I have tried both coconut milk (decent) and almond milk (did not like at all although I love almonds and almond butter). I really want to add milk (cow) back and would like your opinion on my best store bought (TJ's or Whole foods) option. I used to drink at least a gallon a week of 1% and have never had any problems with the dairy factor to my knowledge (German/many euro countries decent, I'm a European mutt). I love the taste and also the easy liquid calories I can add to my diet as I am active and trying to gain weight. Thanks!
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Get the non-homogenized cream top milk from Trader Joe's. Not sure where you are, but it's readily available in California stores. It comes from Strauss Family Creamery (despite the TJ label), an organic outfit out of Northern California that uses pastured cows on supplemental organic feed. The same stuff is available in Whole Foods in glass bottles for a higher price.
The very best is local raw milk. (whole) You may find it in Farmers Markets & Food coops, depending in the State. Whole Foods? Not sure. Goats milk is good, too.
Next is kefir made from 100% grass-pastured, hormone & antibiotic-free pasteurized, whole milk. Preferably from Jersey cows.
Then whole milk as above.
If you have to stick to store-bought milk, I'd personally stay away from raw (even if you can get it). I trust local farms I've visited, but there are so many variables in transport to stores that I'd be wary.
So, the options. I'd look for whole, local/grassfed, UN-homogenized milk (cream-top) that's not ultra-pasteurized (UHT pasteurized). If it just says "pasteurized" then it's been heated to a lower temperature, which is better for the nutrient profile. I think cultured dairy is better, but it sounds like you're looking for fluid milk for drinking. That's how I'd go.
I'm not sure where you live, but at our Whole Foods we can get a couple of varieties of pastured, non-homogenized milk--one in a glass bottle and one in a cardboard container.
Note on goat milk from groceries--often it's UHT pasteurized, so if you can tolerate it I'd go for something like the above.
If you find it in your area, I have been very happy with the unhomogenized whole milk - in glass bottles! - from Natural by Nature.
Well the basics are pretty basic. Milk that's truly organic, without added hormones etc. and raised on pasture. A local dairy is probably a good bet over national brands. Perhaps this list will be helpful:
In particular, they were reasonably happy with Whole Foods 365 brand.
We can't get un-homogenized here, so we're thinking of getting skim and cream and making our own 'whole' milk.