At this point, you’ve got your milk descriptors (organic, grass-fed, antibiotic-free, pastured, raw, local and so on) down pat. Now it’s time to learn another: A2.
It turns out that cows can be genetically sorted into two groups: Those that produce milk with both the A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins, and those that only make it with A2.
Many people who don’t tolerate milk well (but who haven’t been medically diagnosed as lactose intolerant) find that they feel better when they switch to A2 milk. It’s a bit of a back-to-the-future situation: Originally, all cows produced only the A2 protein (the A1 protein emerged later through modern farming practices). Interestingly, other mammals, including humans (think breast milk) produce milk containing only the A2 protein.
The A2 Milk Company selects cows that only produce the A2 protein through a patented DNA test. Its milk is now available in 14 states (is yours one of them?), and is sold in half gallons of whole, 2%, 1% and fat-free milk ($4).
While not certified organic, the milk is free of artificial growth hormones and antibiotics, the cows’ diets consist of a minimum of 80% grass and the farms are certified for humane treatment.
While we still side with Dr. Lipman on thinking of dairy as a condiment, A2 milk is well worth seeking out to see if it makes a difference for you and your belly.