This is the first in a monthly series on making small, incremental changes towards a healthier diet prompted by my lunch with Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth. The information I learned from listening to her and reading through her book is, quite frankly, very disturbing. While I have had suspicions that the processed foods we so typically eat and feed our families were not as healthy as real food, the suspected links between genetically modified foods and allergies, ADHD, cancer and autism were alarming. It was time to make some changes.
What is rGBH and why is it in my milk?
In 1994, a growth hormone called recombinant bovine growth hormone (rGBH) was approved by the FDA. This hormone was developed by Monsanto, a $72 billion U.S.-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation to increase the amount of milk a cow could produce by 10 to 15 percent.
While in theory this was a good idea, rGBH has been found to cause many medical problems for the cows (including mastitis, disorders of the uterus, and cystic ovaries) leading to increased use of antibiotics and early death.
The antibiotics that are being administered to these cows are passed on to us through their milk. Studies have shown that overexposure to antibiotics can lead to weakened immune systems.
Also, rGBH milk has up to 10 times more IGF-1 levels than milk without rGBH, a hormone that has been linked to premenstrual breast cancer.
This Month’s Change: Switch to rGBH Free Dairy Products
My daughter drinks milk and eats cheese like it is going out of style. Our family goes through about a gallon of milk, a pack of cheese sticks, and a box of yogurt tubes a week. Making a change in the types of dairy products we consume was the most sensible place to start.
Oddly, for years we have been drinking organic milk – not because I knew back then about the bovine growth hormone, but because 1) I imagined it was more humane for the cows and 2) it lasted longer than non-organic milk (which truth be told, was the real driving force)! How glad I am that we made this decision before my daughter’s birth.
However, despite the organic milk she has been drinking for all of her young life, she was and still is often eating yogurt and cheese made from the rGBH cows. So this month, we are making the change to all organic dairy products.
If you are not using any organic dairy products yet, just take the first step. Choose one dairy product your family uses the most and start there. If organic cheese sticks are not available in your market but organic milk is, make milk your first step forward.
Just make sure the product is labelled “Organic” or “rGBH-free“. Companies such as Stonyfield Farms, Horizon, and Organic Valley produce rGBH-free milk. You can even find it it Walmart these days.
Wanna start with something sinful? Ben & Jerry’s makes rGBH-free ice cream!
Try using this new organic dairy product for one month. If you were able to easily absorb the change into your budget and lifestyle, continue on the journey with me next month as we continue to improve our family’s food supply.
Making a change this month? Please tell us in the comments!