how i got off milk

let me just say that before becoming a vegan, I LOVED MILK.
i thought milk was the perfect food.  i always envisioned happy cows chilling in pastures and being milked by some maid or someone else just as sweet.
and boy was i wrong.

the life of a dairy cow in the united states is one of the saddest things i know of.

in order for a cow to produce milk, it has to be pregnant and so dairy cows are constantly being impregnated.  when they do give birth they are not allowed to bond with their baby at all.  the baby is removed right away and mommy is back on the milk machine.
baby's fate is not very good if baby is a male.
most likely sold as veal if it lives long enough to make it to auction.

mommy is back on the milk machine and given large amounts of antibiotics and hormones to keep that milk flowing.  so much so that her udder is hugely out of proportion to her size and her legs are bowed just to support it.  her back aches and i'm sure her heart is broken wondering where her baby is.  tests taken after a cow gives birth and her baby is removed show that stress hormones are running rampant through her body.
after all she is a mommy.

so much for the happy dairy farm of my imagination.

so this is what i drink now.
trader joes almond milk.
it is delicious, creamy and
it is good for you
and for cows.
buy it.




  1. Oh gosh, Janet, I wish I hadn't read this---now I have to do some serious thinking. I have always had vegetarian leanings, but I actually never thought cows milk was problematic for the cows. This is a real eye opener, and I have heard that almond milk is wonderful. It's going at the top of my grocery list, thanks!

  2. Hello Janet:
    In a world of exploding population numbers, producing food sufficient to feed everyone inevitably leads to some difficult and, at times, distasteful, decisions. You highlight just one here,but we rather suspect that many more horror stories could be told. And, perhaps even more depressing, is that in these financially challenging times, feeding families at an affordable price is more challenging every day.

    We certainly do not profess to have any answers, just more questions, but choices have to be made and, the least we can hope is that more and more people are being more informed about the choices which they do make about the food they eat.

  3. I prefer almond milk and soya milk anyway but do you know what put me off milk? Bringing it in still warm from the cow when I was young, yuksville!

  4. Agreed. I never liked milk and it always made me feel sick as a kid.
    Almond milk is delicious and low in calories. It can be substituted for milk in baking too.
    Those poor cows. I'm thinking back to the years I spent breastfeeding my kids and I just feel terrible for those mommy cows. It's terrible: their artificially enlarged udders (so painful!) and their inability to give their milk to those babies it was intended for!
    Great post Janet! xo

  5. Oh that said, I'm afraid I'm a double cream fanatic!

  6. What are the ingredients in the almond milk?

  7. here here!

    I really can't do dairy that much anymore. I'm vegetarian, but not vegan, but definitely have vegan leanings.

    This morning, I'm drinking coffee w/ rice milk and toast w/ almond butter. I seriously don't need anything else! I definitely do NOT miss dairy! It's so easy!

  8. and once you go almond milk, you can't go back. It's SO tasty. Milk, now, to me (I'm talking plain, blech) is so gross tasting. Almost sour. Gross.

  9. Hi Janet,

    I have reduced my dairy consumption drastically, partly due to reading your blog but also since my daughter went vegan.

    I keep my fridge stocked with soy milk and almond milk. The little dairy I do have in my fridge is organic. Although it doesn't have the hormones,etc. I assume there has to be a similar process of getting the cows to produce the milk... :/


  10. I'm curious, do you substitute almond milk when a recipe calls for milk or do you use something else? I love milk, but I know it isn't good.


  11. father and grandfather owned a dairy so milk and butter have always been a part of our diet...but times are different...this certainly has me thinking. Jane and Lance as always bring up some excellent points. I must give almond milk a try---it's interesting that several people actually prefer the taste. As always Janet, your photo is so beautiful and i wouldn't doubt if sales of almond milk go up!

  12. Y'all,

    Almond ice cream is creamy and delicious. See
    Almond Dream

    You might also be interested in the

    "Forks Over Knives" screening
    The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine


    101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian - 9th Edition - 2011

  13. betty - almond milk is made up of almonds, water and sugar. please give it a try.

    amber - i use almond milk for all my baking and cooking. i will use soymilk too. but i prefer almond milk.

    annie - yes, times sure have changed.

    ko - i've only seen the trailer for forks over knives. looking forward to seeing the whole movie.

  14. Said so well. Oh...makes me so sad. I don't know why everyone can't see the suffering caused by us eating animals. There is no need for it. Thanks for this post maybe it will cause a few to change their ways. I hope so.

  15. I grew up in a large family on a budget and Mom was a big fan of powdered milk (ick), so I have not really missed it since going vegan. I don't like the taste that soy milk adds to recipes, but have never yet been disappointed with rice milk. Good over cereal too. Very light and just slightly sweet.

  16. Why can't things go back to the way they were when we were young? Where farmers were local, small, organic and ethical and their animals were revered and treated with respect like family?

    I only drink milk in my tea so that makes me party to this cruel practice. I feel very sad now that some mommy cow has lost her baby so that she can give me a tablespoon of milk for my tea.

    I am going to see if our local organic dairy does this with their cows. They are a small firm and they bottle their cream and milk in glass bottles. I am going to get on the phone and check.

  17. Jeez, after reading that I don't know how I can ever buy milk again. I do prefer soymilk in my coffee, guess it's time to make a total conversion.

  18. that is horrible!! I absolutely LOVE milk but I will give this a try. I've had Soymilk and really disliked it so hopefully almond milk is tastier :) Thanks for the wake up call!

  19. Commercial milk production is terrible! I think, though, that the seperation of calf and cow happens only once. For the milk producer, pulling a cow for a gestation period wouldn't be cost effective. As long as you keep a cow milked, she'll produce more.
    Like human mothers.

  20. While this is true for most commercial milk, you do an injustice to the small farmers who work hard to respect the animals, the land and the people who will eat their products. If you talk to most small farmers they will tell you how much they love and care for their livestock, not merely as a milk machine or meat on legs, but as an active contributor to the farm. I understand that as a vegan you are against consumption of all animal products, but with some research it is possible to find sustainable and ethically produced products.

  21. This was all perfectly said Janet. Dairy, especially milk and cheese, were the hardest things for me to give up when I chose to become vegan. As much as I loved these, the decision to give them up was a no-brainer. We would never tolerate this behavior towards's beyond me why society thinks it's acceptable to treat animals so inhumanely.

    Thanks for talking about this ~

  22. Our family also enjoys coconut milk.

    Does anyone know about the label on the front of Bordens cheese products that states the cows are from family owned farms,as well as our Whole Foods offering a milk that states the cows are also from family farms. My husband still loves his milk and I don't mind it from time to time as long as it's from happy mommy cows. I'm really sincerely wondering.

    Sincere thanks ahead of time for anyone who may know.

  23. As always I appreciate your commitment. I have been a fan of almond milk (I am allergic to soy products) for several years now, but use very little milk or milk substitutes anyway. I will never profess to be a vegan or even a vegetarian for that matter (it is a constant battle within). I do so admire your stand and have become more aware of what I eat and where it comes from since following you.

  24. It seems milk production is a very sad state of affairs in the US, so I understand everyone on here being reluctant to use milk products. It explains why we keep hearing about veganism from the States, which struck me as a little strange in the past.
    We are lucky indeed to have many small local milk producers and to be able to fetch our milk fresh from the farms and dairies and to know that all the products we are buying come from the cows we see grazing the fields around us and in the nearby mountain pastures, more often than not these days in mixed herds of cows, calves and a bull and also often the older breeds rather than the milk "machine" cows. Because of this, I will continue to drink milk and eat yogurt and cheese but it would be nice to know it was the same everywhere in the world!

  25. Almond Milk has been my savior and I'm losing weight! The shakes and hot chocolate described below I have several times a day and it has stopped all binging and gies me energy! I make my own almond milk: 1/2 cup of raw almonds soaked overnight. Remove the skins and place in blender with two cups cold pure water, blend and strain in cheese cloth or strainer. Voila! Almond milk with no additives. Yeah! Homemade only lasts about two days or so in the fridge so I make it every few days to be fresh! Janet, you recently had a piece on low calorie snacks... I use Almond Milk shakes to curb my appetite, give me energy and STOP all cravings--it is working!!!
    Banana shake: 1/2 frozen banana -cut in small pieces, 1/2 cup unsweetened Almond milk, 1 cup cold pure water, 1 tbs unsweetened soy or rice protein powder, stevia to taste. Blend and enjoy!
    Strawberry shake, substitute several frozen strawberries (cut up in small pieces) for the banana or just add to banana shake
    Chocolate shake: add 1-2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder to banana shake
    Chocolate milk: Omit fruit, add 1/4 cup extra water and 2-3 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder to shake receipe, heat and enjoy by the fire!
    These "snacks" are less than 100 calories and have been a life saver for me in my quest to get in shape with a new body, new energy and healthy chemistry on all levels. Love your site!

  26. Another inspiring post, thank you Janet. I support an organisation who particularly campaigns for farm animals rights. Their slogan is "I am what I eat and I don't swallow misery" Pam Johannesburg South Africa

  27. Personally, I've never liked milk, ever. So going without is no problem.
    Another horror story is premarin. A few years ago my Dr. prescribed it. Filled the prescription once and never used it after googling to learn more about it. The animal cruelty involved in producing that drug just horrified me. I decided I could live with hot flashes easier than participate in such cruel treatment of animals. Thankfully, flashing wasn't too bad in my case. Thanks for the info on almond milk for baking!

  28. The other sad fact is that dairy cows have a life expectancy of 12-20 years. but your average dairy cow dies at 5. I called our local milk producer, Clover, the only dairy in the U.S. that has the Humane Society's Seal of approval and asked if this was the case. And were the cows kept (imagine being constantly artificially inseminated by a creature not even of your species!) pregnant, babies taken away, sold to veal farms(or other meat indrusties), only to be sold to slaughter themselves by age 5. They truthfully answered, yes, this is the way of it. Onn the bright side, I LOVE my other milks, and Hazelnut milk is the creamiest and dreamiest! Thank you Janet for sharing your knowledge.

  29. Janet--great-great-great post! so good you are educating people - i never liked milk as a kid but my husband did and he drank it as an adult too. but we have been using almond or soy or rice milk for years. NOW Trader Joe's Almond Milk is our favorite.
    EVERYONE please go see Forks Over Knives. We saw it last spring. It's an eye opener.

    Dr McDougall explains how dairy products are bad for colon health. As if we need another reason
    besides cruelty to cows to avoid milk & dairy! The dairy protein paralyzes the bowel activity!

    Christine--natural progesterone & bio identical hormone replacement is the way to go.

  30. I am not one of those best readers, but I always read..

    and learn.

    xo jane

  31. Well said, Janet. Makes me happy I haven't had milk (of any kind) in many, many years. Keep informing us! Karin

  32. Janet, I just discovered almond milk as I have GERD and need to cut out dairy. Besides, it's bad for our bones. I buy Pacific brand because we don't live near a TJ's but can't wait to try it. On another note, when do we see a pic of your (gray) hair??? Allegra

  33. I am all for almond milk...our family grows almonds!

  34. I'd be interested to know about commercial almond growing for oil and milk - how many chemicals and machines are used, what kind of labour etc. etc.? Surely this is also intensive farming that is not so good for our planet? Maybe Kim can tell us more...

  35. I looove my milk. My uncle was a dairy farmer many years ago. I'm pretty sure that the cows in Australia are a treated a fair bit differently and are happier than you describe. I only buy organic milk or the A2 milk (which has a special protein, and is also organically produced) I send my message about no additives in the milk by buying this way. I've looked but never found almond milk in our small outback town grocery store, I just know I would love it - being an almond lover, and I should try to make my own to assist with my weight. I'll try some of the recipes above.

  36. I would follow you anywhere and sing your praises too.
    gives new meaning to "milk maid's a milking"

  37. The Harvard study says people who ate lots of bacon, BBQ meats & chicken had lots
    more breast cancer, endomeitrial cancer. fish is bad too.

    women who ate the most meat had the highest rates of breast cancer.

    the nurses study found women who ate lots of diary had triple the rates
    of colo-rectal cancer 20 years later.

    parkinson's is correlated with high intake of dairy.

  38. Thank you for this post, Janet. When I was in Wisconsin working this past summer, I saw dairy farm after dairy farm. Cows put into narrow stalls and being milked constantly. It breaks my heart. And, as a vegetarian, the thought of veal or beef makes me so very sad indeed.

    I wish TJ's was closer to us. The nearest one is an hour away.


  39. People might also want to try hemp milk (very nutritious) and soy milk.

    Please consider somehow becoming a more formal spokesperson for animal rights issues. The way that you write about these issues is uniquely powerful and non-threatening. It's a gift. I am a donor to and member of PETA, The Humane Society and other animal rights groups, but your message is even more effective than theirs. Your way of speaking reaches people who might not be oriented toward animal issues, and it doesn't put people on the defensive. I wonder if you might find ways to volunteer with national (or state or local) animal rights organizations in a way that lets your voice have even more of an impact. Please do keep posting like this on your blog. You've already saved the lives of dozens of dairy cows just based on reading the number of commenters who you've gotten to think about this issue. Congratulations!! And the cows thank you!

  40. as you or one of your readers posted before I don't understand how raising animals to eat doesn't upset everyone. every animal has a distinct personality as we see with our dogs and cats. i used to keep rats as pets and they are sweet and affectionate and smart and clean.

    it is such a horrible shame we turn our heads when it
    comes to farm animals. cows are very gentle animals, pigs have higher IQ's than dogs and hens are sweet and loving.

  41. Janet,
    Your posts are always interesting. It's hard to face facts about how our consumption affects other living creatures. I am not a big milk drinker, but it's funny that I did just buy Trader Joe's Whole Milk last week and I have been thinking it was so good and rich. Now I don't think I can finish the carton. I do personally love Vanilla Soy Milk on cereal-but I've never bought the plain--I suppose I'll have to try it now. Do you think Trader Joe's checks out/is aware of this dairy practice? Or do they support more humane practices?

  42. brenhna - very pretty name btw. i highly doubt trader joes cares about dairy farming practices. today, organic seems to be the biggest concern. a lot of people think that if something is organic then it is humane and that is just not the case. i wish it were that simple.

    -Suzanne in Illinois

  44. Food...or almond milk, for thought.


    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  45. I have tried the almond milk and like putting in my cake mix, gives a nice flavor to it.
    I like milk. My grand dad drank a glass a day until he was 96.
    I was researching parkinsons and found that the drug
    tetrahydroisoquinolines found in dairy products may be a potential cause of the disease. I wish tampering with the food would stop, cantaloups have even killed people in the last month. Scarry.

  46. When our children were growing up, we milked our own dairy goats. It was quite possible to let the kid stay with mama goat and we still got enough milk for our family. It wasn't necessary to rebreed every year as the regular milking schedule kept it flowing.

    We all have to make conscience choices and I can securely say that I sleep well at night knowing that my goats led wonderful lives and retired on our homestead.

    Sometimes the answer isn't in the grocery store.

  47. I'm going to give almond milk a try today. Is it good in coffee (about the only time I use milk? BTW, I like shopping at Trader Joe's because I don't have to invest a lot of time going up and down 20 aisles mostly filled with things I'll never use. Jo @ Let's Face the Music

  48. Your readers might be interested in the book I'm currently reading. It's called 'Eating' by Peter Singer and Jim Mason. It looks at the eating habits of three families and investigates where the food comes from and then suggests how to make ethical food choices. It's very easy to read and very educational.

  49. Almond milk is delicious. Sometimes I add cinnamon.
    It's a great alternative to dairy. TJ prices it well at $2.99.
    Love your style!

  50. Yes! I grew up drinking tons of milk. And I am a former cheese addict. No more. The ugly truth behind the dairy industry alone should be enough to make anyone vegan. It certainly did me. Thanks for helping people make more informed choices!

  51. Thanks, Janet,
    Just bought my first carton on almond milk; I am going to give it a try.


  52. i drink raw milk,
    from local cow (singular herd)
    that i own a share of.
    no hormones. no homogenizing.
    it's healthy. :o)

    it's a growing trend . .

  53. I am happy to say I live in a country where you can still find farming without the industry. Having returned from two weeks in the country side, watching plenty of calves drinking milk from their mother-cows and adult cows grasing all day long. No more than 5 to 10 cows on a barn. Driving through the country side I found lots of farms with the logo "Fair Milk"at their barn-doors. I know the logo from the supermarkets, where I can buy the milk - in the big city, 350 km away: "Fair milk" costs 1.15 EUR instead of the average 90 cent. Not a high price to pay. And the animals hava a life.

    It's the same in some regions in France. I support those farmers as good as I can by buying their products.


kindness is never out of style.

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