Thursday, September 6, 2012

In Defense of Milk

I love milk.

My husband joked recently that I consume 2/3's of my daily caloric intake through milk alone.

I'm not gonna deny it.  Drinking milk makes me feel all happy inside.  It's comforting to me, brings back good/happy memories of growing up in a loving home, and quenches my thirst in a tastier way than any other drink, including water most days.  

Another awesome side-effect of drinking milk:  I've never broken a bone...ever...despite the fact that I played every sport known to womankind as a teenager and even a bit in college...(Thank you, Title IX!)  During the fall season, I regularly participated in three different sports at the same time.  No sweat.

I chalk that up to good genes and good old-fashioned milk.

I chug it.  I sip it.  I'll even drink it from a straw (makes it last longer.)

It was pretty awesome when I figured out how to drink straight from the milk jug.  I made less dirty dishes that way, ya know?  And no one knew that when half a gallon of milk disappeared, that I was the culprit.  That is until I started wearing lipgloss....But I've since broken myself of that habit.  (You're welcome family!)

You know what I do NOT love?


To be specific...caffeinated pop.  (Oh, I know, many of you call it "soda."  And you are free to do so, but if you grew up in the midwest/east like I did, you most likely say pop.)

Oh, I do drink caffeine-FREE pop from time to when I am suffering from morning sickness, sometimes I'll have ginger ale.  Or on a hot summer night, I'll serve some yummy root beer floats (LOTS of ice cream...easy on the root beer!)

But for the most part, I find pop offensive to the system.  7UP is pretty mild...Sprite...forget about it.  To me, taking a swig of Sprite feels like getting slapped in the face.

After I drink pop, I feel like, "Uh, why did I just do that to myself?"


I'm glad that I grew up learning from my parents that caffeinated drinks were a "no-no."  
You see back in the 70's, 80's, 90's that was the consensus for most LDS people I knew growing up in Ohio.

Why did we feel that way?  Uh, common sense probably.  But also because of wise counsel given by church leaders of the day...and I guess we were all just sort of "quick to observe" back then.

Here's one official statement from 1972 that I found quoted in the D&C Institute Manual:

"An official statement by the Church’s leaders reads: “With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided.Priesthood Bulletin, Feb. 1972, p. 4.)"

That's some pretty sweet advice if you ask me.


So, as you probably know, the church put out a small correction on its website last week...not a correction to the Word of Wisdom (or its interpretation,) as some people are billing it, but a list of corrections to information that was presented by NBC News during their hour-long documentary on Mormonism.  After a handful of adjustments/corrections to the way NBC presented information on their show, the church said this:

Finally, another small correction: Despite what was reported, the Church revelation spelling out health practices (Doctrine and Covenants 89) does not mention the use of caffeine.  The Church’s health guidelines prohibit alcoholic drinks, smoking or chewing of tobacco, and “hot drinks” — taught by Church leaders to refer specifically to tea and coffee. 

According to, the way this correction was originally worded said:
“the church does not prohibit the use of caffeine” and that the reference to “hot drinks” “does not go beyond [tea and coffee].” But that wording was changed to say more specifically that the Word of Wisdom itself does not mention the use of caffeine.  


Here's another tidbit from the Institute manual that I found helpful.  The lesson asks this question:

Why isn't the Word of Wisdom more explicit?

Here's the manual's response:  

"The Doctrine and Covenants does not specifically mention heroin, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, other illegal drugs, or the abuse of prescription drugs. 

"President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “Such revelation is unnecessary. The Word of Wisdom is a basic law. It points the way and gives us ample instruction in regard to both food and drink, good for the body and also detrimental. If we sincerely follow what is written with the aid of the Spirit of the Lord, we need no further counsel. . . .

“Thus by keeping the commandments we are promised inspiration and the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord through which we will know what is good and what is bad for the body, without the Lord presenting us with a detailed list separating the good things from the bad that we may be protected. We will learn by this faithful observance that the promises of the Lord are fulfilled.” Improvement Era, Feb. 1956, pp. 78–79.)"


Caffeine-drinkers of the world...Gotta love ya...and I do, I really do.

I'm just saying...I'm glad that because of the wise counsel of my parents I never started drinking it...and despite the clarification offered by the church to NBC News this week, I'm still not going to run out and start drinking Coke (ack!)...because I now know by experience why it's a substance that isn't welcome in my life.

(Somebody get this girl some 2%!)

Furthermore, I'm going to keep teaching my kids to stay far away from the stuff.

(Now if only I could get my daughter to stop thinking that butter is a food group!)

I am so glad that the Lord teaches us correct principles and then expects us to govern ourselves.  
There is so much personal growth to be obtained by having to search out these answers, by having to live out the answers that we receive, and by having to endure and live with the results of our own choices.  The plan works, people!

OH, be wise...what can I say more?

Here are a few more bits of "advice" given by the church on the consumption of caffeinated bevies...not official, of course, but official enough to be printed in church mags.

From 1988 Ensign:  Caffeine: The Subtle Addiction

I also commend the Sistas in Zion who are going to be spending all of October exploring the Word of doing it!  You go girls...I'm looking forward to your reports from WoW Boot Camp! :)


Oh, and I've got to add a shout-out to Middle-aged Mormon Man for his treatment of the subject in the post WoW: Tying Up Loose Ends.  It's a good quick read from the Mt. Dew man himself...if you have a second.


  1. I gave up caffeine a few years ago and haven't really looked back.

    Butter, however, is a food group. Sorry. :P

  2. Hooray for like-minded saints. I was raised in San Diego and my parents stayed away from caffeine and so do I. My parent's were both from Utah and my Mom's sisters in later life chose to drink cola drinks. We wondered why. My convert husband has struggled with his addiction for years. I've taught our children to stay as far away from caffeine as they can. It takes away your agency. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  3. I agree milk tastes so good...especially when you are pregnant. In your research have you seen anything about herbal teas. I've never had normal tea, but my grandma changed to herbal tea when she joined the church and we grew up drinking camomile when we were sick and such, but I've always wondered a little bit.

  4. Soda pop has been part of my life from childhood. It was not only allowed and encouraged, but given as a special treat and reward. I associate the taste of soda pop with happy memories. This has made it extremely difficult to stop. I drank caffeine free for a while, and that was easy squeezy. It's the comfort food thing that is my addiction. Efforts to quit have been unsuccessful. 2 things about that...well 3...

    1. My parents were both alcoholics and smokers, so I at least give myself credit for not going down that road.

    2. "Bless you" to every parent who works to discourage their kids from drinking soda pop.

    3. I'm lactose intolorant, so the milk think doesn't cut it for me.

  5. @John Barney

    I totally identify with the comfort part of it! And bless you for all that you are! My mom's step-dad was an alcoholic. I heard many a horror story, so it made it easier for me to not feel curious about trying alcohol, because I identified sadness with that life choice.

    My sis is also lactose intolerant...she drinks soy I think! I think at one point I was becoming lactose intolerant, because I was drinking so MUCH milk...moderation allowed my love affair with Milk to live one!

  6. I grew up in a family that liked Coke, Dr. Pepper, and MT Dew. I would drink it only occasionally because carbonated drinks give me the hiccups instantly. My husband grew up never having a caffeinated drink. He tried a Coke once and could taste the caffeine! We don't drink caffeinated pop either. Instead I use Coke to get oil stains out of my husband's jeans. The phosphoric acid in it helps to get the grease out. It's also the same stuff we use to fertilize our fields, why would I want that {phosphoric acid} in my gut?

    We love milk too....only we love chocolate milk more!


    Oh, and butter is a food group. always has been. I got it from my mom who ate BaBa with sugar on it...white bread, slathered in butter with sugar sprinkled on top.

    now I'm raging again...think I'll go back to bed..excellent article. FB, here it comes!

  8. Of course... those who are in tune with a higher way of thinking and doing...will know and understand. Those who are not will make excuses. Always did and always will.

  9. I forgot to say I love milk too! My grandpa drank milk his entire life (died at age 96) and was in his eighties when he was hit by a car while crossing the street, knocked him clear across the road. When he was taken to the hospital and x-rayed they found not one bone broken or even cracked. We all chocked it up to the fact that he drank lots of milk and walked everywhere (they sold their car at the beginning of the depression and never got another one). Why would the Lord use the phrase "a land flowing with milk and honey" to describe a prosperous and desirable land if milk wasn't good for you? Long live cows! And dairy farmers!

  10. Wish I could drink milk...dang lactose intolorance! (baby's really mess with my body!)

    I come from parents that were very strict in the WoW and I am so thankful for them. I did experiment some when I went on my own, but am thankful for their teachings as it just never really felt right. Going back (and even deeper then them) was easy.

    I think that it is interesting that the church had to come out with a statement such as that. So often we as members justify so many things. It makes me so sad.

  11. Blech! Milk is NASTY!:) Haven't really been a fan of it. When I was a kid I loved pop! My dad always had Diet Dr. Pepper in his hand. Which is why as an adult I stay away from pop. I have seen the addiction he suffers from and don't want anything to do with it! And therefore teach my kids to stay away from it. In fact they call caffeinated drinks Joke. Rootbeer (the non-caffeinated kind) is about all they get...when we have pizza. Nowadays, any soda is just too sugary for me so water is my friend. My husband on the other hand drinks caffeine to drive away the killer headaches he gets and then those nasty energy drinks to stay awake. Those need to go...He's working on it...

  12. I choose to follow the word of wisdom as stated. I don"t drink caffeine most of the time but every now and then drink a cherry coke. I have read and researched a lot on the word of wisdom and follow our prophets and leaders council, To " Not consume caffeine in high quantities" . But know many upstanding very worthy members of the church who drink caffeine and still hold a current Temple recommend as Abstaining from caffeine is not a requirement to receive a recommend. I love that the church has made the statement that we should " govern ourselves " and also that we do not judge others.
    When our kids were growing up we did not buy caffeinated drinks nor did we encourage them to drink them. And when we went to fast food restaurants etc we drank non caffeinated drinks or water. ( and we still do) .And I think as children there are far more important Drinks that little ones should drink like milk Juice water etc so that their body's can absorb those nutrients needed to help grow and stay healthy. My husband chooses to not drink hardly any soda maybe he drinks about 6 a year. Thats because while in the Air-force working on the flight line in hot Arizona temps he got sick one day from soda because of the high sugar content it was non caffeinated. So it put him off soda. But He would drink a Dr pepper to stay awake if driving at night. And anyone who knows my husband know he is a very spiritually righteous , wonderful Man who follows the comandments of God and the council of our leaders and is a wonderful patriarch of our family and teaches our kids the principles of the gospel.
    Also some chocolate has higher doses of caffeine that some sodas. So Do the non caffeine drinks abstain from chocolate?

    I am by no ways saying that caffeine is good for you at all. But for some medical conditions it is prescribed as pill form. I have done a lot of research on nutrition after my bought with cancer . So Try to put in my body what is healthy for me. I personally am extremely allergic to milk. So sometimes it is hard to keep my body healthy and receive the nutrients needed that can be received from Milk such as vitamin d and calcium and as a result am now extremely low in those nutrients in my body so have to take supplements even though I try to eat food high in those nutrients.. So I commend those that are able to drink Milk and do not have the problems I have.
    Herbal teas actually contain no tea substances. just fruit and herbs that you add hot water too. So are basically fusions of good ingredients. Read the ingredients and you will see . Those containing green tea or black tea avoid as they are tea.I have to make sure I drink enough water in one day to help with my healing process from Lymphoma ( which I still have in my system) so drinking herbal drinks help me to be able to consume more water in a day. Peppermint especially helps with digestion and the ingredients are peppermint leaf only.

    Some members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints judge those drinking caffeine as if they were alcoholics and judge them and look down on them. But I know that if the church or our leaders came out with a statement stating to abstain from caffeinated drinks totally that the members I know that drink caffeine would stop and follow the council.As their eternal progression is more important than the drinking of caffeinated drinks.

    The energy drinks is a whole other ball game there are many harmful substances contained in them way more than caffeine so should be avoided like the plaque.

    I am so glad that the church came out with the statement that can be interpreted to help those that occasionally drink a caffeinated drink to not feel like a villain in some peoples eyes and the worst member of the church ever. or those that do not drink cafeine can feel good about themselves too.

  13. Thank you Marie!! Very well said. : )

  14. I was raised on milk as well and love it. Not a big fan of the carbonated beverages although we drink them for parties or special occasions. I think the whole wording of pop is interesting depending on what part of the country you grew up in. I lived in Minnesota, where it was called Pop. Moved to Arkansas and every carbonated drink is a Coke. (very confusing when I first moved there) Then on my mission in Chile, they call it Crush, as in Orange Crush. I knew that one little comment from that program was going to cause a stir. I feel the W o W is mainly about protecting and maintaining good health for our bodies. I also feel it has a lot to do with the foods that cause addictions, no matter what they are.

  15. I think i did not encounter the word chocolates at all. Chocolates have caffeine too but depending on the amount of chocolates one consumes it can also be addictive and unhealthy just like "pop", "soda" or "softdrink" as it is called in the Philippines. I used to drink 8 cups [or more] of hot chocolate during the cold season but i stopped because i realized as i observed my body's reaction to it that i got constipated, more depressed and weak. I saw the difference quickly when i stopped drinking it. I still do but maybe once in a blue moon.I also noticed that i became addicted to it because i have no more control of drinking hot cocoa and i always look for it. But with coffee and tea i see myself obeying God's commandment keeping mine integrity knowing that it is the Lord i made a covenant with. As a young girl who grew up with an extended families who drink coffee every single minute, even serving coffee as a soup to mix in their rice [i know it is weird!! hahaha] i remember keeping my integrity when at the age of 6 or 8--i would throw the coffee my grandma would give/serve me because that's what i learned at church in the Primary.

  16. Personally, I think the clarification announcement was also a PR issue, related to the election. They needed to establish that caffeine was NOT included in the Word of Wisdom to preempt the inevitable firestorm when Romney is seen drinking a Diet Coke - which he is known to do.

    I know I'm tired of people asking me "If mormons aren't supposed to drink caffeine, how come all my Mormon friends do?" I can't imagine how many times the Church gets asked that question!

  17. On Sept 15th, 2010 I quit drinking diet coke. There are not enough words in my vocabulary to say how much I love(d) it. In my head I still do. I used to drink 6-8 cans a day. yes, I know it was horrible for me. But, I cannot stand milk either. Unless it's to dunk an oreo in. Give me 12-18 glasses of H2O and I am a happy camper!

  18. Love it! I haven't followed all the discussions out there, but I was starting to feel a little weird for not partaking. Was I some prude, letter of the law weirdo? Glad I'm in good company. !! Interesting that the old culture was more anti, now we've gotten more lax overall.

  19. I had to write a post:

  20. Wow, finally someone other than a family member of mine that likes milk as much as I do. I grew up on milk fresh from the cow. I would rather have a glass of milk with my meal than any other drink. One of my Sis. in Laws, was quite shocked when her and my brother were first married that he drank so much milk. Yay for milk!!

  21. In defense of milk -- Did you know that RAW MILK has all the essential vitamins, amino acids, fats, etc that you need to live? Adults have lived years on milk, and only milk.

    Also, Did you read this article my cousin wrote?