean-eating lifestyle, but oftentimes, organic living is really about getting “back to the basics.” You want local, natural and simple options that you can feel good about.

Real organic milk is an important staple that is part of a wholesome diet for both kids and adults. However, with so many other “milk” options available, it can be challenging to make sense of what the best choice may be for your family. Seemingly healthy choices may have added sugar, additives and other hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Organic milk is a simple choice that fits your lifestyle because organic standards reflect what you want from your food. They determine how farmers care for their cows and how they choose to farm. The feed and pasture must be organic — genetically modified crops and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are not allowed — and organic dairy farmers do not use growth hormones or antibiotics.

These farming practices deliver farm-fresh organic milk to the grocery store. Buying organic milk means you are buying certified foods that are farmed with methods that integrate cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity.

Organic Dairy Milk Nutrition vs. Non-Dairy Options: What’s the Difference?

If you are shopping for organic foods and beverages, it’s important to pay attention to nutrition labels. Real organic dairy milk is remarkably simple — organic milk, fortified with vitamins A and D — so you always know what you get when you pour a glass. Other non-dairy options often have more than 10 ingredients, including added salt and sugar, and stabilizers and emulsifiers like locust bean gum, sunflower lecithin and gellan gum.

If you are considering plant-based alternatives to dairy milk because you’re a vegetarian, there are real nutritional benefits when you add organic milk at meals. It’s naturally nutrient-rich like no other beverage. It’s an excellent source of calcium, a complete protein and contains other essential nutrients that can be hard for vegetarians to add to their diets. In addition, substituting milk with non-dairy calcium sources like fortified soy milk and leafy greens can lead to gaps in other key nutrients like protein, vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin B12.

While plant-based alternatives, including almond, soy and coconut, are labeled as milk, it’s in name only. This is because milk has a standard of identity (as defined by the Food and Drug Administration) which includes that milk is obtained by milking cows, rather than harvesting crops.

Take soy milk for example: It’s made from soybeans and filtered water, but also contains added ingredients including sea salt, sugar, natural flavors and thickeners, such as gellan gum. Like many other plant-based beverages, soy milk is often fortified, and have different amounts, of nutrients that naturally occur in milk. There’s just no substitute for organic milk, and here are other differences on the nutrition labels to consider:

  • Almond Milk vs. Real Milk: If you want more protein in your diet, you’ll find as much as eight times more naturally occurring, high-quality protein in every serving of real milk. One reason people may choose almond milk is because they believe it contains a significant amount of almonds. However, many brands contain as little as two percent almonds, which is the equivalent of just three to four whole almonds in each 8-ounce glass, as calculated from data from the Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Database. The amount of almonds can be determined based on the amount of protein in the beverage compared to the amount of protein almonds provide.
  • Soy Milk vs. Real Milk: Few plant-based options can match the full natural nutrient package — including calcium, potassium and B vitamins — that makes real milk one of the original superfoods. Both real dairy milk and soy milk are fortified with vitamin A and vitamin D, but the leading brands of original soy milk [1] [2] have added calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B12, nutrients that are naturally occurring in dairy milk. It also contains other added ingredients, including sea salt, sugar, natural flavors and thickeners, such as gellan gum.
  • Coconut Milk vs. Real Milk: Some people choose coconut milk for its calorie count, but more than half of those calories are from fat, most of it as saturated fat. It contains more saturated fat than reduced fat milk (2%), lowfat milk and fat free milk. It also often has added sugar and contains less than one gram of protein per serving.

Knowing these differences between milk alternatives and real organic dairy milk can help you make an informed choice for you and your family.

What Makes Organic Dairy Farming Organic?

Following the organic way of eating means you are interested in where your food comes from, as well as how ingredients are farmed. Many Americans consider sustainable foods and farming practices important factors when choosing food for their families. Making these straightforward yet effective dietary changes also means you work to help create a better world for you, your children and future generations.

This interest in clean eating has resulted in an increase in organic farming. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of certified organic farms in the United States increased 11 percent to 14,217, and the number of certified acres of land dedicated to organic farming also increased 15 percent to 5 million, as reported by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, part of the USDA.

Thanks to innovative farming methods, both conventional and organic dairy farmers are better stewards of the pasture and key to the farm-to-table movement, responsibly producing milk, cheese and other dairy products while continuously working to develop a more sustainable food system now and for future generations.

From what cows eat to how farmers care for their cows governs how organic milk is produced. Organic dairy farmers follow strict standards established by the USDA that determine sustainable farming practices. These methods integrate innovative farming practices to foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity. When you choose organic dairy milk, you can be sure farmers don’t use synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified (GMO) crops or feed for their cows. 

What Are the Organic Milk Nutritional Benefits?

The benefits of organic milk mirror the benefits of all dairy milk. Every glass contains nine essential nutrients, including high-quality protein along with calcium, potassium and vitamin D — three nutrients of public concern as outlined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Many Americans, including children, lack appropriate levels of these nutrients in their diets. Organic milk is a naturally nutrient-rich beverage that includes B vitamins for energy, high-quality protein for lean muscle, vitamin A for a healthy immune system and five bone-building nutrients, including calcium and potassium.

No matter which type of organic milk you choose, from whole to fat-free or lactose-free, each packs the same nutrient punch.

When you want to nourish your body and mind, as well as help the planet, reaching for organic milk is a great choice. Real milk can add so much more to your recipes, as well as your glass. Here are five delicious ways to pour more milk at mealtimes.

1. Tropical Smoothie Bowl

Bring the taste of the tropics to the table and serve a luxuriously creamy green smoothie bowl.

2. Acai Bowl

Add this Brazilian berry to the mix to take your morning smoothie to the next level.

3. Vanilla Cinnamon Flavored Milk 

Add vanilla and cinnamon to a glass of milk for an unexpected and tasty twist.

4. Pressure Cooker Chicken Corn Chowder Recipe

This creamy chicken corn chowder is a delicious dish all year long. It’s a quick way to warm up a cold night, or you can use fresh corn from the summer farmers market. 

5. Squeeze Freeze Ice Cream Recipe

Here’s a simple way to make homemade ice cream from scratch, without a machine.


[1] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2016. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28 and supplemented with nutrition information from nationally available brands.

[2] Product formulation will differ by brand, flavor and fat content, so ingredients may vary.