I’m scowling at the milk in the Whole Foods dairy case. Mom’s not pumping at work anymore, so 1-year-old Champ gets cow’s milk, and I fill a boy up with premium. The whole point of this grocery run is to score a half-gallon of organic DHA Omega-3 whole milk.
Yes, becoming a parent turned me into a hippie. I grew big and strong on bovine hormones, antibiotics and genetically modified sugars. It’s too late for me. But over time I began developing vague notions like “we use too many pesticides” and “God intended cows to eat grass.”
I don’t often pay the premium for organic produce, but I started buying organic baby foods because they came in cooler packages. The logical next step, I guess, is to feed a boy organic milk.
Adding DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a no-brainer because it’s the trendiest nutrient in infant brain development. If Mom can choke down DHA-supercharged prenatal vitamins every night for nearly two years, Dad can pony up a couple extra bucks of Mom’s hard-earned cash to keep the brain train rolling.
That brings us to Whole Foods.
I’m reading the label on a carton of Organic Valley Omega-3 Milk. The DHA in the milk comes from micro-encapsulated fish oil. “Homey don’t play dat,” I say to my cart-bound Champ as I put the milk back on the shelf. I mean, fish? Panic! Mercury! Fishy taste! Ermahgerd!
So the only half-gallon I leave Whole Foods with is a growler of Magic Hat #9 (more on growlers in an upcoming post). On the way home, we make an emergency stop at a regular grocery store to pick up Horizon Organic DHA Omega-3 Milk.
Horizon makes a big deal about deriving its DHA from plants, which, to a paranoid parent, are a lot less scary than fish. At least they were, until I started writing this blog post. What I’ve discovered will shock you.
High-end milkmakers are waging a DHA war in our grocery stores and on our Internets! Look at the grenades they’re lobbing on those milk websites. It’s Team Fish vs. Team Algae, and every concerned parent must pick a side.
I’m no fan of algae (I own a pool), but the folks at Horizon supplier Life’sDHA assure me that fermented algae oil is the only way to avoid “the concern of ocean-borne contaminants.” Organic Valley’s supplier, Ocean Nutrition Canada Meg-3, counter that their product is “naturally sourced from clean, Omega-3 rich ocean fish.”
Horizon trumpets that their DHA is made without the neurotoxin hexane, but Organic Valley suggests that Team Algae might be using other harmful solvents they’re not telling us about. And Team Fish is trumping up its inclusion of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), an Omega-3 fatty acid so hip you’ve probably never heard of it.
I hope this war ends soon, because we vaguely health-conscious American yuppies are the real victims. If I can’t decide which $5 half-gallon of Organic DHA Omega-3 milk to buy for my toddler, how am I supposed to feel better about my own steady diet of steak burritos, hot dogs, pizza and chicken fingers? My only choice will be to hole up my family in a bunker with a year’s ration of herring canned in algae oil and hope we all emerge from the DHApocalypse with above-average brain function.
Whatever happens, I refuse to join all those moms who fantasize about bathing in superpremium milk while they feed their children: