Grass Fed Milk: If You Drink Milk, You Must Get This One

grass fed milk

Got milk?

Milk every moment!

Milk 100% 

These tag lines are from the most popular marketing campaign in the last 20 years. If you have chosen to give cow’s dairy to your little ones or drink it yourself, you probably ended up debating from time to time which one is better.

That was a very common question when I use to teach in the Ketogenic diet world.

I wrote a book on the ketogenic diet way back in 2014 before keto was known to mainstream health & wellness industry. Today I teach women what’s next after keto…I developed the Going Beyond The Food Method™️ a proprietary methodology that helps women make peace with food and their body. Chronic dieter and body shy women become intuitive eater & body confident women that live a full life unconditionally. If a life without dieting is something that sounds interesting I’d love to meet you.

Back to the topic of  milk. Let’s look at the difference source of milk and understand which one would be best for you.

Today’s milk can be divided into three categories:

  • Conventional (the one found at the corner store or a typical grocery store) and not labeled organic or grass-fed.
  • Organic (labeled with the Canadian organic certification) 
  • Grass fed milk. Grass fed dairy products are the new players in the world of milk although grass-fed dairy is the original.

Conventional Milk

Conventional dairy comes from cows that are raised conventionally which means they are confined to feedlots and fed grains rather than grass. They are potentially treated with antibiotics to treat or prevent diseases. Canada, unlike the U.S. and other countries, prohibits the use of BVH (bovine growth hormones used to increase production of it) for all dairies, whether organic or conventional. So the good news here is that concerns about any growth hormones and its effects on young children do not apply to Canadian milk.

Organic Milk

Organic milk in Canada is certified by the government’s Canada Organic Regime. Typically the organic designation is a federal or country certification process in most country just like here in Canada. 

It is certified as organic if it were produced following organic farming practices. Some of these include obtaining dairy from cows given access to pasture as often as possible, providing them with organic feed that does not consist of any harmful pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers, or genetically modified ingredients, and removing any cows treated with antibiotics from the herd for an extended period.

Grass-fed milk

Grass-fed milk in Canada is not yet certified by the government but industry standards that are being respected to have the mention “Grass-fed”. This is the same as with conventional and organic dairy as the cows have not received BVH (bovine growth hormones). This is also the same with organic milk where the cows have not been exposed to harmful pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers or genetically modified food. The key difference between organic and grass-fed milk is the feed that the animal receives. 

100% grass-fed cow dairy comes from cows that have grazed in pastures year-round which includes the winter and early spring. Animals are free to roam the field to graze all spring, summer and early fall. This brings them back to what their true nature is – being a grazing animal – so they are happier animals. In countries with cold weather,  farmers produce enough hay to supply animals all winter.

Grass-fed animals are the “original” way to raise 4 legged animals. We have only recently begun to introduce grains as a mean of fattening animals and increasing profits. 

Grass-fed milk benefits

Grass feeding improves the quality of cow’s milk and makes the milk richer in Omega-3 fats, Vitamin E, beta-carotene, and CLA (a beneficial fatty acid named conjugated linoleic acid).

  • CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is a type of fat associated with a wide variety of health benefits including immune and inflammatory system support and improved bone mass. As well, it improves blood sugar regulation, reduces body fat and reduces risk of heart attacks.  According to recent studies, you’ll get at least 75 milligrams of CLA from an 8-ounce serving of grass-fed cow’s milk.
  • Improved intake of Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential to humans.  It is necessary for human health because the body can’t make it so you will have to get it through food. Another health benefit that can be obtained from 100% grass-fed cow’s milk is the much higher content of Omega 3 versus Omega 6. Omega 6 is pro-inflammatory. The relatively low ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s in 100% grass-fed cow’s milk is quite unlike the ratio in milk from organic or conventional fed cows, which often fall into the range of 8:1 or higher.

grass fed milk

My recommendation

If you choose to drink milk, the quality — and the nutrition — will likely be far better if it comes from cows raised on pastures instead of grain-fed (organic and conventional).  Now you must be aware that all dairy (conventional, organic and grass-fed) sold in Canada and most dairy products in USA must be pasteurized due to legislation which means it was boiled at a temperature between 63-69 C for up to 30 minutes. This type of regulation is not the case in the USA and most European countries which raise the question as to why such processing happens in Canada.

I would recommend that you first test your tolerance to dairy products as unfortunately a number of people do not tolerate dairy products well. Testing can simply be done by removing all milk products from your diet for a period of 30 days. After the 30 day period, select 1 pure form of dairy such as whole milk and drink it for 2 consecutive meals. Then go back to a non-dairy diet for 48 hrs watching for the symptoms as listed here in this article.

Complete the test for various dairy products that you choose to consume.  If you find that you do tolerate dairy products, I recommend that you consume dairy products from grass-fed cows.

Grass-fed Meat 

Grass-fed animal products are not limited to dairy products but also include meat products. The same benefits associated with grass-fed dairy products will also be present in grass-fed meat and will surpass organic meat products in quality and nutrition. You can read more on grass-fed meat here.

Grass-fed and pasture-raised animal meat and dairy products can be purchased online from the US Wellness  website. US Wellness is a group of family farms that raise exclusively grass-fed and pasture-raised animals and sell their product online. The assortment of products is incredible and excellent quality. You have to check it out!

You can also contact local farmers in your area directly. Another great resource is  EatWild.Com. This site will show you local farmers in your area but you will need to research and find farms that produce grass-fed or pasture-raise meat or dairy products as some farms are organic only.

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Stephanie Dodier

Hello! I'm Stephanie, Clinical Nutritionist, author and host of The Beyond The Food Show and founder of The Beyond The Food Academy . I'm help women become intuitive eaters & body confident!. Get started now with my free Audio Training.

4 Responses to “Grass Fed Milk: If You Drink Milk, You Must Get This One”

  1. DEZ says:

    I have had serious rash on my arms for years but I recently traced it back to caused by milk.
    But after further investigation I discovered it was actually the vitamin carriers that are added to milk to fortify it with vitamins. I have a corn allergy that is triggered when I drink milk.
    They add “butter oil, corn oil, evaporated milk, non-fat dry milk, polysorbate 80, propylene glycol and glycerol monooleate” to milk to act as carrier for the dissolved Vitamin A & D.

    • stephanie says:

      Hi Dez,

      Thank you very much for the feedback. Totally right all the vitamin you see listed on the side of the milk jug are actually chemical added since all nutrition is destroyed thru the pasteurization process. Organic milk is free of all this! Thank you for sharing !

  2. Natalie says:

    Hello, I am wondering about the part “confined to feedlot and fed grains” just because I have worked at two conventional dairy farms and one of them pastured. Additionally, both used hay and silage in addition to grain and I’m quite sure this is the common practice. Also, it isn’t correct to use the term feedlot to describe a dairy barn because that is a word meaning they are fattening them up to be used as food. Dairy cattle are given lots of food but it’s to maintain production, not to fatten them. In fact, many have a thin look in stark contract to their beef-producing relatives. Noticing these sticky little issues makes me hesitant to trust the accuracy of the rest of the information given.
    I would like to switch to organic milk if it really does mean more pasture time for the animals. Grass-fed milk is not yet in stores in my area (Alberta). I have tried organic milk before though and found the taste a little concerning. It tastes incredibly farmy to the point of tasting the way a farm smells. I have tried fresh, unpasteurized, unfiltered milk while milking and it was nothing like that. I don’t hate the taste, it just makes me wonder if it’s produced in an unclean way or something.
    I wish the government would make its animal treatment laws better and then none of it would be a problem.

    • stephanie says:

      Hi Nathalie,

      Thank you very much for taking the time to leave your comment. I really appreciate feedback. You will reassure to know that organic products and farming is standardized by federal legislation both ensuring processes of production and quality of product therefore their shouldn’t be any concerned about the quality of the products. If you have experience “taste” issue in the past I would suggest you try another brand as often the taste the milk is highly impacted by the feed the animal receive.

      To your point organic milk doesn’t mean the animal has received more outdoor time or pasture. Organic simply mean that no antibiotic, hormones have been used and animal was fed organic feed. In most cases organic milk i produced from cows that have been fed mostly organic grains. So the taste of the milk will be different from cows that have been fed pasture.

      Grass fed milk is available in most state in US and now in some province in Ontario. I would recommended you refer to your local chapter of the Weston A Price foundation to find local source of pastured and grass fed milk and animal products. They got me connected with amazing farmers here in Canada and also in the US where I live sometimes.

      To your point there is no legislation both federally and provincially in Canada on how animal are to be feed. So to your point it’s an individual approach based on each farmer belief and method of production. At this time today dairy animal that are 100% pasture and grass in Canada are rated and to be cherish.

      Thank you again for your comment