Who knew feeding your kids whole milk could be a rebellious act?

So here’s a conundrum I didn’t anticipate.  My son came home from school today and asked me what kind of milk we drink.  Immediately anticipating an awkward situation of some sort, I replied cautiously, “Whole milk.  Why?”  I conveniently left out the “raw” part of the equation.

He grinned sheepishly, “Yeah, I thought so.  My health teacher said that whole milk isn’t really that good for you.”

Ah yes.  But of course.  That is the conventional wisdom of the day.  I wouldn’t expect anything else.

I carefully explained that I’ve read evidence that has convinced me otherwise, but most people are misinformed or simply disagree.  I told him not to worry about it, and not to go in telling the teacher that he’s wrong or anything, although I have a sneaking suspicion it may be too late for that.

He nodded as if he understood, and then he went on, “But see.  We’re supposed to keep notes about what we eat all day and then put a check or a check plus or a check minus beside each one.”

HUNH.  Okay then.  Not entirely sure where raw whole milk falls on the check/check-plus/check-minus scale, and entirely convinced that it is one of THE most nourishing things I can feed my son, but not wanting to be one of THOSE parents, and understanding that the teacher is simply teaching what he’s been taught, erroneous though it may be, I am left with a decision to make.

I can just tell my son to go along with it, but to rest assured that I am feeding him nutritious, healthy foods.  Or I can print out a few articles that sum up my position and sent it in by way of explanation.  Or I can actually call and discuss the situation, which I really don’t care to do.  I understand that the text books are going to espouse the low-fat lifestyle that has become so PC over the past 30 years.  I have no desire to take on the establishment over this.  I’m just happy to know that they are trying to teach the kids to make good food choices.  Of course I wish they’d worry less about whole milk and more about sugar and trans fats, but I can go with the flow.  To a point.

Seeing how my son is almost 10, I decided to just ask him flat out.  I told him that I don’t want to embarrass him, but I can either send in some information explaining our food choices for him to give the teacher, or he can just go along with it, assuming it won’t affect his grade or anything.

He said he’ll just play along.  Which is fine by me.  I’m glad he’s chill about it.  Now my daughter, she’ll be terrified she’s going to get in trouble; she’s just wired that way.  But I’ll wait and cross that bridge when I get to it.  Fortunately all she has to worry about at this point is her math facts and her sight words.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll pick up a copy of Nourishing Traditions to give to the health teacher for Christmas.  Perhaps I can make a convert out of him yet.

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26 Responses

  1. We’re a whole-milk-only family and I hope to switch over to raw milk a few years down the road when we can afford it. It’s funny how “stuck” people are in the old way of thinking…and I’ll bet most of them couldn’t even explain why they think they’re right!

  2. Ah,You’re such a rebel! Just wait till my kids get to Middle/High School American History! THAT should be very interesting. This kind of stuff makes me wish schools would just keep to teaching academics, rather than trying to be the parent.

    You did an awesome thing by discussing it with your son to see what he wanted to do. It’s really cool that he trusts you with the nutrition choices, too, you certainly have done your homework

  3. Good call on discussing it with your son. I hate to say it, but that’s just another reason why I’m considering home schooling…. Not that I’m going to for sure (and thank heavens I have another few years on THAT decision) but things like that put a “con” in the ole public school column for me.

  4. Ah we have been there too with my 10 yo and the Healthy Eating activities at school. They had to keep a log of the healthy snacks they brought in for a whole month or something like that. He got dinfed on a couple of things. I really hate having to defend my food choices vs what the school/teacher thinks.
    Oh and also they had a rule you were not allowed to eat any thing else from your lunch until your entire sandwich was finished…so he’d come home with his fruit or veggies because he ran out of time to eat! Um hello in our house we eat a little of this and a little of that so we get some of all that is in the meal.
    (oops sorry you weren’t expecting a big rant 😮 )

  5. Great idea to give the teacher a copy of Nourishing Traditions!

    You mentioned about schools trying to be the parent. Unfortunately there are too many parents who expect that and are totally fine with the school taking over that responsibility.

    I’m glad that your son is such an easy going guy. That’s a trait I wish I had more of!

  6. While it’s nice they are teaching health, totally see your dilemma. I’ll be referring our teacher to you since it’s because of this blog we’re drinking whole milk 🙂

    I’ve told my kids they can buy hot lunch once a week, so we looked at menu. I love that they have all these “garden” vegetables (think even from the school garden), but not happy to see all the “low-fat” verbiage. I think kids’ health should focus on real foods, rather than low fat and low sugar.

  7. Awwww, that’s so cute. I’m exactly the same way as C… I’m wired that way too. Poor dear.

    Anyways, I agree with you for one simple reason: If low fat is the way to go, if it’s so correct, how come we are having an obesity crisis? Furthermore I am basing my opinion on low-fat NOT being the way to go because the brain needs fat, plus REAL food will trigger messages in our brains that we are full/satiated. French Paradox anyone?

    All these chemicals we are using to try and lose weight and be healthier… it just isn’t working. I think it’s making things worse.

  8. I hadn’t even thought of that aspect of it. I know that most people think that while milk is bad, but even I have heard more and more that it is better for you than skim or 2% processed milk.

  9. We drink whole milk here. I only let my kids drink one glass a day, besides what they have in their cereal, so I am definitely not worried about the fat in the milk. We don’t do raw milk, the last price I was quoted was 8 bucks a gallon! There is definitely not room for that in our budget, even with limiting our milk intake. I think your son should write exactly what he eats, put his check plus or whatever next to it, and then see what the teacher says. While I like the idea of teaching kids about healthy food choices, I do not like at all the implication that kids are learning to judge their parents choices. Maybe a kid’s parents can’t afford the ideal foods, or maybe they don’t have the information, but this assignment would make me uncomfortable. But maybe I’m too sensitive.

  10. Nicole, I agree on all counts. On the other hand, so much crap is marketed to kids, and kids beg their parents for crap, and parents give in, so if we can teach the kids to take some responsibility for wanting to make healthier choices… I dunno.

    Ideally, I’d prefer the schools stick to teaching academics and leave the rest of it to us, but I suppose nutrition falls into the science category, if you want to be technical about it, although they are making it more of a social issue.

    As you can see, I’m not exactly decided on this issue. 😉

  11. OH this touches a nerve with me. In our state the schools officially will begin ‘weighing and measuring’ our children then sending a note home to tell me what her BMI is. This crosses a line with me. Her Pedi and I handle this just fine. I suspect they would want me to start spoon feeding them Splenda?

    I have had to operate in ‘secret’ almost on how we are eating. I hate to say it but I think I am becoming one of THOSE parents.

    I think you made the right choice in asking your son what he wants to do.

  12. Ahhh the fun of not going along with the crowd. I’m definitly not looking forward to having to explain my choices to the “higher ups” when the boys are older *sigh*

  13. Hahahahaha I like this story. You are a lot more peaceful than I am!

    I didn’t homeschool. Instead, I was in the public schools fighting with them about their pesticides, nutrition education, punishment policies (corporal punishment is legal in Florida), and general learning conditions for all the hours I would have been spending teaching the 3R’s to my kids. And I let my kids stay home whenever they wanted to, which the schools hated, but since they were such good students, what could they say?

    Imagine, someone can afford breakfast cereal for their children, probably the most extreme ripoff there is in the grocery store, and toxic too, but can’t afford raw milk, probably one of the most perfectly nutritious foods in existence.

    Keep up the good work educating parents, and yourself!

  14. I just want to say that Nourishing Traditions is a great book, but intimidating. When we are trying to educate other people, we need them to at least open the book, so I’d suggest instead either a Weston A Price pamphlet on diet myths or the book Real Food by Nina Planck. So friendly and approachable with solid facts and research.

  15. LOL, that was a joke about Nourishing Traditions, although there are some good ones that I wouldn’t mind giving out as gifts. I didn’t know about those pamphlets. Are they online? I must check them out!

  16. Oh my holy my DD would have a hissy fit and not be chill about it at all! So good luck when those issues come down the road with yours! 🙂

    I’d just send a note that says:
    We have religious issues with this project. We will not be participating.. And watch them turn tail and RUN! Either that or I pull out the diabetic card… they never ask again after that.

    Hey I miss you!! 🙂 how’r things.. apart from the raw milk thing?

    And I once read about how milk over the age of about 5 is causing the American obesity epidemic?? They gave as example thin folks in France who don’t drink any milk, but eat plenty of cheese to get calcium.. blah blah blah.. just playing devil’s advocate here.. 🙂

  17. Sigh. I know what you mean. My mother and mother-in-law are shocked at our whole milk stance. Not worth the arguments with them, but I dread the comments we always get. I sure wish we could afford raw milk. My husband and I were discussing the logic of raw milk costing more when it has gone through less processing than the other. Doesn’t make sense to me. Oh well.

  18. That is SO true. I guess it’s all supply and demand. Sigh…

    I pay $4.50 a half gallon for it. We call it liquid gold. 🙂 I try to be careful with it, and we only drink it with breakfast and maybe one snack, so it lasts as long as possible.

  19. Oh no! I fear I have stumbled into a world in which I cannot hope to compete! Speaking as the other half of the gender war I can only say how much I miss whole milk! I’ve been married for 11 years and from day one whole milk was banned. the only people allowed to have it were our children when they were really young! My own boy came home saying how he didn’t like the milk they had at school because it was whole milk – I despair that he actually prefers drinking yellow water. My younger one tells me off every time I give him oven chips because he learnt about them at School and they aren’t healthy.

    My Wife will not budge on the subject of milk and like the strong masterful, powerful man that I am – I do what I’m told!

  20. p.s. just re-read that — My boy does not prefer drinking yellow water ! White Water is what I meant, as in Skimmed Milk. Yellow water is something else completely that troubles people in the snow and I certainly don’t encourage my children to drink it 🙂

  21. I am sorry to be so late jumping on this bandwagon. I was raised on a farm, drinking whole milk. My mother cooked with it, and used heavy cream when she needed it in a recipe. I never had a weight problem until I was about 50, drinking whole milk all those years. I met and married a delightful man who was convinced by others that 2% was better for you. I switched and gained weight. I think if God intended for us to drink 2% or skim milk, the cows would put it out that way. Since they give whole-fat milk and the heavy cream floats to the top, the whole milk you are left with is what we should drink. That’s my opinion and I am sticking to it!!

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